How would an extra $6,000 in commission on a river cruise group feel right now? That’s how much a new offering from AMAWaterways might be worth to travel advisors, Ama co-founder and EVP Kristin Karst told TRO.
In a first-of-its kind offering for travel advisors, Ama is offering Tour Conductor (TC) Credits not just on river cruise bookings, but also on airfares and land packages for new group contracts whose deposits are paid by December 31, 2022. The offer applies to Europe and Mekong River cruises in 2023 and 2024, for groups of 10 or more, on select dates.
For each TC Credit, travel advisors must book nine full-paying guests in all three trip components – river cruise, airfare and pre- and post-cruise land packages. They get one credit per component, with no limit to the number of credits they can earn.
Earned TC Credits can be applied to the 10th guest or to the group leader, taken as a discount shared by all guests in the group, or used as additional commission. The net value of the TC Credits earned is based on the average price paid on each component with the value of the airfare TC Credit capped based on class of service.
Credits will apply when the group is paid in full, no less than 90 days prior to departure.
Karst said the new offer is meant “to not only reward travel advisors for trusting their group river cruise business to AmaWaterways, but to also showcase how we can work together to create a seamless trip experience for their clients from start to finish. We love groups and believe this step in rewarding travel advisors for all components really shows how we are listening to our travel partners and willing to come up with innovative ways to grow their business.”
If you read the fine print, you’ll note that groups booked before October 1 are not eligible. But Karst told TRO that Ama “always tries to work with our travel partners to find solutions, so anyone with concerns should contact their group coordinator.”
Looking into the next few months, meanwhile, Karst said 2022 Christmas Market cruises, “some of our most popular sailings,” are seeing occupancy levels approaching pre-pandemic levels, with more last-minute bookings coming in this year than in previous years. Most have only limited availability but “it’s not too late for guests to join in on these much-anticipated celebrations.”
Into Q1 2023, Ama is “expecting a continued high level of last-minute demand for European river cruises, which restart in early March. Overall demand is quite strong across all destinations. In particular, we’ve seen renewed interest in Mekong cruises and continued strong sales for our new Nile cruise and land packages, which are looking very full already for 2023 as we wait for our second ship, AmaLilia that is launching in 2024.
Travel advisors respond
So what’s not to like? Travel advisors applauded the move and appreciated the support it shows.
“It’s a pretty great offer,” says Cindy Watty, owner of Alfresco Travel.
“I don’t think anyone offers T/Cs on anything other than the cruise itself. Air is a huge offer in my eyes—and adding pre and post packages is a nice incentive,” says Adrienne Sasson at Rubinsohn Travel.
“I’ll be seeing our Ama rep tonight because I want to ask if it can be combined with the free land extension,” says Cathy Udovch of Travelstore in Irvine, CA, who is planning a group river cruise for friends and family.
This is a great opportunity for AMA Waterways to encourage sales in their groups segment and for travel agents to reap the rewards of the work tha they do for these additional components – work that usually goes uncompensated. Bravo Ama!” said Europe travel specialist Suzy Schreiner of Azure Blue Vacations LLC.
Meanwhile, Karst noted that in addition to the unlimited TC Credits, Ama offers “generous commissions,” commissionable tours and Enhanced Group Benefits, plus the service of a knowledgeable, dedicated group coordinator to assist with promotional materials and special requests, as well as private motorcoach transportation for groups of 35 or more guests.
For more information contact AmaWaterways’ Groups Department.