Home Based Travel Agents can register today for the 2006 Sandals & Beaches Ultra Conventions

Home Based Travel Agents can register today for the 2006 Sandals & Beaches Ultra Conventions set to take place starting May 23 in Atlanta. The conventions will move to four other North American cities over the summer including Chicago, June 7; Atlantic City, June 15; Toronto, July 13; and Los Angeles, July 20.

According to Paul Davis, President of www.HomeBasedTravelAgents.com , this year's seminars will offer an array of educational opportunities designed to improve agent's product knowledge, as well as build better sales skills.

Seminars will energize agents with a host of topics including trends in destination weddings, spa and new product developments, hotel expansion news, as well as the newest branding opportunities and unique marketing tools.

Red Lane spa director, Karen Sprung, will be on hand to describe Sandals' latest approach to well-being and relaxation Caribbean-style at the 2006 Ultra Conventions. To register for this year's Ultra Conventions, contact your local sales manager or call the Sales Department at 800-48-SPECIAL or visit http://www.sandals.com/.

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Home based travel agents can start booking Disney cruises to the Mediterranean

You can start booking Disney Cruise Line's first-ever Mediterranean cruises in 2007. The Disney Magic is offering alternating 10- and 11-night itineraries from Barcelona to Italy and France during the summer of 2007.

"This is a great opertunity for home based travel agents to sell two great products Disney and the Mediterranean" said Mr. Paul Davis President of www.HomeBasedTravelAgents.com

Ports of call include gateways to Florence, Rome, Pisa and Cannes. The four 11-night itineraries depart on Saturdays: May 26, June 16, July 7 and July 28, while the four 10-night itineraries depart on Wednesdays June 6, June 27, July 18 and Aug. 8.

Also, the line will operate two 14-night transatlantic sailings with the eastbound itinerary departing Port Canaveral May 12 and the westbound starting Aug. 18 from Barcelona. Rates for the 10- and 11-night itineraries range from $2,399 to $3,499, double occupancy. For more information, call 888-DCL-2500 visit www.disneycruise.com.

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New Free Princess Cruise DVD for Home Based Travel Agents

Princess Cruises has released a new "Complete Escapes 2006"
DVD that home based travel agents can use as a marketing tool. The new 59-minute disk, which comprises a dozen videos, showcases Princess' ships and highlights the 11 regions Princess visits -- Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, South America and Tahiti.

In addition, a special Movies Under the Stars section gives a close-up look at the 300-square-foot outdoor movie screens. Each two- to nine-minute segment is accompanied by music. A Home Based Travel Agent Options menu offers the opportunity to show many of the popular destinations pieces bundled together -- such as the Caribbean and Mexico -- and combine it with the Princess overview video for a seamless presentation. Home Based Travel Agents can request copies of the DVD by calling 888-478-6732 and referencing code DVD0105. To become a approved home based travel agent and earn extra income and travel benifits, go to www.HomeBasedTravelAgents.org

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Cruise Line News

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
on April 6 will permanently switch itineraries operated by the Fantasy and the Sensation, due to a technical issue with the propulsion system on the Sensation. The ship is unable to operate at maximum cruising speed to complete five-day itineraries to Bahamas and Grand Turk and will take over the Fantasy's three- and four-day itineraries to the Bahamas. The Fantasy will take over the Sensation's route.

THE FANTASY AND SENSATION
are sister ships with the same features, amenities, accommodations and layout, and passengers' reservations will automatically change from one ship to the other; booking numbers and stateroom assignments will stay the same. Guests also can use their preexisting cruise documents.

