Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: June 6, 2005

THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE will offer its certified travel agent and certified travel counselor workshops as a pre-National Forum event from Sept. 7 to 9. Those who successfully complete the workshop and the test will be awarded their new designations during the National Forum, which follows on Sept. 9, 10 and 11. The forum will be held at the Boston Marriott Copley
Place.

ACCORDING TO THE INSTITUTE, the workshops offer candidates the opportunity to review their studies and interact with professionals from various areas of the industry. These facilitated experiences offer a firm completion date to aide in study and completion, the camaraderie of fellow candidates striving for the same professional designation, all scheduled meals and all testing and certification fees. Get more details at www.thetravelinstitute.com.

BESIDES MAKING CLIENTS happy by creating just the right vacation, one of the most fun aspects of selling travel is personally trying out the product. Fam trips typically are fun and should always be educational. After all, the sponsoring supplier wants something in return -- bookings. More suppliers are starting to embrace the at-home retailer community, but are these travel sellers, whose gross sales generally (but not always) are substantially lower than traditional agencies, welcome on fams? Damir Bogdanic of Sterling Vacations, says yes, they are. Sterling operates many fams throughout the year, many of them featured in this e-letter.

SAYS BOGDANIC: Home-based, independent agents are welcome on any of our fams. They are the sellers of today and definitely of tomorrow. After 9/11, many firms, including mine, had to let people go. But they have survived and (many) have become home-based agents. Bogdanic said he believes the more agents learn, the more they will sell. He added that fam participants usually can be split into thirds: one third are high-producers already known to Sterling; a third are agents who are selling lots of other products and will add Sterling to their operator list, and a third are freeloaders who use a fake ID card to gain access to the trip. Agents can learn more about Sterlings products and its fams at www.sterlingvacations.com.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Myanmar

Departures: Every other Tuesday through Sept. 20 from Bangkok to Yangon via
Myanmar Airways or Thai Airways.
Length: Seven nights.
Sponsor: Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board, Yangon.
Cost: $450 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air, hotel, flights within
Myanmar, breakfast daily, transfers, sight seeing and entrance fees.
Trip: Visits Bagan, Heho, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon.
Noteworthy: The companion rate is $550.
Contact: (011) 95-1 248-828, Ext. 6462 or Ext. 6653; fax: (011) 95-1
242-800; e-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.myanmar-tourism.com

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