Free Home Based Travel Agent Magazine

Recommend is a home based travel agent's trusted source for destination and travelproduct information. It provides a monthly publication that is at no charge to you and is filledwith worldwide coverage, education and information that helps you expertlysell travel.

That's it - nothing else. It's easy to subscribe, just click on the link below or paste it in yourbrowser and fill out the short subscription form to qualify and you'll start receiving the magazine that some agents call their travel selling "bible."
http://www.recommend.com/ver3/html/main_add1aEmail.aspx

P.S. You can also subscribe to the no charge weekly e-bulletin, Recommend Weekly, on the online subscription form. If you're interested in getting a weekly email with current specials, fams and more product and destination information, please subscribe to that as well.

AARC Host Agency :

Major impact of Woman and the Net

More than half of US Internet users are women and their choices have a major impact on the web. Women's choices in buying and planning vacations for the family, as well as pursuing their own interests, have a major impact on travel agents.

According to some researchers women have been the majority among US Internet users for a number of years. They now make up 51.6% of the US online population and nearly 100 million American women will be online by 2008.

So how do you do market to them? According to Paul Davis, President and CEO of https://homebasedtravelagents.org "The best way is to set up your own BLOG, on your favorite destination or subject. Blogs are FREE just wright about your subject and make it personal."

If you need help on making and marketing your blog, MR. Davis has a DVD and white paper report on how to make and market blogs successfully. Call 800-619-8646 and ask for a copy. The cost $19.95 and includes free shipping in the USA. "

For all home based travel agents, the rising influence of females online is something that can't be ignored. More and more women on the go, do their online shopping and buying on line. This is vitally important to home travel agents looking for clients. Agents MUST be on the net to obtain clients. " If you Focus on one destination or subject, for example (Adventure Family Vacations) or (Exploring China) it will bring you a lot more clients on the net than trying to be all thing to all people. The smaller the focus the bigger the reward. Said Mr. Davis

The data shows that more women are going online to find travel vacations for them selves and there families. One of the newest trends is girl friend vacations to spa destinations and shopping sprees in foreign countries.

AARC Host Agency :

Nurturing Your Groups To Success

By Phil and Doris Davidoff, CTCs, CTIEs, MCCs

Why sell groups? As notorious bank robber, Willie Sutton, said when asked why he robs banks - "It's where the money is!"

While groups do not develop overnight, payoffs are solid. A group of 50 people on a one-week mass market cruise can produce commissions in excess of $7,000 - even if you have to give the tour conductors to the group.

Some of the reasons why it pays to focus on groups for growing your business:

  • High commissions (as noted above).
  • Rates are locked in, usually at the lowest possible level.
  • Successful groups create an annuity for future group and individual business.
  • Group promotions can generate business during traditionally slower periods of the year.
  • There are tremendous group opportunities, including family reunions, clubs of all kinds, celebrity hosts, corporate functions, incentive trips, theme groups and many more.

Here are some ideas for nurturing your groups so that they can develop to their full potential:

  • Work together with representatives of the cruise line or tour operator as both organizations will benefit from success.
  • Keep in contact with your group organizer, "pied piper," or anyone else who is helping you with your group.
  • Be aware of where you are in relation to your goals and to the time line - the number of weeks or months before full deposits and final payments are due.
  • If you are not on target, find out why. Work with your contacts to see what more can be done to convert prospects to bookings. Can adjustments be made?
  • Even if you are on target, be sure to continue to contact your clients to show that you care about their business.
  • Be sure to work with your sales representative and your supplier's group department. Plenty of assistance is available for the asking

AARC Host Agency :

