Selling the Big Apple for Home Based Travel Agents

The continued growth of New York City as a destination for leisure travel offers profit-generating sales opportunities for travel agents, including Home Based travel agents, according to Joel Cohen, VP of NYC Vacation Packages (NYCVP)

"For growth minded travel agents the popularity of New York City as a destination represents opportunity," said Cohen. He reports a 25%-30% growth in sales in 2005 - a record for NYCVP - and a 59.4% increase in travel agent sales in 2005 over 2003. The company anticipates record sales for NYCVP in 2006.

"NYC is a year-round destination with world-class attractions - including Broadway. It's fully recovered from 9/11 and is rated as one of the safest cities in the US" said Cohen.

NYCVP's decades of expertise, he added, can help home based travel agents deliver the New York experience their clients want, when they want it - including hotel accommodations (3-star and up) at peak periods, restaurant reservations, Broadway shows, sports events and more.

NYCVP has extensive block space in leading hotels and also theatre, dining and sightseeing options. Cohen noted, adding that group travel opportunities abound in New York. NYCVP has a dedicated team to help agents put together successful groups to New York.

The company this year plans to upgrade its Web site at http://www.nycvp.com/ with more resources for home based travel agents in the agents-only section of the site. Agents can book online, download brochures and obtain detailed information on all programs, including maps. To become a home based travel agent go to www.homebased-travelagents.com

Also, NYCVP plans to come out with its own sightseeing tours that are designed with visitors' interests in mind, according to Cohen.

NYCVP will continue its holiday-related programs, including Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year's Eve, and packages to other major events. Sports and cultural event are also major attractions.

In addition to unique itineraries for family and group travel - one NYCVP program according to Cohen, is the only tour that gets visitors inside the State of Liberty - New York City Vacations programs can be tailored to all interests and budgets, including luxury programs.

All programs are fully commissionable. "We invite home based travel agents to contact us for more information and brochures - and we remain pledged to working professionally with travel agents."

New York City Vacation Packages is a member of the NACTA, ASTA, NTA, as well as NYC & Company. Home Based Travel Agents can contact New York City Vacation Packages, , by phone at 877 NYC-TRIP or 877-692-8747 and 570-714-4692, E-mail info@nycvp.com

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Advice for Selling Group Cruises for Home Based Travel Agents

Top Cruise Sellers Give their Best Advice for Selling Group Cruises to Home Based Travel Agents

Group cruise sales can become a lucrative business for home based travel agents, but you have to do your homework. That means you need to relate both to the potential group and the particular cruise line, and carefully formulate your budget and pricing model. What are the best ways to sell cruise groups? We asked top agents and cuisse executives for their advice to home based travel agents on the best practices for successful group sales.

Lee Welling, Director of group Marketing, Liberty Travel
Be sure to be knowledgeable of, and keep current with, group booking policies for each cruise line. Find out how long you can hold onto your group allotment before confirmation and payments are due. Are deposits required? Is there a limit to the number of groups you can book with a given time period?

Michelle Fee, CTC,
Do a "needs assessment" on your group lead. It's important to make sure you are matching the group and cruise product appropriately. Be aware that they may not always know what to ask for. They will depend on you as their "group specialist" to know what facilities are available on the various ships and which of these facilities will particularly appeal to them. For example, if it's a group of web programmers, make sure it's a ship with a good Internet connection.
Leverage your existing client base. Ask these clients if they have family reunions or corporate events and ask. "How about doing those on a cruise?"

Prospect for groups. Identify affinity group types in your area via networking and research. Look at clubs an associations, religious groups, ethnic groups, businesses. Consider the cruise products that would appeal to them, and then start working on your pitch.
Organize an event and invite local group leaders to attend.

Advertise in local newspapers or newsletters (PTA, church flyer, garden club, condo association, etc). Sell yourself. It's important to communicate effectively the benefits of working with you.
Get vendor sponsorship on promotions for your groups (co-op cruise events/presentations, ship inspections/luncheons, etc). Customize your groups to make them "value added" and sell the experience. Include a shore excursion, alternative dining experience, and maybe arrange a personalized cooking class in a specific port of call.

Caroline Hay, Product Manager, Thomas Cook
Don't be afraid of group sales. The biggest pitfall in beginning to sell group cruise bookings is fear. It can be overwhelming. There's a big tendency to say, "Oh my gosh, I can't do this." But it can be the same amount of work to book three people at 30.

Establish pricing and stick to it. Avoid giving away the house and going off plan. Figure in all marketing and incentive costs and make sure you're making a profit. Group sales can be very profitable, but you have to keep an eye on the revenue.

