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Classic Vacations Honors Their Best

December 11, 2006 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

Classic Vacations did well by its top producers earlier this month when it hosted its 13th annual "Marketing Partners Weekend." The event, held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, provided 125 agents with four straight days of celebratory socializing and networking at a variety of venues in Ka'anapali Beach. Ron Letterman

During the one educational event hosted during the weekend,
Ron Letterman, chairman and acting president of Classic and a long-time
champion of the travel agent community, reminded his top producers of his
credo, that agents "can either be the best, or be the cheapest."

Meanwhile, Greg Bernd, vice president of sales, noted that
Classic in 2007 is putting a greater emphasis on its ultra-luxury products,
such as villas, yachts and private jets, which it has long offered, "but
we have not done a good job of calling it out," he said. The FIT tour
company, which works with 19 air carriers and 800 hotels worldwide, also offers
private accommodations from "condos to castles," Bernd noted. 

Classic told agents that its most rapidly growing product is
Europe, which this year grew in business by
triple digits in some regions. New destinations being added include Russia and Croatia. Additionally, Classic has
signed exclusive tour operator agreements with such legendary hotels as the
Ritz Paris and the San Pietro di Positano in Italy.

In Mexico
and the Caribbean, Classic is adding access to
more suites and concierge-level rooms than ever before due to client demand,
said Bernd. An Australia/New Zealand program will be added in 2007, and
brochures will be available in January, he added. Letterman later told Travel
that Classic, aside from its Destination programs, is looking add to
its offerings by selling "stand-alone luxury experiences" in
destinations such as the Maldives, Bali and Dubai. The company intends to
continue going global at a careful pace, Bernd added.

The long weekend culminated in an awards ceremony at the
Hyatt Regency, which went all out to transform its ballroom into a very
believable rainforest. The top "President's Club" award went to
Valerie Wilson Travel for the most sales through Classic, while the Travel
Store, Tzell Travel and Altour took home honors for being in the "$5 Million

Peter Carideo, president of CRC Travel in Chicago, was singled out for "the
highest dollar sales increase over last year for a single location."

"Classic makes me look like a star in my clients'
eyes," said Carideo. "Clients truly appreciate knowing what they are
spending pre-departure," he told Travel Agent.

Theresa Bartsch of Travelong in Summit, NJ,
said this Classic Marketing Partners Meeting "was perhaps their best event
yet. One of the main reasons I go to this event is the interaction with some of
the best agencies in the country; it's great networking." Bartsch added,
"Another key reason I book Classic is because of our sales rep, Lil
Musmanno. She is very visible and responsive."

Connie Risse of Ships and Trips Travel in Sacramento attended the Classic event for the
first time.

"It was a wonderful incentive," she said. "I
am always surprised at the effort Classic goes through for every event to thank
each and every person—it's the same effort they spend on our client's
vacations. We sell Classic mainly to honeymooners, so we need everything to be
perfect," she added.

To those who did not meet the necessary sales to attend the
weekend event, it's time to get busy. Next year's Marketing Partners Weekend
will be held at The Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu.

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