Conventional wisdom within the cruise industry has conveyed that ships fill from the top down and that the business will come, anyway, according to a statement from Virtuoso.

However, the luxury travel agent network said it believes that cruise sales "have not been optimized with advisors who sell higher quality bookings across all product categories."

Now Virtuoso is teaming up with Azamara Club Cruises to change a decades-old compensation model exclusively for Virtuoso’s travel agency members. 

Citing strong business, with increased network sales of more than 70 percent year-over-year for 2014, Azamara has announced today it will offer Virtuoso Member Agencies and their advisors the ability to earn significant incremental commissions based on the quality – rather than just the quantity – of their bookings.

“This new approach to compensating advisors through incremental commissions marks a change, not only because it potentially alters the industry, but because it recognizes the value of agencies and advisors who book higher value clients,” says Matthew D. Upchurch, CTC, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso.

“Of course partnerships should be financially lucrative and beneficial for both parties, but this new structure is based on the overall value of the passenger, taking into consideration factors like the stateroom category booked, how far in advance the booking occurs, as well as  length of the voyage, including back-to-back cruising.  It is a major move in rewarding agencies for selling products based on the merit of the experience, and not only on price.  Those sales tend to come from high-yield clients and now, thanks to Azamara’s willingness to share in this mutual goal, this compensation framework makes it an aligned objective while delivering the best experiences for our clients.”  

“Virtuoso is the perfect partner to explore this new compensation model because their advisors routinely deliver some of our top passengers,” stated Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.

“Virtuoso clients tend to book more than 300 days in advance, they book in higher categories, spend more on board and are brand loyal.  We want to aptly reward advisors who are bringing us these valuable guests who can be converted into repeat cruisers.”