ONSITE: Vacation.com Conference Sees Launch of New Booking Tool and Supplier Awards Program
July 2, 2007
By: Jennifer Merritt
New Orleans-Steve Tracas, president and CEO of Vacation.com, took the
occasion of the company's 9th annual conference to announce the launch of
EZGuider, an integrated, web-based platform for booking leisure travel built
exclusively for Vacation.com and available at no cost to members. This
no-charge news garnered a round of applause from travel agents during Tracas'
keynote speech at the conference, taking place this week at the Hilton
Riverside in New Orleans.
"We feel we can drive a significant amount of sales through the product to
pay for it," Tracas said at a press conference held earlier that day. EZGuider
is accessible on AgentNet, Vacation.com's desktop portal. Through it agents
have the ability to research, plan, quote and book cruise, tour and other
ancillary products, with the ability to book air, hotel and car forthcoming in
first quarter of 2008. The tool is now accepting agencies for beta testing,
with a full launch planned for this November. Currently, the tool houses all
cruise lines through E-Cruise, an Amadeus product-also Vacation.com's parent
company-as well as tour operators Globus and Travel Impressions. Tracas said he
expects to have between 10 and 12 more suppliers signed up by November.
"We have a tremendous amount of interest from suppliers," Tracas
said, adding that, "products like this also stimulate a lot of agencies to
come to us, too." The product also features "shopping basket"
technology multiple search criteria, such as by destination, type of trip and
length of vacation and also will allow agents to turn a quote into a booking
through only a few clicks. "Some of the challenges facing agents today are
that they have too much information, too many supplier sites, too much time
spent on the phone, causing a loss of productivity,' Tracas said at the opening
session. "Our vision is to provide you the tools to meet those issues
through easy access to all preferred supplier information in one location via
AgentNet." Members who begin using the product will be eligible to earn up
to $1,000 in performance-based incentives from different preferred suppliers
after EZGuider's fall launch. Also during the opening session, Vaction.com
announced the winners of its first POP, or "Power of Partnership,"
awards. Agent selected winners include Royal Caribbean as Contemporary Cruise
Partner of the Year, Globus as U.S. Tour Partner of the Year and SuperClubs as
Resort Partner of the Year. At next year's Vacation.com conference in Las Vegas June 16-19,
2008, perhaps new Vacation.com suppliers Starwood Hotels & Resorts and the
Viking River Cruises venture, Viking Tours, also will get a
shot to win a POP award.