Develop an effective marketing strategy. If you don't market it, it won't sell.
Take advantage of the group training and assistance available from major cruise lines. They can help you with amenity points an the category of accommodations to select. Take advantage of CLIA group sales training. http://www.homebased-travelagents.com/training.htm

Give yourself enough time for the planning and the sales. For large groups (average size between 30 and 40 cabins), plan six to eight months in advance. Common-interest groups are much easier to close and the best option for a single branch. Speculative groups are best booked as a block that several branches can access.

Develop a theme for your cruise that sets you apart (jazz, dance, film festival, food and wine, 911 cruise for police and firemen). Establish a link with a local celebrity--a DJ or weatherman, perhaps with a charity link.

Rick Meadows, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Holland America Line
Let potential group leaders know what types of extras you can provide. Holland America's Group Advantage Program allows agents to offer extra amenities such as dinner at the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant, massages at The Greenhouse Spa, monogrammed bathrobes, wine packages, cocktail parties, and free tour-conductor credits.

Target affinities such as culinary groups. Holland America's program fur culinary groups allows agents to book Culinary Arts Centers on its ships for two one-hour sessions.
Capitalize on an interest in food and wine by partnering with a chef or owner of a restaurant, a winemaker or manager of a wine store. Send promotional flyers to their mailing lists as well as your own

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Big Profits for Home Based Travel Agents

Selling luxury cruises can be highly profitable for home based travel agents.
In fact, if practices intelligently and diligently, luxury cruises can be the most important product in a home based travel agent's portfolio. Two words leap out as the most important concepts to remember when selling luxury cruises: satisfaction and value. The first concept leads directly to the second. If clients are satisfied with the product you have sold them, if you meet, or better yet, exceed their expectations, then you will have created a good value for them.

It has been widely researched and reported that cruising has the highest rate of satisfaction of any travel product. And luxury cruises lead in all the surveys. Cruising is considered an outstanding value by travelers who have tried it (they keep coming back) and luxury cruising is deemed an even better value. The goal for home based travel agents is to use these twin concepts to sell luxury cruising.

Here are some facts that will make it easier for you to sell luxury cruises:

FACT #1:
Studies have shown that the total cost for a luxury cruise is less than the total cost for a vacation in a luxury, shore-side resort. This leads to the second fact: the value equation.

FACT #2:
The cost of most luxury cruising is all-inclusive or mostly so. All meals are included (even room service offerings) and wines are usually served on a complimentary basis at luncheon and dinner. Most luxury cruise lines feature an open bar policy, and gratuities are usually included in the price. When was the last time you or your client got a free drink at a shore-side resort? And when was last time you or your client didn't have to begin calculating tips well in advance of the end of the vacation?

FACT #3:
Luxury cruising has a high staff-to-guest ratio. On the smaller luxury passenger vessels, the staff-per-guest ratio is almost one to one.

FACT #4:
Let's refer to this fact as Service, Service, Service with a capital "S" That's what you get with luxury cruise lines. All studies show that top service ranks very high on what travelers expect on their holidays. Consider this: If travelers fly to their destination in a brand new jet but the in-flight service is lousy, that flight is a failure. But regardless if whether the jet is brand new, if the service is notable, then the flight is deemed a success.

FACT #5:
On luxury cruises, gourmet dining is the standard. On small, luxury vessels, the food is usually prepared a la carte and to an individual order. It's difficult to equate this with shore-side travel experiences in most urban hotels or resorts.

FACT #6:
Guests aboard luxury cruises take their staterooms with them. Their entire floating hotel moves from one fascinating destination to another. Obviously, that does not occur if you move about on land. And that leads to..

FACT #7:
Usually when travelers move from destination to destination by jet, train, or tour bus, they unpack and repack constantly. On a luxury cruise line, they unpack once and repack at end of the voyage. Which would you rather do?

FACT #8: On luxury cruises, there is considerable interaction with staff. They get to know the guests and learn their habits, their likes and dislikes. The staff even know their name and addresses them personally after only a few hours aboard.

FACT #9:
On luxury cruises, there is more interaction among guests than there usually is when vacations are taken on land. These new friends add stimulation to the voyage and frequently last far beyond the duration of the cruise-sometimes they last for a lifetime.

FACT #10:
There is one aspect of the luxury cruise vacation that no shore-side holiday can ever approximate. That is the romance of the sea. The experience is stimulating and at the same time relaxing, and it leads to a feeling of well-being.

