Carnival, RCCL Clamp Down on Rebaters

Carnival and Royal Caribbean are cutting pay to travel retailers .

Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are both cutting pay to travel retailers who advertise non-approved rates on cruises.

Carnival was first with the announcement that it will cut compensation to retailers who publicly advertise non-Carnival-approved rates and promotions, effective Jan. 1.

Carnival said the plan would ensure consistency in pricing in public mediums, including the Internet. The level of compensation reduction will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Repeat offenders will be placed on a “do not book” status, the line said.

“Travel agent partners should emphasize the service and expertise they provide to consumers ... rather than just focusing on price,” Carnival CEO Bob Dickinson said.

Royal Caribbean, meanwhile, followed the move and said it will cut co-op support and base commission pay to agents who advertise non-published or non-contracted rates starting today. The program affects rates in ads for both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises in mediums like TV, newspapers, radio, catalogs, direct mail and online vehicles such as search engines, Web sites, e-mail, banner and pop-up ads. “We really feel that rebating is damaging our distribution system,” said Lisa Bauer, RCCL’s senior vice president of sales.