Page 1

Travel Agent Professional September 2011 Issue 11

A Cornucopia of English Gardens By Paull Tickner

The Affluent Traverler By Mitchell J. Schlesinger

Worldwide Car Rental Services • Over 8,000 locations in 130 countries • Chauffeur and transfer services • Prestige and sports car rentals • Motorhome rentals

Scheduled Airfare to Europe • First, business and coach class • One ways and open jaws • Group rates • Package savings with land

Worldwide 3, 4 & 5 Star Hotels • No minimum stay requirement • Taxes and gratuities included • Package with airfare and car • Call center support

Auto Europe is a One-Stop Shop for All Your Travel Needs!

1-800-223-5555 •

September 2011




A Cornucopia of English Gardens

68 10

By Paull Tickner

Creator of Special Interest Britain

Six Hours of Work... What By Les-Lee Roland Owner of The Package Deal

Do You Sell?

Something Different

12 16

By Sue Shapiro, President Shapiro Travel Resources

I Get a Kick Out

of You

By Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/American Express

The Affluent Traverler

By Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity


Ad Index

Expedia CruiseShipCenters................................19 Travel Planner Int’l.............................................21

Auto Europe................................IFC

Sabre .............................................5

Avoya Travel/AVC.........................13

Travel Planners Int’l......................11

Leisure Pops ...........................15,

Voyages to Antiquity ......................3


Royal Caribbean Line ...................BC

Travel Agent Professional



Travel Agent Professional September 2011 Issue 11

Travel Agent Professional P.O. Box 120202 Staten Island, NY 10312 E-mail: Phone: 718.227.7541

Joel M. Abels

Legend In the Travel Industry April 1927 to January 2007

Ann M. Hoek Publisher/Creative Design Bonnie Walling Editor

Meet Our Editorial Board Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity Mary Brutscher Former Host Agency Owner & Travel Educational Instructor Rusty Pickett, ECC Shellback Cruises Les-Lee Roland Owner of The Package Deal Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/ America’s Vacation Center Sherry Laskin, ACC Travel Writer/NACTA Webinar Moderator Sue Shapiro, President Shapiro Travel Resources Paull Tickner, Creator of Special Interest Britain

Contributions Lee Rosen, CEO Leisure Pops

Travel Agent Professional has its roots in Home Based Trade, the first magazine of its kind, started by Joel Abels in 2004. Joel and Lenore Abels ran Travel Trade for nearly half a century – it was started by her grandfather, John S. Lewis, and her father, Sidney Lewis, in 1929, and they took the publication over after her grandfather’s passing. Under Joel’s direction, the company grew to be one of the travel agent industry’s leading publications, reaching more than 45,000 agents throughout North America. It spawned a famous series of trade shows and three monthly magazines – Cruise Trade, Tour Trade and Home Based Trade. The Abels also garnered enormous respect – Joel received the Neal Award, called “the Pulitzer Prize of the business press,” for his hard-hitting editorials. On a personal note, after working with Joel for over a decade and staying with him until the end, I grew to truly care for and respect the man. He was like a second father to me. Joel was old school, he stood by his word and believed in his work. There will never be another. While nobody can replace this industry legend, we’re hoping that this new publication, which reunites the original Home Based Trade editorial board, will be able to carry on his passion for travel and those who sell it.

Ann M. Hoek This online magazine is dedicated to the memory of Joel Abels, Travel Trade's editor and publisher. Joel and his life's work may be gone, but with your help it can live on.

