Tuesday Briefing: Viking’s Million Dollar Travel Agent Sweepstakes, Marriott to Provide Real Time Rates

Viking Star

From a big new travel agent sweepstakes by Viking Cruises to a new Anantara resort in Sri Lanka, don’t miss today’s top travel industry headlines. 

Viking Offers “Million Dollar Voyage” for Travel Agents

Viking Cruises is celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary with a new contest for travel agents. 

Called “Your Ship Has Come In: Viking Million Dollar Voyage,” the contest will run through March 31, 2017, and offer qualified travel agents who sell Viking’s river or ocean cruises the opportunity to enter the Challenge to win $1 million.

To be eligible to win, qualified travel agents must register for “Your Ship Has Come In: Viking Million Dollar Voyage” by visiting www.vrc.com/million. Upon registration, each qualified Viking River Cruises or Viking Ocean Cruises booking made from October 17, 2016, through March 31, 2017 will count as an entry in the Challenge. There is no limit on the number of entries – so each qualified booking increases the chance of winning. The winning travel agent will win $1,000,000 USD and will be chosen at random from all qualified bookings, following the end of the Challenge in March 2017. 

For more information and full Challenge rules, visit http://www.vikingcruises.com/terms-conditions/million-dollar-voyage-terms-conditions.html.

marriott wholesaler platform

Marriott Launches Real-Time Rates for Travel Agencies

Marriott International has announced a new distribution and booking solution that will offer access to real-time rates and inventory to leisure travel agencies and wholesalers. 

The new platform, which was developed through a partnership with Sabre Hospitality Solutions, is part of Marriott’s strategy to shift to dynamic rates and automated reservations, the company said. Approved wholesalers can now search real-time hotel net rates and inventory globally to create tailor-made packages for their customers, with all hotel bookings confirmed instantly online.

Marriott said the new solution would provide value to smaller wholesalers by removing the need for them to make a technology investment to gain direct, dynamic access to rates and inventory. Wholesalers can establish or renew access in seven languages. Once authenticated, they immediately have access to the booking engine.

The STARnet (www.starwoodnet.com) program supporting wholesaler activation for Starwood hotels will continue to operate in tandem, Marriott said. 

The new platform is available at www.MarriottWholesalers.com.

anantara kalutara resort

Now Open: Anantara Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka

In luxury resort news, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has opened its second resort in Sri Lanka: the 141-key Anantara Kalutara Resort, on the island’s southwest coast. 

10 minutes from the town of Kalutara and an hour south of the capital Colombo, Anantara Kalutara has a unique setting between the Indian Ocean and Kalu River and has coastal, river and lagoon frontage. The resort, which was originally designed by the late Geoffrey Bawa, has a main building built in a Dutch colonial style and a free-flowing reception space overlooking the lagoon of the Kalu River estuary. 

The property’s 141 guest rooms, suites and pool villas have private balconies and terraces overlooking the gardens, the ocean or lagoon. All guest rooms come with a wine humidor as standard and interconnecting, disabled and poolside guest rooms are available. Suites have their own lounge, and the One Bedroom Presidential Suite has a private plunge pool and sundeck. Suites and villa guests can listen to music on a Bose Bluetooth speaker, and special requests are taken care of by the Villa Host. One and Two Bedroom Villas have an enclosed garden terrace with a private pool and deck. For holidays with family and friends, some of the One Bedroom Garden Pool Villas have interconnecting gardens.

Elsewhere on the resort, guests can check out The Watersports Center for jet skiing, water skiing and banana rides, or hit the gym, two swimming pools (one lagoon-side) or library. The resort’s Anantara Spa is surrounded by a lotus pond and has 10 treatment rooms, including six for individuals and four for couples, with the option for Ayurvedic therapies.

For families traveling with children, the Adventurer Club offers cultural activities, outdoor games and excursions, while dedicated “Mum & Me” and “Dad & Me” packages allow parents to share spa time with their children. 

The resort has three restaurants. Spice Traders serves Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine, while the all-day dining restaurant Olu serves international and Sri Lankan dishes. For Italian, guests can try Acquolina. The Spice Spoons cooking school gives a glimpse into local market life, followed by a cooking class with master chef tips. Open at dusk, The Upper Deck serves cocktails and light bites. For couples looking for a romantic getaway, Dining by Design offers a collection of connoisseur menus with a personal chef and butler, in intimate settings.

For meetings and events, the resort will open a conference center in March 2017 with a capacity of 500 delegates (300 for banquet seating). There are three additional meeting rooms. 

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