Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: June 24, 2004

DOLLARS FOR DO NOTS: Looking to aid agencies unaffiliated with consortia that recognize Brian Moore Int'l Tours (BMIT) and E.E.I. Travel as preferred suppliers, the two companies -- divisions of Europe Express, in Bothell, Wash. -- debuted the Sterling Revenue Commission Override Program. That's a joint effort to award higher commissions and special overrides to enrollees, based on annual overall sales and sales of select "a la carte" tour products. Initially, 10% base is paid on sales of up to $9,999, with no overrides available. At the first override commission level, 2% extra is paid on sales of $10,000 to $19,999, and at the third level, 3% override is paid on sales of $20,000 to $35,000. Override commission rates are negotiable on sales of more than $35,000. Products that apply to the override include escorted tours, a la carte hotels, self-drives and auto rentals, city packages, multi-city rail combinations, and Stopover & Stay packages. Products excluded from overrides, but reflected in the total revenue tallies, include Web specials, air (economy and business classes), sightseeing, transfers, rail and all accommodations' voucher programs. To contact local E.E.I Travel/BMIT business development managers for more information, visit www.eeitravel.com or www.bmit.com and click on the "Contact Us" link.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS: In other news, BMIT is piping in with a Musical Ireland tour to an upcoming winter music festival in Donegal that it's organizing with the 11-property McEniff Hotels group from Feb. 6 to 11, 2005. Pricing on this "Web special" starts at $669 per person from New York (Kennedy) or Boston, and includes roundtrip airfare; airport transfers; escorted sightseeing; professional Irish tour director; four nights' accommodations at first-class hotels; full Irish breakfast daily, except morning of arrival; three dinners, including a gala dinner; entertainment at the three-day festival; entrance fees to attractions such as the Belleek China Factory, Ulster-American Folk Park and Guinness Brewery. BMIT pays 10% on air and up to 15% on land. For more, visit the BMIT Web site or call (800) 982-2299.

SEEING GREEN: Brownes Hotel -- a member property of The Stein Group housed in an 18th century townhouse on Dublin's tony St. Stephen's Green -- is offering two summer specials for short stays through Aug. 31. First, the luxury, 11-unit property offers four nights in a deluxe room for the price of three, at about $435 per person, double, including full Irish breakfast. The hotel also offers a Picnic on the Green package that includes two nights' bed and -- full Irish -- breakfast, plus a champagne picnic for two, at approximately $285 per person, double. Single travelers pay a 30% supplement on both summer package rates. The Stein Group pays travel agents commissions of 10% on all rates and packages. For more on Brownes, visit www.brownesdublin.com. For information on The Stein Group properties, or to reserve the summer specials at Brownes, call (877) 783-4600 or (011) 34-93 272-4530, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.thesteingroup.com.

MORE ABOARD: Clients hopping from Ireland to Britain and Europe aboard Ryanair will now be able to carry more of those souvenirs onboard. The low-fare airline will increase its cabin-baggage maximum allowances from about 15.5 lbs., or 7 kilograms, to 22 lbs. (10 kilos) as of June 29. However, the checked-baggage maximum allowance remains unchanged at 33 lbs. (15 kilos) per passenger. In addition, excess baggage charges will increase to about $8.50 per kilogram. For more, go to www.ryanair.com.

THE COMPETITION: Check out what the online set is doing at Ireland.com. The consumer site, run by newspaper the Irish Times, is offering a noncommissionable, six-night package to Ireland priced from $499, for travel Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. The Emerald Isle Escape has no booking window and includes airfare, accommodations, a rental car, Irish breakfast each morning and an Irish coffee welcome reception. See www.ireland.com/travel for details.

WELCOME WAGON: Aer Lingus rolls out the red carpet with a new $399 air-, auto- and accommodation-inclusive "Irish Hospitality" Aerpackages tour. The deal includes roundtrip air from New York (Kennedy), Boston or Baltimore/Washington to Shannon; a car rental; one night at the Shannon Great Southern Hotel; and three nights in an Irish farmhouse bed-and-breakfast. Irish Hospitality must be booked online at www.aerpackages.com by July 6 for travel between Nov. 1 and Feb. 28.

PURELY DUBLIN, FROM VIRGIN: Virgin Vacations is peddling a six-night Dublin special priced from $699. The package includes roundtrip air fare from one of 23 U.S. gateways; six nights in a tourist-class, standard, superior or deluxe hotel; continental breakfast daily; and hotel service charges and taxes. This non-commissionable package must be booked at www.virgin-vacations.com by July 1 for travel Sept. 1 through Oct. 31.

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