Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Feb. 4, 2008

A MAJORITY of OSSN members, 73%, said 2007 was a good year for business and even more, 77%, are expecting 2008 to be financially rewarding as well. That's according to OSSN's annual member survey, which was released last week. Other notable stats from the survey:

" 42% use the TRUE card (provided by OSSN) for identification within the industry, 30% have a CLIA card and 4% percent are ARC-accredited.

" 54% of respondents charge a service fee for selling air tickets, 21% percent charge for an FIT booking, 13% charge for tours and 9% charge for cruises.

" Cruises account for the lion's share of bookings for OSSN members, 53%. Tours follow at 30%.

" The highest percentage of members, 30%, said their travel sales are between $10,000 and $50,000 per year. The second-highest percentage, 21%, reported annual sales of between $50,000 and $100,000. Just 4% said their annual sales are $1 million or higher.

AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER launched a portal on its Web site that gives its home-based agents and independent affiliates direct-booking access to tour and vacation-package inventory. Michael Anderson, AVC's vice president of development, said the new Vacation Explorer Beta, an enhancement to AVC's Agent Power desktop, will simplify the tour-booking process for its travel sellers by providing live inventory. Agent Power integrates leads for travelers looking for agent help, booking tools, commission tracking, and customer relationship management tools. In other news from AVC, the agency was inducted into the Classic Vacations' Million Dollar Club for achieving $1 million in sales from August 1, 2006 to July 31, 2007.

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS, the global host agency with more than 850 full-time agents and more than $430 million in annual sales, is expanding its U.S. management team. Managing director Steve Byrne announced a change in title for Peter Rasmussen, from general manager to president for North America, Travel Counsellors USA. At the same time, Rasmussen announced the addition of travel industry veteran Darya Camacci as senior vice president of operations USA, Travel Counsellors. Camacci spent the last nine years with AutoEurope, most recently as senior vice president of sales. She also has worked in both the tour and lodging industry as well as owned and managed her own New Jersey-based travel agency, Duke's Travel, which hosted independent travel professionals.

DATEBOOK: The OSSN Cincinnati Chapter will meet Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. for a presentation by Costa Cruises. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at the Blue Goose Sports Cafe (11060 Reading Road, Sharonville). Beverly Brean of Costa Cruises will discuss the line's current itineraries and ships as well as sales tips to help the agents expand their cruise sales. Agents should RSVP via e-mail to [email protected] or phone (513) 752-0723.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Ireland

Trip: Visits Cork, Kinsale, Kenmare, Killarney, Adare and Bunratty. Marching in a St. Patrick's Day parade in Killarney is a highlight of the trip.

Departure: March 15 from Cork, land only.

Length: Seven nights.

Sponsor: In Quest of the Classics, Escondido, Calif.

Cost: $796 per person, double. Includes accommodations, some meals, sightseeing, entertainment and land transportation.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible for the same rate.

Contact: (800) 227-1393; e-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.iqotc.com and click on Study Tours.

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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