TOOLS OF THE TRADE: TW's Home-Based Agent
E-Letter had a chance to catch up with Anita Pagliasso-Balamane,
author of "How I Made a Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel
Agent." Much of the book is dedicated to showing independent travel
agents how to make every client feel like a VIP. For example, every
client who books a trip gets a thank-you gift and a follow-up phone
call. The book also provides worksheets, sample office documents
and promotion ideas. Along with quality service, Pagliasso-Balamane
says networking is a top priority, since "without a storefront,
home-based agents need to go out and find the business."
THE GREATEST CHALLENGE today for home-based
agents, she says, is technology. A client database is crucial,
Pagliasso-Balamane says, for marketing purposes. "And it's so
important to be able to track sales and commissions, and sales
volume per supplier. You need to be able to show your suppliers
exactly what you've sold for them, and you need that information at
your fingertips. The technology is getting better, but it's not
perfect yet." Pagliasso-Balamane, who owns Ticket to Travel, in San
Jose, Calif., and recently expanded her business to include 25
independents, is now helping to test a new database software
program designed by some friends. She is the western regional
manager for OSSN and is its San Jose chapter director. Visit www.redticketproductions.com to learn more about her
IN YOUR POCKET: Austin-Lehman Adventures hiked
its commission level on all bookings to 15% for 2004. It had been
12%. Additionally, agents who book at least one trip in 2004 will
begin 2005 at the 15% level and will maintain it every year they
sell at least 10 trips, said the Billings, Mont., company, which
specializes in high-end multi-sport adventure tours in the U.S.,
Canada, Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica. Its Web site is www.austinlehmanadventuresvacationguide.com.
• NACTA added two Seminars at Sea to its roster of agent education
programs. The first is a seven-night sailing from Fort Lauderdale
aboard Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Navigator, departing April 12.
The second, a nine-night cruise aboard the Radisson Diamond, sails
April 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Fanchal, Madeira. Rates and
seminar details are listed at www.nacta.com.
• The Travel Institute launched a program -- Destination Specialist
St. Lucia. It's sponsored by the St. Lucia Tourist Board. Check out
www.thetravelinstitute.com or call (800) 542-4282.
OSSN's Central New Jersey/New York Chapter will host a meeting
March 9 featuring Luxury Cruising with SeaDream and the World of
Contiki. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Denny's Restaurant,
Route 18, East Brunswick, N.J. Lucille DePerro of SeaDream and
Alena Maloney of Contiki Holidays are the featured speakers.
Contact chapter director Frank Hryszkanich for more details, (732)
251-1775 or by email to [email protected].
FAM OF THE WEEK
Dates valid: Through April 17 for overnight
Sponsor: Radisson Cable Beach & Golf Resort,
Cost: The all-inclusive rate is priced at $125;
the EP rate at $99.
Noteworthy: The rate applies to one agent and one
companion per room. Agents must attend a site inspection during the
Contact: (800) 777-7800 or access information via
the GDSs through code RD.