Travel Weeklys Home-based Agent E-letter: Sept. 27, 2004

HOME-BASED AGENT Aimee J. Ricca, owner of Bonne Amie Travel, was cast as one of nine travel experts in the Travel Channels new flagship series Vacation Challenge. A producer of the show called Ricca a fantastic on-camera personality and a first-rate travel expert. Ricca and nine other agents were selected from hundreds of candidates. The TV show features three different getaways that are presented by the agents to a family or group of friends seeking a vacation. Throughout these presentations, the experts explain the itinerary they planned and give travel tips and insider information. In the end, the clients choose the agent who offered the best presentation.

RICCA SAID the series is a great showcase for travel agents because it demonstrates how agents add value to a vacation. The series began airing on the Travel Channel earlier this month. The first episode to feature Ricca will air tonight, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. The episode will feature a Bachelorette Vacation. Ricca, whose agency is in Rockport, Maine, is a certified travel associate and an accredited cruise counselor. She opened Bonne Amie Travel in 2001.

JOYSTAR, an Irvine, Calif.-based host agency, signed an agreement with Sabre Travel Networks consortium, Jurni Network, under which Joystar agents will gain access to a range of leisure travel products sourced from Travelocity, Site59 and Sabre Exclusives merchant hotels, in addition to negotiated products from preferred suppliers. William Alverson, Joystar CEO, said Jurni distributes more than $80 billion in travel products each year, and would provide Joystar with advantages and insight unavailable from any other partner in the industry. Under the pact, Joystar agents dont have to change their GDS affiliation. When they log into the network, said Alverson, they can choose which GDS they would prefer to use and continue to book as normal. Joystars Web site is www.iamatravelagent.com.

HOST AGENCY SPOTLIGHT
TripGuy Travel LLC
589 Beverly Rd, Holland PA 18966
Phone: (215) 356-4889
Web:www.TripGuy.com
Years in business: 2
Annual sales: $1.5 Million
Industry affiliations: CLIA, IATA, NEST
Cost to join: $90 annual fee
Monthly fees: None
Commission split: 75% to agent on agent-produced leads; 50% on Web site-generated leads

DATEBOOK: The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. will host an educational seminar from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Holiday Inn Boston/Peabody. The event is being held prior to a 6 p.m. trade show happening at the same location and sponsored by National Trade Shows. RSVP to (800) 526-0041. The seminar is free.

FAM OF THE WEEK
Belgium/Holland
Departure:
Oct. 8 from New York to Amsterdam, via Continental Airlines.
Length: Eight nights, including seven nights aboard the Vincent van Gogh.
Sponsor: Europeanbarging, Houston.
Cost: $1,590 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air; transfers; the cruise with outside cabin accommodations; all meals, including wine with dinner; sightseeing; and a post-cruise overnight stay and dinner in Brussels.
Trip: Visits to Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels and Ghent, Belgium; and Amsterdam, Kinderdijk, Middelburg and Willemstad, Holland.
Noteworthy: The cruise-only portion costs $1,100. Companions are eligible for an additional $100. Air add-ons can be arranged.
Contact: (888) 869-7907; e-mail: [email protected].

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