Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-Letter: Aug. 27, 2007

VIRTUOSO took the wraps off Composer, a proprietary technology platform designed to meet the needs of the consortium's travel agency members and its suppliers. Composer was rolled out during Virtuoso's annual Travel Mart in Las Vegas last week. The platform is ready to be launched among the membership over the next two months, said Scott Ahlsmith, Virtuoso's vice president of global technological solutions. It is an application that users will download. Composer, he said, is designed to integrate information from travel agencies, individual counselors, suppliers and customers as well as Virtuoso's own products, making all of the information available to counselors at the point of sale. Virtuoso plans to add a booking component next year.

 

PARTNERS IN TRAVEL, a Carlson-owned host agency, is providing new sales tools and training classes for home-based agents in its network. The enhancements include personalized marketing materials, a bimonthly commission payment schedule and instructions aimed at empowering agents to sell travel more effectively. "Many of our agents do extremely well at creating an attractive vacation package to sell to a group in their community, but need help getting the word out," explained Jody Ryland, business development manager. "Our marketing department can help them take their idea and turn it into a professional brochure to aid their sales effort." Partners in Travel agents have the option of personalizing All Aboard Travels cruise brochures and fliers with their own contact information. All Aboard Travel is a Carlson cruise agency that also operates as a host. For details, visit www.partnersintravel.com or call 800-683-9092.

RIDING THE RAILS

Amtrak added intermediate stops in Orlando and West Palm Beach, Fla., on the northbound and southbound Silver Meteor routes of the new GrandLuxe Limited private rail car service it will launch this fall. The service will operate between Washington and Miami. Its a set of seven, private cars added to Amtraks trains. Each set accommodates up to 48 passengers and features luxury sleeping and dining cars, butlers and porters.

DATEBOOK

The Outside Sales Support Network's Dallas chapter will feature Sita World Tours at its Sept. 19 meeting. The meeting will be held from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. at Central Market, Dallas. The cost is $7 for OSSN agents and $12 for non-members. Agents are asked register by Sept. 14 by e-mailing [email protected].

FAM OF THE WEEK

Germany

Trip: A cruise along the Neckar and Rhine rivers roundtrip from Bad Wimpfen.

Departure: Oct. 6 from Frankfurt.

Length: Six nights on the Charlemagne.

Sponsor: Abercrombie & Kent, Oak Brook, Ill.

Cost: $1,015 per person, double. The cruise, all meals onboard, roundtrip motorcoach transfers from Frankfurt, sightseeing and entrance fees are included.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible. Suites are $250 additional. The single supplement is $300. Agents must fax to Grace Porter a copy of the agency 2007 IATA list, their business card and a letter from the agency owner or manager authorizing participation.

Contact: fax: (630) 954-3324.

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