ASTA publishes list of suppliers who pay timely commissions

ASTA has publicized its list of suppliers that it says pay advisors in a timely manner, fulfilling a promise it made at its Global Convention in May. 

The Society said the suppliers on the initial list all pay advisors “within 30 days of the published, contracted date set by the supplier for final payment and the payment is made in full.”

The inaugural list names Riverside Cruises; Sea Song Tours; Goway Travel; the Globus Famiy of Brands, which includes Globus, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways; and several cruise lines: Azamara; Virgin Voyages; Windstar Cruises;  Carnival Corp. and its U.S.-focused brands Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn; Royal Caribbean Group’s Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International; MSC Cruises and new line Explora Journeys; and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The list only includes suppliers who require prepayment, ASTA said. Others, like hotels and car rental companies, where final payment may not be made until the date of travel, are excluded. And suppliers on the list may have separate commission policies or schedules for group bookings or ancillary products or services, it said.

“We applaud our supplier partners who are committed to working closely with the travel industry and making sure that advisors get paid on time for the hard work they do,” ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby said in releasing the list.

The Society will update the list online and has encouraged suppliers who
adhere to timely commission payments as defined but who aren’t on the
list to get in touch for inclusion.

The drive for faster commission payments

The timeline for commission payments has long been an issue for the trade, but a spotlight shone on it during the height of the pandemic when travel had essentially ceased. Advisors rebooked trips, sometimes multiple times over, with no payment in sight until their clients’ travel was completed, perhaps a year or two later.

“Some suppliers withhold full payment of commissions until travel is completed,” Kerby said this week. “With our members often working 12 to 42 months in advance on complex travel itineraries, this practice creates a number of problems for the hard-working advisor community that must be addressed.” 

ASTA said its list was designed “to champion companies that do more to recognize the contributions of the travel advisor community.”

The Society in particular called out Explora, the luxury-cruise company owned by MSC Group that launched in August. It offers a rolling payment plan offering commission on deposit funds and pays the balance of commission within 21 days of receiving final payment.

ASTA added that some host agencies or other intermediaries may, per their own policies, withhold disbursement of commission payments, which does not affect a supplier’s status on the Society’s list.

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