September 2011

4 B y P a u l l

A Cornucopia of

T i c k n e r

English Gardens

By Paull Tickner Just as the famous Oberammergau Passion Play takes place in Bavaria, Germany once every 10 years (next performance 2020), the Floriade World Horticultural Expo does the exactly the same in Holland. The good news for garden lovers is that Floriade takes place in the Dutch city of Venlo between April 5 and Oct. 7, 2012. If European gardens, stately homes and castle tours are on your agenda, this is probably old news to you. However, I’m coming across a number of travel agents who share my enthusiasm for a two-country combination which, at the end of May, brings together Floriade, the Keukenhof gardens and the Chelsea Flower Show. As many gardeners are too busy to get away in the spring, there’s also a Hampton Court Flower Show and Floriade program at the very beginning of July. In both cases, there are visits to places like the Palace of Het Loo (the Dutch Versailles) and award winning English gardens like those at Sissinghurst Castle, Pashley Manor and romantic 13th century Hever Castle. For creative garden tour planners wanting to offer value added tours to master gardeners, specialist garden clubs and societies, the season actually runs from FebruarySeptember each year. Paull Tickner, creator of Special Interest Britain, is affiliated with the Greatdays Travel Group. For over 30 years, he has been developing and operating customized niche travel programs for the United Kingdom and Ireland. For more information, visit his Web site at and E-mail him at

(continued on page 6)

Image by: Penshurst Place & Gardens

September 2011


Image by: Royal Botanic Gardens

FEBRUARY Orchid societies may well say yes to a tour that features the annual Kew Gardens Tropical Extravaganza, with visits to other notable collections near London. Off season air fares and hotel rates are very competitive at this time of the year and when you add in some shopping time and an evening at the theatre, you can see how this idea could sell. At this time of year, many Cotswold gardens are covered in snowdrops and you could offer a 2-night extension that includes Snowdrop Sunday, an English afternoon tea and a pub supper.

MARCH/APRIL The place to go is Cornwall, where the warming effects of the Gulf Stream and the micro climates in the Cornish river valleys combine to create sub-tropical conditions and magnificent displays of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias. Garden lovers can fly into London and let the train take the strain out of the journey to the far southwest of England. This idea may well appeal to gardeners who are unable to travel in May because they are flat out busy in their own gardens! From April 16 to 22, 2012, we’ll be celebrating National Garden Week, when all sorts of events and happenings will be taking place all over the UK and Ireland. Image: Public Garden, Penzance, Cornwall

MAY Springtime in England is a very nice thought you can make a reality for your clients by sending them to the Spring Show at Great Malvern. There, the Cotswolds and Herefordshire’s undiscovered gardens and “Black and White” villages make an excellent combination. Later in the month, the south of England gardens like Pashley Manor, Hever Castle, Penshurst Place and the Great Gardens of West Sussex make memorable pre- or post-partners for the Chelsea Flower Show, especially when you include smaller, privately owned properties that open as part of the National Garden Scheme.

Image by: Penshurst Place & Gardens

September 2011


Image: Warwick Castle

JUNE Take my advice and head for the Cotswolds (where I live) for a number of garden tours. These can be enhanced by a private tour of the period gardens at the Shakespeare houses, jousting and other living history displays at Warwick Castle, a curator led tour of Compton Verney art gallery, which is set in the Warwickshire countryside and an evening theatre performance courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

JULY With your jet lag parked in the Cotswolds, your group will be able to deal with a full day at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Although air fares will be higher at this time of the year, you will be rewarded by better weather and gardens both large and small that present astonishing displays of summer color. There’s also another rose tinted program that brings together three countries — Ireland, Wales and England — and three internationally renowned Rose Festivals/Flower Shows in Dublin, Belfast and at Tatton Park near Manchester.

SEPTEMBER This is a good time of the year for a Stately Homes and Gardens tour. You can base it around a very good autumn show at Great Malvern (due west of the Cotswolds) and there’s another in Harrogate, Yorkshire which enables you to bring together places like Newby Hall, Ripley Castle, Fountains Abbey, Castle Howard and a day in the Viking city of York. Don’t forget, you can take the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam for a Floriade grand finale in Holland. Image by: Ripley Castle Estate

Travel Agent Professional


Six Hours of Work.

B y L e s - L e e

The cruise lines really know how to market. Not just to the consumer, but to the agents.

