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Agent Adoption Soars for Travel Leaders Hotel ProgramApril 9, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Agency participation levels in Stream – the prepaid hotel program launched late last year by Travel Leaders Group - have increased dramatically, the group reports. Over the past six months current weekly sales volume has grown 150 percent higher than monthly sales from October - including upscale properties.
Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben attributes the agency adoption rate both to the “full court press” roll-out of the program in every business unit of the company and to the peace-of-mind offered to agents opting for Stream’s guaranteed 12 percent commission levels. Stream includes over 70,000 competitively-priced properties worldwide.
Underscoring its strong and increasing foothold in serving luxury travelers, Travel Leaders Group also reports that a significant percentage of bookings through Stream are for upscale properties.
“Since ‘officially’ launching Stream just last fall, aggregated sales volume is already in the millions of dollars, making this Travel Leaders Group enterprise-wide initiative a major, out-of-the-gate success,” noted Liben. “While our business units’ launch contests have certainly engaged agents, what’s spurring the most excitement among them is that Stream not only pays a guaranteed 12 percent commission on every prepaid hotel stay, but in most cases saves their clients money in comparison with alternative booking channels.”
In its first quarterly review of 2012, Travel Leaders Group reports that nearly nine percent of all bookings during Quarter1 have been at “luxury” hotels, with another 34 percent at “deluxe” properties. A plurality of the bookings (close to 46 percent) were made at “superior” hotels. Less than one percent of all bookings were for “economy” lodgings.
The most-booked destinations reflect the global reach of Stream, Travel Leaders Group says. Properties in Hong Kong, Barcelona, London, Paris and Amsterdam rank highest among all hotels and resorts being booked worldwide through Stream.
To effectively engage agents individual business units have employed a variety of contests. “We’re convinced that once our agents see for themselves just how robust and seamless Stream actually is, they’ll keep coming back for more of their hotel needs,” Liben explained. “Of course, once they understand that they can actually increase their earnings even further by marking-up the price of each room sold and adding service fees – and still provide a competitive rate to their clients – Stream becomes an indispensable part of their overall way of doing business.”
Liben cites the response of Travel Leaders Group members:
“As a GDS user with a group headed to Italy in May, I was holding space for a hotel in Rome that I like, and I decided to look at Stream to see if that hotel was in their inventory. It was, and it was a lot less in cost than what I was holding in the GDS,” noted Nexion Member Cindy Lee Campbell of Campbell Travel in Deltona, Florida. “So I booked all my rooms, including mine, with Stream. The best part was that I could mark it up and make extra money.”
“Not only have I been able to find last-minute availability through Stream when a hotel shows ‘sold-out’ with other vendors, but I can be confident in knowing the price is great. I have had a few clients after shopping online call me, and I have been able to meet or beat the online price every time with Stream,” stated Christina Cook of Travel Leaders in Auburn, Maine. “It’s fast and easy to use, too. The filters also help with finding the best locations as well as features my clients are looking for. It even offers the hard to reach places that some of my regular vendors won’t offer at all. Stream has taken over as the best platform for my hotel reservations, too, because of the guaranteed commissions and it eliminated the extra work of fighting to get paid later.”
“Stream has been a great addition to my business as I have used it several times to book passengers on cruises for pre and post night stays,” said Cruise Holidays owner Michelle Jackson from Maricopa, Arizona. “I feel it is extremely easy to use and love the ease of it.”
“We've been using Stream since it went live and find the rates to be unbeatable and the availability and range of destinations very good. From Florida condos to romantic inns on the Amalfi Coast, it's a very comprehensive tool,” noted Vacation.com Member Irene Neustaedter from Around the World in 80 Ways in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “We really like the ability to shop, save and email quotes. We get all of this with generous commission – plus the ability to add our own mark-up and still come up with the best price. I don't know how they do it, but I'm sure glad they are!”
“Many of my corporate clients have the need to prepay their hotel room with a different credit card than what they will be using at check in. I find using Stream saves them and me the hassle of filling out a credit card authorization form each time and sending it to the hotel,” explained Luxury Travel Network Member Lori Rogers of Huntersville, North Carolina. “With Stream, I book the reservation with the appropriate card, email the voucher to the traveler and they are all set. The rates in Stream are very competitive with what you find in other booking engines and sometimes even better.”
Travel Leaders Group’s Stream prepaid hotel program offers agents an array of attractive features, including:
• Twelve percent commissions paid each month for completed stays from the previous month;
• Hotel level photos, maps, and property details;
• Real-time reporting on demand at agency/agent levels;
• Online reservation cancellations;
• After-hours 24/7 support for agencies/agents and clients on check-in date;
• Robust sort parameters to simplify the reservation search process;
• Ability for agencies/agents to easily view their clients’ reservations; and
• Ability to set up unique accounts for all agents in the agency.
Travel Leaders Group’s Stream is now available to all of the company’s wholly-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies and agents, including Cruise Holidays, Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com.