Virtuoso Breaks With Disney Over Onboard Bookings

Photo by Jaeger

Virtuoso has announced it will terminate its 14-year preferred supplier relationship with Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. following recent changes to the company’s onboard booking policy for Disney Cruise Line.

Earlier this month Disney Cruise Line had cut the commission paid to travel agents on cruises booked by customers who are already onboard one of the line's ships. The commission, which had previously been capped at up to 16 percent depending on an agent's sales volume, is now capped at 10 percent. Disney Cruise Line offers customers who book onboard various perks, such as reduced deposits. 

In a statement announcing the decision to end the relationship, Virtuoso said that its agency members routinely earn commissions significantly higher than the cap allows for existing clients who book their next cruise while still onboard the ship. Additionally, Virtuoso said that "focusing on partners who demonstrate support of the travel advisor community is its guiding principle."

When asked about Virtuoso's decision, Lindsay Pearlman, co-president of Ensemble Travel Group, said, “For many Ensemble members, Disney cruises are among their core products, and that’s especially true for those with a heavy family-client focus. This new booking policy cuts at the heart of their livelihood and really impacts their bottom line. We continue to be in conversation with Disney for a resolve on this critical issue on our members’ behalf.”

A representative of Travel Leaders declined to comment on the new development. 

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