MAC Chat: An interview with Elena Muñoz, Confortel Hoteles

by Sheona 4/29/2010 9:18:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

Sponsored by: 

 
     
     
 

This week's  MAC Chat features our interview with Elena Munoz, eCommerce and Distribution Manager for Confortel Hoteles, Barcelona SP.

 

For more information visit: http://www.confortelhoteles.com


The What makes Confortel Hotels distinct from other hotels?
At Confortel Hoteles we are specialist in making your stay a unique experience. Find our hotels in the most attractive locations of the city. We offer an excellent service designed for you. You can enjoy free WiFi for work, for fun or for anything you may need.

How far are the hotels from the tourist sites?
Feel like a movie star at Confortel Almirante, it is just a few steps away from Woody Allen’s film "Vicky, Cristina and Barcelona" locations. The cathedral is also a few steps away from us, right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter.

If you are looking for a hotel near the beach, choose Confortel Barcelona, located in the Olympic village where athletes were housed during the Olympics in 1992 where a total of 32 Olympic and 73 world records were broken.

At Confortel Bel Art you will find a place to relax and enjoy art. Exhibitions of contemporary artists are often held in our hotel. We are near to Gaudi's (the greatest exponent of Catalan modernist architecture) masterpiece the “Sagrada Familia”.

Confortel Auditori is situated next to the Ciudadela Park, the perfect place to experience nature and environment. Also, do not do not forget to complete the experience by walking to the Zoo; it is just 5 minutes away!

Are your hotels locally owned and operated?
Confortel Hoteles is a hotel chain owned by the ONCE Business Corporation; it was founded 17 years ago and currently manages 18 hotels. Most of them are four stars and distributed by the Peninsula and the Balearics. 

Confortel has always intended to be a highly competitive company in terms of facility upgrades in the range of the "four star" and is committed to offer a comprehensive, individualized and high quality service to all customers. 

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with the Travel Agents?
Absolutely! For a limited time we have our promotion Great Rate and Value at all Confortel Hoteles which includes: Free WiFi, Taxes and 15% Commission. *Good through July 7, 2010

How can a Travel Agent book Confortel Hoteles? 
In GDS using our codes as follows:

Confortel Almirante
Amadeus: BCNCAL, Galileo: 28, 
Sabre: 20191, WorldSpan: BCNGA

Confortel Auditori
Amadeus: BCNCAD, Galileo: 85775, 
Sabre: 39911, WorldSpan: 44085

Confortel Barcelona
Amadeus: BCN780, Galileo: 84043, 
Sabre: 31850, WorldSpan: 44780

Confortel Bel Art
Amadeus: BCNBEL, Galileo: 52252, 
Sabre: 58759, WorldSpan: BCNBE

Great Rate and Value can be booked in our website Confortel Hoteles, simply go to Reservations, click on the tab Travel Agents and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 


Thank you Elena for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Eddie Cooper; Eo Inn & Spa

by Sheona 4/22/2010 8:39:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

 

 
     
     
 

This week's MAC Chat features our interview with Eddie Cooper, General Manager of Eo Inn & Spa. 



For more information: http://www.eoinn.com


What is unique about the Eo Inn's location?
The Eõ Inn & Spa is a small boutique hotel located downtown Orlando on the old-world brick streets of a charming area called Eola South. Situated on the southeast corner of Lake Eola Park, it is just a block away to the famous Thornton Park where many local shops and restaurants thrive. The park is populated daily with walkers & runners enjoying the ¾ mile paved path around the lake observing the gardens with dozens of bird species that reside there. There is a newly renovated playground entertaining children. Most major downtown festivals and events takes place at Lake Eola Park, including a wonderful farmer's market every Sunday.

