Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Agents Who Excel (AWE) have announced a training partnership to benefit travel agents who are registered to sell NCL's cruises. Sales and marketing tools include online video lessons and training, marketing e-mails, webinars, business development articles, business evaluations and individual coaching.
AWE, a new professional development company for the travel industry, was formed by Shelton Hill, a former business development coach for a major host agency who teaches business and communications classes at a California university, and Kelley Sexton, a veteran home-based travel agent (see our profile page 16). For more information, visit www.bookncl.com or www.agentswhoexcel.com or call AWE at 866-326-5195 or NCL at 800-327-7030.
Opportunities for Online Education
Last month, Travel Agent University released a new Travel Agent Specialist program on Tanzania—the Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti. Your clients might be more aware of this destination now, as the Tanzanian Tourist Board has begun running commercials on CNN. To learn about this fascinating country, visit www.tauniv.com/tanzania.htm.
AMResorts (www.amresorts.com) is expanding its Master Agent online education program. Independent or home-based agents who complete the free course become members of the company's "database of loyal partners," gaining exclusive promotions and offers, as well as participation in fam trips. Now in its second year, the brand management company for Secrets, Dreams and Sunscapes resorts is adding a second phase that allows access to the Master Agent web site, connecting users to a corporate reservations center.
What Is Your Business is Worth?
A new tool can help determine how much you may get if you sell your business, or how much you should pay if you're looking to buy. BizBuySell.com (www.bizbuysell.com), an online marketplace for buying and selling small businesses, has added a free valuation tool.
The site currently has more than 48,000 businesses for sale. It would use data from other travel agencies to determine how much yours may be worth, and can be narrowed down by location, gross income and cash flow.
In an effort to solve vendors' marketing concerns and stimulate networking among its independent agents, host company America's Vacation Center (www.americasvacationcenter.com) is launching regional chapters. Jeffrey Anderson, vice president of marketing for AVC, says the chapters will give home-based agents a chance to share leads, get training and learn from vendor representatives. The first chapter was started in southern Florida last year by a group of independent affiliates. Since then, Steve Hirshan, himself a southern Florida affiliate, has begun to coordinate the formation of nine such chapters nationwide.
Upcoming OSSN Meetings
OSSN (www.ossn.com), a trade association for home-based travel agents representing more than 7,000 agents with 63 chapters across North America, will have a meeting of its Houston chapter on November 15 (832-875-4800, [email protected]), its St. Louis chapter on November 20 ([email protected]) and its Cincinnati chapter on November 27 (513-752-0723, [email protected]). Visit the web site for more upcoming meeting dates.
WRTA Co-ops With Top Travel Trade
The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) will host the first annual World Religious Travel Expo & Educational Con- ference, October 29-November 1, 2008, in Orlando. It will feature hundreds of travel wholesalers, suppliers, tourist boards, agencies and group travel organizers from the $18 billion faith tourism industry. For more information, call 800-657-1288; to register online, go to www.religioustravelexpo.com.
Riviera Maya Tourism Hosts Seminars
From October 31 to December 6, the Riviera Maya Tourism Board will host 16 events throughout the U.S. to promote the region. The program, called "Come to Know Riviera Maya," will be a series of breakfast and dinner seminars and mini trade shows and will include many of Riviera Maya's leading suppliers. The $8 fee includes breakfast or dinner, a 60-minute seminar, parking and face-to-face meetings with hotel companies, airlines and tour operators. Call 800-599-6633 or visit www.rivieramaya-seminars.com.
Last March, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) launched their Luxury Cruise Specialist cerification program. "Selling luxury is a specific skill," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, "and CLIA's Luxury Cruise Specialist certification aims to make sure our travel agent partners have every opportunity to take advantage and gain their fair share of the market."
The program defines and clarifies luxury cruises for travel agents who are new to selling deluxe cruise vacations. They teach sales skills and provide first-hand experience, as well as referrals and promotion.
To be certified a Luxury Cruise Specialist, participants must be affiliated with a CLIA member travel agency, have successfully completed the CLIA Accredited Cruise Counsellor certification program and must complete three CLIA courses: "Selling to Special Interest/Niche Markets," "Cruising—The Ultimate Incentive," and the online "Understanding the Luxury Market."
Enrollment is $30. For more information or to get an application form, visit the Travel Agent section at www.cruising.org. Sign in, click on "Luxury Cruise Specialist" and follow the directions.