AGENT Greta Inowlocki, owner of inTrend International
Travel, said she got fed up with online agent forums that allowed
access to non-agents and that were, in her words, filled with rude
and nasty comments. So she did something about it. Inowlocki, whose
agency is in West Nyack, N.Y., two years ago created an online
forum only accessible by home-based retailers. It started with a
few people, she said, and now has regular postings from about 50
at-home travel sellers. Besides exchanging information about sales
opportunities or suppliers that dont pay commissions in a timely
manner, subject forums include recommended tour operators;
suppliers in financial difficulties; useful sites; forms and
documents; consolidators, and cruise groups.
INOWLOCKI said she and other like-minded
at-homes decided they didnt want suppliers reading or answering
their postings, and they disliked some of the comments posted by
brick-and-mortar agents about how at-homes are know-nothings who
just want the benefits of being a travel agent. Inowlocki, who has
operated her home-based agency for five years but has been in the
industry for 15, said she asks for credentials from any home-based
agent who wants access to her forum, which her son, a real computer
expert, created. I ask for information on agency letterhead. I ask
for ID numbers such as IATA or TRUE. And I check their Web sites.
Sometimes I call them personally, she said. Theres no cost to join
or use the forum. At-home agents can contact Inowlocki by email at
ORBITZ, in a bid to reach out to agents --
particularly home-based ones without preferred-supplier
relationships or GDS access -- rolled out an affiliate program that
pays a flat affiliate transaction fee of $5 for air, $6 for retail
hotel, $12 for merchant hotel, $2 for car, $22 for cruise and $16
for packages. After registering, an agents booking activity on
Orbitz would be tracked through their e-mail address or ARC or IATA
number. More information is available at Orbitz.com. From the
home page, click Become an Affiliate.
PORTHOLE: Silversea Cruises added a third Beirut cruise to
its lineup for 2005. The 15-day voyage, on May 26, begins in
Istanbul and calls in Kusadasi, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece; Tartous,
Syria; Beirut; Alexandria, Egypt; Benghazi and Tripoli, Libya;
Valetta, Malta; and Liparti and Rome, Italy. The lines May 11
cruise, which sails the reverse itinerary, already is sold out. Its
Oct. 30 cruise calls in similar ports on an eight-day
DATEBOOK: Delta Queen Steamboat Co. will be
the topic of discussion at an event Sept. 9 in Stamford, Conn.,
sponsored by National Trade Shows. The event is being held at the
Italian Center of Stamford, 1620 Newfield Ave, Stamford, and will
begin in 5 p.m. There is no admission cost to agents. The hourlong
event will be a seminar about Delta Queen Steamboat. RSVP required.
FAM OF THE
Departure: Sept. 4 from
Venice, cruise only.
Length: Eight days aboard
Vacations, Austin, Texas.
Cost: $549 per person,
double. Includes oceanview cabin accommodations, all meals,
entertainment and sightseeing.
Trip: Visits Brioni,
Dubrovnik, Korcula, Mali Losinj, Pula, Rovinj, Sibenik and
Telasica, Croatia, and Venice, Italy.
Noteworthy: Port taxes
are additional. The companion rate is $649. Two-night extensions to
Slovenia can be added for $299 per person.
Contact: (866) 345-7755;
fax: (512) 345-7722; e-mail: [email protected].