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Tools for the TradeJune 1, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Home-Based Travel Agent
Three new programs educate and motivate travel agents
Nexion Investing in Business Development
In a recent interview, Jackie Friedman, general manager of host agency Nexion (www.nexion.com), said that the company is investing in marketing and training programs to help agents build their businesses, including lucrative group and corporate sales. Nexion members also win from a stream of innovations from Nexion and its partners in Sabre Travel Network. This includes the recently launched Nexion Town online community and Nexion Xpress.
Friedman is a veteran agent and manager with CTC and CTIE designations. From her perspective, Nexion agents gain competitive advantages from their affiliation with Nexion and are better equipped and trained to build successful businesses. As Friedman views it, agents must have a plan and know their Unique Selling Proposition—or USP.
Agents must market aggressively and use relevant marketing materials to stimulate demand. They should also focus on a few preferred suppliers that are a good fit for customers and the agents' business.
Nexion is not short on future initiatives that will benefit member agents. This includes an enhanced WebView portal, improved reporting capabilities, automated non-ARC posting for GDS car and hotel bookings and a new credit-card point-of-sale tool. Nexion also offers needed integration of technologies.
Friedman wants to build awareness of Nexion's merits and attract new agents to Nexion's ranks while improving the skills of existing agents. One initiative is Nexion Roadshows, scheduled for September 22-23 in Dallas/Fort Worth and November 12-13 in Baltimore. Another is Nexion's Boot Camp, targeting new agents with an intense curriculum on marketing, operations and sales. The next Boot Camps are slated for June 9-11 in Fort Lauderdale and July 22-24 in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Agents Win With New Hertz Incentive Program
Hertz (www.hertz.com) has introduced Hertz Agent Gold Rewards, a new rewards program for travel agents in the U.S. and Canada. The program rewards travel agents for booking Hertz car rentals by allowing travel agents to personally choose rewards that range from high-end merchandise, travel, entertainment and a variety of other reward options. Agents can register for the program at www.hertzagentgold.com.
For each qualifying worldwide rental of three days or longer, travel agents enrolled in the program will earn 10 Agent Gold Reward Points. Agents can begin participating as soon as they enroll, and after each qualifying rental is completed the Agent Gold Reward Points will be deposited into an online account available for immediate redemption.
"Hertz Agent Gold Reward Points are deposited into agents' accounts weekly to avoid issues with tracking and agents having to keep tabs on whether they received them," says Frank Camacho, staff vice president, marketing. "Within a week after the completion of each qualifying rental, enrolled members will receive an electronic notification advising them that Agent Gold Reward Points have been deposited into their accounts. Even better, once deposited, there is no waiting period for redemption of the points."
The Hertz Agent Gold Rewards Program is open to all U.S. and Canadian travel agents affiliated with agencies that are members of ARC/IATA. Reservations must be made through the agents' GDS system.
Giving Travel Agents a Voice
A new blog sponsored by PhoCusWright (www.phocuswright.com), a travel industry research company, offers agents a chance to express viewpoints and share insights on the future of travel agents and the travel industry. Douglas Quinby, senior director, research and author of PhoCusWright's recently released landmark study, "The Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2006-2009," welcomes comments from agents and the industry. There is no charge for participating on the blog, which is linked to PhoCusWright's home page. While some free extracts from the report are offered online, PhoCusWright charges for the full report, which includes extensive interviews with agents and industry executives. The blog can be found at www.phocuswright.com/library_blog.