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ASTA white paper delves into non-commissionable cruise fares

ASTA white paper delves into non-commissionable cruise fares
An American Society of Travel Agents white paper addresses one of the most maddening issues for retailers: the role non-commissionable fares play in cruise sales and revenues.

'We know many of our leisure-focused agencies have great concerns about NCFs,' ASTA president and ceo Zane Kerby said. '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.'

ASTA conducted a series of interviews with agency members and cruise line executives to produce the document. The process included reviewing historical records on NCFs, including fare lawsuits in the late 1990s that precipitated the change in how NCFs are presented. A large selection of cruise line invoices also were analyzed to look for patterns in how NCFs apply to specific types of cruises.

The paper describes changes agents are making to mitigate revenue losses, and also reviews average NCF/gross fare ratios.

'Ultimately, ASTA urges those agencies heavily dependent on selling cruise 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,' Kerby said, and if not, adjustments in product mix or agency business model should be considered.

ASTA members can access the white paper for free. Non-members can purchase the paper for $49 here.