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Happy Vacations to Cease Operations

April 21, 2009 By: George Dooley


The economic downturn claimed a new victim as California-based Happy Vacations announced that it was reorganizing. In a statement published online David Marshall, president of Happy Vacations, announced that it was seeking more capital financing but would close its doors in the interim. The tour operator was not a USTOA member.

“Several weeks ago Happy Vacations secured limited financing as an interim step towards a recapitalization," the company said. "The company has been in discussions with a number of interested parties to add more capital and to potentially buy all or part of the company. Those discussions continue. Happy Vacations, however, has yet to obtain the needed funds and has no choice, at least in the interim, to cease current operations. The company has some viable components that are less affected by these very difficult economic times, and we will build on these to emerge from reorganization as a stronger company.”

“After 40 years in the business we at Happy Vacations are heart-broken about the turn of events and our difficult decision to disrupt our current operations,” said Marshall. "We truly appreciate the support and concern from our travel agency and vendor partners. We apologize for any disruption, inconvenience or losses. Happy is working with other travel providers to protect as many travelers as possible and will distribute this information throughout the week. Travel Agents are advised to take immediate action to ensure that your clients’ trips are not disrupted.”The company urged agents to check online for further developments.

Visit www.happyvacations.com.

Funjet Vacations, NWA WorldVacations, Classic Vacations, United Vacations, Blue Sky Tours, Travel Impressions, GOGO, Air Tahit Nui, Goway and Pleasant Holidays have responded quickly by offering assistance to agents and clients.

Funjet Vacations 

"Funjet regretfully recognizes that Happy Vacations has currently ceased operations," the company said in a released statement. "In addition to realizing how this closure impacts the travel industry as a whole, Funjet Vacations also understands the challenge travel agents will face to provide a seamless customer service experience, in light of this recent event."

In an effort to assist travel agents with providing a positive customer service experience and re-booking their Happy Vacations' clients, Funjet Vacations is offering up to $225 savings on Hawaii, Mexico and Caribbean flight/hotel and hotel-only vacation packages with promotion code ASSISTANCE.

Clients may be re-booked with Funjet Vacations via VAXVacationAccess.com by May 8, for travel through December 31, 2010. To be eligible to receive the promotion code savings, agents need to send their customers' Happy Vacations itineraries to Funjet Vacations via e-mail at [email protected] or fax to 414-351-5256.

Travel agents can book Funjet Vacations through VAX VacationAccess or the VAX VacationAccess technology via Amadeus AgentNet, Sabre Vacations, and Vacation.com AgentNet. Savings is per reservation and based on the following tiers: save $35 on vacation packages of $1,000 - $2,000; save $75 on packages of $2,001 - $3,000; save $100 on packages of $3,001 - $4,000; save $135 on packages of $4,001 - $5,000; save $175 on packages of $5,001 - $6,000; and save $225 on packages of $6,001 or more. Funjet Vacations regular commission policies and current commission levels apply.

NWA WorldVacations 

Meanwhile, NWA WorldVacations is offering $200 off bookings to any Happy Vacations traveler who rebooks their planned vacation through NWA WorldVacations.

“It is unfortunate that in addition to having to deal with a very difficult economic environment, that so many people now have to contend with disrupted vacation plans,” said Ken Pomerantz, president and cmo of MLT Vacations. “For those travelers who still want to go on their vacations, we want to make it as easy as possible for travel agents to help them rebook their vacation.”

Effective immediately, any traveler who held a reservation with Happy Vacations can save $200 on an NWA WorldVacation of three-nights or more. Travel agents must book by May 6 for travel anytime. The new vacation booked through NWA WorldVacations can be to any NWA WorldVacations destination and does not need to be the same destination or travel dates previously booked through Happy Vacations.

To take advantage of this offer, agents can use promo code: WV10336.  When the client's reservation is completed, agents can send the client’s new NWA WorldVactions booking number and Happy Vacations booking number to [email protected].

Travel professionals will find complete details about NWA WorldVacations packages, including a wide variety of optional tours and activities, along with rates at www.worldagentdirect.com or by calling NWA WorldVacations reservations at 800-727-1111.  With NWA WorldVacations, travel agents now receive the same great commission rate on optional tours and activities that they earn on the hotel portion of the package.

Visit www.worldagentdirect.com.

Classic Vacations 

Classic Vacations is also available immediately to help agents and their clients, and is offering to match commissions made on bookings.

“We are ready to assist travel agents nationwide with rebooking their clients,” said Greg Bernd, co-president of Classic Vacations. “We will match commissions on any transferred booking that we are able to re-accommodate and will include the Travel Smart Plan, our comprehensive travel insurance coverage, at no additional cost.”