R o l a n d Les-Lee Roland Owner of The Package Deal

Being in the business for over 20 years, I remember how they courted us to sell cruises. We were told how to convince a client that taking a cruise was easier and more enjoyable than booking a land package. We were told how to take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. One for land and one for a cruise. Then list all the costs for the land package — the basic price, transfers, tips, meals, drinks, entertainment, etc. Then list the costs for a cruise — meals included, entertainment included, and so on. The bottom line would show that the cruise is less costly. Plus, do not forget, unpacking one time.

We all rushed out to sell the cruises, fill these vessels. And at that time, we were just being introduced to the 70,000-ton, 2,400-hundred passenger vessels. Well, if I had to do the math today, the columns may show different totals. Plus, I know that I spend more time and effort in selling a cruise than a land package with one of the major suppliers. In fact, I remember the head of a major cruise line stating that they didn’t want to deal directly with the public, they wanted travel agents to take the bookings. If a civilian called their reservation in directly, they would offer to turn the booking over to an agent in their area. Why? Because they found that it takes an average of six hours from start to finish to complete a booking. If a client booked a cruise six months away, they would get phone calls throughout that time to answer questions . That should be the job of the travel agent, to take those calls.

Now, I find that the 6-hour span is probably a little low on many bookings. If clients want a European cruise for example, it may take over six hours. First, I do the research to see which ship and sailing dates will work out the best for them. Some like bigger and newer ships, some want smaller ones, and I call this the Goldilocks theory…to find the one that fits just right. It would be so simple if the clients would just take the air and pre- and post-trips with the cruise line. But past cruisers become savvy and want to know the cost difference if we book the air separately. Easy to check on the GDS, but then call the consolidators and check rates. And now some consolidators have lost their contracts for Eastern Europe. OMG, what’s happened to my profits on air? Transfers are another story. Have you checked the cost of private cars or shuttle buses in Rome to the port in Civitavecchia this year? Sure, the train is the

September 2011

.. What Do You Sell ? 9 most economical, but not suitable for all clients, unless they can handle language problems, lifting the luggage on their own, have the correct currency — and even then, they still may need a taxi from the depot to the ship. How much time spent on this? The pre- and post-cruise package is always a money maker. What’s the cruise line charging — are you serious?? And then, the clock starts ticking as I check out other options. Insurance? Hey, that’s the easy part. I have my regular suppliers. Then comes the question I dread the most — “LesLee, can you recommend shore excursions that are less expensive than the ones offered by the cruise line?” At that point, I have to check the many offerings and make a comparison in each port. I always have my select group of suppliers, plus private drivers I have used in the past. So I lay out the options, educating the clients on what they should not miss seeing. If it’s a Baltic cruise, there is an extremely reliable and easy company that provides everything in St Petersburg or even Berlin, DENRUS. They’re easy to book, and they pay commissions immediately — with something we rarely see anymore, a handwritten check. Sometimes, I have a client that has some personal requests. Like the executive who wanted to write off the trip by visiting various car dealers. “LesLee, find me a couple of showrooms or factories I can check out while my wife goes shopping.“ The clock is ticking, ticking, ticking. What about options on board? Now they can book the spa, the optional dining, and, on those mega ships, the entertainment. Even if they choose to book these on their own, they still have questions

