Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: June 18, 2007

AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER, the San Diego-based host agency, will move its headquarters next month to Vista, Calif. The agency said it is increasing its support and executive staff and has outgrown its current location. "With customer demand continuing to dramatically increase, AVC is committed to add more independent travel professionals to our network," said Van Anderson, co-president. He added that the move "will open doors to additional opportunities to expand in North America and beyond." AVC earlier announced it would open a support office in South Florida by the end of this year.

CRUISEONE, the franchise operator, and Cruises Inc., a host agency, both based in Fort Lauderdale, named travel and cruise industry veteran Steven Hattem vice president of marketing. Hattem will be responsible for developing and executing strategic marketing plans, online strategies and business development activities to increase brand awareness and cruise sales among consumers via the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. distribution networks. Both entities are owned by World Travel Holdings.

TRAVELER INSIGHTS: The smaller the financial investment and distance traveled for a trip, the more inclined travelers are to purchase their travel online, according to a report by PhoCusWright, a travel marketing and research firm. It said $6 out of every $10 spent on weekend travel was purchased online vs. less than $3 out of every $10 for a weeklong vacation. According to PhoCusWright, long weekend trips (defined as a three-night stay away from home) are now the most popular type of leisure travel. Of those who buy travel online, almost two-thirds say that general search engines influence where they purchase their travel and what they book. According to the report, more than seven in 10 online travelers indicated that it is a Web site's use of video, pictures and online maps that most influence the method of purchase for leisure travel.

THROUGH THE PORT HOLE: Royal Caribbean will deploy its Mariner of the Seas to Los Angeles beginning February 2009. The ship will offer six-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera from its Los Angeles homeport, calling at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Fiji

Trip: Sails around the Fiji Islands visiting various destinations, depending on the cruise itinerary selected.

Departures: Weekly through March 31, ranging in length from three to seven days, on the Fiji Princess, Yasawa Princess, Mystique Princess or Nanuya Princess, depending on length of cruise and itinerary selected.

Sponsor: Blue Lagoon Cruises, Lautoka, Fiji Islands.

Cost: Five itineraries are offered, priced from about $80 to $216 per person, double.

Noteworthy: Rates are for lowest-deck accommodations with upgrades, subject to availability, at $99 additional per person, per deck. Companions are eligible.

Contact: E-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.bluelagooncruises.com for itineraries.

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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