Protravel Puts Focus on Home-Based Travel Agents
At the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo in December, Protravel International rolled out Virtually Pro (V-Pro). This new division aims to expand the home-based business that Protravel has been passively growing for many years and to recognize this increasing segment of the retail travel industry.
"We have 75 agents currently working in a virtual environment and we want them to have the same support and tools we give our onsite agents," says Mickey Weill, who heads up the division. "And, obviously, we hope to attract new ones with this division."
Protravel's president, Priscilla Alexander, emphasizes that Virtually Pro is not a stand-alone host agency with a "pay a fee a month and do whatever you want to do" plan. Rather,"it's a division of a luxury brick-and-mortar operation that brings the best to the person who wants to be home-based," she says. Additionally, Virtually Pro is designed for established agents. "We're not looking to develop people, we're looking for true professionals," she tells Home-Based Travel Agent. "We're truly partnering with the home-based agents exactly the way we do with agents sitting in an office. They have the same contracts [as those agents in the office] and they're on our e-mail system. In fact, I can pick up my phone here in the office and just call their extension. This whole phenomenon is a result of technology."
For more information, visit www.virtuallypro.com.
Host Agency MTravel Launches Web Site
MTravel, the host agency division of Montrose Travel, has launched a web site, MTravel.com, with information about its hosting program and a dedicated home-based travel agent portal (join.mtravel.com/home-based-agents). The site describes the various program benefits, including preferred suppliers offering commissions of up to 18 percent, one annual price (as opposed to monthly fees), technology tools (private-labeled consumer web site with online booking capabilities, agent support site, tools for proprietary dynamic packaging, trip research and marketing), professional education (online training, weekly teleconferences, Travel School, fams), marketing support, air contracts and blocked cruise space. MTravel has also added an "established agent" level to its programs. For more details, call 800-870-5799.
AVC to Expand Tour Sales
Watch for America's Vacation Center/American Express (AVC) to announce enhancements to its Agent Power technology—including comprehensive access to tour supplier products that will rival the system's inventory of cruise products.
Agent Power is AVC's proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) tool used by its nationwide network of affiliated independent agents. Designed to empower and support AVC's agents, Agent Power includes a cruise booking engine, a sales management calendar and other sales tracking capabilities.
Brad Anderson, co-president of AVC, says the host agency sees great opportunities to expand tour sales. He believes the Agent Power system is a key reason for AVC's emergence as a powerhouse in cruise sales. AVC is a member of the American Express Representative network. Visit www.joinavc.com.