Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Jan. 7, 2008

VACATION.COM expanded the program and enhanced educational, training and networking opportunities for attendees at its International Conference & Trade Show, to be held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas from June 16 to 19. Destination Training, for example, will be dedicated to sought-after destinations and tourist offices to teach members about some of the most popular travel destinations in the world. To register for the conference, members can visit AgentNet.com and follow the International Conference link. One complimentary registration is provided for U.S. member agencies; additional registrants can be added for $99 each if registered by Dec. 31. After that date, additional registrants will cost $129.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Travel Quest/Carlson Wagonlit Travel. This host agency founded in 1998 reports $20 million in annual sales and has about 85 agents. "As a general rule, we usually require six months of travel agent experience, but occasionally we do accept agents with no experience who we feel have shown entrepreneur qualities and have the drive and ability to learn quickly," a spokeswoman for the agency said. Since its business model is geared to experienced agents, the agency allocates its resources more toward supporting knowledgeable agents rather than training new ones. "In doing so, we are able to lower our costs considerably and pass along these savings to our agents in the form of 100 percent commissions with no fees," the spokeswoman said. The agency, based in Albertville, Minn., charges no ticketing, group, GDS, annual or transaction fees. Agents who choose to receive full commissions pay a monthly fee of $250. Those who select an 80/20 split pay $20 per month. The host agency can be contacted at (800) 392-6484.

DATEBOOK: The OSSN Austin Chapter will meet on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. for a dinner seminar with SITA World Tours. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at Marie Callender's (9503 Research Drive, Austin, 512-349-7151). The meeting will be free for OSSN members and $10 for non-members. Agents should RSVP via e-mail at [email protected].

TOUR DESK: Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand, Distinguished Resorts, introduced a series of programs to Costa Rica. The programs feature more than 20 resorts in the top tourism regions of the country, according to Jack Richards, Pleasant Holidays president and CEO. These include Guanacaste, Puntarenas, San Jose, Monteverde and Arenal. Included in the array of properties will be eight all-inclusive resorts and the Four Seasons Guanacaste. More than 70 activities and sightseeing tours will be offered.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Ireland

Trip: Visits Dublin and Galway.

Departures: Feb. 7 from Boston, Chicago or New York to Dublin on Aer Lingus.

Length: Four nights.

Sponsor: Sceptre Tours, Lynbrook, N.Y.

Cost: $675 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air, accommodations, Irish breakfast daily, sightseeing and land transportation.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible at the same rate. Taxes and fees of about $95 are not included in the price.

Contact: (800) 221-0924.

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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