ASTA Issues White Paper On Non-Commissionable Fares

ASTA’s white paper aims to help travel agents better understand the complex nature of non-commissionable fares By: Kenneth Shapiro
Travel agents can better understand NCFs with a new white paper from ASTA. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Travel agents can better understand NCFs with a new white paper from ASTA. // © 2014 Thinkstock

The Details

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has published a white paper on the history and current state of Non-Commissionable Fares (NCFs) in an effort to help agency members understand the role they play.

Why It Matters:
For travel agents, few topics are as controversial as NCFs. ASTA analyzed historical records and cruise line invoices and conducted a series of interviews with agency members and cruise line executives to produce a document that tries to clear up some of the misconceptions. The white paper also describes changes travel agents are making to mitigate revenue losses and reviews average NCF/gross fare ratios.  

Fast Facts:
- Documents analyzed for the white paper included fare lawsuits from 1990s that impacted how NCFs are presented.

- Cruise line invoices were also studied in order to look for patterns in how NCFs are applied to specific types of cruises. 

- ASTA members can access the white paper for free via the ASTA website. Non-members may purchase the paper for $49.  

What They Are Saying:
- “We know many of our leisure-focused agencies have great concerns about NCFs,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO. “Clearly, travel agents should be fairly compensated for creating demand for the cruise lines. At the same time, those companies have the right to price their product as they see fit. That’s why ASTA recommends that each agency take a close look at their revenue data to determine the right product mix and business model for them.” 

- “Ultimately, ASTA urges those agencies heavily dependent on selling cruises to take a few hours and look at their revenue data and make their own determination of whether the NCF is reasonable and if profitability is sustainable,” said Kerby. “If not, adjustments in product mix or agency business model should be considered.”