Virgin Voyages has announced the elimination of non-commissionable fares (NCFs) for travel advisors – or First Mates as the company refers to them.

Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages said: “We’re excited to announce one of the most rewarding travel partner programmes ever created. We are committed to delivering an ‘Epic Sea Change’ by getting rid of the things that annoy you and offering incredible value and experiences for your clients.”

From today, no part of a booking with Virgin Voyages is non-commissionable, so First Mates will earn across the client’s entire transaction. This includes all add-ons like flights, hotel stays, voyage protection, Shore Things (shore excursions), spa treatments, any premium package, Sailor Loot (onboard credits), taxes and fees.

“Percentages don’t matter”

Stacy Shaw, vice president of sales for Virgin Voyages, added: “While the debate is often about this percent versus that one, the underlying issue travel professionals have is not being compensated for their hard work on the entire sale. With Virgin Voyages you will be.

“With our combination of premium pricing that includes so much more, no NCFs and the ability to earn on everything you sell, total dollars earned on every sale with us will be more. Percentages don’t matter, total dollars do.”

Virgin Voyages also unveiled details about adding gratuities to the base ticket fare for all sailings, adding to the complementary costs of all eateries, group fitness classes and basic beverages. Now First Mates have the opportunity to sell voyages based on the total value proposition rather than price and to reach a new client base, which translates to more commission earned.

Continuing with the ‘Epic Sea Change’ announcement, Virgin Voyages also confirmed that it is eliminating penalties and change fees. First Mates can hold cabins for 24 hours with no money down and once they’ve placed a 20% non-refundable deposit, they’ll have a grace period of seven days where they may change their mind for any reason at all. Sailors and First Mates may also change voyage dates and names on bookings without penalties or fees.

Virgin Voyages is introducing a base commission of 10% on the entire transaction. In addition, all First Mates or affiliated organizations can earn a Red Hot Bonus paid annually on sailed revenue up to an additional 6% if they meet certain production thresholds.

“The Perfect 10”

“We’re giving ten a makeover. Our First Mates asked us for something simple and they’ll be able to earn more total dollars on every transaction with Virgin Voyages. So it simply isn’t the same old 10, we call that ‘The Perfect 10’,” said Shaw.

Afternoon tea with Sir Richard

FirstMates.com is currently registering travel agencies and individual travel sellers to do business with Virgin Voyages in advance of the company opening voyages for bookings on 14 February. On 5 February, FirstMates.com will start offering  tools and downloadable digital and in-store marketing materials, plus interactive learning materials about the new product.

Individual First Mates, who register to do business with Virgin Voyages before 14 February, will have the opportunity to enter to win afternoon tea with Sir Richard Branson (must opt in to sweepstakes by 11:59 EST on 13 February). Virgin Voyages will also host an immersive learning campaign beginning 6 February.


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