Universal Orlando has launched a new travel agent website with updated marketing tools, expanded training options and a new certification process aimed at helping certified travel agents stand out from the crowd.
"With the redesign we responded to partner requests, and the biggest request had to do with providing training and updates so travel agents could be more equipped to sell our product," Frank Belzer, senior vice president of destination sales at Universal Orlando, tells Travel Agent.
The new site is password protected so that only registered travel agents can use it, something that wasn't true of Universal Orlando's old website, Belzer says. Universal has also introduced a new certification program in which agents complete a self-paced, online training program on selling Universal Orlando.
"We're finding that we have more agents who are home-based, and there's a real request to separate those who now and understand our product and those who don't," says Belzer. "The certification process allows an agent that puts in the work to get a little bit of an edge against someone who's not registered or certified."
When asked if certified agents would see any benefit in terms of commissions, Belzer responds, "Not yet."
"We have a very close relationship with the travel trade, and it's clear that there are agents who are well-aligned with our product offering and others who are not well-aligned," Belzer says. "People who are catering to the right kind of client, we would like to be able to do more for them."
In addition to training and certification, the new website also offers print and digital marketing materials for travel agents, including images and templates.
"Ultimately, we would love to have a more robust library for [agents]," says Belzer. "For example, if we launch new attractions that might stimulate interest, we would like to have a template for that."
The new website is at www.UniversalTravelAgents.com. Agents who have previously registered with Universal Orlando are requested to re-register in order to ensure they receive communications and announcements.