Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Nov. 8, 2004

NEST: The Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST) "upped the ante" for winners in the "Extreme Home Office Makeover" contest recently announced by Royal Caribbean International. NEST is a marketing group for home-based agents based in Oyster Bay, N.Y. In addition to the makeover, any NEST member agency that wins Royal Caribbean's contest also will receive a $100 shopping spree from NEST, said the organization's senior VP, Stuart Cohen.

NEST REWARDS: A Member would receive the bonus cash on their personal NESTRewards MasterCard Debit Card, which can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Cohen said a comfortable office environment translates into higher productivity. For more details about the program, current NEST members can visit www.inthenest.com. To find out more about NEST, home-based agents can visit www.jointhenest.com.

CRUISE PLANNER CONVENTION: More than 200 Cruise Planner agents gathered in Fort Lauderdale last week for a convention that featured training and cruise-specific orientation. Speakers included Andy Stuart, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Norwegian Cruise Line, who delivered an upbeat assessment of the state of the cruise industry. Other speakers were from Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. Attendees met with representatives of American Express (Cruise Planners last year became an Amex rep agency.)

OTHER CRUISE PLANNER NEWS: The Coral Springs, Fla.-based firm said it increased its national franchise membership to nearly 500. They reached the milestone in part by the 35 attendees slated to attend its November franchisee-training class. The company also has added agents who had been with other franchises. Cruise Planners' Web site is www.cruiseagents.com.

THROUGH THE PORTHOLE: Radisson Seven Seas rolled out two-for-one fares on 10 Caribbean cruises operating through December. The offer applies to certain cruises of various lengths aboard the line's Voyager, Navigator and Radisson Diamond. A four-night cruise roundtrip from San Juan is priced from $1,148, seven nights from $1,898. A 10-night sailing roundtrip from Tampa runs $2,848 and includes a two-category suite upgrade. Details are online at www.rssc.com.

IN YOUR POCKET: Avis launched the Avis Great Escapes Sweepstakes for agents. Through Nov. 30, agents who book Avis via Sabre are entered to win a weekly cash prize and a grand prize. Every Avis booking is an automatic sweepstakes entry, and those that include a Saturday-night stay will be entered twice. Each week, the sweepstakes will award one agent a $500 gift check. The grand-prize winner, who will be chosen Dec. 10, will receive roundtrip air fare for two to Boston, a three-night stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and an Avis car rental for the duration of the stay. Get more details at www.zipromotions.com.

  DATEBOOK: The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas is the venue for the sixth annual Luxury Travel Expo from Dec. 7 to 9. Details and registration information is online at www.luxurytravelexpowest.com. FAM OF THE WEEK Greece

Departure: Dec. 22 from New York to Athens via Delta.

Length: 11 nights.

Sponsor: Reko Tours, Astoria, N.Y.

Cost: $1,285 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air, hotel accommodations, breakfast daily, transfers and sightseeing.

Trip: Spends eight nights in Athens and one night each in Delphi, Kalambaka and Olympia.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible.

Contact: (877) 9-AEGEAN; fax: (718) 721-5643; e-mail: [email protected]

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