Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: March 24, 2008

SCOTT KOEPF was named president of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, effective April 1, said ASTA, which owns the organization. Previously, Koepf was vice president of strategic business units for Sabre Holdings. He replaces longtime president Joanie Ogg, who resigned to join Travel Counsellors, the U.K.-based host agency with affiliates in several countries, including the U.S. Bill Maloney, ASTA executive vice president and COO, said the organization is "committed to expanding NACTA. In hiring Scott, we are hiring a strong leader who can take the association to the next level of growth and profitability." Koepf got his start in the travel agency business when he became owner and manager of Cruise Holidays of Anaheim (Calif.). He later joined Cruise Holidays International and helped to grow the franchise chain from $10 million to more than $100 million in annual sales and increase the number of locations from 12 to more than 150.

CRUISE PLANNERS, the Coral Springs, Fla.-based cruise franchise agency, was inducted into Carnival Cruise Lines' Pinnacle Club, which acknowledges high-volume agencies that also exhibit excellence in promoting and selling the "Fun Ship" cruise experience. It also was named a winner of the American Express Travel 2007 Representative Excellence Award for the fourth straight year. The award honors the achievements of the Representative Travel Network member agencies that have reached superior sales results with the highest year-over-year sales growth. In January, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Cruise Planners the No. 1 cruise agency franchise for the fifth consecutive year.

KEY TOURS, which recently pledged to "build partnerships with all home-based agencies whether they have a host or not," rolled out four new Italy programs ranging from four to seven nights. The Memorable Rome itinerary, for example, covers transfers, hotel, buffet breakfasts, four sightseeing excursions and taxes. It is priced from $1,845 per person. Other trips feature Florence, Venice and the Amalfi Coast. Nigel Osborne, executive vice president, said agents will receive net rates and that Key Tours' "added value and buying power enables the agent to make a healthy profit and the client receives personalized service." Key Tours, based in Fairfax, Va., also offers villa rentals through its Farm House program.

DATEBOOK: The OSSN Massachusetts Chapter will meet April 2, at 6:30 p.m. for a workshop with Travel Impressions. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at the Sheraton Needham Hotel (100 Cabot Street, Needham, Mass., 781-444-1110). The meeting will be free of charge for OSSN members and $10 for non-members. Agents should RSVP via e-mail ([email protected]) or phone (508-238-4088). For more industry events, view the Industry Calendar at

Visits Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon.
Departures: Select Sundays (eight nights) and Mondays (four nights) through Sept. 28 from Bangkok to Yangon via Bangkok Airways.
Sponsor: Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board, Yangon.
Cost: $595 per person, double, for the eight-night trip; $435 for the four-night trip. Includes air in Asia, hotel, breakfast daily, transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees.
Noteworthy: The companion rate is $715. The single supplement is $100.
Contact: (011) 95-1 242-828; fax: (011) 95-1 242-800; e-mail: [email protected].
For more trips, go to Fam Trips under the E-Learning section on

Home-Based Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
(508) 221-3674
[email protected] 
For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].


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