WITH: Tripguy Travel. The company was launched as a
Web-based agency in 2002, but added host agency operations a year
later after becoming dissatisfied with its own host. Today, its
greatest challenge is dealing with suppliers that "don't know how
to account for us, nor differentiate between the 'real' and 'not
real' agency businesses," says agency manager Mitch Toren. TripGuy
has 43 home-based affiliates. "Some traditional suppliers either
have no interest in building a relationship with home-based
agencies or don't know how to service us other than sending boxes
of brochures or fax-blast specials. The best travel suppliers are
specifically adding agencies like ours to their travel agent
panels/user/focus groups to gain a better understand on how to
build the best partnership with non-traditional agencies," said
Toren. The agency, which is a member of the Network of
Entrepreneurs Selling Travel, said its business model "has always
been on the simple side. Provide the best customer service that we
could to both our independent contractors and clients." Agents can
learn more about the agency by e-mailing [email protected].
INDEPENDENT AGENTS REPORT is available for purchase. The
report is a joint product of the National Association of
Commissioned Travel Agents and ASTA. Joanie Ogg, NACTA president,
said the study enables agents "to compare their strengths and
weaknesses against their industry peers and learn more about
changing trends that could potentially have an effect on their
business." Subjects such as changing trends in income, commission
splits, overhead costs, agency businesses models, areas of
expertise and primary booking channels are addressed in the survey.
It costs $99 for agent members, $199 for supplier members and $299
for non-members. For details, visit www.nacta.com or www.asta.org.
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS experts will headline
Vacation.com's educational sessions at its 10th International
Conference & Trade Show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, June 16
to 19. Presenters include Mike Marchev, who will share marketing
strategies; Nolan Burris, president of Visionistics Enterprises;
cruise gurus Sherri and Charlie Funk; and Nancy Friedman, also
known as "The Telephone Doctor," a customer service and
communications expert who has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show,"
NBC's "Today" and CNN. Conference details and registration are at
FAM OF THE
Trip: Three nights in Bangkok and five
nights in Chiang Mai.
Departures: Jan. 15 and Feb. 26 from Los
Angeles to Bangkok via EVA Airways.
Length: Eight nights.
Sponsor: FT Tours, Los Angeles.
Cost: $1,568 per person, double. Includes
air, room, most meals, sightseeing and transfers.
Noteworthy: The companion rate is $275
additional; the single supplement is $475. Air upgrades and air
from other cities can be arranged. Optional extensions to various
points in Thailand also can be arranged.
Contact: (800) 350-0487, ext. 36; e-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.ft-tours.com/agents.
Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
Phone: (508) 221-3674
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].