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June 22, 2009 By: George Dooley Travel Agent


With more than 5,000 agency members, is able to leverage strong supplier partnerships


The critical importance of cost-effective marketing to home-based agents was underscored as two major host agencies—Nexion and Travel Planners International (TPI)—announced that they had allied themselves with, the 5,100-member agency network.

The alliance will give home-based agent members of the two host agencies access to’s Engagement program and other marketing tools that the website has developed, tested and rolled out.

An influential host agency since 1995, Nexion provides preferred supplier content, ticketing, operations, fulfillment support and marketing services for its 2,100 agent members—and with the new link, Nexion members will also receive enhanced commissions from a greater range of suppliers and access to other exclusive benefits.

“This is a smart partnership,” says Jared Braunstein,’s vice president of sales. “Each will make the other stronger through complementary marketing programs, preferred supplier relationships, training and education.”

The Engagement program consists of offers from preferred suppliers negotiated for members. Benefits of Engagement include professionally designed direct-mail promotions that are sent to pre-selected clients with the member’s agency as the sole call to action.

“Despite a pressured economy, we’re looking forward to including Engagement’s benefits to the services already provided to Nexion members,” says Jackie Friedman, Nexion’s general manager. “We did our homework and were impressed by’s preferred supplier offers and direct-mail program. Our agents can capitalize on that expertise to accelerate their success.”

TPI also signed a multiyear agreement with, focusing on creating closer alignment between the two companies by enhancing membership and driving profitability by providing independent contractors access to’s direct marketing program.

A full-service host agency supporting independent contractors and travel agencies, TPI has been a member since 2000, consistently ranking as one of the organization’s most productive members, said. By committing to a multiyear relationship, TPI’s home-based agents can continue to use’s Engagement program.

“Currently a significant number of TPI’s ICs regularly use Engagement to generate revenue,” says Braunstein. “Our goal is to encourage more of their sales force to participate in the program, driving the success of both TPI and our preferred suppliers.”

Engagement fits well with TPI’s membership due to its flexibility, which gives independent contractors the ability to market directly to their customers under their own agency name, even though they centrally fulfill the booking through TPI. “This flexibility is a valuable asset for any agency that has ICs who are true sellers and want to actively market their services,” adds Braunstein.

Ken Gagliano, TPI president and advisory board member, agrees that Engagement is an effective tool that should be utilized by more TPI members. “We are committed to the success of our home-based agents, and that’s why we encourage them to actively participate in Engagement,” he says. “It has proven to be the most effective way for our ICs to send exclusive offers to clients who are most likely to respond, even more so now that it can target clients with the discretionary income to travel.”

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