Originally Posted by reverendjeff
The three identified themselves as Carnival reps and each had a different extension. They were calling to try to see if I had an interest in any future cruises.
I think Carnival is unique in that they are not really supporting their travel agent network. Most cruise lines stay away from marketing their own cruises to the general public. Instead, they encourage people to "contact your travel professional." The cruise line's marketing efforts are generally focused on the travel agents. They depend upon them to sell the cruise line's product.
Carnival is engaging here in a risky business strategy. If they try to market directly with the PVPs, they'll lose the support of the travel agent community ... especially if those PVPs are underselling the travel agents.
Travel agents are the bread and butter of any cruise line. They basically are the unpaid sales staff for the line. Yes, they get commissions, but those commissions are only on what they sell. It's a great deal for the cruise line. Their marketing costs are actually relatively low, and the loyalty of their travel agent network is what keeps those ships sailing full week in and week out.
I have noticed that Carnival is bucking the trend of referring people to travel agents. They are doing a lot of direct marketing via their PVPs. This will eventually lose them the loyalty of travel agents since the TA's are getting no referrals from them ... and, in fact, may be getting undercut by the line's PVP's. Those travel agents will simply "sell" the product of other lines to their customers ... nudging them in the direction of those other lines.
Remember, many, many people are first time cruisers. Others really have no loyalty to any particular brand. A travel agent has a lot of influence on these types of people ... and while they may walk into their office asking about a Carnival cruise, they very well could walk out having book a Royal Caribbean one. The travel agent can make that happen. Carnival had best not alienate those travel agents. Most of the other cruise lines don't ... and there must be a good reason for that.
Blue skies ...