What are some important features of the Eo Inn?
The Eõ Inn & Spa has 17 smartly decorated rooms each with its own private bath. All rooms offer a queen size bed or a king size bed. Our newest room, The Summerlin, offers two queen size beds. The balcony rooms have a quaint covered patio perfect for relaxing outside. Views of downtown and Lake Eola Park are available. Panera Bread restaurant is located on the first floor and room service is available to all guests during front desk hours. There is a 24 hour innkeeper available on site or just a phone call away. Other amenities include voice mail, robes, iron/ironing board, hairdryers and cable tv with HBO. 

What services are offered in the Eo Spa? 
Eõ Inn & Spa has a full service day spa offering massages, facials, waxing, relaxing body wraps, spa manicures and spa pedicures. The award winning spa is very popular with the local community and hotel guests alike. Spa parties have become a favorite for our patrons and staff. The Eõ Inn & Spa also has a jacuzzi on its second floor and pool access at our sister property.

What makes the Eo Inn appealing to travelers?
This inn is perfect for couples and corporate travelers. Wedding parties, family reunions, and other groups may want to consider taking the entire 17 room property to provide a very personal memorable experience for all. Anyone who enjoys privacy in a relaxed chic atmosphere will appreciate this inn. This is not your typical chain hotel. The Eõ Inn & Spa gives every guest a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness that can only be found in a smaller privately owned establishment. The Eõ Inn & Spa has recently been praised and published in Travel + Leisure, Southern Living, USA Today, and other nationally received publications over the past ten years. In addition, the Eõ Inn & Spa has won multiple local awards making it a household name for the downtown community.

What Complimentary Amenities does the Eo Inn offer?
We offer complimentary Wifi Internet and Parking, which is truly unique in the downtown Orlando area.

Thank you Eddie for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Cristina Colomer, Royal Ramblas Hotel

by Sheona 4/20/2010 9:16:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

Sponsored by: 

 
     
     
 

This week's  MAC Chat features our interview with Cristina Colomer, Sales Manager for Royal Ramblas Hotel in Barcelona, SP.

 

For more information visit: http://www.royalramblashotel.com


Why is Royal Ramblas the ideal choice for travelers?
The Royal Ramblas is set in the heart of Barcelona’s lively Las Ramblas. The most important boulevard of the city where we can find the Opera House Liceu, the famous Market “La Boqueria”, the human statues and the bohemian painters.
The hotel, offers 119 recently renovated rooms, all non smoking and some with amazing views to Ramblas.

Our multilingual staff will welcome you. They will try to make your stay unforgettable and to please your needs, helping in anything you ask for.
We also want to remark that the building is entirely smoke-free, which is nowadays very much appreciated.

What activities can you recommend while visiting your hotel?
The hotel is ideally located for visiting the most interesting places of Barcelona which are a short walk away: The modernist quarter where main Gaudi’s building are located, the Gothic Quarter with the Cathedral and old city, the beach, the coastline, the Old harbor where Columbus monument stands…

The bus and metro stop (2 lines) is 50 meters walking from the hotel. It means that we are strategically located if you want to visit Barcelona. 

Do your rooms have free WiFi/Internet access? 
All rooms have WiFi internet access. It works with prepaid cards: 24 hours (approx. 18 EUR) or 45 minutes (approx. 9 EUR) 

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with the Travel Agents?
Our Great Rate and Value Promotion is 15% commissionable. Visit our website for further packages promotions like the Cruise Package with transfers included: www.royalramblashotel.com 

How can a Travel Agent book Royal Ramblas?
In GDS using our codes: Amadeus: BCNROY, Galileo: 3872, Sabre: 5595, WorldSpan: 2776

Great Rate and Value can be booked in our website www.royalramblashotel.com, go to Reservations, click on the tab Travel Agents and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate.

Thank you Cristina for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Pascual Melendez, Hotel Front Maritim

by Sheona 4/16/2010 6:23:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

Sponsored by: 

 
     
     
 

This week's  MAC Chat features our interview with Pascual Melendez , Sales Manager for Hotel Front Maritim.