Travel Agent Professional

for me. “Les-Lee, which shows have you seen, what do you recommend?“ They’re booked for August, but they call in June to check out the weather report. They call whenever there is the beginning of a storm brewing in the Caribbean to ask if this will affect their flights four weeks in the future. And the coup d’etat — the online check-in. The boarding passes that we are told are mandatory. (Some cruise lines don’t even look at them). I admit that I haven’t cut the umbilical cord with many of my clients, they rely on me for doing it all for them. I should invest in STAPLES since I buy so much paper and ink from them. And if it is a group, well, there goes the evening out with my husband! You can add the meetings to put everything together for them to the time total, as well as the time spent doing the accounting in my computer — monitoring commissions from the cruise line, hotel, air, insurance, tours. Six hours? I don’t think so. It’s more than that for this itinerary. Now, let’s regroup and go back to the basic land tour — like for example, Insight Vacations. Sure, the air still has to be addressed, but transfers are never a problem. Pre- and post- are easier and their rates are more reasonable than those from the cruise lines — why? And excursions! Ha! It’s all spelled out right from the beginning. You know the options, and it’s easy to quote the rates. Some companies even pay commissions if we pre-book them. Remember, I said “some.” Somehow, we just don’t have to answer nearly as many questions with a land tour. And their documents arrive in envelopes, a novelty. The only problem is the packing and unpacking. But no formal nights — that’s a good trade off.


Something Different

By Sue Shapiro

Good travel agents are always looking for “something different” for their clients. After all, that’s what distinguished a professional agent from an average one.

Sue Shapiro, President Shapiro Travel Resources

Recently, I ran across a very different New York City tour that many clients would enjoy if they knew about it. Stephanie, an English teacher in the city, knew that Brooklyn was a hot destination, as were ethnic restaurants. She had the great idea to combine the two. Hence, Brooklyn Eats Food Tours was born. Now, as a brand-new product, it’s still very much a work in progress, but the concept is terrific. Clients are picked up in a small bus at Battery Park and taken to Brooklyn for three hours of sightseeing and delicious eats - appetizers in one restaurant, main course at another and dessert at a third place. On our tour, we started at Tanoreen, a Middle Eastern spot in Bay Ridge run by a mother and her daughter. A delicious mezze of humus, babba ganoush and a dozen other dishes were offered with hot pita bread. After a sightseeing stop at Coney Island Pier, it was off to Pacifica, a dim sum place in Boro Park that was mobbed with locals on a weekday for lunch. The wonderful food certainly justified the crowd. Our last stop was Karloffs in Caroll Gardens, for Russian pastries. Think about a tour like this for spouses accompanying conventioneers or out of town visitors. It would also make a great bachelorette party. For more information, visit

September 2011

Travel Agent Professional

12 I Get a Kick By

Out of You

Scott Koepf


Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/American Express

comes a time in our career when we need to discover what business we are really in. Based on the ever increasing amount of information we try to absorb, it seems we have to move from one mindset to another in rapid succession. We need more product knowledge, more sales techniques, more ways to make social networking work, and an unlimited stream of advice and suggestions as to where we should spend our time. It seems that the key to success is based on switching directions faster than the rest of the travel agents we compete with. I beg to differ.

Anything Goes In the campy musical Anything Goes, one of Cole Por ter’s most famous songs stops the show as the heroine finally ‘gets it’. Reno Sweeny (who was recently portrayed brilliantly by my youngest daughter, Cassie – sorry, proud daddy moment) has had a full life of experiences trying to find what will excite and move her. Just like many travel agents, she jumps from thrill to thrill trying to find what will ‘work’. So after trying many things she finally comes to the following conclusion: (continued on page 14)

September 2011

14 My story is much too sad to be told, But practically everything leaves me totally cold The only exception I know is the case When I’m out on a quiet spree Fighting vainly the old ennui And I suddenly turn and see Your fabulous face. I get no kick from champagne. Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all, So tell me why should it be true That I get a kick out of you? I get no kick in a plane, Flying too high with some guy in the sky Is my idea of nothing to do, Yet I get a kick out of you.

