Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: April 21, 2008

AN ONLINE FORUM is being established where home-based agents can interact with each other and participating suppliers, said Mitch Toren, founder of TripGuy Travel, a Web-based, at-home agency. The forum, at www.taunite.com, is free to travel retailers. "We've seen the problems that many home-based agents are facing and were expanding this [idea] from something that we were considering for our own agents as a collaboration tool, but decided that it would be even more powerful to have other agents participate with us. Industry support for this type of tool has been remarkable, and we look forward to getting additional major suppliers onboard in the coming days and weeks," said Toren. Suppliers already signed up include Funjet Vacations, Holland America Line, Crystal Cruises and AIG Travel Guard. About 50 agents signed up during last week's beta test, said Toren.

YTB INTERNATIONAL is considering the purchase of a wholesale travel company "to complement the existing travel offerings to its referring travel agents (RTAs)," the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. YTB said the negotiations are in the preliminary stages, and that there was no assurance there would be a deal. The company added it would not respond to questions or provide updates on the subject unless and until it concludes an agreement to make the acquisition.

TOUR DESK: Turkey is being billed as a "best value destination" this year by Key Tours, which rolled out a series of packages paying a standard commission of 15%. Nigel Osborne, executive director of the tour operator, noted that since Turkey is not a Euro zone country, U.S. travelers will get more for their dollar. (One U.S. dollar is trading for about 1.29 Turkish lira.) The company, which encourages bookings by home based and independent retailers, is offering a four-night Istanbul plan from $910 per person, land only, with sightseeing excursions included, and a three-night gullet cruise from $419 per person, land only. Key Tours has several other packages, plus several Turkey-Greece combination plans.

THROUGH THE PORTHOLE: SeaDream Yacht Club will keep its two vessels in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean in 2009, but will add several new ports. The SeaDream I and II will reposition to the Caribbean from January through April, and will visit new ports there, including Culebra, Puerto Rico; Honeymoon Beach and Water Island, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Samana, Dominican Republic.

FAM OF THE WEEK
Greece and Turkey
Trip:
Three nights in Athens and three nights cruising the Greek Isles. Visits Mykonos, Patmos, Heraklion and Santorini, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey.
Departure: July 29 from Istanbul, land/cruise only.
Sponsor: Gindroz and Co., Temecula, Calif.
Cost: $693 per person, double. Includes accommodations, most meals, admission fees and the cruise.
Noteworthy: The single supplement is $510; companion rates are available.
Contact: (888) GINDROZ; e-mail: [email protected].

Home-Based Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
Phone:
(508) 221-3674
[email protected] 
For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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