PRINCESS CRUISES
canceled the remainder of its Caribbean cruise season and a transatlantic cruise on the Star Princess. The ship was taken out of service after a fire damaged 100 cabins; one person died and 11 people were injured in the fire. The ship's next scheduled sailing will be May 15, from Copenhagen, Denmark. Passengers booked on the canceled cruises will receive full refunds and a 25% credit toward future Princess cruises.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
is getting loads of airtime. The Norwegian Jewel was the center of an episode of NBC's "The Apprentice." The two teams faced off to create a 30-second ad for NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept. On April 6 HBO will air "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise," a documentary about the first cruise for gay and lesbian families, which was held on the Norwegian Dawn.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN
is wearing its heart on its sleeve -- or at least on its building. The line kicked off its Travel Agent Appreciation Month on April 1 by unveiling the slogan: "Royal Caribbean Recommends Using a Travel Agent" and by hanging a giant banner from its Miami headquarters. Other facets of the campaign: a sweepstakes for bookings made in April for travel between August and December and Travel Agent Appreciation Month promos in newspaper and online ads.

Crystal Introduces Private Adventures
The trend toward enhancement of the shore side of a cruise experience continues with the news that Crystal Cruises has launched "Crystal Private Adventures" to further personalize its guests' shore experiences. The line's Private Adventures specialists will accommodate everything from personalized arrangements to a private chartered yacht. Crystal Private Adventures is offered to guests already booked on a Crystal cruise for a $100 nonrefundable charge, due upon receipt of request.

If the guest accepts the personalized shore program, the service fee is applied to the booking. There are three ways to pre-reserve. Agents or clients may go to [www.crystalcruises.com] and click on "Crystal Private Adventures" under the Crystal Adventures (shore excursion) tab. Guests complete the online form and e-mail it directly to [PrivateAdventures@crystalcruises.com]. Also, a form is included in the 90-day preliminary documents sent to all guests, with a direct return fax number to the Crystal Private Adventures desk. Or, agents or guests may call 866-446-6625 to discuss details. All verbal requests must then be confirmed in writing via email or fax. Details of each Crystal Private Adventure are shared with the respective ship in advance of sail date, and guests receive a confirmed agenda and tour tickets upon boarding

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Mother /daughter clients for Home Based Travel Agents

Apple Vacations reports that more adult women than ever are choosing to spend vacation time with their mothers.

A growing trend in 2006 for mother/daughter vacation bookings. Unlike traditional family vacations, mother-daughter vacations generally include more "me time," focusing on spa treatments, gourmet dining and off-resort activities. So much so that some Caribbean resorts are now including massages, manicures, pedicures and golf in their purchase prices.

Mother/daughter getaways can be surprisingly affordable. Three nights in a Platinum Club suite at the all-inclusive Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort, Spa and Casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic start from $609.99, departing from Detroit. The package includes roundtrip airfare and transfers, all meals and drinks, a complimentary 20-minute massage, one hour of motorized water sports, an open water dive, 24-hour room service and a dinner at Licey, a specialty restaurant not covered by the all-inclusive plan. For more information, visit http://www.applevacations.com/.

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Virtual Fams for Home Bsed Travel Agents

Here's an idea whose time has surely come
The virtual fam! Fam trips (short for Familiarization Trips) are sponsored by suppliers and destinations to allow home based travel agents learn more about those products and destinations. That way, they will be better able to sell those products and destinations to their clients.

It's the classic win-win situation. The trouble is, fam trips are by their very nature small scale events. Only a certain number of travel agents can participate. The virtual fam solves that problem. By conducting their tours online, via the Internet, suppliers can reach a much wider audience of homed based travel agents. Another plus is that the supplier can have a high level of confidence that the agents who participate in virtual fams have a genuine interest in selling the properties and destinations involved.

Apparently it's working. Funjet reports that 10,000 home based travel agents tuned in for a virtual fam of the Maya Riviera in December. If you'd like to see what a virtual fam looks like, you're in luck. Funjet is doing it again this week, this time for Cozumel. For more information and the tour schedule, visit the Fun jet site.http://www.funjetlive.com Persons interested in becoming a FT or PT home based travel agents and becoming an approved CLIA or IATAN agent can go to https://homebasedtravelagents.org/

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Travel Agent School to be held on Princess Cruise Line

Platinum Seminars and the Cruise Line International Association
have introduced a travel agent school, Express CLIA Certification cruise onboard Princess Cruises' Crown Princess. The Aug. 16 sailing will offer a Platinum Seminars Module, a Travel Institute approved program. Tom Cogan, director of training for CLIA, will conduct the CLIA sessions.

