Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Nov. 6, 2006

THE OUTSIDE SALES SUPPORT NETWORK asked the Caribbean Tourism Organization to explain how agents will be involved in the CTO's new "super Web site," which will be operated with Travelocity. OSSN is concerned that the site will bypass home-based travel agents. In a letter, OSSN President Gary Fee asked the CTO for a "full, complete, detailed, and public explanation of this project, and the degree to which U.S. travel agents will be involved, before the site's announced debut in mid-November."

AT A RECENT CTO conference, a Travelocity executive said the new Web site will launch next month. Afterwards, OSSN said, CTO officials could not release any information on whether the site will take direct bookings from consumers who typically book Caribbean vacations from traditional U.S. travel agents. Fee said that the timing of the site's debut is unfortunate, given the battle being waged by Caribbean leaders with U.S. officials now over the new U.S. passport requirements that could hurt Caribbean tourism levels in 2007 and beyond.

AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER, the San Diego-based host agency with several hundred independents, released Agent Power 5.0, an upgrade to its Web-based software that provides access to book live inventory, customer relationship management, automatic commission tracking, and other tasks. David Anderson, chief information officer, said the upgrade will spark productivity gains for its agents. In addition to booking inventory, the software offers community forums, an online knowledge base, Web tutorials and other resources for agents. Professional travel agents interested in affiliating with the host agency can visit www.joinavc.com. The agency is a member of the American Express Travel Representative Network.

THROUGH THE PORTHOLE: Following installation of wireless service aboard its fleet earlier this year, Crystal Cruises said it plans to enable cell phone service on both the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity via a partnership with SeaMobile.

FAM OF THE WEEK

California

Dates valid: Through Dec. 31 for overnight stays.

Sponsor: The Claremont Resort & Spa, Berkeley, Calif.

Cost: 50% off the lowest available rate.

Noteworthy: Agents booking clients for stays between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 get 15% commission.

Contact: (800) 551-7266.

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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