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Home-Based Agencies Add FeaturesFebruary 1, 2007 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Home-Based Travel Agent
NEST Launches CruiseNEST Booking Engine, Revamps Web Site
At the NEST FEST 2006 conference, the Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST) launched a new booking engine called CruiseNEST, and also unveiled its revamped web site for home-based agents, www.inthenest.com. CruiseNEST is a web-based application that allows travelers to book their own cruises at their local NEST travel agency's site, while capturing commissions and overrides for home-based NEST agencies. CruiseNEST offers Internet travel shoppers real-time cruise booking capability and a user-friendly interface. Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International and Windstar Cruises are among the lines whose products are accessible live. CruiseNEST always shows the lowest price available for a given cruise, and consumers can compare different ships and itineraries. They can choose actual cabins from live inventory, and are prompted automatically to upgrade to the next category. Commissions from sales made through CruiseNEST go directly from the cruise lines to the agencies. CruiseNEST offers exclusive pricing and product inventory to NEST agencies. For more information, agents can contact Mike Daw at 516-624-2351 or [email protected].
Enhancements to the new NEST web site include: easier navigation; expansion of NESTDirect to incorporate the group's direct mail program and an e-promo program to help agents increase their online marketing efforts; integration of the NexCitePRO, offering agencies an affordable way to quickly build and maintain their own web sites; a one-stop printable supplier resource center; access to NESTRewards, a cash-based incentive program rewarding NEST members for booking the preferred suppliers; a training area that houses opportunities to participate in various certification programs, Seminars at Sea, fams and virtual training sessions; and networking opportunities with other home-based agencies.
Adelman's New Independent Contractors Program
Adelman Travel Group, the nation's eighth-largest travel firm, unveiled its new Independent Contractors Program for the company's leisure travel business this past December at the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo in Las Vegas.
The contractors program offers a premier selection of packages from standard to elite, all of which include commissions, technology, competitive pricing and amenities at the best value. Among a comprehensive list of additional services, the elite package offers a commission bonus and the opportunity to inherit the benefits of Adelman's Virtuoso membership, which grants exclusive travel offers, training and advertising programs. Adelman opened the program after considering the upward trend of home-based independent travel agencies. According to the U.S. department of Labor Statistics, roughly six million businesses operate from home and they are growing by 1,500 each day. Visit www.adelmantravel.com or call 800-248-5562, ext. 2.
Joystar Creates Premier Pay Plan for Cruise Experts
Joystar, Inc., one of the nation's fastest growing travel agency networks and a leading seller of cruises and vacations, has announced a special offer to all travel agents holding the Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC), Master Cruise Counselor (MCC) and Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC) certifications from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). All CLIA-certified counselors who join Joystar will receive a compensation package that will include paying them 100 percent of the commissions they generate through March 31, 2007. The set-up fee and all monthly fees will be waived through the same period for Joystar's premium and flagship programs, Pro-100 and Enterprise, representing cash savings of up to $1,400. As a signing bonus for certified cruise counselors, Joystar will grant a stock option vesting over a five-year period. Joystar's private label cruise booking web site (www.privatelabel.joystar.com) offers Joystar members and their clients real-time access to inventory, pricing and booking to many of the top cruise lines. Certified cruise counselors interested in learning more may call 800-JOYSTAR or visit the company's web site, www.joystar.com.
Joystar also announced the consumer launch of VacationCompare.com, a leisure travel comparison shopping web site that aims to save American consumers money on their cruises and vacations by empowering them to request quotes and compare offers from competing Joystar member travel agencies nationwide.
AVC Now Paying Weekly Commissions Via Direct Deposit
America's Vacation Center is now paying its affiliated agents weekly via direct deposit. AVC is offering weekly, automated commission payments via direct deposit for the hundreds of professional travel agents in its network. AVC is able to meet agent demand for weekly commission payments by using Agent Power 5.0, AVC's proprietary software. A fully integrated, web-based sales management system for professional travel agents, Agent Power also assists agents with customer relationship management and booking live inventory, and it features real-time commission reporting and Commission Tracker, which automatically finds and collects unpaid commissions. Visit www.joinavc.com.