Making families the main attraction

o your clients are ready to take the big "family vacation," and they've come to you to make all their arrangements. To ensure they have the best experience possible, there are a number of questions you should ask:

What did everyone like or not like about their last family vacation? Was the vacation too short or too long? Was there enough free time? How old are the children? What activities especially interest them? Once you have a clear picture of what they envision as their "perfect" vacation, you can begin to narrow down the options that are right for them.

Helpful information to pass on to families: Discuss hotels in their destination of choice -- are there discount rates for children? Current family promotions? On-site activities for children? The property's distance from top family attractions like theme parks and is there a shuttle service available?

Once the destination and hotel are selected, ensure they get the most out of their stay by assisting with their itinerary. Remember to include some free time.

The easiest way to book ahead entertainment options is through at authorized ticket company. Wholesalers like New York City-based Keith Prowse, with over 200 years of service, offer special deals for a variety of theme parks, attractions and other entertainment options.

For instance, Keith Prowse offers new travel packages and tickets to America's top theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort (with Disney's California Adventure), Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Wet 'n Wild, SeaWorld Adventure Parks in Florida and California, Universal Orlando and Universal Studio Hollywood.

With these packages, clients receive admission tickets to the theme parks in advance, eliminating the need to stand at ticket kiosks or voucher exchange windows upon arrival.

And the agent benefits as well. "We offer commissions upwards of 10% on all products and increased commissions are offered with preferred supplier agreements," says Leslie Case, vice president, sales and marketing for Keith Prowse. "Our tickets are competitively priced and we guarantee no price increases after booking. If you've already made travel arrangements for your clients, you can increase your earnings by selling them our entertainment tickets. And we have offices around the world, so the most up-to-date information on all shows and events is at your fingertips."

Theme Park News

Adventure rides, combined with animal encounters, thrilling attractions, entertainment and shows are all new additions awaiting guests at the Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks.

SeaWorld Orlando has added "Kraken," a monster roller coaster that sends riders 15 stories into the air then plunges them down at speeds of 65 mph and upside down seven times. Kraken dangles riders high in open-sided seats, creating the "floorless" feeling of flying in a chair.

Guests at SeaWorld San Diego can experience the latest interactive attraction, Pirates 4-D, a special-effects movie adventure. Visual effects and spurts of water surprise guests as they follow the hilarious misadventures of "Captain Lucky" and his crew.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay can take clients on an adventure they'll never forget. Rhino Rally is an off-road safari through the wilds of Africa. While traversing a rugged course in free-driving vehicles, guests may encounter elephants, rhinos, antelope, alligators and other exotic species.

Also in Tampa Bay, Adventure Island's newest thrill ride Wahoo Run takes five riders at a time on a high speed tunnel raft ride, sliding down six stories of drenching twists, dark drops and waterfalls.

Orlando's Discovery Cove is an attraction that allows families the opportunity to swim and play with dolphins, rays and other sea animals. Reservations are required.

Also in Orlando, Universal's Island of Adventure has updated one attraction and added a new one.

The redesigned interactive adventure Poseidon's Fury now features a new storyline and uses more than 350,000 gallons of water, 200 flame effects and exploding 25-foot-wide fireballs.

Dinosaurs step out of the movie screen and into the real world at Jurassic Park, a new themed island at Islands of Adventure. Guests have the chance to interact with "living, breathing" dinosaurs at a series of exciting rides and attractions.

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