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The Industry April 14, 2008: Earning Opportunities, Agent RecognitionApril 14, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Travel Agent
MSC Aims New Website Toward Agents
In anticipation of two MSC Cruises’ ships—MSC Orchestra and MSC Lirica—sailing in the Caribbean in the coming year, MSC has unveiled a new website with a dedicated travel agent section that will include a multitude of marketing tools to help agents sell the cruises.
As Travel Agent reported earlier this year, MSC is making a major push in North America with two ships and is incentivizing agents with special offers and prizes.
MSC Orchestra joins MSC Lirica for the 2008-09 Caribbean season, which will feature seven itineraries, 16 ports of call and the line’s first-ever Bermuda call. Pricing begins at $449 per person for the seven-night itineraries and $699 for 10-day voyages. MSC Orchestra, which debuted in 2007, will become the largest MSC ship to ply the Caribbean, carrying 2,550 passengers. The ship will begin its Caribbean season on January 2, 2009, and sail seven-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale through April. Lirica will operate seven- and 10-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale beginning December 3, 2008. Visit www.msccruisesusa.com.
Rosewood Launches Elite Travel Agent Program
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has launched Rosewood Elite, an exclusive program for its top travel agency partners. Rosewood Elite is a select group to which only 37 travel agencies worldwide have been invited, based on a set of performance criteria. Rosewood says it created the program to recognize and reward those travel agencies that have been its most productive partners. It was created with the guidance of Rosewood’s Travel Agent Advisory Board, all of whom were grandfathered into the program.
“Membership includes a series of recognition and service deliverables that go beyond Rosewood’s already high standards of service,” says Ralph Aruzza, Rosewood’s vice president of sales, who was involved in setting the program’s deliverables and establishing the criteria. “We will reevaluate each agency’s performance at year-end to determine its future status in the program and will bring on new agencies that meet our criteria.”
Rosewood has also established Global Elite contacts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and London, says Aruzza.
Cabo Resort Announces New Commission Program
Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resorts & Spas in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, announced its new 2008 Bonus Commission Program specifically for travel agents. The program applies to bookings made through wholesalers, the GDS or directly with Pueblo Bonito Reservations. The agent’s commission is paid on a per-booking basis with a four-night minimum required. It includes an additional $125 bonus payable for every 10 rooms booked within a calendar year. For more information on the terms of this special promotion or to obtain a Pueblo Bonito Bonus Commission form, travel agents should contact [email protected]. Visit www.pueblobonito.com.
Pleasant Holiday Expands to Caribbean
Pleasant Holidays, a U.S. tour operator that sells Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica, Asia and the South Pacific, said that it is adding the Caribbean to its roster. Packages will be open for booking on March 31 with a 16 percent commission offered on all Caribbean packages.
“The Caribbean is another part of the global expansion broadening our travel products to key leisure destinations to remain competitive,” said Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays in a written release.
Pleasant Holidays will offer packages to Jamaica, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Grand Cayman and Aruba. More than 80 hotels, resorts and condominiums will be featured. Visit www.pleasantagent.com.
Celebrity and Azamara Honor Agents
Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises have named their top agency partners, regionally, nationally and inside sales for 2007. Award criteria for 2007 included a combination of percentage of revenue compared with each agency’s annual goal, percentage of revenue compared with the year prior, the overall commitment of each agency to market and sell Celebrity and Azamara, use of automation tools offered by the brands, and sales of veranda and/or deluxe categories of accommodations at levels at or above each brand’s average.
The winners are: AAA Carolinas, Southeast region; Alberta Motor Association, Canada region; Crucon, Northeast region; Cruise Specialists, West region; Expedia CruiseShip Centers, National Accounts; and Rupipers Travel, Inside Sales.