Voyages to Antiquity, the new cruise line introduced by Orient Lines founder Gerry Herrod, provides the opportunity for travel agents to earn significant commissions, while offering their clients innovative destination experiences and incomparable value, according to a press release.
The new line focuses on Mediterranean itineraries that trace the “cradle of civilization” cultures (Romans, Egyptians, Greeks, Byzantine, etc.), calling at many destinations that the megaships of today can’t reach. “This is clearly a product that appeals to clients who appreciate a fascinating experience which provides the ultimate in enrichment, education, and fulfillment in a relaxed environment” said Mitchell Schlesinger, responsible for sales development in North America.
Starting in May, 2010, the nine itineraries, with 16 departures, are an excellent way for agents to solicit group business from organizations with an affinity for history and antiquities, adventure travel, archaeology, art, museum associations, religious organizations, and more, he said.
Voyages to Antiquity is an excellent product for experienced travelers seeking extraordinary destinations and a greater cultural immersion, according to Schlesinger. “We’ve heard from dozens of agents who are in contact with past Marco Polo guests and have received a warm response,” he added
The value starts with included shore excursions, gratuities for stateroom and restaurant staff, house wine at dinner, and special shore events like a private evening in the Doge’s Palace in Venice. “It is critical that agents clearly delineate for potential guests just how significant this value truly is” Schlesinger said. “Guests out-of-pocket expenses can be as much as $1,500 per person. Plus, with air add-ons available from free to $199, a deluxe outside stateroom at around $6,500 per person is an extraordinary price for such an in depth experience.“
Best of all is the potential earnings for travel agents. “With all of the out-of-pocket expenses included in the cruise fare, agents are in essence earning their full applicable commission on shore excursions, gratuities, house wine at dinner and roundtrip air” Schlesinger pointed out. “At a base commission of 10 percent, earnings range from $700-$2,500 per cabin with potential to earn more with commission overrides available. Travel agents have struggled to earn meaningful commissions over the past several years. We recognized this and wanted to design a product that rewards them fully for their promotional efforts. As a small brand with limited consumer marketing budgets, our intent is to have virtually 100 percent of our bookings sourced through them.”