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For Agents, A New Link to Adventure Travel

November 24, 2008 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
 


Agents looking for a profitable, high-growth marketing opportunity beyond cruise sales might want to take a look at Adventurelink.com. With commissions up to 15 percent and a built-in lead-generation capability, AdventureLink.com opens the door to profitable adventure-tour sales.

AdventureLink is also recruiting agents to process booking requests for consumer inquiries made through its online travel agent partner websites. Agents can register directly with AdventureLink and then get accredited based on specific destination and activity expertise.

Working with VAX Vacation Access— with additional distribution partners to be announced in the coming months— AdventureLink will combine a state-of-the-art technology platform that links travel agents— including home-based independents— to the inventory of 50 world-class adventure tour operators. This will mean high commissions, plus tour products tailored to travelers’ interests. Fifteen percent commissions are being offered through the end of the year.

“Adventure travel is going to be the next big thing for the travel industry, and represents the largest commission opportunity available to agents today,” Kelly Tompkins, CEO and founder, believes. “AdventureLink’s goal is to make adventure travel a mainstream travel product. This means providing consumers with easy access through a trusted traditional or online travel agency and the ability to easily shop, compare and book the trip of their choice.”

AdventureLink’s Expert Travel Agent Network utilizes an advanced VoIP telephony network of expert travel agents that act as frontline customer service representatives (agents interested and qualified should contact AdventureLink.com). Tompkins also expects to work closely with consortia and franchise groups, as well as host agencies. He notes that professional home-based independent agents are a critical element in AdventureLink’s marketing plan.

Tompkins cites data from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) that says that the market is estimated to be worth $165 billion globally. “This industry is continuing to grow at 10 to 12 percent per year as the baby boom generation ages and demands more experiential travel opportunities,” he says.

He notes that AdventureLink has created the largest database of its kind with more than 50,000 trips currently available, growing to over 100,000 trips by the first quarter of 2009.

How Will They Serve the Adventure Market?

Adventure travel is one of the last bastions for online travel automation and, as such, AdventureLink has developed a highly proprietary platform that automates the process for booking this type of complex travel. “AdventureLink gives travel agents a powerful tool set for booking these types of trips where no prior expertise is needed,” Tompkins says, noting that high-end luxury FIT tour sales are part of the program. Agents using the system report an average of $3,500 per sale.

“For the online agencies, we provide a valuable new transactional revenue stream, plus the opportunity to integrate new advertising revenues in addition to ancillary revenues for airline and hotel add-on bookings. From a travel technology perspective, AdventureLink is on the leading edge in utilizing crawler technology to efficiently aggregate and normalize content from a wide variety of tour operators. In addition, AdventureLink uses advanced VoIP telephony to create an international network of expert adventure travel agents that consumers can contact to assist with the booking process. These agents are a variable cost to the business and play a critical role in closing the customer.”

VAX Vacation Access is the launch partner for access to traditional travel agencies and AdventureLink will be announcing partnerships with major online travel agencies in the coming months, Tompkins says. AdventureLink’s business model is that of a wholesaler, charging a transaction fee for each booking generated through the system. There are no up-front fees for travel agents or tour operators to use the system.

Tompkins, a travel technology pioneer, notes that there have been several attempts to automate the adventure-travel industry in the past (Away.com, Adventureseek and iExplore), but these failed to embrace the GDS concept and instead developed stand-alone websites. “The cost of marketing in attracting consumers to these websites proved to be too costly for all of these companies,” he says.

“Adding Adventure travel to the agency or agent’s repertoire can prove invaluable. Cruise sales are vital, but tour sales represent a major profit opportunity,” he notes. “As technology and effective marketing transformed the cruise industry, we want AdventureLink to transform tour sales.”

For more information, call AdventureLink Inc. at 310-658-5180 or 877-462-3854, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.adventurelink.com/agents. Agents can also go directly to VAX Vacation Access to sign up and book directly at www.vaxvacationaccess.com/adventure, or visit www.adventuretravel.biz for market research.


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