Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: June 20, 2005

TRIP PROFESSIONALS, the home-based agency division of Extraordinary Vacations Group, is poised to launch a TV campaign aimed at attracting retailers to get on board with the company. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, the firm said its campaign will promote the "excellent business opportunities available to home-based agencies." Set to roll out this month, the recruitment effort will run on Lifetime, the Travel Channel, HGTV, Discovery and Weather Channel. The spots were filmed in conjunction with major travel suppliers and feature testimonials from Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Carnival Cruise Lines, and Dan Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruise Lines.

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR of Trip Professionals, Steven Toffler, said, "We believe there are a significant number of candidates who would make ideal home-based travel agents, and we want them to consider us for their host agency." A video overview of the companys host program is available online at www.exvg.com. Meanwhile, Extraordinary Vacations Group acquired a 50% stake in Travel Source Network, a Canadian home-based agency program with about 400 agent members.

THIRTY-EIGHT MEMBERS of the Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel, the industry marketing group for home-based agents, completed a Seminar at Sea aboard Crystal Cruises Crystal Harmony. The group sailed from Vancouver to San Francisco in late May, said Stuart Cohen, senior vice president. While at sea, NEST agents received Crystal product, sales and marketing training and participated in a NEST strategy session. The network will hold its first annual conference Sept. 12 to 14 in Las Vegas. Details are at www.jointhenest.com.

THROUGH THE PORTHOLE

Holland America Line instituted a policy that limits group blocks to one per month on each ship within one sailing area. In addition, deposits will now be required when more than 32 berths are blocked, the line said.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Bulgaria

Departures: Aug. 18 and Sept. 15 from New York to Sofia via Czech Airlines.

Length: Seven nights.

Sponsor: Destination Bulgaria, Montgomery Village, Md.

Cost: $1,995 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air; hotel; breakfast and dinner daily and most lunches; taxes; transfers; sightseeing; trekking in the Rila Mountains with a guide; and the services of an English-speaking guide.

Trip: Visits Borovets, Maliovitsa, Rila Lakes and Sofia, with extensive hiking in the Rila Mountains.

Noteworthy: The land-only rate is $999 per person, double. The single supplement is $200; the companion rate is $200 additional. Climbing and trekking equipment can be reserved with 45 days advance notice.

Contact: (301) 216-9846 or (800) 688-6914; fax: (301) 216-2477; e-mail: [email protected].

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