Home Based Travel agents should keep these 10 facts foremost in their minds when focusing on selling luxury cruises, because they lead to satisfaction and value. And that's what selling travel is all about. To become a Home Based Travel Agent go to www.homebased-travelagents.com

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Free Caribbean Wedding or $500 off your Honeymoon

Elite Island Resorts knows the true meaning of romance: Relaxing together in a private pool villa - like at Windjammer Landing in St. Lucia; Walks along an endless white sand beach - like at Long Bay Beach Resort in Tortola; And cocktails at sunset - like at Palm Island in the Grenadines. Home based agents are urged to contack there honeymoon clients NOW.

Eight beachfront resorts boast all the ingredients for a blissful Caribbean honeymoon, whether youre looking for a tranquil hideaway where you can be alone together or an all-inclusive playground with plenty of activities. Just to make the idea even more irresistible, if you book 7 all-inclusive nights in our best room category before December 20, 2006, well treat you to a free wedding ceremony or $500 off your all-inclusive honeymoon package. Now how romantic is that!

Free wedding package includes:
Services of a wedding co-ordinator
Government fees, registrar costs and ceremony charges
Venue - Site on property decorated with fresh tropical flowers for wedding and reception
Bouquet of local garden flowers for the bride
Boutonniere for the groom
Two-tier wedding cake
Bottle of champagne
All taxes and gratuities $500 Off Honeymoon includes:
Champagne
Fresh tropical flowers *Grand Pineapple Beach now offers wedding cam for friends and family to watch from home!
Restrictions: Only applys to US customers. Must be booked by December 20, 2006. Free wedding does not apply to Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort.
Become a home based honeymoon travel agent www.homebased-travelagents.com

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Crystal to Operate Fall Cruises from New York

Crystal Cruises is offering more fall foliage cruises roundtrip from New York.
In September and October, the Crystal Symphony will operate five itineraries in that region, including a new 11-day and two new seven-day roundtrips from New York, as well as two 11-day itineraries between New York and Montreal.

The season begins with two new week-long itineraries departing from New York on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21. Included are visits to Newport, R.I.; Boston (an overnight); Bar Harbor, Maine; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The new 11-day cruise departs New York on Oct. 20 and features a call at Québec City and scenic cruising of the Saguenay River. New England Chef Christian Thornton of Atria in Martha's Vineyard will be onboard as part of Crystal's Wine & Food Festival at Sea.

Also offered are two 11-day cruises into the heart of French Québec, each showcasing a maiden port of call for Crystal. From New York on Sept. 28, the Crystal Symphony will make a maiden call at the Canadian port of La Baie des Ha! Ha!, as well as visit Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport, Québec City and Montréal (an overnight).

The Oct. 9 departure from Montréal features the same itinerary with a maiden call at St. John, New Brunswick, in place of Le Baie des Ha! Ha! Cruise fares for the New England and Canada cruises begin at $2,140 per person, double occupancy. For more information, call 888-799-4625 or visit http://www.crystalcruises.com/
Home Based Travel Agents can earn great commissions. Become a PT travel agent now..
www.homebased-travelagents.com

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Disney Set to Unveil New Cruise Itineraries

Disney Cruise Line could be looking at new summer itineraries for the Disney Magic, which left central Florida last summer to operate out of Los Angeles.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney could announce this week the new itineraries, which observers speculate could be the Mediterranean, Alaska, Hawaii and Asia.

Last year, the Disney Magic operated out of the Port of Los Angeles for the first time as part of the 50th anniversary celebration for Disneyland. The Sentinel reported that there is some speculation that Disney Cruise will unveil a European itinerary. For more information on Disney Cruise Line, visit www.disneycruise.com.
This is a Great time to become a PT homeBased travel agent go to
www.homebased-travelagents.com

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CLIA Predicts Continued Cruise Growth

The cruise industry set records in 2005 and is poised for even more growth in 2006. That was the message delivered Tuesday by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
In 2005, CLIA-member cruise lines carried 11.18 million passengers, of which 9.67 million were from North America. Occupancy rates averaged 103 percent, he said. So far for 2006, Wave Season is turning out to be "good to excellent," according to 70 percent of travel agents who responded to a CLIA survey.

Six new ships will enter service this year for a 4.5 percent net capacity increase, said Stuart, who is executive vice president of NCL Corp. The total number of cruise passengers is expected to increase 500,000 this year to 11.7 million, he said, with 10.14 million originating in North America. Overall, the cruise industry has 25 new ships on order for delivery for 2009, totaling an investment of $14.3 billion.

