Friday Briefing: ASTA Deal at CoNexion, Princess Raises Gratuities

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A host of announcements from this year’s CoNexion conference, Princess Cruises’ plans to raise daily gratuities and another strike on the horizon for Europe air travel are the travel industry headlines you should be watching this morning. Take a look. 

What’s New at CoNexion 2016

Nexion’s CoNexion 2016 conference is in high gear, and this morning has seen a number of announcements from the event. 

First off is a new agreement with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) that will make Nexion the first host agency to implement a direct enroll program for its network. Under the terms of the agreement, Nexion agency members will be able to make monthly payments for $17 for ASTA membership. Nexion will also promote ASTA’s recently-introduced $199 independent contractor (IC) rate, which is available for all agents affiliated with a Premium Member agency or who are active members of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA). The agreement is set for two years. 

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The event also provided an opportunity for Nexion to update agents on its technology overhaul, which was first announced one year ago. The myNexion platform will replace the organization’s current WebView portal as a one-stop shop for Nexion’s resources for independent travel agents, ranging from corporate to leisure travel. New tools will include pinSIGHT, the hotel portal from parent company Travel Leaders Group’s Hotel Division; the SNAP! commissionable air booking program; and CruisePRO, which allows Nexion agents to sell commissionable cruise offerings through an affiliation with Vacation.com. Additionally, the portal will allow access to a customized version of AgentMate, a proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing tool offered by Vacation.com but tailored for Nexion, as well as the newly enhanced NexionTown community. 

Finally, Nexion announced plans for a series of “Get Your Niche On” specialization summits beginning this fall and continuing throughout 2017. Topics covered will include corporate travel, luxury travel, group travel, and romance travel, as well as a broader-themed summit to assist agents with marketing and sales. The multi-day business development summits will include: 

  • Group Travel Sales Summit (October 7-9, 2016) – Devoted to agents who are building successful group travel sales. The Group Travel Sales Summit will be offered again in 2017.
  • Luxury Travel Sales Summit (November 11-13, 2016) – Invitation-only for Nexion’s luxury-oriented agents. The Luxury Travel Sales Summit will be offered again in 2017.
  • Corporate CoNexion (June 9-11, 2017) – Invitation-only for corporate travel agents.
  • Romance Travel Sales Summit (2017) – For agents specializing in honeymoon, destination weddings and romantic getaways
  • Marketing and Sales Summit (2017) – Hosted by Nexion President Jackie Friedman, this summit will offer agents a chance to hone their marketing skillsets

CoNexion 2016 will run through September 17 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California.

Princess Cruises to Raise Daily Gratuities for Second Time

In cruise news, Princess Cruises is planning to raise daily gratuities, marking the second increase from the line in 2016, Cruise Critic reports. The most recent increase took place in January. 

Under the new plan, for all cruises departing on or after December 15, the service charge will increase from $12.95 to $13.50 for interior, ocean view and balcony cabin passengers, both adults and children, while mini-suite and Club Class passengers will be charged $14.50 and passengers in suites will be charged $15.50. 

Another Europe Air Travel Strike on the Horizon? 

In air travel news, shortly after this week’s air traffic controller strike in Paris snarled flights, news comes of another strike brewing on the horizon for Lufthansa’s Eurowings division. According to Bloomberg, talks between Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s pilot union and the airline group on pay, pensions and promotions have failed, with the union saying it could call for a walkout at the airline. Similar strikes in 2014 and 2015 cancelled hundreds of flights and caused the airline group to lose 463 million euros in profit. Watch this space for further updates. 

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And keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates. 

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