Agents book shore tours to win commission

Travel agents and clients happy with third-party vendors such as ShoreTrips

More travel agents are making separate bookings for shore excursions because cruise lines do not pay commission on shore-tour sales. They book them through third-party vendors such as ShoreTrips, Port Promotions and Shore Excursions Group. Independent companies like these tend to sell shore excursions for lower prices and in smaller groups – plus the agents get commission when they make the booking.
The fact that these companies offer excursions with smaller groups and a much more personal experience makes them “a distinct value-add”, according to one agent. Clients also save money. “We have a group going to Hawaii and I’m using a private shore excursion company,” another agent explains. “I’ve saved my clients probably about $300 per person by doing the private tour company versus what they charge on the cruise ship.” Clients are delighted with the quality and the cost, and the agents are delighted with their additional commission.
However, there are less adventurous clients who do prefer the security of the cruise ships’ own sponsored excursions. And if the third-party vendors’ trips return late they miss the ship, as ships wait only for cruise line tours that arrive late.
[pictured: Peterhof, St Petersburg, a popular shore excursion in Russia; courtesy K]