Ms. Sweeney realizes her happiness will come from only one thing. It is the same for us. No new trend, no fancy sales technique, no astounding product enhancement nor promise of new avenues of marketing bonanzas should replace our complete focus and dedication to our clients. I am not suggesting we stop learning about our industry and the products in it but we need to always keep the focus on our clients. I must admit I had to go to the dictionary to look up ‘ennui’ to discover it is “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety”. Or in other words, too much same ole same ole! Now I will admit that in the travel industry, our ennui looks exciting and thrilling to most, which is part of the problem. If we had a boring and stagnant industry it would be easier to focus on our clients. However, to be the best, we need to realize that our only ‘kick’ should come from our clients. In today’s world we may not even know what our client’s face looks like so it is even more important for us to motivate ourselves to turn to them often

(and just imagine their face is fabulous!). As a final note I cannot help but comment on the prophetic nature of the lyrics when speaking of air travel. Remember that this song was written in the 1930’s, and it appears we have come full circle! Today we know that flying high still may not provide our clients a thrill. However, cruises, tours, resorts and destinations will usually deliver beyond their expectations. But no matter what they book we really want our clients to know that it is them that gives us a kick! Ultimately our relentless focus on our relationship with our clients should lead them to sing another song from Anything Goes about us: You’re the top! You’re the Coliseum. You’re the top! You’re the Louvre Museum. You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss… You’re the top!

September 2011

Leisure Pops: A New Application from an Old Friend Lee Rosen President, Leisure Pops

What is Leisure Pops?


eisure Pops is a point-of-

sale, merchandizing software application that runs on an agent’s desktop and helps travel agents to sell more preferred suppliers, more add-on products and more upgrades. Leisure Pops runs in the background on an Agent's

The Power of Pops

• Sell more preferred suppliers. • Sell more add-on products. • Earn more commissions. • Better service your clients.

desktop and then “Pops” or reminds an agent via a pop up message of opportunities to better serve their client — as well as make more commissions. For more information go to

16 By Mitchell

The Affluent Traverler


Exceptional Service + Experiences + Value = Exceptional Earning Opportunities

Schlesinger Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity

For travel agents with a strong affluent population in their marketplace or set of clients, this represents a HUGE earning opportunity, IF you are prepared to fulfill the “caviar wishes and champagne dreams” of the affluent travel market. And never has the phrase “follow the money” been more meaningful.

From a demographic standpoint, the affluent segment has its own distinct characteristics:

• • •

It spans a wide spectrum of age and family groups. We have never been more affluent as a society and this attainment of wealth includes a younger demographic with “new” money, baby boomers who are inheriting in significant amounts, and seniors/retirees with a lifetime of “old” money; The extent of the wealth is significant. While small in terms of percentage of the population, affluent consumers are valued at $400 billion-500 billion worldwide. Luxury research resources indicate that could double over the next five to 10 years; And because affluent consumers span demographic groups, it is even more important to follow the money. In many cases, affluence creates its own indicators of where these consumers live and spend dollars in a local market. While they may not be “recognizable” in a supermarket, they certainly are in expensive housing communities, foreign car dealerships, upscale shopping malls, specialty boutiques, country clubs etc. Following the money is an excellent way for you to source these clients. (continued on page 18)

September 2011

18 It is the psychographic characteristics of the affluent segment that are challenging and you must be prepared to meet their extensive needs:

• • • • • •

SERVICE is central. It must be very personalized, (but not formal), attentive, professional and reflect the experience they will encounter on their trip. There is an expectation by each customer that they are literally, your ONLY customer. This is how you earn their initial trust; The second aspect of fulfilling service expectations is your cataloging all of their personal tastes, needs, wants, etc. This includes room locations at hotels or on cruise ships, favorite wines, dining arrangements, activities, etc. As you plan for them, you are not asking, but confirming that this meets their desires. It reflects a very personalized approach to service; Luxury travel is about experiences and emotional reactions to them. These experiences come in two major categories. The first is the physical surroundings, at a resort, on a cruise ship etc. It includes both the things they expect (great beds, high sheet thread counts, fancy bathroom amenities, wonderful dining etc.) and special touches and services they did not expect (neck massages at the pool, special transfers, champagne on the beach, cold towels brought to them on a golf course), especially at unexpected locations; The second category is focused on the destination and how they “experience” it. This cannot be the standard or ordinary, but must enable them to return with “emotional memories.“ These might include boutique lunches or dinners, tickets for performances in St. Petersburg or the Sydney Opera House, exclusive tour events and personal interactions. The goal is for your clients to return with memories of specific experiences . You must be cognizant to attract them with travel opportunities that will fulfill these “experiential” expectations; Don’t ever presume that the affluent with are not concerned with cost. They have achieved affluence in most cases because they are savvy consumers. They understand that the things they want cost more, but value is something they will demand. They may live in expensive homes and drive expensive cars, but they also shop at COSTCO. The expectation of value never escapes them, ESPECIALLY, if they have a sense of what something should cost. Sell them the travel that will fulfill their psychographic for prestige and exclusivity, just make sure that they clearly see the “value” in what they are spending; There are excellent websites ( and with information and articles on luxury traveler expectations and new and innovative products for them.

