Brevard TDC Web site to add links to agents who book Space Coast area

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CAPE CANAVERAL -- Links to as many as 100 U.S. travel agents who agree to book Florida Space Coast vacations are envisioned by April 1 for the Brevard County Tourist Development Council (TDC) Web site, according to Rob Varley, director. The site can be found at www.space-coast.com.

The Space Coast encompasses major attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island National Seashore, the Astronauts' Hall of Fame and the Florida Marlins' baseball spring training site.

Its communities -- many with resort hotels -- include Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Rockledge, Satellite Beach and Titusville. In addition, Melbourne Airport and the Port Canaveral cruise port are located in Brevard County.

Although some details are yet to be settled concerning the agent link program, Varley said he is optimistic on the value of agents, especially those who are involved with the Internet.

Under preliminary plans, participating agents across the U.S. would agree to become "marketing partners" for the destination, Varley said.

They would display Space Coast posters and brochures in their agencies and agree to educate themselves (these details are yet to be worked out) on the destination.

"When a consumer comes to our site, we are going to offer him or her access to travel agents [located] near them for when they are ready to book their Space Coast vacation. If they want to book direct, they can," Varley said.

He said there would be no exclusive referral territories. Thus, referrals to more than one agent in a metropolitan area might occur.

The Web site had about 1 million hits during 1999, Varley said.

Many prospects, Varley said he believed, although interested in the Space Coast, are not willing to do all of the work to book air arrangements at a suitable fare as well as hotels, car rentals and other components such as a cruise out of Port Canaveral.

In the council's recent newsletter, Varley said: "I think we can expect the travel agent to continue to play a key role in booking vacations. It's not only an Internet issue; it's a time factor.

"I don't have the time to search for the best airline ticket price, accommodations and attraction tickets on the Internet. It is easier and worth a service fee to just call a travel agent.

"Let [consumers] try to get all that stuff on the Internet before [getting kicked] off line!" he said.

Agents interested in the program can contact Varley.
Brevard County Tourist Development Council
Phone: (800) 93-OCEAN

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