Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Nov. 22, 2004

MARC MANCINI, an industry consultant will help shape Cruise Agent Only's educational programs, said Charlie Dubinsky, president of the 2,600-member training organization. Mancini will focus on criteria, standards, testing and content for the organization's Travel Sales Certification program (TSC). The TSC, in turn, will be part of Cruise Agent Only's Cruise University, a program presented onboard cruise sailings throughout the year. Dubinsky said Mancini also will lead some of the seminars. Agents interested in learning more can call (954) 491-2269 or visit www.cruiseagentonly.com.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL is heating up for some at-homes. Greta Inowlocki, owner of inTrend International Travel in West Nyack, N.Y., said her clients are interested in Caribbean cruises or island stays. The problem, she said, is finding affordable air fares from the New York area. "Clients refuse to pay $800 to $900 roundtrip, per person to any Caribbean destination, and cheaper fares don't seem to be available," she said. The dilemma has caused her to lose bookings. The trick, she said, is to book well in advance. "I have a feeling that more and more people are not booking in advance anymore," she said.

CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR'S cruises are bringing in business for Kaye Horacek, of Vacations Unlimited in Waco, Texas. However, she said her clients don't want to travel too far. "They are all leaving from the Gulf on Western Caribbean [cruises] or taking Panama Canal cruises," she said. Horacek added that she's been getting robust group bookings for next year to Las Vegas, Jamaica and for Alaska cruises.

HOLIDAY BUSINESS: Aimee Ricca, meanwhile, of Bonne Amie Travel in Rockport, Maine, said her holiday business is slower than in previous years, but she is seeing activity for the first and second quarters of 2005. Ricca, one might recall, is on the cast of the Travel Channel's show Vacation Challenge. In each episode, Ricca and other retailers customize itineraries and compete for business. The show airs on Monday nights.

HOST AGENCY SPOTLIGHT

What A Trip (doing business as A1 Travel Vacation.com)

156 Wheeler Road

Central Islip, NY 11722

Phone: (800) 619-8646

Web:www.A1Travel-Vacation.com

Years in business: 13

Annual sales: n/a

Number of members: 53

Cost to join: None

Monthly fees: None (errors-and-omissions insurance required; $100 per year to be added to agency policy)

Industry affiliations: CLIA, Iatan, Vacation.com

Commission split: Up to 80%

DATEBOOK: OSSN's Cleveland Chapter will tackle IRS issues at its meeting on Nov. 30. The meeting, called Travel Industry Tax Seminar, will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Kamikazee Coffee House and Grill, North Randall, Ohio. Subjects will include income items, deductible expenses and independent-contractor rules. There's a $7 charge for members; $10 for nonmembers. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP by email to [email protected].

FAM OF THE WEEK Idaho

Date valid: Jan. 1 for a seven-night stay at the Sun Valley Inn or Sun Valley Lodge in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Sponsor: Daman-Nelson Travel, San Diego.

Cost: $485 per person, double. Includes accommodations and a five-day activity card (valid for lift tickets, cross-country skiing, snowshoe rentals, ski or snowboard lessons, ice skating, Sunday brunch and massage treatments).

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible.

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