Match The Cruise to the Client

By Phil and Doris Davidoff, CTCs, CTIEs, MCCs
It is exceedingly important to make sure that the cruise you are selling to a client or prospect will provide the activities (or lack of them) and lifestyle that your client is looking for. One of the great things about today’s cruise industry is that there is a cruise for everyone. Putting the wrong person on the wrong ship is, however, a disaster in the making.
Cruise ships range in size from Sea Dream and Windstar vessels carrying fewer than 150 passengers to Royal Caribbean’s mammoth Freedom of the Seas, which will soon carry more than 3,500 passengers, and in style from the bare-bones of EasyCruise (more of a ferry than a cruise ship) to the ultra- luxury of Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea.
A recent column by Arthur Frommer in the travel section of our Sunday newspaper provides a very well-balanced view of the different lifestyles available on today’s ships. “On a cruise ship with 2,000+ passengers, I stand in line for meals, tours, lectures, shows. This is not cruising as I like it. Crowds, crowds everywhere,” he writes. He adds that lines move quickly, but “it is not a quiet, contemplative week at sea.”
Frommer does write: “Let me, in all fairness, compliment the cruise lines on providing a considerable degree of comfort – indeed, luxury – at an extremely reasonable price.” He states that lower cost cruises do offer real value. “But, to thoughtful Americans, it provides no real vacation.”
Most travel agents who sell cruises are aware of the different activities and lifestyles available on different cruise lines. Information provided by cruise lines and CLIA along with the many seminars offered to travel agents by the cruise lines and at events such as Travel Trade’s Cruise-a-thon and CLIA’s cruise3sixty provide excellent product knowledge learning opportunities.
The area where travel agents all too often fall down is to truly understand the lifestyle and activity desires of their clients. Does your client want the high-energy activity of contemporary mega-ships, low-key relaxation of smaller, more refined cruises – or something in between?
Another failure is to assume that your client will like the lifestyle you prefer. Just because you love the lavish, Las Vegas-type shows presented on mega-ships, does not mean your client will, or vice- versa.
Little things can also be important. We remember hearing two women on a contemporary cruise ship complaining about the casual dress worn by most passengers. Clearly, they would have been more comfortable on a premium or luxury ship. They probably chose (or accepted a travel agent’s recommendation) of a contemporary ship because it was less expensive.
If you know your clients and your cruise lines and ships and match them properly, you will have a profitable sale and satisfied clients who value your recommendations and will return to you for future vacations.

AARC Host Agency :

Trafalgar offers travel agents incentive for doing e-Learning

Trafalgar Tours expanded its e-Learning travel agent program with two additional programs, bringing the total to four, and introduced an incentive to encourage agents to participate.

According to Trafalgar’s President John Severini, the e-Learning program has succeeded in increasing the sales performance of past participants. Since the program was initiated in September 2005, 3,000 travel agents have participated, according to the company.

Agents who complete the two new modules by June 15 are eligible to win a trip for two on Trafalgar’s seven-night Best of the Canyonlands tour. They’ll also receive a certificate that names them as a Trafalgar Super Agent Specialists.

The first module, based on a Snakes and Ladders game format, is on the subject of selling tours. The second module is called “Myth Busters.” The third module, also based on Snakes and Ladders, focuses on Canada and the U.S. And the fourth is called “Dare to Compare: Touring versus Self-Drive.”

The training modules are available online and each module takes about 15 minutes to complete, the company said. The training has been effective in helping agents boost sales.

To participate, agents must log onto http://www.trafalgar.com/, click on the Travel Agent Login link, followed by the e-Learning tab.

AARC Host Agency :

The Internet has changed the world of travel

While the Internet has certainly changed the world of travel, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Yes, some people are booking online, but cruise and vacation customers will always appreciate the advice and customer service that they can never get from a computer.

The Internet has helped travel agents by leveling the playing field. You don't have to work in a giant call center to have the best technology. Any agent with a home computer and high-speed Internet can compete with even the biggest travel agencies.

Let's face it, many consumers don't know the difference between Crystal Cruises and Carnival cruise line. Customers looking for cruises, tours, and vacation packages will continue to rely on expert advice to find the right vacation, and they will feel more comfortable with a professional booking those trips for them.

As a home based travel agent, if you take advantage of the technology that is available to you and provide your customers a hassle-free booking experience that they can't get by trying to do all the researching and booking themselves, then not only will technology never be able to replace you, it will help you serve more customers and make more money than you otherwise could.

AARC Host Agency :

Free Marketing – Using PR

Most home based travel agents think that they need to spend a lot of money on marketing if they want to get more customers. However, the expression "you have to spend money to make money" isn't always true.

Issuing press releases about your accomplishments or or stories about where you just came back from can be a great way to get your name out there -- and it doesn't have to cost you a dime.

You don't have to be the biggest travel company in the country to have something newsworthy to announce. Even if your travel agency is just you, your computer, and a phone, you're able to make news.

If you join a host agency, your community should know that you've just made a new partnership that will enable you to provide customers better rates and exclusive availability (as any good host agency will have groups you can book into).

Even if you're not doing anything "new," you can still make news. When you have anniversaries as an agent, or if you have a month where you sold more cruises than normal -- that's news.

Once you've written your press release, you can post it to a free wire service like PRWeb.com. Not only do wire services have a large number of subscribers, but they also post your release on their web sites, which then get scoured by search engines like Yahoo! And googol. Finally, send (by mail or by e-mail) copies of your release to the travel editors of your local newspapers.