 

For more information visit: http://www.gbbhotels.com/hotelfrontmaritim


What will clients experience at your hotel?
The GBB Hotel Front Maritim is located in the heart of Barcelona’s business and financial district in the Sant Marti quarter. The hotel is just a few minutes walk to the CCIB convention center and Marbella Beach. In the immediate vicinity of the hotel are the underground stations of Selva de Mar, restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel has 177 guestrooms, one restaurant, a bar, meeting and conference rooms and a gym with steam and sauna facilities.

What activities/places are nearby for clients to enjoy? 
Bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Barcelona’s city beaches to the south, the up-and-coming district of Sant Martí boasts impressive, state-of-the-art buildings, and a trendy, non-stop nightlife. After spending the morning on the beach, head onto the leafy Rambla de Poble Nou to sample some tapas in one of the numerous, authentic and intimate restaurants in this traditional area. Then stroll down the tree-lined Diagonal Avenue in the afternoon, stopping off for some serious shopping in Glòries and Diagonal Mar. In the evening, start with a relaxing drink on the terrace of a bar, before venturing to a trendy cocktail bar, or top nightclub. 

Is there any advantage to staying at your hotel rather than other ones in the area?
Absolutely! The GBB Hotel Front Mairitm has 177 rooms with direct telephone line, internet connection, satellite TV, air conditioning, full bathrooms with bathtub or shower and hair dryer. Some of them adapted for handicapped people and some with sea views. In the hotel you can enjoy our fitness room, with cardio machines, sauna and steam bath, completely free for our clients. Also you can use our business centre with computers connected to internet complimentary and our restaurant where you will taste a large variety of Mediterranean cuisine. There is parking available in the same building. 
The hotel has 6 meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment, natural light, in front of the sea and high speed internet connection. They are the ideal place for the celebration of your meetings, conventions, banquets and all kinds of social events. 

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with the Travel Agents?
Yes, our hotel is offering our promotion Great Rate and Value which includes 5% discount off BAR, Free High Speed Internet and 10% commission. 

How can a Travel Agent book GBB Hotel Front Maritim?
In GDS using our codes: Amadeus: BCNAFM, Galileo: 35376, Sabre: 58036, WorldSpan: FROM

In our website Hotel Front Maritim go to Reservations, click on the tab Travel Agents and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 


Thank you Pascual for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Pascual Melendez, GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona

by Sheona 4/16/2010 6:12:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

Sponsored by: 

 
     
     
 

This week's  MAC Chat features our interview with Pascual Melendez , Sales Manager for the GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona.

 

For more information visit: http://www.ggbhotels.com


What are some of the key selling features of your hotel?
GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona opened in the beginning of 2010. This smart and stylish hotel is located in the up-market area of district 22, near Bogatell beach which from the 1992 Olympics, this area has become a magnet for Barcelonans and visitors alike. Just a short walk from the Hotel on la Rambla de Poble Nou you can find also many popular restaurants and bars where you can enjoy delicious “tapas”. 

The 142 air-conditioned guest rooms are equipped with complimentary wireless and cable internet connection, direct line telephone, ensuite bathroom and some offer splendid views of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Why is your hotel the ideal choice for travelers?
You will find an extremely helpful and cheerful Staff, to help you in all your needs to make a memorable staying. 
GBB Grup Best Hotels mission is always to serve our clients to guarantee a special experience. 

Tell the Travel Agents why they should book your hotel:
At GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona you will find all you need to have a great experience. The rooms are spacious and attractively designed and enjoy WiFi internet connection, dine at GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona's restaurant which serves a menu with Mediterranean touches. There is also a smaller cafeteria from which you can enjoy our snacks. 
Make the most of the free fitness centre, which also has a sauna and Jacuzzi to enjoy after a good work out. Complete with Turkish bath and massage treatments.
The GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona has numerous meeting rooms available making it an ideal place for congresses and business events.

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with the Travel Agents?
Of course, our hotel is offering our promotion Great Rate and Value that includes a 5% discount off BAR, Free WiFi and 10% commission. 

