MIAMI -- Talk to Kevin Froemming, the new president of Air Jamaica Vacations (AJV), the in-house tour division of Air Jamaica, and it's quickly apparent that agents matter to him.

Froemming came to AJV May 1 from the Mark Travel Corp., where, as chief operating officer and corporate development head, he dealt with a lot of agents.

He received even more agent experience when he served as vice president and general manager of US Airways Vacations.

With that background, Froemming appears to have settled in quickly at his new post. After less than two weeks at the helm of AJV, he was clear on his goals and priorities.

"Agents are our key distribution point," he said. "My goals are to strengthen our agent relationships and continue on the path of forging mutually advantageous marketing situations for both of us."

Easing the booking procedure for agents is at the top of Froemming's list as well.

AJV packages "will have to be an efficient product source for agents," he said.

And that product represents a full range of properties -- from elegant, all-inclusive beach resorts to smaller inns, villas and midprice hotels.

In fact, AJV's product line includes 180 hotels and resorts in 12 Caribbean destinations.

Froemming said he views the tour division as a catalyst for Air Jamaica.

"We go where the carrier goes; as they grow, we grow," he said. "We have to support their marketing strategies."

Froemming described the tour operation as a "leisure vehicle that is an extension of the carrier."

Trade and industry shows will figure heavily into Froemming's daily schedule.

At the recent Japex trade show in Kingston, Jamaica, Froemming met with Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's director of tourism, and Josef Forstmayr, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, to discuss a common theme: how all three entities can better partner with the country's hotels.

Cultivating and developing new customers and markets is another key focus for Froemming.

"We want to expand our markets -- and that means helping agents bring in new customers," he said.

The strategies that work best, in his opinion, are marketing techniques that drive both new and repeat business to agents.

"We intend to be very aggressive with leisure agents who have Caribbean-bound clients," Froemming said.

"Air Jamaica Vacations wants to be highly visible and right out there where we can add value and support for our travel agent partners and our products."

Air Jamaica Vacations
Web site: www.airjamaicavacations.com
Reservations: (800) LOVEBIRD
Product line: Air and hotel packages to 180 resorts in 12 Caribbean destinations

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