Travel agents looking for a new year round marketing opportunity with strong consumer appeal and paying high commissions should take a look at the vacation villas market, Steve Gorga, president and CEO of Travel Impressions said in an interview withTravel Agent
Gorga believes that the launch of “The Villa Experience by Travel Impressions” puts Travel Impressions in a leadership position in villa vacation marketing to global destinations. The portfolio now includes over 400 properties in preferred destinations such as the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and Mexico.
“This is a real opportunity for travel agents – including home-based independents – to expand their marketing opportunities and expose clients to the value of villa vacations,” Gorga said. Sales are commissionable to agents at 10 percent. “We are the first full-service tour operator to add this type of product to our portfolio and we are going to do everything we can to build agents awareness of the potential of the villa vacations market, including hands on support from our professional staff.”
Travel Impressions has already launched an education and training program for agents and Gorga urges agents to look at the Villa Vacations website (http://villas.travimp.com) to see the appeals of the properties. Complete descriptions, prices and multiple photos are included.
Gorga, who has led Travel Impressions for the last nine years, also notes that the online Virtual Villa Rental Catalogue can be linked directly to an agents website allowing clients to browse the options.
“We have coupled the formidable destination expertise of our staff with this new program that includes trained Villa Concierge specialists to help personalize the new service,” Gorga said.
As reported, Travel Impressions has also named a veteran of the vacation villa market, Robert Eastman, to head up the operation.
Eastman said that webinars are planned to train agents as well as other training opportunities that will be announced. An average rental involves four travelers and prices range from under $1,000 on up. “There is also a strong repeat business and referral element in villa rentals,” he said.
Travel Impressions will also work closely with agency marketing groups to encourage agent involvement in the program. “Villa Vacations is especially appealing to groups which, based on our experience over the past year, is the fastest growing sector of the market.," Gorga said. “Its also worth reminding our agents that Travel Impressions does not sell directly to the pubic. Our travel agents are our key distribution channel including the home based independents. To us agents matter greatly and their support and confidence is basic.”
A major strength of the new Villa Vacations program is its ability to be matched up with the needs of other market niches including family vacations, reunions, honeymoons and weddings – even certain types of corporate travelers. “The program offers lots of choices and has broad appeal - to the luxury market as well as the budget conscious traveler,” Gorga said.
Gorga said that Travel Impressions was enjoying a record year of sales growth - in the 60 percent range - and that he was optimistic that 2011 could be as good. He urges travel agents to visit the villa vacations website to view the diversity of villas available and to sign up for the Villa Experience newsletter that will inform them of new properties and marketing opportunities.