Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Sept. 10, 2007

ASTA said it is evaluating legal options to prevent ARC from increasing fees charged to accredited agencies, which could see their annual, per-location administrative fee jump as high as 200% starting on Jan. 1. Under the proposal, ARC's annual administrative fee of $125 to $145, depending on the size of the agency, would increase to $395 for independent or home-based locations. Most agencies, including home-based ones, currently pay $145 per location. The quarterly transaction fee paid by agencies would increase, as well, but that would particularly impact larger agencies. ARC said it decided that with several new products, such as Interactive Agent Reporting, the Document Retrieval Service and ARC Memo Manager up and running, the timing was right to alter its fee structure. ARC said higher fees would help fund the development of new services and other enhancements.

THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE launched an online training program on St. Barth in its e-learning Center. It's a free, two-module course. The first module, St. Barth Overview, provides comprehensive information on St. Barth, including sightseeing, beaches and selling tips. The second module, Selling St. Barth Properties, provides more detailed information about the villas and hotels of St. Barth and how to match customers with the right property. After successfully completing the modules, agents will receive a course completion certificate and a $50 bonus commission, redeemable with their first booking. The modules also count toward continuing education units at the Travel Institute. Learn more at www.thetravelinstitute.com.

VACATION.COM named Ron Cole general manager of EZGuider implementation. The former airline executive will head up the new EZGuider implementation team that in November will launch the new booking platform for Vacation.com members. "Ron brings with him established relationships and a vast amount of knowledge of the travel industry, combining expertise in training, technology, sales and marketing," said Steve Tracas, president and CEO of Vacation.com. "Ron and his new team will help the members launch this exclusive product that will provide Vacation.com agencies with a competitive advantage in the marketplace." Cole's sole responsibility will be rolling out the EZGuider platform.

THROUGH THE PORT HOLE: Carnival Cruise Lines in October will begin offering an adults-only area called Serenity aboard the Inspiration. It will be the first Carnival ship to have the new area, which will feature plush chaise lounges and chairs, umbrellas and two whirlpools. Carnival's sister cruise line, Princess Cruises, unveiled the Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat, on the Crown Princess in June 2006.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Brazil

Trip: Three nights in Rio de Janeiro and two nights in Buzios.

Departure: Sept. 20 from Miami or New York to Rio de Janeiro via TAM Airlines.

Length: Five nights.

Sponsor: Air Projects Travel, Miami.

Cost: $895 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air from Miami or New York, transfers, accommodations, daily breakfast and sightseeing as specified.

Noteworthy: When booking, use reference code Fam/Miami or Fam/NYC. The companion rate is $100 additional. The single supplement is $250.

Contact: (888) 298-6203.

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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