Stuart also briefly touched on the topic of cruise ship safety, saying that travelers are 10 times safer on ships than on land. New trends emerging this year are "mass-clusivity," meaning many travelers want touches of luxury during their vacation such as afternoon tea; active adventure; connectivity with wireless Internet and cell phone access at sea; and special interest groups. For more information, visit www.cruising.org.

Want to cruise for FREE? Learn how cruise free by becoming a PT work from home travel Agent. Go to www.homebasedtravelagents.org

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Funjet Offers Travel Agents Bonus Cash, Free Air

Funjet Vacations' Think Groups Promotion is making group bookings fun for travelers and agents alike. Agents can get $100 bonus cash, double "Fun-Jets" and up to three times the free air seats when booking groups from Chicago; Milwaukee; Detroit; St. Louis; Kansas City, Mo; Houston; Austin, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and Buffalo, N.Y.

This booking special is valid on all new charter group bookings made now through April 30, 2006 for select travel dates, destinations and departures. Group packages are available on all of Funjet Vacations' charter and scheduled air carriers to many popular destinations including Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Funjet Vacations' groups can enjoy special added values including room upgrades, free or discounted tours, private parties and transfers, 24-hour traveler assistance, and a bigger selection with competitive pricing. For added options to group bookings like Meet n' Greets in Las Vegas or group activities including sporting events, scuba diving and more call the group department at 800-281-4806.

This group offer is valid on new and select charter group bookings of 20 or more passengers made through April 30, 2006 from Chicago (O'Hare or Midway), Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo. for travel May 1-Nov. 12, 2006 and Nov. 26-Dec. 15, 2006 for Chicago; Milwaukee; Detroit; St. Louis; Kansas City, Mo. only. Travel dates for Texas departures include May 1-Aug. 14, 2006 for Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas bookings. The $100 bonus cash issued to a booking agent is per owner/manager's approval and applicable after the group travels.

The free air seats offer is valid for up to triple complimentary air seats on select departures. In addition, normal air/hotel comp policies still apply unless using the SAVEFIVE promo code. Additional restrictions apply, please refer to funjet.com or call the group department at 800-281-4806 for more details.

Funjet Vacations reserves the right to cancel or modify this offer at any time. For questions and additional information on the Fun For Life program, and how to earn "Fun-Jets," contact the Fun for Life team at 888-FJV-4FUN or e-mail funforlife@funjet.com. To sign up, visit www.funjetfun4life.com.

Travel 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. Funjet Vacations is also available in the electronic reservations systems of Apollo Galileo USA's LeisureShopper, Worldspan Tour Source and Amadeus Tour Source using the vendor code FJV or by calling Funjet Vacations at 800-558-3050. Call the Funjet Vacations Group Team at 800-281-4806

Want to start you own home travel businees? Go to www.homebased-travelagents.com

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Travel Agent Hawaii Learning Conference

1ST TIME EVER ON THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII
5-STAR HILTON WAIKOLOA VILLAGE
INCLUDES:
Roundtrip air from major American Airlines gateways to Kona, Big Island
Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers
Accommodations for 4 nights at the Hilton Waikoloa Village
Most meals
Hotel inspections
Supplier trade show
$300 GOGO Bucks
All attendees earn their Hawaii Specialist Certification
Much, much, more
become a travel agent www.homebasedtravelagents.org

APRIL 27-MAY 1, 2006 5 days/4 nights from $829* per agent, double occupancy including airfare, hotel accommodations, tax, service charges, roundtrip transfers & most meals Non-agent companion rate $1029*
http://www.gogowwv.com/NewsEvents/LearningDetails.asp?EventCode=1020&leadsourceid=8

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Bermuda Specialist program for Home Travel Agents

The Bermuda Department of Tourism launched the Bermuda Specialist Programme to educate travel professionals on the complete Bermuda Experience. The Bermuda Experience is divided into four main markets: Romance Travel, Soft Adventure, Explorers, and Cultural Heritage.

The course, presented in a half-day workshop offered in a classroom setting, provides qualified travel professionals with an in-depth base of knowledge of the complete Bermuda Experience with continual updates. Over 150 travel professionals have become Bermuda Specialists to date.Enrollment in the Bermuda Specialist Programme is extremely limited.

There is an up-front charge of $399 for the first travel professional from each agency to enroll, and $299 for each additional travel professional. This fee covers course study and on-Island training. Travel professionals must successfully complete the final exam in order to qualify for the on-Island training component. The Bermuda Specialist curriculum is fully accredited by ICTA and ACCESS. The credits are available/applicable as an option for those pursuing or maintaining their CTC status.

