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On Site: Vacation.com's New Agent Portal Plus Retargeting InitiativeMay 6, 2012 By: Meagan Drillinger
During a press conference aboard the Oasis of the Seas as part of Vacation.com's 14th International Conference & Tradeshow, Vacation.com executives briefed members of the media on the brand-new programs they were rolling out for their agent members.
One of the most well-received projects is the launch of a new, exclusive agent web portal. Answering a loud cry from members about the difficulty to navigate AgentNet, Vacation.com has decided to replace the portal with Agent Universe, offering members a more robust website to quickly access exclusive Vacation.com programs and supplier information to maximize their business revenue."
"Agent Universe answers all the questions to, 'I wish AgentNet could do this,'" says Stephen McGillivray, CMO for Travel Leaders Group. "This is a big homerun for the members. It lets us communicate in targeted and timely manners to our members."
As each member's business is different, Agent Universe will enable a customized user experience with many new features, including the ability to choose which links appear on the member's home page upon login.
Members will have access to Vacation.com's calendar of current events and promotions as well. A site search function will allow users to enter key words to quickly locate the relevant information they need immediately to serve a customer in real time.
"We'll use a members-only private Facebook community for Vacation.com to communicate to members, and for members to communicate with each other, as well," says Tiffany Glass, vice president, e-commerce and technology for Vacation.com.
Migration to the new portal will be seamless for members, however members should login to their accounts at AgentNet as soon as possible to update their current information. The new portal is expected to launch this summer.
Retargeting for ROI
Vacation.com has also decided to up the level of service offered from its e-Engagement program by adding a consumer "retargeting feature." This initiative is scheduled to launch this summer with banner ads that will appear on many top websites like Amazon.com, AOL.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, Google.com, NYTimes.com and Weather.com.
"This new program will provide a view into past purchase behavior," said John Lovell, president of Vacation.com.
Retargeting will allow Vacation.com's suppliers to maximize their exposure to their exclusive travel offers over the duration of campaigns. The consumer will be taken back to their travel agent to make the booking.
"Retargeting with ads is not a new phenomenon," says McGillivray. "What is new is that we are the first agent organization to come out with retargeting and following customers' online behavior after an initial e-mail offer is sent." Vacation.com generates and designs a supplier e-mail, sending it to members' customers in the database. If the consumer clicks on that e-mail, it goes to a personalized landing page of that agent that has more offers and details. "Then it is time for the consumer to act," McGillivray adds.
"Retargeting not only benefits our member agents, but also it provides substantial added value for each of our supplier partners who participate in the program," says Lovell.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates from the conference.