More than two dozen cruise lines are offering incentives through CLIA’s new Agency Membership Program. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Feature image (above): Bonus commissions, onboard credits and priority event invitations are among member perks. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has combined the interests of member lines and travel sellers to create the new Agency Membership Program. With exclusive continuing education courses, points toward CLIA accreditation and an array of cruise line benefits valued at more than $5,000 for agent members, the program has been enthusiastically endorsed by agent advocates such as Vicki Freed, senior vice president, sales, trade support and service with Royal Caribbean International. Other travel agent benefits include bonus commissions, reduced rate cruises for agents, onboard credits for both agents and clients, priority invitations to FAM trips and Seminars at Sea.
“We couldn’t be any happier about the new CLIA membership program,” added Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners. “It speaks to the changing dynamics of the cruise industry and reinforces CLIA’s commitment to their valued travel agent partners. We are always looking for new ways to reward our travel agents and incentivize them to sell more cruises – and this does it many times over. This membership really reflects what agents want and will help us to mold our agents into strong cruise sellers. We are very happy to encourage all our agents to join up now!”
Membership is available at different levels for different size agencies: Silver for one to 24 agents, Gold for 25 to 99 agents and Diamond for a group of 100 or more agents. All levels receive core benefits such as unique booking credentials, a certificate and window decal, a listing in the Agent Finder on CLIA’s website, discounts on CLIA products, and bonus commissions and coupons from member cruise lines and preferred partners, plus preferred rates and registration at cruise3Sixty.
CLIA’s new individual agent memberships cost only $49 for Premium member agents. CLIA points out that a bonus commission from selling just one cruise pays for an agent’s membership, which includes preferential registration for ship inspections, preferential pricing for CLIA products, hundreds of special offers from member cruise lines and a membership card with partner benefits, a $49 value in itself.
Although CLIA agent members are now worldwide, the program is only for North American agents at this time.
“There are many different models for agents, and in the future we may roll this or something similar out elsewhere, but for now this is for North American agents,” said CLIA president Christine Duffy.
Duffy noted that agents who register in October will receive three free months of membership, since they are paying for 2015 membership but receiving benefits from their registration immediately.
“CLIA’s new travel agent membership program is the best I’ve ever seen,” Vicki Freed stated. “It offers agents more training and rewards and reflects the value that the cruise industry places on them. Our line is 100 percent behind this new program, and I hope every agent who is serious about their business and their future takes advantage of this opportunity.”
Member lines offering incentives include AMA Waterways, American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Crociere, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Hurtigruten, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Pearl Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Tauck River Cruising, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Windstar Cruises.