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Tools to Use and NEST FEST '08August 1, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Home-Based Travel Agent
Two new interactive tools and a conference help agents keep up with industry developments
Travel agents have a new booking portal to work with: Tourism Outlet (www.tourismoutlet.com) is a worldwide platform that allows travel agencies to create packages more easily. Hotels place their available rooms on Tourism Outlet's website, which tour operators can browse and use to make bookings. The hotels can be shopped and compared on the same page, allowing for an easier overview and less time wasted going from site to site.
Agents must register and pay a yearly fee of $60. Within 24 hours, a username and password will be sent. After that, they only need to log in to search available rooms around the world. There are no additional fees or commissions. This site is available only to hoteliers and tour operators/travel agencies. If your agency's information changes, it can be corrected on the TO database. Tour operators cannot view competitors, only hotels, and hoteliers can only view tour operator data. For more information, e-mail [email protected].
ASTA Launches Salary Comparison Tool
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) (www.asta.org) is launching a new online interactive salary tool that allows agents to compare their salaries to those of others in the industry. This tool can help agency owners and managers keep their employees up with current salary levels, as well as determining where potential employees fall in salary rankings. Individual agents can use it to determine if they are earning salaries comparable to their peers in their region.
The tool breaks up salaries into four categories, from new agents just starting out to managers, with and without sales responsibilities. The search can then be refined further to specify a home-based agency, to more closely match the desired search results.
Agents do not need to be members of ASTA to use this tool. Visit www.asta.org/education and click on "Salary Tool" on the left-hand menu.
NEST FEST '08
From November 13 to 16, home-based agents can book themselves into the Occidental Grand Xcaret in Mexico for NEST FEST '08. NEST (The Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel) (www.jointhenest.com) recently announced its agenda and speaker lineup for the fourth annual conference.
In-depth workshops will be offered on the full line of NEST products, technology and services. There will be an opportunity to network at the preferred supplier trade show, and the Golden Egg Awards will be presented to the top-producing NEST agents at a blanco—a white-attire party. In addition, NEST is offering a two-night pre-event fam to Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, with stays at either the Paradisus Riveria Cancun or the Excellence Riveria Cancun, sponsored by Travel Impressions.
The $109 fee per person includes registration, all seminars, all materials, a welcome cocktail party, a private beach party and the award ceremony dinner.
Numerous speakers will be offering agents advice and insight about how to run their businesses more successfully. The lineup includes author, professional speaker and trainer Stuart Ellis-Myers, a hit at last year's NEST FEST. He speaks about overcoming Tourette syndrome to become an internationally known and respected speaker on communication leadership, sales and customer relationship management practices. Nolan Burris, president and chief visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions, will focus on teaching businesspeople to use computers to their advantage. Nancy Friedman is president of the Telephone Doctor and has been selected as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Women in St. Louis. She will be speaking on customer service and communication skills.
For more information about NEST FEST '08, NEST agents can contact Rosemary Sarkis at 888-245-NEST, ext. 3007, or e-mail [email protected]. To find out more about NEST or to join, agents can visit www.jointhenest.com or contact Andrew Wainer at [email protected] or 888-245-NEST, ext. 3008.