Remember to finish every press release with "Customers interested in booking their next trip with [you] can do so by calling [your phone number]." Not only can you get a good boost in business for free, but by getting your release on the web, you can get new customers for months or years to come.

Press release should always be written in third-person, like a news article. When you send a press release allays put in the upper left corner "For immediate release" in the upper right corner put two lines 1st "For further information:" 2nd line " you name and phone number"
Skip a couple of lines and put "Press Release" skip a couple more lines and do you press release.

AARC Host Agency :

Antigua and Barbuda Sets Trade Expo & Fam Trip

The Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Tourism is inviting home travel agents from North America to experience the islands during a Trade Expo and familiarization trip, May 14-17, 2006, including pre-expo activities May 12-14 and post-expo activities May 17-18.

One of the main attractions of this event will be a sailing tour around the island with stops at some of the Caribbean's most upscale properties. In addition to site inspections, agents get to partake in exclusive and exciting activities that include: dining, private barbecue parties, eco and safari tours, guided island excursions, horseback riding, swimming encounter with stingrays, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving, duty free shopping.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and Minister of Tourism Harold Lovell will be on hand to extend a personal welcome to agents to rediscover Antigua and Barbuda.

The cover charge for the expo is $45 per person, per night and includes accommodations, meals, beverages, expo activities, taxes and service charges. Select special activities cost $25 per person, per experience. Discounted airfare is available on Delta ($99 agent/$199 companion – on Sundays and Wednesdays only from East Coast gateways) and American Airlines ($149 agent/$299 companion). To register, contact the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism via e-mail at general@antigua-barbuda.org or call 888-268-4227.

AARC Host Agency :

Southwest Offers Fares as Low as $49

Southwest Airlines is offering fares as low as $49 in some markets on tickets with 21-day advance purchases, only at Southwest.com. The price varies by day of travel and destination. The lowest fares are for flights, for example, between BWI and Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles and Tucson and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Flights in longer city-pairs, such as Indianapolis and Omaha and Austin and Jackson are $99. They differ somewhat by region; in the Midwest, fares start at $49, from select California cities, they are $59 and in the Northwest they range from $49 to $99. It also is promoting Houston-Hobby Airport with fares to Chicago-Midway, Las Vegas and Phoenix at $89, and to Los Angeles, Oakland and Philadelphia for $99. All fares except for interstate Florida travel are available for purchase through May 11. For more information, visit www.southwest.com.
91907ED9-F4D9-4333-A16A-0AD8A2DDB5EA,

AARC Host Agency :

CCRAonelink.com hotel booking portal goes Live

CCRAonelink.com contains advanced functionality and content features. "With this rollout, thousands of home based travel agents can now book accommodations for their clients with the assurance that they have access to the most competitive rates and will receive commission for their service without a delay or collection effort," said Bill Guerin, CEO of OneLink.

Some of its partners using the technology are Vacation.com, NACTA, ASTA, Cruise Shoppes and WESTA. With this rollout, 24,000 North American agencies can now log on to the portal and book from an inventory of 80,000 hotels. For more information, visit http://www.onelinkcorp.com/.
,

AARC Host Agency :

Exponential growth in luxury hotel spas and spa resorts

Why the current spa explosion is still the tip of the iceberg.
by: Robert Zimmer

The past decade has seen exponential growth in luxury hotel spas and spa resorts, due mainly to significant customer demand, and the fact that margins on spa operations are among the largest in the hotel industry.

So what explains this dramatic rise in customer demand? Although many reasons are often cited, many link the growth primarily to aging baby boomers, and the global growth in high net worth individuals, whose stress levels and need for self-actualisation have increased along with their net worth.

In addition, other factors such as the loss of job security have created a worried and time-poor population, in greater need of relaxation and its related health benefits. People are less formal and ‘younger’ in mind and spirit than they were 10 years ago, with many focusing on personal appearance to remain youthful.

The growth of terrorism has created a shift to more philosophical ways of thinking and greater introspection. Overall, the clutter of today’s world is creating a need for simplicity, and peace of mind.

As a result, today’s luxury traveller is seeking new life structures: authentic and life-enriching experiences – with a shift from fundamental needs, to higher needs and wants. This means that the demand for restorative and healing services provided by spas is likely to continue to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

This is a great oppertunity for home based travel agents to sell luxury hotel spas and spa resorts.

AARC Host Agency :

Air Sales from NY

Several airlines just announced sales from New York, LongIsland, Hartford, Albany, and other nearby airports.Fare sales have been rare this year, and prices for summer travel continue to climb.