The course is only available to to CLIA or IATAN approved Agents. Persons interested in becoming a FT or PT home based travel agents and becoming an approved CLIA or IATAN agent can go to https://homebasedtravelagents.org/

Home Based Travel Agents who attend the travel agent school will be able to earn 65 points toward three certification levels along with 14 credits from the Travel Institute. The rate is $599 plus port fees and taxes. The western Caribbean cruise sails roundtrip from New York. Information is at http://www.ntmllc.info/z/cjUucD9taT01NDI3OSZwPTEmdT0xNzc3MjEwJmxpPTQxNDgx/index.html.

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VAX VacationAccess Improves Funjet Dynamic Booking

VAX VacationAccess is trying to make it easier to book Funjet Vacations in the dynamic booking engine on VAX VacationAccess. Funjet Vacations now offers agents more flexibility to serve their clients' needs, including shop by leg, special requests, airline seat preferences, re-issuing e-docs and air and car packages.

Home based travel Agents can learn more with VAX Vacation Access training incentives for scheduled air. Funjet Vacations' WebEx Training Sessions pay 250 Bonus "Fun-Jets." Plus, every travel agent who books in Dynamic VAX Vacation Access through April 17 for travel through June 30 is entered to win up to 2,500 bonus "Fun-Jets." Visit the VAX VacationAccess home page for details and more training opportunities.

In the new dynamic booking engine there are no more pre-paired flights giving agents more choice and more flexibility. Book scheduled air vacations by selecting outbound flight and return flight separately. The least expensive flights will be displayed first and automatically shown in the cart along with a price comparison for the next available flight option.

Shopping by leg is in addition to the convenient flight searches already available including: sorting by carrier, number of stops, duration and price. It also allows travel agents to include special requests at the time of booking for air, hotel or special features. Book ocean-view rooms, bed preferences, flight seating and other hospitality needs right on VAX VacationAccess. Special requests can be found on the checkout page below passenger names.

If special requests are needed after the time of reservation, call 800-558-3050 for a reservation agent to assist or send an e-mail through the support tab on VAX VacationAccess. Seat assignment preferences can be selected at checkout. Airlines will be automatically sent the request and the assigned seat numbers will appear on clients e-docs sent to travel agents. Seat assignments are subject to airline availability.

Home based travel Agents can retrieve a reservation and re-issue e-documents themselves for clients as many times as needed. There is also an option to change the client's email address in case of changes when the re-issued e-doc is sent. They've also added air and car packages to the selection. Agents can book Funjet Vacations through VAX VacationAccess at www.vaxvacationaccess.com or the VAX VacationAccess technology via Amadeus AgentNet, Sabre Vacations, and Vacation.com AgentNet

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How to travel after retiring- lots of time but not much money

That's an excellent question, especially for the baby-boomer retiree population that love the adventure and personal enrichment of travel.

Retirement means different things to different people, for some it means not working for pay anymore and living on a restricted income, for others it means perhaps part-time work, for a lucky few it is a life of leisure and travel.

Once retired, do I travel freely thinking that life is short and at any time illness could end my travel days, or do I stay practical and frugal (and forego travel) because I have to afford to take care myself in case I live to be 105? Some people have to considered that they will never be able to afford to travel. Health care costs alone are ridiculous and the ceiling keeps going up, up, up. These are tough issues.

Lots of retires have returned to the part-time job market. There's often more flexibility to part-time work. Retires doing PT in work they have an interest in, especially travel, love it.