How can a Travel Agent book GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona?
In GDS using our codes: Amadeus: BCN4BA, Galileo: 62226, Sabre: 117883, WorldSpan: 73806

In our website GBB Hotel 4 Barcelona go to Reservations, click on the tab Travel Agents and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

Thank you Pascual for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Sharon Concepcion, Luxury Travel Network

by Sheona 4/15/2010 6:19:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

 

 
     
     
 

This week's  MAC Chat features our interview with Sharon Concepcion, Operations Manager for Luxury Travel Network.

 

For more information visit: http://www.luxurytravelnetwork.com



Can you describe the Luxury Travel Network independent contractor program? 
The Luxury Travel Network host agency program offers experienced luxury agents an opportunity to sell high-end cruises and tours while enjoying the benefits of belonging to a premium luxury agency. The program is operated by Cruise Specialists, and offers our agents a Virtuoso affiliation, high commissions, preferred rates and exclusive amenities for their clients.

What type of benefits do the Luxury Travel Network members receive through the Virtuoso Affiliate Program? 
Virtuoso member affiliates benefit from intricate consumer direct-marketing campaigns, specialized training and accreditation programs, added-value arrangements with leading travel providers, unparalleled access to specialized travel experts, and detailed information regarding destinations and travel services. Through Virtuoso, Luxury Travel Network members earn desirable booking incentives and rewards and receive special amenities for their clients such as shipboard credits and complimentary shore excursions. 

Can any agent join the Luxury Travel Network program? 
An agent must be able to demonstrate a proven luxury travel sales record to be approved to join the Luxury Travel Network. 

What unique services do you offer to your independent contractors? 
Being part of Travel Leaders Group allows our Luxury Travel Network to provide our contractors with the dependability and financial backing of a large company, while offering them personal support from our highly experienced team of luxury travel professionals. 

Through our size and tremendous buying power, we are able to offer our contractors high commissions, innovative technology and access to sell exclusive cruises and tours. Other unique benefits of belonging to the Luxury Travel Network include complete GDS support and assistance, access to a significant number of air commission contracts and complimentary back-up coverage when an agent is out of the office.

What types of technology do Luxury Travel Members have access to? 
Luxury agents receive access to our proprietary TravelConnect client management and reporting software, the Sabre Cruises tool, and several GDS programs at no additional charge. Agents use TravelConnect to manage their clients, bookings, commissions, groups, financials and much more in one location. They can easily report their bookings, generate invoices and produce sales and commission tracking reports.

The Sabre Cruises tool allows agents to review and book cruises from 13 cruise lines all in one convenient place. Luxury Travel Network members can use this tool to view fares, commissions, negotiated and group rates, itineraries, and special services for each of our participating cruise vendors to help match their clients with the right cruise for them. 

What types of training and networking events are offered to Luxury Travel Network members? 
In addition to the specialized marketing and destination training members receive directly from Virtuoso, they receive continuous GDS education and training on TravelConnect, and invitations to weekly live webinars featuring product introductions and updates from premium and luxury cruise lines and tour operators. Members are also invited to attend an exclusive annual travel convention where they receive in depth Virtuoso training, meet preferred luxury cruise and tour vendors, and network with other luxury agents specializing in a variety of niche markets. 

Thank you Vickie for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Nick Giammusso, VIP Seats

by Sheona 4/13/2010 5:49:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

  

 
     
     
 

This week's MAC Chat features our interview with Nick Giammusso, President /
Co-Founder of VIP Seats.  



For more information: http://www.vipseats.com



What's the "hot" ticket right now?
Everywhere I go I get asked this question over and over. You can find 
this information on our homepage by visiting www.vipseats.com. Under 
the three Sports-Concerts & Theater headings you will find the Top 20 
Most Popular events for the week. The Boston Red Sox, Justin Berber and 
Wicked hold the #1 spots as the most popular events in North America 
this week! We are currently re-branding ourselves. VIP Seats has just 
this week unveiled our new logo and brand new website that we feel is 
one of the best in the ticket business.

