As part of its Agent Matters programme, P&O Cruises and Cunard have announced a new travel agent remuneration package following months of consultation with the trade.

The change comes after a period of transformation within the business which includes a new senior leadership team, revised pricing structure to encourage early bookings, the introduction of a fly/Med programme for P&O Cruises and an expanded fly/Med programme for Cunard.

Sales and distribution support director Chris Truscott said:

“The new commission structure recognises the absolute value we place on agents, who are critical to our business, and is part of a much wider process of positive change for both brands.”

A new base rate of commission payment has been agreed, together with tailored marketing support for individual agents.

A base rate of 7.5% commission will be paid to all agents for both brands from December 9, 2013 and covers all departures from this date onwards.

In addition, agents are paid commission on packaged flights when booking Caribbean and Mediterranean fly/cruises, as a direct result of agent feedback.

Truscott continued: “Our Agent Matters survey in the summer revealed five key areas for attention. As a result, we now pay commission on our packaged flights to the Caribbean and Mediterranean, which now gives agents far more value per booking and gives us a competitive advantage.

“We have offered over 300 fam trips for agents, we have made our sales team far more accessible and we have introduced a simplified, transparent, easy to sell pricing policy. Commission was the last piece of the jigsaw and the new package reflects a mutually beneficial approach to agents for P&O Cruises and Cunard.

“Combined with our announcement of the construction of Britannia, the largest ship ever built specifically for the UK market, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to the UK cruise industry and to cementing long term relationships with our trade partners.”

Furthermore, Truscott announced the appointment of a new head of sales for P&O Cruises and Cunard.

“Jeremy McKenna will join the company on January 2 and will lead the business efforts working with our travel agent partners. Jeremy brings with him a wealth of sales and commercial experience leading teams in customer centred environments and can’t wait to get started in his new role.”

McKenna, originally from Southampton, joins the business from Royal Bank of Scotland where he held a number of senior roles across its retail banking business including head of operations and head of self service.

P&O Cruises is offering Mediterranean fly/cruise holidays from Venice and Genoa on Ventura for the first time next summer and Britannia will go on sale in the spring. Cunard has a year of exclusive, special events planned to mark the 10th anniversary of Queen Mary 2.

Truscott continued: “To recognise and reward is my New Year’s resolution. We all recognise the potential for newcomers to the cruise industry and as 2014 promises to be a fruitful one for our brands, we will do everything we can to reward our agent partners as we grow our business through the trade.”

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