Paul Davis, President of http://www.homebasedtravelatents.org/ a company that trains retires to become PT Travel agents and set up there own work from home travel agency business, says "That by becoming a PT or FT travel agent, retires can kill two birds with one stone. They can earn the extra money they need and they get to travel around the world for pennies on the dollar at travel agent rates."

Must they have travel agency experience? "No, we provide them with a easy to understand training program. There are no test or exams to take, no accounting experience needed, low start up cost, little paperwork, exciting travel products and flexible hours. They can earn free travel and make extra retirement income. It's a true win win situation. " stated Mr. Davis

"You can test the waters for a minimal investment. If you find you love the travel business, great! You'll be situated to maximize your income potential and travel to all the places you've always dreamed about. If, on the other hand, you decide the travel business is not for you (it's not for everyone), you have the option of continuing on a part-time basis or getting out altogether, without having spent a small fortune. " he said.

For further information on becoming a FT or PT travel agent go to:
https://homebasedtravelagents.org or http://hometravelagents.blogspot.com/

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Royal Caribbean Launches Travel Agent Month

Royal Caribbean declared April as Travel Agent Appreciation Month
to recognize the commitment and enthusiasm our travel partners take in helping us promote our brand," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of sales, for Royal Caribbean International.

"However, we didn't feel that one month was enough time to show our gratitude and therefore have decided that April will merely kick off year-round promotions and incentives communicating our appreciation for our agents each and every day of the year."

The line will use the tagline "Royal Caribbean recommends using a travel agent" in its newspaper and web advertising and in all collateral. The cruise line is even hanging a giant banner on the building of its office headquarters in Miami.

In April, the company's sales reps will promote Caribbean cruises and will give agents gifts such as buttons, posters and a three-ring binder for organizing Royal Caribbean communications. Also, agents who book certain fall cruises between April 1 and April 30 will be eligible to win prizes, with more contest entries per booking.

The sailings must be a new FIT or group booking with full deposits on any Royal Caribbean ship between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31. Prizes include four "Ultimate Bedroom Makeovers" by a professional interior design team using the cruise line's new bedding including a duvet cover, sheets, shams and decorative pillows.

Other prizes include bedding sets, sporting apparel or equipment, T-shirts, hats and more. Royal Caribbean also will award up to 20 $100 American Express Gift Cheques for any travel partner booking through any automation, not the line's own CruiseMatch. For more information, call 800-327-6700 or visit www.royalcaribbean.com.

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Travel Guard offers incentives for home based travel agents

Travel Guard International is offering home based travel agents a special bonus incentive for first-time bookings via the company’s ezTIPS software.

Home based travel agents that book Travel Guard products electronically will now earn an additional 5% bonus commission for the first three months after signing up via the ezTIPS software.

Travel Guard said the software reduces the time it normally takes to book a travel insurance policy from an average of 12 minutes down to two minutes and has built-in tools that remind travel agents to ask their customers about travel insurance with each travel booking.

The travel insurance provider also established a dedicated help desk, at (800) 826-8594, specifically for home based travel agents. In addition, Travel Guard created a sweepstakes for home based travel agents, at www.travelguard.com/homeagentsweeps.asp, whereby agents can enter to win a $2,000 shopping spree to Sam’s Club for a home office makeover through Travel Guard’s Home Agent Sweepstakes.

“Travel Guard understands the value and dedication home based travel agents provide traveling consumers, and we are happy to show our appreciation for our home agent partners not only through our commission bonus and sweepstakes offers, but also by making it easy for home agents to sell Travel Guard,” said Tom Zavadsky, Travel Guard’s executive vice president in a statement.

FT or PT home based travel agents wanted earn extra $$$ and get great travel perks.
www.homebased-travelagents.com

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Escort a cruise, mature travelers will come

If you escort a cruise, mature travelers will come, according to Jerry Davis, Orange, N.J. "
A lot of mature customers feel more comfortable when we escort a cruise. We get lots of repeat business on our escorted cruises." Davis escorts three or four cruises a year, and several other staff members who have been trained by him also escort the trips, so repeaters get to know the escorts well.

