Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Jan. 29, 2007

HOME-BASED RETAILERS sell more cruises than any other travel product, and more than half have their own Web sites and book suppliers direct without using host agencies. These were among the findings revealed in a survey of at-homes in North America conducted by the Outside Sales Support Network. Fifty-five percent of 1,826 respondents said they book direct. Of that group, 47% use a CLIA number, 24% percent use an IATA number, 18% percent have their own Travel Retailers Universal Enumeration (TRUE) code offered by OSSN and 11% percent use other types of booking numbers. The survey found that 46% ended 2006 with sales of more than $100,000, and that (25% broke through the $250,000 mark. See all of the results at www.ossn.com/ossn_survey/2006yearendsurveyjan07/index.html.

ASTA implemented its new membership structure and rolled out a new logo, revised slogan and revised mission and vision statements. Independent agents can join for $200 per year. ASTA replaced its previous slogan, "Without a travel agent, you are on your own," with "Without an ASTA travel agent, you are on your own." Its simplified mission statement reads: "ASTA's mission is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism." Check out the details at www.astanet.com.

ONLINE VACATION CENTER HOLDINGS, an aggregator of diversified vacation sellers, acquired certain assets of SmartTraveler.com, a home-based travel seller and Internet media company. Online Vacation Center bought two online consumer travel newsletters from SmartTraveler.com as well as its home-based travel agent business. The purchase was made for a combination of cash and Online Vacation Center's common stock.

IN YOUR POCKET: Hilton Hotels Corp. expanded its centralized commission processing to its properties within Hilton's International Division. Agents now will receive one payment for all bookings for participating Hilton hotels.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Germany/France

Trip: A river cruise departing Mainz, Germany, with stops in Cochem, Koblenz, Mannheim, Rudesheim, Speyer and Worms, Germany; and Strasbourg, France.

Departure: May 27 from Mainz, cruise only.

Length: Seven nights aboard the Peter Deilmann Heidelberg.

Sponsor: Europeanbarging, Houston.

Cost: $1,799 per person, double, for main deck accommodations or $2,099 for the upper deck. Includes all meals, wine with dinner, five sightseeing excursions and fuel and port taxes.

Noteworthy: Companions and group leaders are eligible at the same rate.

Contact: (888) 869-7907; e-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.europeanbarging.com/famtrips.htm.

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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