Travel Weeklys Home-based Agent E-letter: June 27, 2005

GLOBAL TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL, a Florida agency with a large network of independent agents, and eTravCo, a consortium with 6,400 members, said they are developing online booking engines for home-based retailers using Galileo Web Services, which enables Web connections between travel agent applications and the Galileo GDS. According to Galileo, it facilitates the creation of custom applications to support business operations and integrate back office systems.

MICHAEL GROSS, president and CEO of Global Travel (which claims an independent agent sales force of 35,000) and Bill Alcorn, senior vice president of technology at eTravCo, said the development of their booking engines would result in increased sales for their respective members. In a statement announcing the agreements, Galileo said Credit Suisse First Boston recently predicted that the percentage of qualified home-based agents in the U.S. is expected to grow by up to 15% by the end of the decade.

CHECKING IN WITH: Geoff Millar. Summer bookings for this home-based agent are running about 30% ahead of last year. People booking for this summer are tending to stress value over price, with more [clients] booking into more upscale resorts. We have noticed an increase in family reunion vacations with most coming in at $30,000 to $40,000, he said. Millar, who owns Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel in Patagonia, Ariz., is a member of the Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST). His agency focuses on inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, and is seeing heightened interest lately in Central America, particularly Costa Rica.

TOUR DESK: Apple Vacations expanded its product line to include city-stay packages to four European capitals. The company is featuring land-only and air-inclusive deals to London, Madrid, Paris and Rome. Airline partners are Delta, US Airways and American. Services at the destinations, such as transfers, city tours and excursions, are offered. Apple is online at www.applevacations.com. The phone number for its Europe desk is (888) 288-1433.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Anguilla

Departures: Aug. 11 and Nov. 3 from any American Eagle gateway to Anguilla.

Length: Three nights.

Sponsor: Anguilla Tourist Board, White Plains, N.Y.

Cost: Program expenses -- including roundtrip air, hotel, meals and hosted functions -- are paid for by the program sponsors. Participants are responsible for taxes, incidental expenses and some beverages.

Trip: Visits to various hotels, restaurants and meetings venues; also includes some sightseeing on the island.

Noteworthy: Participants must be involved in the planning, budgeting or approval of meetings or incentive travel.

Contact: (914) 287-2400 or e-mail [email protected].

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