That means this is a great opportunity to plan your spring and early summer travel.How to find the low fares:- Lowest fares are for travel now through May 31.- Act quickly! Some sales must be booked by April 21.- Be flexible: Try alternate dates if necessary, and avoid Fridays and Sundays for the lowest fares.- Try secondary airports, such as Newark, out of which fares are often cheaper.

AARC Host Agency :

Sunset Resorts Jamaica Unveil Agent Fam Rates

Sunset Resorts, owners and operators of Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, and Sunset at the Palms in Negril, is luring agents with new fam rates for home based travel agents.

The company also launched a new brochure so home based travel agents have a new tool to sell their clients on Sunset Resorts. Home based travel agents are asked to register online at www.sunsetresortsjamaica.com, where they can enter each of the resort's individual websites.

They can just simply click on the new "Travel Professionals" link to sign up for news and promotions as well as order brochures. Valid for travel now through June 15, 2006.

Agents can visit each of the resorts for only $69 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. The rate applies to spouse/companions. If agents wish to bring their children, regular child rates of $30 net per child per night are extended. Single occupancy rates are $119 per person, per night. Rates include accommodations with a private balcony, all meals, bar beverages, wine by the glass, all non-motorized water sports, tennis, nightly entertainment, taxes, and gratuity. For more information, call 800-234-1707 or visit www.sunsetbeachjamaica.com.

To become a travel agent and travel at agent rares go to www.homebasedtravelagents.org

AARC Host Agency :

Destination Hawaii, a Journey to Paradise

Like snowflakes or fingerprints, no two Hawaiian islands are exactly alike. While every Hawaiian island boasts magnificent beaches, great culture, and fantastic cuisine, each island has something unique to offer.

Kauai is the most lush and tropical of all the Hawaiian Islands, with cascading waterfalls, white beaches, and serene rivers. In Kauai you can explore the rugged and beautiful Na Pali Coast by kayak and look for nesting sea turtles along remote beaches. You can learn the hula, enjoy the majestic views of the Waimea Canyon, or take the river ride to the Fern Grotto - a breathtaking cave lush with ferns and waterfalls.

The island of Oahu is home to some of the most famous destinations on the islands. The world's most famous beach, Waikiki, is ideal for swimming, surfing, or just soaking up the sun. Honolulu is home to historical landmarks and monuments such as Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. At Oahu's North Shore, you'll marvel at thrilling 30-foot waves and enjoy world-class surfing, and body boarding.

Maui is one of the most popular islands for return visitors, because of its spectacular natural scenery, prestigious resorts, and wide selection of activities to choose from. During the winter, you can find yourself encircled by migrating humpback whales. You can take a half-day or daylong charter and go fishing for mahi mahi and ahi tuna. If you're looking to relax for the day, take the road to Hana, bordered by waterfall pools, botanical gardens, and lush rain forests.

The island of Hawaii is called the "Big Island" for a reason -- it is larger than all the other islands combined. The Big Island is home to the world's most active volcano, Kilauea, which is celebrating 20 years of continuous eruption. Visitors can watch as hot lava flows into the ocean and see the color and texture of molten rock that photographs can never adequately capture. A true golfer's paradise, the golf course of the Big Island Country Club offers a challenge to all levels of players and is one of the most spectacular courses anywhere. With crystal blue beaches and great weather year round, there's never a bad time to visit the Hawaii Islands.

Whatever island (or islands) you choose, your vacation will be a journey to paradise.

Home based travel agent not only get paid for selling Hawaii they get to travel to Hawaii at travel agent rates or go on travel agent FAM trips. To become a travel agent go to www.homebasedtravelagents.org

AARC Host Agency :

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Ready to Open

The new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will officially open April 15
with the arrival of Cunard's Queen Mary 2. The opening of the $52 million Brooklyn facility will help increase cruise capacity in New York while minimizing congestion at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, which will limit capacity to three berthing spaces from five, said Bronson Fox, assistant vice president of transportation for the New York City Economic Development Corp.

"We are shifting future growth to Brooklyn," Fox said. "This facility is meant for the larger ships." Brooklyn will also host Princess Cruises' Crown Princess when it makes its debut in June. The Brooklyn terminal is in a neighborhood called Red Hook, home to art galleries, restaurants and shops. "The Brooklyn terminal is right across from the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan," Fox said during a press briefing at CLIA's cruise3sixty show. "When the cruise executives saw the view, they were sold on it." For more information, visit www.nycruiseterminal.com or www.nycvisit.com

AARC Host Agency :