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Driving a PartnershipApril 7, 2008 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Vacation.com joins with Hertz to grow car rental sales
If you take one of the world’s best-known brands and marry
it to one of the world’s largest travel-agency networks, you have a formula for
profitable sales growth. At least, that’s what John Lovell, vice president,
industry relations and revenue management for Vacation.com, believes.
Lovell sees Vacation.com’s recently announced exclusive
partnership with Hertz as a case in point. It delivers a full range of
Hertz-branded products to Vacation.com’s 5,100 agencies and gives Hertz access
to the marketing clout of Vacation.com members.
The partnership of Vacation.com and Hertz gives the travel-agency network full access to the rental-car brand's products.
“Hertz has been a Vacation.com partner since our founding
and has been extremely supportive of Vacation.com and its agencies,” Lovell
said in an interview with Travel Agent.
“Our goal with the partnership is to grow profitable car-rental sales.”
Hertz offers Vacation.com agencies global resources,
competitive pricing, strong support and sales incentives, Lovell notes. This is
backed by Hertz’s aggressive advertising and promotion of its brand. Hertz has
8,000 locations in 145 countries and reported sales of $8.6 billion worldwide
Lovell is an industry veteran who joined Vacation.com in
2002 as vice president, sales. He was promoted to vice president, industry
relations and revenue management in 2006, reporting to Steve Tracas,
Vacation.com’s president and CEO.
From Lovell’s perspective, the key to success is for agency
owners and managers to encourage and reward car-rental sales by the individual
agents, while building awareness of the revenue opportunities and value of the
Vacation.com achieves this by constant communications to
member agencies on the Hertz program, promotions and pricing deals both by
e-mail and print promotions. Agents can earn 10 percent or more on a standard
car rental, and 15 percent to 18 percent on a European rental.
“Vacation.com agencies are strongly supportive of the Hertz
program and can effectively increase Hertz’s share of the leisure-travel
market. We track performance and believe our members have high levels of
awareness of the benefit of car-rental sales to their bottom-line results,”
Another reason for Lovell’s confidence is the ability of
Vacation.com’s AgentNet technology platform and the new EZguider booking system
to make it easier to book car rentals—either as a stand-alone car-only sale or
as part of a combination of an air, car, hotel and cruise package.
“Vacation.com has a leadership position in technological
innovation,” he says. “Our easy-to-use EZguider desktop system will encourage
incremental car-rental sales. We have benefited from our ownership by Amadeus—a
global technology leader—and their ongoing investment.”
Lovell credits Pamela Wright, Hertz divisional vice
president, for making the program work and helping focus the attention of
agents and agencies on increasing car-rental sales. This includes weekend
rentals and pre- and post-cruise vehicle rentals.
Vacation.com agents have access to a full range of Hertz
products, such as the Hertz Green, Fun and Prestige collections, which include
luxury, budget and sports cars. While Vacation.com is focused on leisure sales,
it can also serve the corporate market needs of members, including agencies
that participate in the Uniglobe V program.
ASTA estimates that travel agents sell 40 percent of all car
rentals. But with aggressive promotion of car-rental sales and revenue
opportunities as exemplified by the new Hertz/ Vacation.com program, that
number may well soar.
Vacation.com will celebrate its 10th anniversary
during its 10th Annual Conference at