|Ken Pomerantz (left) chief marketing officer of MLT Vacations, and Larry Chestler, chief operating officer of MLT Vacations|
A 30-percent rise in total business from last year; the integration of partners, Continental Airlines Vacations and United Airlines Vacations; increased offerings in both Costa RicaBelize and and a new agreement with both Air France and Alitalia Vacations all spell out one fact: It's been a great year for MLT Vacations.
Travel Agent attended the 18th annual MLT University, hosted by MLT Vacations, where roughly 500 more agents attended, compared to last year's show.
"I think that's a direct impact of our partnership we made last year with United Vacations," says Ken Pomerantz, president and chief marketing officer for MLT Vacations. "We have a lot of agents coming from those United markets that didn't have that option last year. It's just great to see that agents continue to see what an educational tool this show can be for them."
At the tradeshow's Presidential Forum, hosted by both Pomerantz and Larry Chestler, president and chief operating officer of MLT Vacations, the company reported revenue growth of more than 30 percent for 2011. Pomerantz says, however, that although most of MLT's partners have faired well in 2011, Continental Airlines Vacations' Mexico bookings have been "really soft."
"We think this will change next year," Pomerantz says. "We don't think Mexico will just come right back. It will be a slow process, but we expect Mexico demand to pick up because we really believe we hit the bottom."
The merger between United Airlines' and Continental Airlines' products and offerings was officially announced, sparking optimism for growth in MLT Vacations's Caribbean customers.
The new partnership will perhaps have the most impact on the Caribbean since United markets will now have access to Continental's airlift to the region. This could open up new markets to the Caribbean for MLT Vacations, including Chicago, Houston, Washington, Dallas, Boston and more.
"Obviously, this is going to be very big for markets that now have access to a quick, one-stop flights to the Caribbean when they didn't have this option before," says Ken Pomerantz, president and chief marketing officer of MLT Vacations. "The Caribbean continues to be big business for us, so we are always adding more islands and looking to expand."
In other MLT news, the operator announced that it will be offering both Air France and Alitalia Vacations, beginning January 1, 2012. Those products will be incorporated under the company's Delta Vacations Europe umbrella.
We were told MLT will be adding five new excursions in Costa Rica as well as five new hotels, although we did not get the names of the new properties. One of the new tour offerings will be a hiking tour, followed by a canopy tour, ending with a stop at some natural hot springs for some much needed relaxation.
"Latin America continues to be one of the hottest regions in the world and Costa Rica is one of the hottest spots in that region, so MLT is pretty pleased that we are able to expand our product there," Pomerantz says.
MLT also recently added a new honeymoon program in Costa Rica as well as a new luxury program. And that's not all the fast-moving operator is doing in Latin America. MLT is also also expanding its Belize offerings by offering several dive products.
Pomerantz attributed MLT's growth in Central and South America to a partnership it made at last year's MLT University when it announced a new agreement with Globus Tours, which has a healthy portfolio in Latin America.
As far as next year goes?
MLT is looking into several initiatives, including the implementation of a new price matching program, in which the company will match the prices by competing tour operators like Classic Vacations and FunJet Vacations. MLT is also looking to create bridal kits for clients getting married. It would include discounts and coupon offerings. MLT is also looking to implement more lenient payment and cancel policies.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on MLT University.