FUNJET VACATIONS, which recently adopted the tagline "Do something you'll never forget," did something for six top-producing agents that they'll never forget: awarded them big-ticket prizes, including a new SUV.
Travel Agent was onsite for Funjet's agent appreciation event last month in Las Vegas, where the wholesaler reiterated its marketing plans and Vegas' prominence in its product line. Funjet is moving away from marketing travel as a commodity and instead selling its as experientially motivated, as reflected in the new slogan. The company has built an online community with its Vacation Memory Exchange on www.funjet.com, where customers post photos and stories from their vacations.
Expansion is focused more on promotion than product. "Rather than going into new destinations, we're looking to expand our marketing efforts," said Dave Coughlin, Funjet's director of partner and destination marketing. He said Las Vegas is second only to Cancun as Funjet's best-selling destination (Puerto Vallarta and Jamaica follow in popularity).
John M. Meyer, leisure sales executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told us that 40,000 hotel rooms will be added in his city by the end of the decade, bringing the total room inventory up to 175,000.
'A really fun event'
Forty-two of the top-selling agents for Funjet attended the Las Vegas celebration. "It's great the way the Las Vegas hotel community, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Funjet have come together to create a really fun event for agents," Funjet president Ray Snisky said at the welcome reception at Rouge in the MGM Grand. The following evening, agents and suppliers were recognized amid holiday fanfare at the Fashion Show Mall, where the prize drawings were held.
After Santa Claus danced onstage with scantily clad female elves at the Fashion Show Mall, Snisky took center stage and explained how Funjet had designated a particular supplier to be featured each month from June to October. Those suppliers sponsored the prize for their month's top-selling agent.
Kathy Duerr from All Inclusive Vacations in Milwaukee won a Philips 42-inch plasma TV from MGM Mirage. Jodi Moretti of Carlson Wagonlit/Discovery World Travel in Manitowoc, WI, received Callaway golf clubs and a round of golf for two plus a one-night stay at Wynn Las Vegas, courtesy of the resort. Nancy Pearson of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Prior Lake, MN, won a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Art Nittskoff of Gamble America in Cleveland was awarded a $2,000 Macy's gift card from Harrah's Entertainment. Ginger Wachniak of Travel Visions in Milwaukee won four one-week luxury or convertible car rentals from Alamo.
Each of the 42 agents then opened a small gift-wrapped box. Five of them found a key inside emblazoned with the Alamo logo. One by one, they tried their key in the ignition of a GMC Acacia crossover SUV. The first three keys failed.
Then Colleen Itzin of Carlson Wagonlit in Beaver Dam, WI—who had almost canceled her plans to go to Vegas—got behind the wheel and the vehicle started. Itzin's fiancé, Dana Hecker, had traveled with her; it was his grandmother and Itzin's 7-year old daughter who'd persuaded her to make the trip. "Vegas is one of the easiest destinations to sell," said Itzin. "Everyone enjoys coming here." —MARK ROGERS