Classic Vacations has established a special toll-free number with a core group of reservation agents to handle Happy Vacations reservations. “We’ll do whatever we can to assist you in securing your clients’ original booking itinerary,” said Bernd.

To rebook your clients, call 866-893-6956 or e-mail [email protected].

United Vacations 

United Vacations is assisting with accommodating travel agents and their clients by extending the following offer for Hawaii, Mexico and Caribbean vacations:
For travel from May 1 through December 15, clients will save between $50 and $200. This offer ends April 30. Travel agents must use promo code APRILSALE at the time of booking. Savings include $200 on vacations of $4,000 or more, $100 on vacations of $2,200 - $3,999 and $50 on vacations of $1,300 - $2,199.

"Our primary goal is to support our travel agents and those clients impacted by this difficult situation and restore confidence and peace of mind through the service and commitment that United Vacations provides," said Rick Karnes, vice president and general manager of United Vacations.

Travel agents are encouraged to watch for new offers in the United Vacations Vendor Center of VAX VacationAccess starting May 1 for all destinations.

Blue Sky Tours

Blue Sky Tours has received numerous calls from travel agents working to rebook their client’s vacations and would like to offer those affected the following special discounts:

•    $250 discount per booking off a vacation package with land value of $2,000 or more.
•    $175 discount per booking off a vacation package with land value of $1,500-$1,999
•    $100 discount per booking off a vacation package with land value of $800 - $1,499

The offer will be in place for bookings made through May 8. Clients and agents must provide proof of existing Happy Vacations purchase.  

Those currently holding a package with Happy Vacations with less than $800 land value can still get help by calling 800-678-2787. You can also book your client’s vacation at www.blueskytours.com then e-mail documentation of a Happy Vacations paid or deposited booking to [email protected] or fax it to 800-747-1221 Make sure to add the Blue Sky Tours booking number to e-mails or fax correspondence.

Travel Impressions

Travel Impressions is providing assistance to travel agents and their clients with rebooking reservations made through Happy Vacations with the following services:

*    Honoring all original commissions
*    Honoring the original vacation rate whenever possible
*    Providing agents with a $75 booking bonus for each reservation (minimum of three nights) transferred by May 15 (check the Quest for Agents section of www.travelimpressions.com for redemption details)
*    Offering a dedicated toll-free number, 866-906-1361, for agents to utilize when rebooking their clients or for any questions

GOGO

GOGO will rebook Happy Vacations customers and will match the land price plus protect  commission on any confirmed, deposited bookings. Offer is valid for bookings made by May 5, for travel through December 15. Not valid for groups.

Visit www.gogoworldwidevacations.com.

Pleasant Holidays

Pleasant Holidays has a special offering to assist agents. It includes commissions up to 15 percent for air/hotel bookings or for hotel bookings only, plus price match. Agents can call 877-287 -2835 or visit www.pleasantagent.com.

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui is making every effort to assist the Happy Vacation's French Polynesia-bound clients to ensure that their holidays are not disrupted with the following procedures:

*    For all client(s) who have already been ticketed or are in possession of their ticket(s),  it is recommended that they reconfirm their flights via their travel agent, tour operator or directly with Air Tahiti Nui.
*    For client(s) who had a booking with Happy Vacations but have not made any deposit payment, they may rebook directly with the airline or via their travel agent or tour operator. Their original fare and booking class as arranged by Happy Vacations will be honored by Air Tahiti Nui.
*    For client(s) who have paid for their air ticket(s) or made a deposit for their air ticket(s) using a credit card, they should contact the credit card company to obtain a full refund. They should make a new booking(s) with the airline directly or via their travel agent or tour operator.
*    For client(s) who have paid by cheque, they should make a new booking directly with the airline or via their travel agent or tour operator. If client(s) do not have travel insurance they or their travel agent should send us a copy of the deposited cheque made with Happy Vacations. Air Tahiti Nui will then review the booking with all consideration.

Travel agents and tour operators should contact Air Tahiti Nui's inside sales department for further information; consumers may contact the reservations department at 1-877-824-4846.

Goway

Goway Travel is offering to provide advice and guidance to all Happy Vacations clients traveling to the South Pacific. Assistance offered by Goway includes:
*    Reconfirmation of all travel arrangements
*    Waiver of deposit if already paid to Happy Vacations
*    Assistance with recovery of funds paid to Happy Vacations

Goway is fully bonded and licensed in the U.S., and is an active member of USTOA. USTOA's $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program requires each USTOA Active Member company to post $1 million in security in the form of a bond or letter of credit, and provides security for travelers booking with USTOA members.  Affected travelers should call toll free 800-918-8927.


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