Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Oct. 30, 2006

INTERESTING TIDBITS of information in NACTA's 2006 Independent Agents Demographic Profiling Survey are shedding some light on the home-based travel agent community.  It found, for instance, that fewer NACTA agents are affiliated with host agencies. In 2006, 60% are working with a host. That's down from 67.2% last year. Look to supplier relationships for an explanation: Nearly 40% of NACTA agents now make their own arrangements with suppliers, a trend virtually unheard of when large numbers of home-based and/or independent agents arrived on the scene four or five years ago.

THE SURVEY also found that agents who have their own preferred-supplier relationships are fiercely loyal to those suppliers. Full-time agents reported they book with a preferred 67% of the time; part-timers do so 62% of the time. Specialization in certain destinations and/or types of travel is a continuing trend for NACTA agents, the survey revealed. Overall, 60% are focused on one destination or type of travel. The majority of those agents, 55%, focus their businesses on selling cruises. (More survey tidbits coming in next week's e-letter.)

MAST TRAVEL NETWORK, the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based consortium and marketing group, will hold its MAST Sales Sensation on Nov. 14 at the Drury Lane Theatre and Conference Center in Oakbrook Terrace. The annual one-day event is held every fall, with tour and cruise suppliers, national tourist offices and other vendors showcasing their products. The program is expected to draw 250 travel agents from across a five-state region. "The trade fair is set-up to be interactive and hands-on for our travel agency members," said John Werner, executive director of MAST. "We want our frontline sales agents, outside agents, independent contractors and agency owners and managers to see, taste, hear, smell and feel the same experiences their clients enjoy on a tour, on a cruise, and in the destination." Seminars and workshops also will be offered, Werner added. More details are online at the MAST Web site, www.mvptravel.com.

DATEBOOK: The Missouri OSSN chapter will hold a meeting on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., at the Maryland Heights Centre in St. Louis. Jim Dombroski of MSC Cruises will address the group. A light dinner is included. The cost for members is $5; nonmembers pay $10. Get details by e-mailing [email protected].

FAM OF THE WEEK

Mexico

Dates valid: Through Dec. 15 for overnight stays.

Sponsor: The Esencia Resort on the Riviera Maya.

Cost: $150 per night, double. Includes daily breakfast. Taxes and service charges are extra.

Contact: (877) 528-3490.

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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