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Suppliers and Agents

August 6, 2007 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

Have you ever thought of the suppliers in the travel business who make your life as a travel agent easier? They have virtually invested their entire careers in working with you as a group because they recognize that the agent distribution channel is the one that has the most value to their businesses. Ruthanne Terrero, CTC

There are many suppliers out there who are absolutely
dedicated to the travel agency community. While I obviously can't name them
all, I can at least bring to light the names of those who have recently moved
to other companies where they will carry with them the skills, the knowledge
and the relationships they've acquired from working with travel agents over the

Juan Tamarit has moved from Travel Bound to Homeric Tours
and Pascale Gherardi has left Island Destinations for her own company, Voyage
by Pascale, which works only with travel agents. That move calls to mind Laurie
Palumbo's transition from GoGo Worldwide Vacations to Island Destinations. On
the hotel side, Ellen Gerchick is moving from Park Hyatt to Rosewood Hotels
& Resorts, Tony Cortizas has moved from Sandals to Sol Melia and Mike
Norton transitioned from Air Jamaica
to Sandals. Earlier this year, Peter Rasmussen left AutoEurope to head up
Travel Counsellors in the U.S.

Dedicated to You

Many of these suppliers are true road warriors who are
constantly striving to develop enhanced products that will wow your clients. In
some instances they are tirelessly devising methods to make your selling
process more simple by providing more effective and easier-to-use technology.
If they are tour packagers, much of their time is spent vetting new hotels and
on-the-ground suppliers to make your clients' vacations seamless and memorable
experiences. In other cases, they are constantly getting on an airplanes to
visit with their travel agent partners personally in their offices or at trade
shows throughout the world. (And we all know how tough it is to travel these
days, so I suggest that the next time you see them you at least buy them a
drink for their efforts!)

It Is a Small World, After All

If you think about it, the supplier side of the business has
actually made the world a lot smaller for us—and in a good way, because they've
made its far reaches much more accessible. Who would have thought years ago
that Dubai
would become both a major vacation destination and a desirable stopover
location for those en route to even more faraway locales? The Maldives are
remote, but everyone is talking about them because of their array of fabulous
new resorts and the airlift that makes them easier than ever to reach. I keep
meeting people who have been to South
repeatedly; they say they travel the
distance because the end product is simply so amazing. I wonder if they
imagined 20 years ago that they'd be traveling to South Africa at all, but now
it's not difficult at all thanks to the many options available.

On a more less far-flung level, it's now easier than ever to
spend a long weekend in London due to the travel
packages available, and it is certainly simple enough to head over to Paris to see the spring
runway shows or the Tour de France. You can even do a round-the-world tour via
private jet or scoot up to Iceland or Alaska for a quick vacation, should the
urge arise.

Selling the Dream

In a similar fashion, you as travel agents are making the
world a smaller, more accessible place for your clients, and it's not just
because in many cases you are the conduit to their purchasing these travel
services. When you sit in front of customers and tell them of the marvels of
what it's like to tour the Vatican for the first time, or to stroll along the
Champs-Élysées at night just as the city's cafés start setting up their
sidewalk tables for dinner, you are opening the world to them and putting them
in a moment they would never be able to capture for themselves by simply
studying a photograph.

It's a remarkable industry we're all in, isn't it? Aside
from the obvious glories of travel that come along with it, it's the
relationship between agents and suppliers that are in my mind, not only vital,
but one of the most enjoyable aspects of the travel business.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC
[email protected]

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