Why Take the Course? Successful selling and high productivity begins with relevant, accurate, and timely information. Our course provides the qualified travel professional with an in-depth base of knowledge with continuous updates and training.

If the travel professional can accentuate the positives of the Bermuda Experience and describe the diverse options enthusiastically and thoroughly, the travel professional will be able to close sales and receive solid commissions. Both the agent and the client are sure to be satisfied, with the client returning for more bookings.

Bermuda Specialist Benefits & Features
• Specific on-Island training program for travel professionals who pass the exam
• Certificate identifying the travel professional as a Bermuda Specialist
• Decal identifying agency as having a Bermuda Specialist on staff
• Agency eligibility for Preferred or Partnership status
• Eight ICTA Continuing Education Units (CEUs)• Qualified hotlink consumer referrals
• Access to qualified and specialized consumer mailing lists
• A dedicated newsletter
• Earlybird information and special offers
• Special follow-up training and seminars, and reduced-rate refresher famtrips
• Special on-Island amenities• Access to “Bermuda Buddy System,” a client follow-up service For more information on the Bermuda

Specialist Programme:Tel: (800) 223-6106Fax: (212) 983-5289
Write: Bermuda Department of Tourism Travel Professional Training Program 675 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10017

Become a travel agent work from home FT or PT earn exta cash travel the world for pennies on the dollar. www.homebasedtravelagents.com

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SeaDream Offers Email Flyers for Outside Travel Agents

SeaDream Yacht Club is offering virtual flyers that travel agents can convert for email distribution to their clients. With the click of a button, agents can create and distribute custom-designed flyers with a personal call to action.
Two flyers are available currently: one promotes SeaDream's European Yachting Vacations while the other promotes the company's new South American Collection.
SeaDream operates twin 100-passenger mega-yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II. For more information, call Bob Lepisto, SeaDream's vice president of worldwide marketing and sales at 305-631-6105, or email him at blepisto@seadreamyachtclub.com. For other information, visit http://www.seadreamyachtclub.com/.
FT or PT Travel Agents wanted www.homebasedtravelagents.org

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ASTA Offers Student Travel Tips

The student travel season of spring break, graduation trips and summer vacation is approaching and ASTA is providing students with advice and tips on how to make their trip a success. According to a study by the Student & Youth Travel Association of North America (SYTA), in 2005, student travel was expected to increase from 10 percent to 14 percent. Tips are available through an ASTA travel agent and ASTA's consumer website, www.travelsense.org.

ASTA recommends students and parents know the following things before traveling: Before students leave they should learn about the local laws and customs of the countries they are visiting, especially rules pertaining to drinking ages, drugs and curfews.

Students should give their parents the phone and fax numbers of the hotel, the cell phone numbers of the chaperones and a full itinerary of their trip. If anything changes during the trip, students should be sure to e-mail their parents immediately with the new information. While traveling, students should not wear flashy accessories to attract attention to themselves. It is better to wear an old, inexpensive watch and leave the nice one at home. If they bring a digital camera or an I-pod, they should not flaunt it.

Students don't want to be a walking target for thieves. When arriving at the hotel, students should grab a card from the counter with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card with them at all times. Be respectful when visiting churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, government buildings and military installations. For more information, visit www.travelsense.org/tips/studenttravel.asp or www.syta.org.
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Travel Agent School offers learn at home travel agent course

So you want to become a travel agent. You are about to discover how you can start a rewarding career as a Home Travel Agent. In as little as one week you can complete our at home travel agent training course. We have made sure your learning experience is easy and convenient. We guide you every step of the way.

The More You Learn - The More You Earn. You start by reading the E-book we email you. Then study the Nationally recognized VCR training films of CLIA that are delivered to your door. We also have a travel agent only web site that has additional free training. There are no test or exams to take. Those who don't take the time to learn, just won't earn.

You can Start Earning Commission $$$ Today. The travel industry is experiencing outstanding growth, including Cruises, All Inclusive Resorts, Honeymoons, Tours and vacation Packages. You can take advantage of this outstanding growth and start earning big commissions and travel benefits by becoming a FT or PT travel agent today.

Travel organizations predict a 500% increase in travel between now and the year 2020. You can profit from this remarkable growth by becoming a home based travel agent now. The time to become involved in the Travel Industry has never been better!

So what are you waiting for go to www.homebasedtravelagents.org and become a travel agent today.

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