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HAL's new trade support platform has GAP extras, lower override threshold

Eva Jenner - New PartnerSHIPS platform springs from conversations with agents
Holland America Line launched a new travel agent support program, PartnerSHIPS, that rolls all the company's trade programs and services into a single platform, making them easier to access in an at-a-glance menu.

'We had a lot of conversations with our travel partners, and the outcome is PartnerSHIPS,' said Eva Jenner, vp North America field, charter and incentive sales. The program includes several new amenity packages for groups, new marketing tools, a lower override commission threshold, and more guidance and support.

The Group Amenities Program (GAP) offers a choice of more than 30 amenities, including specialty restaurant dinners, theme parties, group photos, beverage cards and shipboard credits. At the request of travel partners, the GAP menu now includes the option of earning a tour conductor with 10 paid travelers rather than the standard 15.

On select sailings, group benefits have been extended. The new capacity-controlled GAP PLUS program offers a 1% bonus commission and a bottle of sparkling wine in each stateroom in addition to the standard GAP options. 

For small affinity groups such as book clubs and school reunions, a new Connections group package includes two additional GAP points with the 1:10 tour conductor benefit, up to a maximum of two tour conductors.

HAL's improved family reunions package offers special perks for all family members, including stateroom upgrades, beverage cards and a Pinnacle Grill family lunch.   

The line said PartnerSHIPS makes earning override commission easier by lowering the revenue threshold agents to reach the 11% pay level. In response to requests for more perks at sales events and shows, an exclusive shipboard credit is now available for up to two such events per year.

Travel Agent Headquarters on the HAL website will have a new, expanded and easy-to-use promotional tool kit launching in February that will feature customizable emails, fliers, print ads and digital banner ads.

To help agents on board and ashore, dedicated teams are available to answer questions and provide guidance. During their cruise, groups can use the On-board Event Services team. Ashore, HAL has sales team members dedicated to charter and incentive groups.

Further initiatives include the assignment of a business development team member to all accounts, regardless of size or location; future cruise consultants aboard ships to book clients on a future cruise, with full commission going to their agent; the POLAR Online booking tool, Holland America Line Academy Online Training and Signature Sales Seminars offered seasonally on the road and by webinar.

Agents have access to discounted fares on select sailings, with a $50 shipboard credit for HAL Academy graduates.