How can my Travel Agency benefit from VIP Seats' services? 
We pay commissions! We specialize in premium seating to sold out events
worldwide. We have found that event tickets are true compliments to
travel. We're event ticket specialists! What we hear from Agents all 
over the world is that they're looking for someone in our business they 
can trust! I can tell you today as you're reading this, that you have 
now found someone in the ticket business you can trust! We've been at 
this for over 16 years now. We have over 5,000 registered Travel 
Agents! You can sign up to become an affiliate of VIP Seats online and 
start earning commissions today.

Does VIP Seats handle International Events? 
Yes! In the last 90 days we have booked event tickets and packages to 
such prestigious international events as the 2010 Winter Olympics- 
Vancouver, FIFA 2010 World Cup Soccer- South Africa, French Open- Paris,
Wimbledon- London, Sumo Wrestling- Japan, Serie A Soccer- Italy,
Premiership Soccer- England, Formula One- Montreal & U2- Rome.

Does VIP Seats send out a Newsletter?
Our clients have always craved information! As an organization we
haven't always been very good at that. Today, Social Networking gives 
us the opportunity to open those lines of communication with our 
clients. Facebook is an amazing tool on so many different fronts. As 
an example, we can offer 'Last Minute Specials' and concert 
announcements to all of our Facebook Fans with a few quick keystrokes. 
I strongly suggest you become a Facebook Fan of VIP Seats!! You've also 
probably received our Mailpound emails over the years. We have come to 
realize that Agents are more likely to open an email from Mailpound so 
we'll keep sending them! 

What make VIP Seats so different from all those other online ticket 
company's?
Service! You call and we actually answer the phone. Sounds simple but 
it's true. The last thing any Agent wants to do is lose a big client 
over an event ticket order. If we say we're going to deliver your 
tickets to your client's London Hotel we will! We do it time and time 
again! We treat our clients like Gold! In our industry, we have 
definitely carved out a "niche" in the Travel Industry. We under 
promise and over. We've had a working relationship with almost all of 
the major credit card companies concierge side of the business that 
includes MasterCard, Citibank VISA, Discover & Carte Blanche. In fact,
our website is directly linked to the Citi Cards website. They trust 
us, shouldn't you? 

Thank you Nick for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Fiona Prosser, Celtic Dream Tours

by Sheona 4/11/2010 10:00:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

 

 
     
     
 

This week's MAC Chat features our interview with Fiona Prosser, Owner/President of Celtic Dream Tours. 



For more information: http://www.celticdreamtours.com


What will clients experience on our tours?
Firstly Celtic Dream Tours Inc. is a small niche tour operator, licensed and insured in the state of Florida and has been around for 11 years. We specialize in tour to Scotland and have just added Ireland this year. Our tours are unique and give our clients a very fun and friendly time, like travelling with family and friends, however not having to drive themselves and miss all the great scenery. I organize, book and direct all our tours myself, so they are very personal to me. I make sure that everyone is
having a good time and happy with everything along the way. We take our clients in small groups of no more than 14 people to the backroads and off the beaten track of Scotland and Ireland. Yes, we include some of the major tourist attractions in each
location, but we also take them to places that larger groups don’t go or can’t go too. We also stay in historical properties, castles,mansions and Boutique city hotels so they get the feeling of the country, not just big American Style hotels.


What makes you unique from other tour companies?
I think because we are small and specialize in only 2 countries, we create very unique trips for our clients, we make it very clear what is included and what isn’t, and we don’t have add on’s so the client knows exactly what they are paying for and what they still need to pay for while enroute. Plus our groups are smaller than most other companies, so it’s much more like travelling with friends and family. It doesn’t take ages to get everyone off the coach at each stop, and we don’t depart until 9.30 each morning, so no one is rushed around. Clients have time to enjoy their breakfast, go on a walk, explore the grounds of the hotel etc. And we nearly always get to our hotels by about 5.30 pm.. Our thoughts are that even though you are on a tour, you are still on vacation and are there to enjoy yourselves and have a fun time. Our Unique Distinctive journeys inc. Heritage, adventure, History and Discovery, and to be honest they are not suited to people who cannot walk around quite a bit and get around easily.

