Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: June 16, 2008

TRAVELSAVERS is questioning Royal Caribbean Cruises’ decision to raise the amount of revenue a nonaffiliated agent would need to sell to maintain a 16% commission level in 2009. Jim Mazza, COO of the travel agency consortium, said the cruise company should reconsider. "Although we understand and can appreciate the factors that led to this decision by the Royal Caribbean brands to increase their revenue thresholds, we don't feel that it was in the best interests of the travel agent community, or the suppliers themselves, in the end." Currently, unaffiliated agents and consortia members have different target levels. At the top level, for example, unaffiliated agents need to sell $1.1 million to qualify for 16% commission, while agents with national accounts need to sell $850,000.That will change next year, when the same commission structure will be applied to consortia and non-consortia agents.

RHODE ISLAND retailers no longer will be regulated by the state, after Gov. Donald Carcieri signed a bill last week repealing a 32-year-old travel agency licensing and bonding law. It was repealed to save money at the state level and because there are now so few agents to regulate in the nation's smallest state. The bond amount always remained at $10,000 but the measure was amended over the years in attempts to tighten standards. A 1981 amendment added individual licenses and testing for managers and travel sellers. Another required that nonresident travel companies soliciting in Rhode Island retain the state's director of business regulation as their attorney. The goal was to enable consumers to sue out-of-staters more easily.

TRAVEL PLANNERS INTERNATIONAL is trying to attract agents with a free, three-month membership trial program. Travel Planners has been a host agency since 1988. In a marketing e-mail blast to prospective affiliates, TPI cites its 75% to 100% commission programs, lead generation, free marketing campaigns, customer management platforms, free consumer sites and a choice of four GDSs -- Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan.

IN YOUR POCKET: Keith Prowse began paying commissions on ticket sales for New York theater and other entertainment, London theater and Las Vegas shows. The pay rate is 20 to 45 percent of Keith Prowse’s margin on the tickets. Agents also will be able to earn commissions by selling tickets from their own Web sites. Previously, Keith Prowse offered net prices on show tickets.

FAM OF THE WEEK
Italy
Trip:
Visits Naples, Ischia, Capri, Amalfi and Positano.
Departures: Select Saturday dates through the year from Naples, land only.
Length: Six nights.
Sponsor: Orofino Tours, Sarasota, Fla.
Cost: Ranges from $499 to $899, depending on departure date. Includes hotel, most meals and transfers. Admission fees are not included.
Noteworthy: Single supplements are available.
Contact: (877) 222-4857 or (941) 870-2498; e-mail: [email protected].
For more trips, go to Fam Trips under the E-Learning section on TravelWeekly.com.

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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