Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: July 4, 2005

VACATION.COM in October will release AgentNet 5.0, an upgrade to its AgentNet selling platform for leisure travel. The release will enhance the functionality and add content to the groups signature desktop, said Bobby Heiser, executive vice president of sales and marketing. The 5.0 version is a precursor to more enhancements to be rolled out in 2006, with a view toward ultimately providing the platform to a Vacation.com consumer Web site. Dick Knodt, president and CEO, was reluctant to put a date on a consumer site launch except to say that "if all goes right," a preliminary version might be in sight by the end of 2006.

THE CONSORTIUM also has rolled out MarketEdge, a program designed to gather sales transaction histories from member agencies. Its purpose is to refine the groups direct marketing and put Vacation.com in a stronger position when negotiating with preferred suppliers. Vacation.coms Engagement CRM program requires participating agencies to provide client names and contact information. MarketEdge is the next step, a spokesman said, to more effective and focused marketing.

DATEBOOK

OSSNs Houston Chapter meeting on July 21 will focus on how to sell and market trip cancellation insurance, said director Jeff Grieder. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Golden Corral on Northwest Freeway in Houston. RSVP is requested by phone, (832) 875-4800 or e-mail, [email protected].

IN YOUR POCKET

Nordic Saga Tours, specializing in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia, is marking its 10th anniversary with an offer for travel agents: An extra 2% commission for bookings under deposit by July 15. Check the Web site at www.nordicsaga.com for the full product line. The firm is based in Edmonds, Wash.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Dates valid: For overnight stays through Dec. 15.

Sponsor: Quinta Real Puerto Vallarta.

Cost: $125 per night, double, plus taxes.

Contact: Evelyn St. Germain via fax at (310) 937-7618); e-mail: [email protected].

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