(continued on page 20)

September 2011


Cruise to Success® Training Gives Agents Competitive Edge To prepare our agents for our exclusive World Explorer Promotion taking place through the month of October, Expedia CruiseShipCenters will be hosting a series of World Explorer Cruise to Success Rallies! These events are gearing up to be our most inclusive and informative training sessions ever, as thousands of our agents will be participating at local events across the country. Our Cruise to Success Rallies feature exclusive presentations by keynote speakers and travel suppliers. With a focus on exotic destinations as well as premium, deluxe, luxury and river cruises, agents will gain new product knowledge and sales skills to help them succeed.

Upcoming Webinars Wednesday, September 14th 12 pm EDT 9 am PDT 7 pm EDT 4 pm PDT Thursday, August 15th 12 pm EDT 9 am PDT 2 pm EDT 11 am PDT 7 pm EDT 4 pm PDT To request a personal presentation, call us toll free at 1-888-316-1333 or e-mail

Cruise to Success Rallies help you: •Grow your business by learning how to develop Customers For Life™ •Take advantage of our exclusive promotions which include special perks and offers for your clients •Leverage our Marketing programs and CruiseDesk® system to save you time and better serve your clients •Be recognized in front of your peers for outstanding results In-person and virtual training are just one of the many ways we support our agents to help them succeed. Learn more about your opportunity to join Expedia CruiseShipCenters at one of our upcoming webinars! RSVP now and discover how joining our team can truly Change Your Life. Warm regards, Pat Heathfield Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Travel Agent Professional

Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Just Cruises 43277 Garfield Rd, Clinton Township, MI 48038 Phone: 586-840-7447/800-837-4477 Email: •

20 There are two final vital aspects you must incorporate if you are to be successful in dealing with the affluent market:

1 2

Be imaginative in sending information to stimulate travel appetites and retain loyalty. Send a personalized letter on textured paper with a new brochure from a luxury cruise line including a request to “make an appointment” to discuss new itineraries and destinations. Or, E-mail them a Web link for a new resort in a destination they indicated interest in visiting. For golfers, this could be a complete itinerary for a 7-day package in Hawaii or Scotland. And at birthday/anniversary time, send something they will regard as personal.

And finally, everything comes down to your ability to have prospective clients recognize that you are an expert at selling luxury travel and servicing affluent clients. This includes a style you portray that reflects the level of service clients can expect, communicating the “experiential” elements they seek and recommending upscale travel alternatives that meet their expectations. You must establish yourself as a “luxury service” brand that clients will trust, learn to rely on and best of all, share with their affluent family and friends.

