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On AgentNation: Sports, Security, Host Agencies and MoreNovember 1, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels
With two months left in the 2010 calendar, we're taking a look at what agents are talking about at AgentNation, the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents. Whether it's finding the right host agency or sports travel supplier, or chatting about airport security and group dining options on cruises, agents are asking and answering questions to better their businesses.
Selling Sports Events
The World Series may almost be over, but NFL and NCAA football are in full swing as the NBA and NHL seasons are in their nascent stage. There's also college basketball, among other athletic events and seasons, on the horizon as well. On that note, we're highlight a query from user antybo57 who is seeking feedback on how to better sell this niche. She asks:
Can anyone tell me where do you go or what sites do you use to book for sporting events. Air, room and tickets? i've seen some sites but i am not sure. Can anyone help me?
About a year ago, Travel Agent published a cover story about proftting from sports travel. But we know times change quickly, so we'd like to hear from other agents about their reccommendations for ideal sports travel suppliers.
How Safe is Airport Security?
We've all heard about adjustments that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making to ensure safety while traveling. A few months ago, we published a story about a Travel Leaders survey reporting that most travelers were okay with airport security. But several agents have expressed concerns, some of which have been shared in Kirk Cassels's Weekly Wrap. We're finding this concerns at AgentNation as well, most recently from travelbabie. She wrote:
Is anyone else confused by conflicting messages about Airport Scanners? I've read that they absolutely do emit radiation (and frankly don't see how they wouldn't) but when going thru security, I asked the TSA agent. Radiation? She said no, none. Any input out there? Tks.
What have you, as travelers, experienced with new security procedures and what have you, as agents, heard from your clients and peers on the matter?
How to Pick A Host Agency
In this economy, agents can use all the help that they can get. But that doesn't mean they'll just partner up with anyone. Perhaps that's why sikoratravel is asking fellow agents for feedback on what host agency she should select of her business. She asks:
Hello, My name is Kathy. I am looking for a Host Agency. I reviewed the black book list from the [email protected] magazine. Narrowing it down from 55 to 1 is quite a task. I am looking for feedback from travel agents that have a host agency and would be willing to give info either good or bad on their host agency. Thank you.
Fortunately, rekuehn responded quickly, writing:
I have been affiliated with Travel Planners International for the past 5 years and have been very satisfied. They have all the programs I need to work at home, are very responsive to questions and requests for help and the commissions are paid twice a month by direct deposit. It is family owned, and they only host, do not compete with their agents.
Before I joined I made a very long ist of questions I wanted answered and arranged for a phone conversation. Kim Sherrit who is the Agent Liason among other things, was very patient and answered all my questions. They are located in Maitland Florida. Happy to answer any questions that you have, email me at [email protected]
We've heard good things about Travel Planners International. However, what's right for one is not always best for all. Hence, we hope other agents take the opportunity to share their feedback about which host agencies are the best to join, for themselves or for others.
As well all know, cruise vacations can be an easy sell for agents to pitch to their clients. But there are so many factors to keep track of in order to ensure a pleasant experience for the traveler. For instance, there's group dining options. Recently, bsholland shared a recent experience involving a Carnival cruise for her clients and is asking for agents' opinion on the matter. She writes:
I have just booked my first group on Carnival. I have learned that over half of my group is waitlisted for the 6pm dining. How could they not have groups dining together? We are about 5 months out, I am just going to hold my breath that this is going to work out. I don't want to tell my group we may not all be dining together. I'll wait and see what happens. Anyone out there with a Carnival group.... does it usually work out to be OK?
Two agents have already chimed in. CherylAdamo answered:
Have you tried calling Carnival, ask for Groups Dept. and ask them to link the booking number together for the dining room?
I've done three group cruises with Carnival and they have all worked out. It was the last minute passengers
Whether it's group dining on Carnival or amenities and rates at other cruise lines, we hope to continue seeing agents reach out to each other in the interest of making the process of selling cruise vacations more efficiently.
Don't let the conversation die here. Keep communication with your peers at AgentNation, at our Facebook page, at our Twitter page and at our continuous coverage of everything travel here at TravelAgentCentral.com.