spent the last seven months becoming one of the most, if not the most,
inclusive contemporary brand," Norwegian President Andy Stuart tells Cruise
"Being much more inclusive than we've ever been before has been fantastic
news for travel agents," he continues. "Commissions have been higher
than they have ever been before."
It's hard to break out the actual numbers for the Norwegian brand, as it is now
combined with Oceania and Regent in NCLH. And like its publicly traded
competitors Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean, NCLH does not break down
commission per guest number across all of its brands; it's a single entity.
However, there are other indicators that commissions for North American
retailers from Norwegian are rising and will rise even more moving forward.
NCLH now has a full year of Norwegian Getaway under its belt, which
undoubtedly has had a positive effect. And Norwegian has been actively selling
its newest ship, Norwegian Escape, arriving this fall. Commissions on
sales for Escape have yet to be paid, since payment occurs after
travel, but based on the positive financial reports by NCLH to Wall Street on Escape's
booking patterns, it's looking good moving forward.
Stuart emphasizes that Norwegian's new and more inclusive pay structure creates
what he calls a triangle of happiness:
happy because we're not discounting the price. The travel agent is happy
because their commission is not being undermined by price discounting. The
guest is happy because they're getting a more inclusive experience. So its
driving business earlier and I think it has been a very effective way to go to
No wonder more than 5000 retailers, a record high for Norwegian, signed up for
a webinar earlier this month, in which Stuart and company went over in great
detail the new Norwegian Star deployment and other itinerary changes
for the next 18 months.
In terms of the big picture, Stuart notes, "As a brand, Norwegian is
moving further afield. We've had a lot of demand from past guests for a broader
range of itineraries." That’s seen as good news for agents, as cruisers
tend to seek guidance for trips to exotic destinations.
Norwegian Star, in particular, will be operating heavily in Southeast
Asia, the Middle East, and the Gulf. The Star's global deployments are
aimed at a global audience versus local sourcing. "We believe these
itineraries will sell in North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand,"
Stuart told Cruise Week. "These itineraries are not designed for
Asians to see Asia."
Offering a wider range of itineraries, says Stuart, is facilitated by the
expansion of the brand. "We took delivery of Norwegian Breakaway
in 2013, Getaway in 2014, Escape in 2015, and three more are
coming after that," says Stuart. "It's definitely important for us as
a brand to have a diversified deployment for domestic and international