What is included in your tours? 
If you go to our website www.celticdreamtours.com you can see all tours listed with full itinerary and at the bottom of each page it tells you exactly what is included, but basically it includes, Full breakfast daily, services of a luxury coach and professional driver, local guides and services of Tour Director., Approx. half the dinners, entry into all sites (unless listed it’s not, which is only on our Free days in Glasgow or Edinburgh) and all taxes, porterage, and gratuities on inc. meals. Also we stop and go into all sites, we don’t just drive by or stop And take photos… We also don’t offer optional extra price things to do, it’s all included!

What destinations do you go to? 
I used to live in Scotland so that is what got me started in this industry. We’ve been doing small group luxury tours to Scotland since 1999, this year we added in Ireland also. In 2011 we have trips to Ireland that also includes Northern Ireland.  We do soft adventure trips, they all have a theme, and we have added back in our Hogmanay Trip to Scotland (New Year’s Eve) where we attend a 3 night house Party, and we have also just created a Christmas Shopping trip to Ireland and Scotland and we also have a trip again xext year to Ireland for St Patrick’s Day! 

Do you have any FAMs? 
Not FAMS as such, but we offer 40% FAM discount on all of our tours, 2 spaces per tour, for an agent to share with another agent, or a family member, spouse, etc. This way they are travelling along on our regular tours and to be honest none of the other clients know they got a discount and they are not treated any different… We have quite a few FAM spaces booked already this summer, this is the first year of this program also. And the good thing is, when the agent has finished the tour, they then qualify for 15% commission instead of our normal 10% on all further bookings. 

Are you currently offering any specials? 
Not sure if you can call this a special but we have just come up with a new concept in the industry that I don’t think anyone else is doing. We have called it our Pick Your Package Program. Similar to the way cruise ships operate, some people in inside cabins, some in Balconies, some suites, we realize that people want smaller groups but don’t always want the Posh Hotels that we use. Our Pick Your Package Program has two levels, Platinum which is our normal Posh 4 and 5 star hotels, and Bronze is an option to do the same tour but stay in 3 star hotels and save a significant amount of money. Only other difference is not quite as many dinners inc. But we find that most of our clients don’t want a big 3 or 4 course dinner every night, plus they want to go off on their own, which is why we don’t include dinners every night anyway. I think it’s a great opportunity for clients who want our product, but not to pay as much, they will now have an option on all our tours. 

Thank you Fiona for that great interview!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Vicky Garcia, Cruise Planners

by Patti 4/5/2010 3:41:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 

 
     
     
 

This week's MAC Chat features our interview with Vicky Garcia, ACC, SVP, Sales and Marketing of Cruise Planners.. 


Cruise Planners celebrates with RCI Executives after winning 'Home-based Partner of the Year' in February at the China Grill Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale

For more information: http://www.cruiseplanners.com



Cruise Planners was recently recognized in the Entrepreneur's Top 500 Franchise list. Congratulations on being recognized as one of the most innovative Franchises for 2010!
Thank you Patti. It truly is an honor that we take very seriously as Entrepreneur puts so much into this and truly looks a myriad of factors when recognizing Franchisors. They look at overall company financial statements, growth, Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) strength, overall sales, attrition and so much more. We at Cruise Planners continually look at ways to improve and stay ahead of the pact in terms of innovation and tools for our agents to grow their businesses – BOTTOM LINE. Awards are great, but at the end of the day, “We don’t succeed unless THEY succeed” (period). 

Can you tell us more about your ground breaking marketing techniques?
Ahhh, would love to….I honestly can’t say I’ve worked for anyone before like Michelle Fee (CEO & Co-founder of Cruise Planners). She lets us go crazy---truly think outside the box! We have an incredible senior management team with amazing “horsepower” whom are motivated by each and every triumph. We are VERY competitive and passionate and that drives us to continually challenge ourselves to over promise AND over deliver! Okay, so back to your question. Over the years, we’ve continued to bring new, cutting-edge tools to our Cruise Planners agents, however most importantly, made them TURN-KEY…therefore EASY to use. We found that if it’s remotely complicated, people will not use it, no matter how wonderful the tool is. 

