Onsite: The TRADESHOW Rolls On

LAS VEGAS- Travel Agent's Mark Rogers reports on the new TRAMS Marketing Alliance, new programs at Travel Agent University and more from the floor on the last day of The TRADESHOW Travel Retailing and Destination Show, held in part by the American Society of Travel Agents. We sat down with Scott Koepf, general manager of Jurni, and Lee Rosen, president of TRAMS Marketing Advantage, to discuss Sabre Holdings' consolidation of the two companies to form TRAMS Marketing Alliance, which was announced at The TRADESHOW.

Koepf is the marketing guru, and Rosen, the master of all things data. The merger gives agents a new company that combines targeted marketing with customer data management. The joint company will employ high-level database segmentation processes and narrowly target an agent's customers with the products they're most likely to buy.

"Agents don't look to consortia for technology," Koepf said. "We can market to consumers on behalf of travel agents." Each agency that becomes part of TMA has access to its own marketing manager. "It's a turnkey operation, but the more effort the agent puts in, the better the return," Rosen said. Visit [www.trams.com].

During a breakfast event highlighting tour options in Korea, the Korean National Tourism Organization teased the news that an online Korean Specialist Program will debut within three months on Travel Agent University.

In other news at the show, ASTA announced the 2008 International Destination Expo will take place April 12-16 in Lyon, France at the Lyon Convention Center.

On the trade floor, we ran into John T. Peters, vice president of business development for Endless Vacation Rentals. The company is celebrating its one-year anniversary of Vacation Rentals 4 Agents, which has commissionable vacation rentals that include villa, cottages, homes and resort condominiums around the world. Since its launch last year, Vacation Rentals 4 Agents has received more than 13,000 new agent registrations.

"Agents finally found a product their customers needed," Peters explained of the company's success. "Their customers are looking for space-that's what's driving the growth."

Peters said his product is for people who find that the traditional hotel room just doesn't work for them anymore. Vacation Rentals 4 Agents began with properties in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Italy, and recently added cottages in the United Kingdom. The company pays 10 percent commission, which can jump to 20 percent on special promotions. Visit [www.vacationrentals4agents.com].

An unusual new product with a booth at the show is Hollywood TV Star Fantasy Camp. The Los Angeles-based company sells a five-day program that professionally replicates the experience of acting on a TV show, operating on the same principals as fantasy baseball or rock star camps. The price tag is a hefty $12,735 per person and includes hotel, meals, limo and a 25-minute DVD. Tommy Burke, founder of the company, is a Hollywood professional with 20 years of experience in front of the camera. Burke says his camp is great for team-building exercises and that he's in the process of developing a two-day program. The company pays 10 percent commission. Visit [www.hollywoodtvstarfantasycamp.com].


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