The affluent customer segment represents a significant compensation opportunity that can change the way you approach selling travel overall. I have a very close friend in the retail business who, every year, sends a group of 20-40 guests on a full world cruise. Consider that. If there is an affluent audience prevalent in your marketplace, you have the opportunity to make this demographic group “pay off” for you. Image by: Celebrity Xpedition

September 2011


Tr a v el Pl a n n er s In Ter n a TIo n a l Maitland, Florida, s eptember 9, 2011: Travel Planners International announced their new partnership with Ensemble Travel® Group, an international network of expert travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada that offers travelers special benefits and savings through its superior amenity program and unique product portfolio. The partnership will provide clients of Travel Planners International’s independent contractors with a number of exclusive travel perks and services, many of which are only available from an Ensemble Travel Group-affiliated agency. Ensemble Travel Group offers a portfolio of products and benefits that will enhance their clients’ overall travel experiences with valueadded savings and privileges. "Travel Planners International is pleased to be part of an organization of travel specialists who are expertly-trained, customer-focused, and who work side-by-side with a collection of the industry’s leading brands and boutique travel suppliers to deliver exclusive values and special privileges to our clients," says Ken Gagliano, President and co-Founder of Travel Planners International. "Membership in Ensemble Travel Group will open up so many doors for us – and our independent contractors. We have some exciting new opportunities in the pipeline that will drive business to our independent contractors. We made the decision to join forces with a like-minded organization that shares in our vision and understands the needs of our affiliated agents.” “Travel Planners International’s keen business sense, coupled with their genuine care for their independent contractors and travel agencies, has made them one of the leaders in the host community for more than two decades,” said Ensemble Travel Group’s Libbie Rice, co-president. Adds Ensemble’s Lindsay Pearlman, co-president, “We are delighted to welcome Ken Gagliano and his team of professionals to the Ensemble family. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship in the years ahead!”

Travel Agent Professional

Because of its affiliation with Ensemble Travel Group, Travel Planners International is able to offer clients a wide variety of unique vacation experiences, including: • Ensemble® Hosted Cruises offer more than 400 escorted sailings each year, featuring exclusive shore events, private cocktail parties, and the services of a gracious onboard host. Also, more than 1,000 additional cruise departures each year – from expedition and river vessels to contemporary lines and luxury yachts – offer an added-value amenity and ensure a cruise for every liking and budget. • Ensemble® Hotel & Resort Collection offers premier accommodations at nearly 500 four- and five-star properties in the most popular resort and city destinations around the world. Each property offers a complimentary Ensemble® Exclusive, a special amenity ranging from daily breakfast & spa credits, to airport transfers to well-stocked welcome baskets and dining discounts. • Ensemble® On Location specialists are a network of more than 70 professional operators worldwide, providing the in-depth knowledge and insider access on a local and regional level needed to design truly extraordinary vacation experiences. • Plus … a number of value-added perks on land/tour vacations, car rental, and air travel offer a variety of unforgettable travel experiences. “One of the things we are most excited about with this new relationship is the strong partner support and robust inventory of new product,” said Tony Gagliano, Jr., Vice President of Travel Planners International. “We know this will be a key driver in helping our ICs grow their business.” For more information about Travel Planners International and the solutions they offer for IC’s, travel agencies (both home-based and storefront), and suppliers, please visit





BEST CRUISE LINE OVERALL for eight consecutive years Travel Weekly 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards



BEST CRUISE LINE for seven consecutive years Canadian Travel Press 2010 Agent’s Choice Award



BEST CRUISE SHIPS OF 2011: ALLURE OF THE SEAS® Frommers Best Ships 2011



BEST FOR FAMILIES Cruise Critic 2010 Editors’ Picks Awards Winner



BEST NEW SHIP: OASIS OF THE SEAS® Cruise Critic 2010 Editors’ Picks Awards Winner

How did we arrive here? By consistently pushing the limits of what’s possible at sea to deliver the vacation of a lifetime. We call this commitment the Royal Advantage – our drive to provide the best, most innovative ships, features, destinations and personalized service to our guests. So when a client wants to know why you’re recommending Royal Caribbean, you’ll never be at a loss for words. To learn more, visit g y y g or ©2011 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships registry: The Bahamas. 11023664 • 4/28/2011

Travel Agent Professional Sept. 2011  

TAP is one of the only magazine for the Home Based Trade Agent.... With stories written by industry leaders like Rusty Pickett, ECCShellback...