The line said that although UK consumers would still receive marketing messages and would be able to book directly online and though its call centre, its the sales team 100% focused on the trade and the line would be “heavily focused on trade initiatives”.
Erin Johnson, UK and Ireland marketing director at Carnival Cruise Lines told TTG: “There will still be direct channels available, but the focus on them will be low level. Our sales team and overall marketing effort for 2017 will be focused on the trade.”
As part of the move, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced Travel Agents Rock – which it described as a “new promise to the travel agent community”.
“Not only is it designed to offer bespoke management solutions, it is also a thank you and recognition for the travel trade’s support for the brand,” it added.
The line attributed the move to “another solid year for agent sales – with travel agent partners assisting in driving the success of the whole season”.
New initiatives to support agents will include a Carnival Cruise Line Loyalty Rocks Club, which will enable agents to boost their earnings through points from bookings, with one point equalling £1.
A new travel agent training programme CCLU has also been launched, as well as a charter and incentive programme, open to all agents who have clients interested in full ship charters or who have strong groups programmes.
Iain Baillie, vice president of UK and international sales said: “Travel agent partners have been integral to the success of our business, particularly with the Mediterranean season of our latest and most innovative ship to date, Carnival Vista.
“We’re always looking at ways that we can improve this working relationship and areas where we can assist our agent partners with expansion. Travel Agents Rock is a promise of this – a seal to show that we really do value our partners, and the business they do for us, and how their own business can be supported when working in partnership with us.”
Carnival Cruise Line UK is also now responsible for supporting international markets outside of North America, Canada, China and Australia, with the line revealing that it was “keen to assist and support agents in the UK who have international expansion ambition”.
The line has three new ships launching in the next six years – 2018 will see the debut of Carnival Horizon, while in 2020 and 2022 Carnival’s biggest ever ships will enter the fleet, meaning an additional 14,334 berths being added overall.