Travel Weeklys Home-based Agent E-letter: April 4, 2005

VACATION.COM bought a very large block of e-mail addresses for its Engaged agencies customer lists. Vacation.com e-Engagement is a marketing program that sends e-mail offers to member agencies clients. The e-mail offers appear to come from the member agency. Dick Knodt, president and CEO of Vacation.com, said the database now has more than 1 million e-mail addresses. Independent and at-home agents can become Engaged agencies if they are Vacation.com members. About 100 independents already are members, the consortium said.

CHECKING IN WITH ... Desiree Sakow, an at-home retailer who operates Point of View Travel, in Oceanside, Calif. Sakow has stepped into the spotlight as OSSN San Diegos chapter director, and now has the responsibility for organizing chapter meetings about every other month. There are different topics for each [meeting], she said. Sometimes its just the group discussing issues and other times we have speakers from a tour company, insurance company, etc. Sakow said there are about 60 chapter members.

 

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE facing home-based agents, Sakow said, is trying to jump through all the hoops to make it on your own. If you dont want to go through a host agency, you have to weed through lots of paperwork to sign up with every tour company, hotel, car rental firm, etc. But Sakow said its worth the trouble. I want to stand alone and I want the vendors to know me and not a host agency that I belong to.

TOUR DESK: Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (formerly Rocky Mountain Railtours) entered the escorted-tour market with a seven-night Western Explorer package that uses the companys Rocky Mountaineer train to explore the Canadian Rockies. The Vancouver-based company also bought the Thompson Hotel, a 98-room property in Kamloops, British Columbia, which the operator had previously used in conjunction with its trips. Check out the new escorted itinerary on line at www.rockymountaineer.com.

FAM OF THE WEEK
Anguilla
Dates valid:
Through Dec. 21 for overnight stays.
Sponsor: Arawak Beach Inn, Island Harbour Beach, Anguilla.
Cost: Through April 2, rates start at $97.50 per night, 50% off rack. From April 3 through Dec. 21, discounted rates start at $80 per night. Rates are based on availability and blackout dates apply.
Contact: (877) 4-ARAWAK or e-mail: [email protected].

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