Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: May 12, 2008

NEXION, the host agency owned by Sabre Travel Network, is enabling its 2,000 agents to access a GDS through a customized browser-based version of Sabre.res, an internet booking engine. Called Nexion Xpress, it provides access to research and booking through all of the global Sabre offerings in air, car and hotel, including the ability for agents not familiar with working in a GDS to utilize Nexion's fulfillment department for reservation management. The customization of Nexion Xpress made the appearance of Sabre.res look and feel like other tools within Nexion that agents are familiar with, like MySabre, TripTailor or Sabre Cruises.

A GROUP of travel agent industry veterans formed Travel Professionals' Network, an initiative "designed to help true professional travel agents stand out from the masses and highlight their industry credibility," and launched a Web site at www.travelprofessionalsnetwork.com. The network said its purpose is to overcome card mills, network marketers and affiliate organizations and provide a designation to those who, through a combination of proven gross sales, education, experience and tenure, have earned the right to be called a professional travel agent. Founding organizers include Tom Ogg, Nancy Norris and Jim Terracciano, who are volunteering their time. Ogg is a well-known industry author and host of several agent-oriented web sites. Norris and Terracciano are home-based agents. Terracciano is executive director of the initiative. Agents who wish to join the network must pass a test, provide proof of gross sales and documentation verifying the certifications and experience they have, sign an agreement and a code of ethics and pay a processing fee.

STARS, the recently launched, nonprofit organization for individual travel professionals, named its Member Advisory Board, which will set policies and goals, said managing director Peter Stilphen. The group is open to retailers it considers "real travel professionals," meaning those "who have obtained their CLIA or Travel Institute designation or who can demonstrate their achievements without the designations." Board members are Kim Cabral, Charlie Dubinsky, Carol Karp, Sherry Kennedy, Cecily Macdonald, Chris Morse, Rusty Picket, Corkie van Zak and Stilphen. According to the group, based in LaBelle, Fla., preferred suppliers will have "direct access to the membership base."

DATEBOOK: The OSSN Utah Chapter will meet June 10 at 6 pm for a workshop with All About Hawaii. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at Moki's Hawaiian Grill (4836 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-965-6654). The meeting will be free for OSSN members and $10 for non-members. Agents should RSVP via e-mail to [email protected] or call (801)455-4515.

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 accommodations, 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].

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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