Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Feb. 12, 2007

VACATON.COM added Marriott International to its roster of preferred suppliers, marking the first time the country's largest agency consortium has had a preferred-supplier pact with a hotel chain. Stephen McGillivray, Vacation.com's vice president of marketing, said that Vacation.com already has a partnership with SuperClubs and it promotes other inclusive brands through its preferred tour operators. Marriott represents a new direction for the group because it is a worldwide company with nearly 2,800 properties. Prior to this, he said, Vacation.com has had more modest marketing alliances with some hotel chains but never a "full preferred-supplier relationship."

NICHE MARKET: Kate Delosso, an at-home retailer affiliated with host agency Travel Counselors, found a niche that is both personally and financially rewarding. She specializes in "motherland tours" for foreign-born adoptees and their families. "Three of my children were adopted from Asia and since 1996 I have been offering tours for adoptees and their families to Korea. A few years ago, I started offering the same type of tours to China," said Delosso. The trips are geared to adoptees who are eight years old and older who want to explore their cultural heritage in the country of their birth. Delosso said she has two motherland tour groups booked for 2007, one to Korea and one to China. Delosso, who runs her business from her home outside Philadelphia, said she also specializes in booking non-profit groups.

Have you developed an unusual niche for your business? The Home-Based Agent E-letter would love to hear about it. E-mail the editor at [email protected].

DATEBOOK: The New York chapter of OSSN will meet March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. Topics of discussion will be "Homeric Tours -- How To Sell Greece" and "The IRS and Your Home-based Business. Cost is $5 for members, $7 for non-members. Reserve a space by calling chapter director Karen DeQuasie at (914) 231-5294, or e-mailing [email protected].

FAM OF THE WEEK

France

Trip: A river cruise through the Burgundy region of France.

Departure: April 21 from Paris, cruise only.

Length: Six nights aboard the Libellule.

Sponsor: Abercrombie & Kent, Oak Brook, Ill.

Cost: $998 per person, double. Includes the cruise and all meals onboard, motorcoach transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible. Upper-deck accommodations are $200 additional; the single supplement is $300. Roundtrip Paris-Lyon/Dijon-Paris rail transfers are not included and are $250 additional. 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.

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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