| Brendan Vacations' Gary Murphy with the company's 1,800-page brochure
As the home-based sector continues to grow, many of the key suppliers out there are taking notice and actively courting these agents. This week Gary Murphy, president of Brendan Vacations, a leader in worldwide escorted tours, stopped by our New York offices to reinforce that message. “We are really seeing the value of home-based, or independent, agents,” he told us. To that end, Brendan Vacations has been focusing on this segment of the industry with targeted marketing materials.
“We’ve launched a series of webinars for home-based agents,” said Murphy. “We feel the Web solution is the most effective way to reach them.” The typical webinar will focus on a specific destination, with input from an expert on the region as well as Murphy himself available to talk about Brendan’s offers. The live webinar sessions allow agents the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback, but they are also recorded for agents to experience at a later date. So far, Murphy has been working mainly with host agencies, such as America’s Vacation Center and Cruise Planners, with whom Brendan does a monthly webinar, but he notes that “while we can take up to 1,000 calls per webinar, I’m happy to do one for a group as small as 10.”
Besides getting valuable information, there’s an added incentive for home-based agents to attend a Brendan webinar. “Agents will get a 2 percent discount coupon on a future trip,” says Murphy. “If an agent attends 10 webinars per year, that’s an extra 20 percent discount. And that’s in addition to our standard 50 percent discount for agents.”
Brendan Vacations has also put together an impressive selling piece for home-based agents: its 1,800-page brochure covering all of its destinations and itineraries in one comprehensive volume. While the Web may be the most effective way to reach agents, there is often no substitute for the time-proven power of print, allowing agents to have a detailed reference at their deskside at all times. All of Brendan’s brochures can be ordered from the company’s website and are also available electronically to view or download.
“Our goal is to reach out to these independent agents and offer them training and education,” he says.
Murphy has been known to compare his company—which has been in business nearly 40 years and serves destinations ranging from Europe to Australia to Africa—to a Swiss army knife, noting that “we’re handy to have around, and always there to offer creative alternatives.” These days, that’s just what home-based agents are looking for.