So, we have CPpod, our Print-on-Demand portal that allows our agents in under 6 Steps to customize a 1:1 personalized DM postcard and have it printed AND mailed within 24-48 hours. Just imagine sending a postcard mailing to a repeating group with their picture on the cover, addressed personally to EACH member (by name), inviting them back for this year’s cruise….oh, and with a personalized URL (pURL) inviting them to register for the group via our proprietary Group Registration Tool, called RegisWeb. RegisWeb, is exclusive to Cruise Planners and allows our agents to build a link specific to each of their groups, with a custom landing page and secure password registration whereas the group participant can sign up to join the group right there and enter legal names, ages and credit card information themselves. Honestly, some of good “group producing” agents compare it to having their own assistant in-house as it lets you know via email and web-based management portal via live registrations, and lets the agent download manifests, as well as email them to the cruise lines and/or group leaders….and so much more. I could go on and on… We’re are also about to launch a tool that allows our agents to segment their client lists by psychographic/demographic data to identify true buying potential, based on their own buying patterns, outside of what they may/may not have purchased from us already. This is something that the suppliers have expressed a lot of interest in with us, as it truly refines how we market to a consumer in ways that they want to marketed to. We’re really excited about this new tool. 

How does Cruise Planners contribute to their agents' success?
Funny you ask. As I mentioned earlier, “We don’t succeed, unless they do”. Unlike other companies, we do NOT focus on selling cruises/travel from our headquarter office. We truly NEED our agents to sell, in order for us to grow. So every single program or initiative is based around that as our core value. Just last November, we launched our Cruise Planners University (CPU), the first and only virtual university with CLIA and Supplier training programs built in as a requirement to certification. It has different tracks, similar to an actual university. We launched with our Freshman track with over 45 required courses. Sophomore launched last month with close to that as well. In addition to CLIA, we’ve hired third party experts to write/deliver content for us as well, such as industry icons Mike Marchev, Stuart Cohen and travel law expert, Jeff Miller. In addition, we’ve contracted an actual certified social media expert to teach on this ever changing/ever-growing/ever-important topic, and commissioned Adam Lapsevich of Digital Design Video to create a video for our agents to be able to personalize and upload to their sites…not without a course on how to do that either. Again, we don’t want to just throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks…we are there to show our agents how to maximize these incredible tools. And we have the best of the best onboard to lead the charge with this incredible program, my counterpart and industry icon, Terri Burke, MCC, CTC, Sr. VP of Relationship Marketing.

Aside from CPU, we also have a “Coaching “ program that assigns a coach from our experienced HQ team to agents, based on their level of sales and experience. This has been well-received and is just another way for us to help our agents grow their business as it allows them to share with like-producing agents which is often a good benchmark and motivator. 

Once an agent decides to join Cruise Planners, how do they get started?
Once they join us, they are immediately welcomed onboard with not only a phone call with a walkthrough of our initial set-up, they soon attend one of our 6-day classes in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. which starts off with two optional “FREE” CLIA courses. (Yes, so right from the start they are earning CLIA credits with us). The six days are intense as we have all members of the management team come to present to the class vs. just having a corporate trainer, as we truly do feel they’ve “joined the CP Family” and we want to get to know each and every one of them. We include ship inspections throughout the week as well, which gives that experience, plus again allows the agent to earn points towards their CLIA accreditation.

Aside from all of this, we set them up with the cruise lines, and have their business cards ready to customize right on CPpod. If that’s not enough, we have a 1:1 postcard ready to go which is an “announcement” that they are now a Cruise Planners agent in the area and has a pop-out business card built in…so again, it’s turn-key and ready to go in 24-48 hours. 

