Douro Elegance is one of Riviera Travel’s river cruise ships. // © 2017 Riviera Travel
Feature image (above): Riviera Travel recently announced that it will offer lifetime commission to travel agents registered with the company’s agent portal. // © 2017 Riviera Travel
A client might book her first river cruise with you — and then, when she decides to book another cruise with the same line but without your help, who gets the commission?
There’s no industry standard; it depends on the river cruise line that’s booked.
River cruise operator Riviera Travel — a veteran UK-based brand that is now courting American travelers — recently unveiled its lifetime commission benefit for registered travel agents who book clients on the company’s ships.
Riviera’s itineraries available to U.S. travelers include cruises on the Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Main, Rhone and Douro rivers onboard the Lord Byron, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Swiss Corona, Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Douro Elegance and, new in 2018, the Robert Burns.
“At Riviera, we recognize that the travel agent community is critical to our success, so I’m delighted to announce that any agent booking clients on our river cruises will benefit from lifetime commissions — that’s a promise,” said David Clemson, CEO of Riviera Travel. “We enjoy the highest levels of repeat business, and we want our travel agent partners to benefit from that, too. If a client books another cruise directly through us, we guarantee a commission will be paid to the travel agent who made their initial booking. It’s just another great reason to choose Riviera.”
After a travel agent registers on the company’s agent portal and books a client with Riviera, the agent will receive a commission on all subsequent bookings that client makes directly with the line as well. If the client books through an agent with a different IATA or CLIA number, the commission goes to that agent.
Commission Structures From Other River Cruise Lines
Riviera’s guarantee differs from other river cruise lines’ policies.
For instance, Avalon Waterways specifically offers consumers a chance to book with an agent (their choice, or Avalon will offer names) on its website; if consumers book by phone, Avalon asks them if they have been working with an agent. If they have, the cruise line will offer the client the opportunity to continue on with that agent (so the agent gets commission). Consumers who book direct with Avalon have 14 days to inform Avalon that they would like to transfer their booking to their travel agent; if the cruise is not yet paid in full, Avalon will make the transfer and pay the full commission.
AmaWaterways has only recently begun taking reduced deposits for future cruises on board — the guest has a two-year window to make decisions about which itinerary — and those who want to take advantage of this fill out a form that asks them if they want to make the booking through an agent (the one they used previously or a different one). With direct telephone bookings, one of the first questions asked is whether the traveler wants to work through an agent.
Crystal River Cruises gives the agency on record the booking credit, and therefore the commission, on subsequent reservations. Scenic Cruises also credits agents with successive bookings after it places a client onboard.
Tauck pays full commission to the agent who originally booked the client if requested by the guest who is now booking direct. Likewise, with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, the agent gets the commission on a subsequent direct booking if clients authorize that their travel agent takes over the booking.
As for Viking River Cruises, if a guest who booked through a travel agent books a future cruise while he or she is onboard, then that booking is automatically given to the agent. However, if the guest books through Viking’s call center, then Viking considers it a direct booking and that the travel agent is not involved.