Thats exactly what the company needs in order to keep making money: agents who sell well. Travel agents typically earn 10 percent commissions from cruise lines, and while the company said it could not reveal specific rates, Fee said commissions are higher for Cruise Planners agents because of the volume of business the company does.
In turn, the company earns royalties of 3 percent of agents commissionable sales.
We dont succeed until they sell travel, said Garcia, 46. She highlighted the support they offer to agents to make sure they can do just that: a magazine printed with agents names and contact information, the Facebook page for agents that launched last year, the QR codes and deals negotiated for franchise owners.
We do these tools and do this support to make sure theyre selling, she said.
In addition to cruises, the company is marketing land and tour sales more heavily. Those segments of travel make up 14 percent of the companys total business, and that number has been growing. Sales increased 33 percent from 2010 to 2011 and 107 percent from 2011 to 2012.
It doesnt mean our cruise segment is shrinking, it just means the pie is getting bigger, Fee said. We need to be a 100 percent well-rounded travel company.
After weathering the recession and the jolt the industry felt after the deadly Costa Concordia shipwreck in Italy last year more pronounced in Europe than in North America, where Cruise Planners agents sell Fee said the company is starting the new year with encouraging growth in sales. For the first 25 days of the year, which is the start of the typically busy wave season, the CFO said sales increased by 39 percent for cruises departing in 2013 and by 43 percent for all cruises booked so far.
Said Fee: Were just feeling that 2013 knock on wood, no worldly disasters that 2013 is going to be off the charts for us.