"Travel can be stressful for seniors, but if they know that we have someone going with the group who will help them, they are more likely to take the cruise." To inform past, as well as prospective passengers about escorted cruises with the agency, Davis does several direct-mail pieces annually, carefully targeted to the destination and activity interests of the recipients. "As long as I send quality items to these people, I get good response," he said.

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Affinity groups help home based agents make sales

Affinity group cruise sales have helped Alison Boyer, in Ventura, Calif.,
dramatically increase her business. "Affinity groups are key because they already know each other and are communicating through a newsletter or regular meetings. You're much more likely to sell out a block to an affinity group than to try and fill a sailing with individuals."

Boyer works directly with leaders of senior groups. She offers the leader an inclusive package, including the cruise, the airfare and port charges. "Otherwise, they might take their business direct to the cruise line, but I give them a better deal. Many of them are working for nothing, and this package is a big incentive."

Once Boyer and the leader select a sailing to promote to the group, she make a cruise presentation, usually arranging to have a representative from the cruise line also on hand. "Sometimes I bring lecor, but usually these are not elaborate presentations. We concentrate on the cruise, with a video and a presentation by me. I also offer a sign-up bonus, maybe a cabin upgrade or on-board credit, to those who sign up at that event."

Although some cruise lines will offer groups a one-category upgrade, Boyer will add a second upgrade herself, or some other value-added feature. Even small groups will be guaranteed a cocktail party, for instance. "Some groups want to make the cruise a fundraising event, too, and that draws new people who might not have traveled with the group before," she added.

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Stay in touch is the best way home based travel agents can do to get bookings

Richard Smith, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., "Over 85 percent of my customers are over 50, and they love cruises, because they have the income, the time and the interest in new destinations.

His advice to agents interested in direct marketing: get database software and be constant about adding names and building communication by mail with your customers and prospects.

"Your sales relationship doesn't have to be face-to-face. You can send them postcards and cruise flyers, and they can send you money. You have to build up a relationship by offering them the right products and by staying in touch. If you do that, they'll stay in touch with you, and you'll get the bookings."

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Consolidator Shopper makes it easey for home based travel agents to sell air tickets and make a profit

The AgentNet Consolidator Shopper Service is a powerful supplementary tool that facilities transactions between home based travel agents and consolidators. With access to millions of consolidator fares from the top consolidators in the US and Canada, consolidator Shopper enables home based travel agents the ability to sell consolidator tickets more effectively.

The Consolidator Shopper tool is extremely valuable as home based travel agents can avoid long hold times. Consolidator Shopper also allows businesses to grow more rapidly through its cost-saving features. In one simple step, you can mark-up fares to best suit your needs.

Consolidator Shopper provides multiple consolidator fare comparisons along with real-time confirmed bookings, which means more options for your customer and less phone time for agents. Powerful search and tracking features combined with the most complete content result in an unparalleled tool that increases your revenues.

Easy to use: Booking consolidator fare has never been easier with this one-stop air shopping tool that brings inventory from the industry's leading consolidators into a single, integrated, online platform.

5 REASONS TO LOVE AGENTNET CONSOLIDATED SHOPPER:

1. Ability to check and view availability status of multiple consolidator's fares as well as published fares, creating a one-stop shopping and comparison source.

2. Flexible Dates feature with seven-day search function, allowing agents to quickly shop for the lowest consolidator fare on alternate dates if the requested date is not available.

3. Invoice printing for your clients from within Consolidator Shopper reflecting your markups.

4. Availability Status Display that indicates, from the fare display screen, if a consolidator fare is available or unavailable for the selected dates, eliminating the need to check availability for a specific fare.

5. Display of fares in either US or Canadian currency based on the fare amount in the currency chosen by the user and ot the fare amount in the currency that must be remitted to the consolidator.

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