Cruise Planners has won Royal Caribbean's 'Best Home-based Partner' for the third year. Congratulations!! 
OMG, Patti…this one is our absolute favorite and most appreciated recognition of ALL. Royal Caribbean is an amazing KEY partner and we are so proud to not only win this for a 3rd time, but to be the ONLY recipient of this award is such an honor. We have such an incredible respect for the sales and overall management team at Royal Caribbean…they are truly the best! The product and support is amazing! They work closely with us and KNOW ALL OF OUR TOOLS….I emphasize that because they take the time to do it, and know what we can do to go to market for them and get results. They “get-it”…It’s a true partnership and we are so proud that they see our dedication and passion---this is a relationship business and we work really hard to perform for them as we value our relationship. It’s a two-way street and we couldn’t be more thrilled to own this accolade! (I don’t see it ever being anyone else’s….LOL----told you we were a passionate & competitive bunch!) 

Thank you Vicky for that great interview!

 
     

Part 4 of My Adventure on an Iceland Odyssey with Platinum Seminars and Destination Europe

by Patti 4/1/2010 6:14:00 AM

 

Agents were treated to a special Icelandic dinner Saturday night at the Restaurant Reykjavik.  After enjoying a cocktail in the restaurant’s ‘cool’ Ice Bar, agents enjoyed an elaborate seafood buffet and fillet of lamb dinner.  Throughout our weekend, there was much discussion on the possibility of viewing the Northern Lights.  Unfortunately, the weather had not cooperated our first night in Iceland.  During Dinner, Dana informed us we could participate in the Northern Lights tour!  Thorunn arranged Reykjavik Excursions to pick us up at the restaurant immediately following dinner.   Our tour guide informed us we were going on a ‘hunt’ for the Northern Lights.  We spent the next couple of hours traveling around Iceland looking for the Northern Lights, while our guide told Icelandic stories.  Although the weather prohibited our viewing of the Lights, we all had a great experience and enjoyed the ‘hunt for the Northern Lights’.  We were offered a 50% discount off the tour if we chose to try again during our stay. 

 


‘Patti and Matt Venanzi at Restaurant Reykjavik’s IceBar’


‘Thorunn Reynisdottir, Bill Brown, Dana McPherson and Patti Venanzi’

Sadly, our trip had gone by far too quickly.  Before I knew it, I was packing and checking out of the hotel I had called home for the past 2 nights.  Our final excursion was a trip to the Blue Lagoon before heading to the airport.  We loaded our luggage onto one of Reykjavik Excursions’ luxury motor coaches and traveled through lava fields before arriving at the Blue Lagoon.  

 

‘Silica mud is available for facials in the lagoon’

 

Upon check-in you are given a bracelet, which is used to open your locker, as well as charge any food or drink purchases from the Lagoon Bar. Also available for rental are towels, bathrobes and bathing suits.  The locker rooms are modern and equipped with every convenience you could imagine, including shampoo/conditioner, hair dryers, dressing tables and even plastic bags for your wet bathing suit.  The owners have truly thought of everything!

 

‘Guests will also find a lava cave, waterfall and steam rooms at the lagoon’

 

The locker rooms exit to the Lagoon Bar area and an indoor swimming area.  Guests can enter the Lagoon either through the indoor swimming area or by going outside.  The active ingredients in the water are minerals, silica and algae.  The Blue Lagoon is known for its positive effects on skin and relaxing powers.  Water temperatures vary throughout the lagoon allowing for guests to find the perfect temperature for them.

The Blue Lagoon offers a full range of spa treatments and massages for guests.  I recommend making a reservation, as the treatments are very popular!  

 


‘Boutique offers Blue Lagoon skin products and Icelandic gifts’

 


‘Blue Café offering lighter fare’


‘Lava Restaurant offers a more formal setting’

 

The Blue Lagoon is a short distance to the airport, making it a great stop before heading home!

Thank you Bill, Dana and Thorunn for inviting me along on your Iceland Odyssey.  I truly enjoyed experiencing Iceland, luxury style! 


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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