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John McMahon with Ron Cerko

John McMahon and VP of Travel Industry Relations for Enterprise Ron Cerko

Agents always ask me: How can I make more money? What are the hot destinations? What should I be doing that I am not doing?

My answer to them lately has been sell what everyone else isn’t selling—that is, what the industry traditionally describes as the drive market or local market. In New York City, where I am based, that would be places like Maine, Vermont, the Poconos, the Catskills, the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons. You all could rattle off similar areas that are within a 500-mile radius of your home.

When talking to the tourism community in these areas the thought of travel agent business is not on their radar. When talking with consumers, using a travel agent has not occurred to them either. So there lies the opportunity.  As I search for my drive vacation this summer, I sure could use some expertise and recommendations. But before you run off and tackle this untapped market, you need to educate yourself and create sample itineraries with recommended activities.

These types of holidays are not like you book an airline ticket and an all-inclusive resort and you are done. And the great news is that your target clientele is your current one. All you have to do is approach them, start making recommendations and ask for the business.

Many will rent cars as well for these types of activities. I recently played a round of golf with Ron Cerko, vice president, Travel Industry Relations for Enterprise Holdings, operators of National, Alamo, Enterprise and WeCar. Enterprise Holdings is the largest rental car company in the world. We had the pleasure of playing at Winged Foot Country Club, site of the 2006 U.S. Open.

Many family drive vacations will rent from companies like Enterprise, because they don’t want the wear and tear on their personal vehicle. And best of all, your client doesn’t have to worry about getting the sand out of the car.

Enjoy your summer!