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April 2, 2007 By: Mark Rogers Travel Agent relaunches as

For years now, travel agents have been heeding the call to specialize. Now they have another tool to drive business their way based on their hard-earned expertise.  Brett Krasnove of,
the year-old travel agent referral web site, has changed its name to The new web
site will match travel agent specialties and profiles to consumer trip
criteria, enabling agents to target only those clients that are profitable for
them to service.

"We're not going to book travel," says Brett
vice president of product development. "We're like a dating service:
traveler meets travel agent—we think you'll get along just great."

With the name change, will redirect all traffic from The new site will be
used to expand the database of nearly 3,300 travel agents in preparation for
Tripology's consumer launch later this month. "Our goal is 10,000 agents
by the end of the year," says Krasnove. "Ninety percent of our agents
are from the U.S.
We're definitely a U.S.-focused site for agents planning trips abroad for their

Getting Started

Interested agents fill out an online profile describing
their areas of expertise. "It's to the agent's benefit to be
truthful," says Krasnove. "We're going to monitor it closely. It's
similar to the eBay model, in that agents will be subject to consumer feedback."
bears some similarities to Joystar's, although there are differences in how
leads are handled and referral fees are paid.
electronically passes consumers' requests for quotes to the independent travel
agencies in their network that are experts in their respective fields. also
charges agents a success fee of 2.5 percent when the agency makes the booking.
charges an average of $5 a lead and sets a limit of only three agents per lead.

"There were several aspects of that inspired me
to sign up," says Lillian Christine Lynch, a home-based agent with
Cruises, Inc. "Being a home-based agent, leads are important to me. I also
liked the fact that I would be competing with only two other agents, rather
than thousands." Lynch adds that the ability to profile herself as a
specialist in luxury cruises was another positive factor, ensuring that she receives
leads targeted to her specialty.

Try It For Free

is offering travel agents a free look at the new service. Agents can visit and type
in the invitation code: TA10. This will give the agent a $10 credit of free
leads so they can experience
in action.

How it Works

When agents register on the site they fill out a profile
describing the type of business they're interested in, the regions, countries
and cities they service, the budget level of the traveler they prefer, and the
activities they specialize in.

When consumers visit and enter an itinerary, will send an
e-mail to those agents specializing in that type of trip. This lead
notification e-mail will include the itinerary's full details along with a lead
price, ranging from $1 to $15, depending on the trip's size and complexity.

If agents are interested, they click "Purchase;"
if they are one of the first three agents to go through with the purchase of a
given lead, they will be given the client's contact information. Agents will
only pay for leads they accept, and no more than three agents will ever receive
a single lead.

What do you think of this $type?

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