This agent wrap comes with an extreme FOMO warning. If you experience symptoms of jealousy and itchy feet when you read about agents’ jaunts around the world, we recommend you steer clear.
Technology with a human touch sees Travel Counsellors’ sales soar
An increase in tech investment and longstanding customer relationships have fired sales at Travel Counsellors, which has seen total transactions hit a record high of $1.03b.
The milestone represents a 14 per cent increase on the same period the year before, marking the first results since the firm’s secondary buyout by Vitruvian Partners in May 2018, ending a four-year investment period with Equistone Partners Europe. In the last 12 months, total accounting turnover for the business rose to $469m, up 21 per cent from the previous year’s figure of $388m, achieving a 13th consecutive year of double-digit growth.
Measured between November 2017 and October 2018, the total transaction value was further boosted by a record sales month in January this year, peaking on January 31st with $9.1m in sales – the highest the company has ever achieved in a single day.
At the centre of its growth strategy, the company’s investment in technology has risen to $12.5m annually, up from £6m the year prior. The investment continues to develop the capabilities of its online booking platform, Phenix, including adding an intelligent tool that will recommend personal itineraries, as well as using customer data to enhance the digital experience of the company’s mobile travel ‘myTC’ app.
Join Eclipse Travel in Africa on a luxury famil
Always dreamed of seeing mighty Victoria Falls first hand? Fancy the idea of travelling by private plane between luxury camps? Spending your days on private game drives and evenings sipping sundowners with spectacular wildlife and scenery as the backdrop? Well, Eclipse Travel are here to make your safari dreams come true with the ultimate 13-day luxury safari through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.
The small group itinerary kicks off in Victoria Falls before heading to Hwange National Park where participants will be on the lookout for leopard, cheetah, rhinos and more. Boarding the Elephant Express for an open-sided safari railcar journey between camps accompanied by drinks and canapes will provide a unique opportunity to appreciate the wildlife and landscape of Hwange. Other highlights of the trip include staying on the banks of the Zambezi River, elephant, hippo and waterbuck sightings, Chobe National Park’s famous wildlife and cruises on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. Lions, leopards, warthogs, zebras and wild dogs… the likely wildlife sightings are far too numerous to mention and will have participants reaching for their spare camera batteries in anticipation.
To register interest in this blockbuster famil, agents simply need to head to Eclipse Travel’s website and sign up for their agent newsletter or update their profile and select Africa famil. Bookings made on Eclipse’s Africa program for the remainder of 2019 will increase chances of being selected. A participation fee of USD 1550 will apply, and agents will be responsible for their own travel to Victoria Falls and home from Lusaka. See eclipsetravel.com.au, call 1300 575 752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Personal Travel Managers experience ‘panda-monium’ on China famil
The southwest Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou are not as well known to Western tourists as some other regions of China, but their popularity is steadily increasing, thanks to their rich cultural heritage, impressive scenery and population of pandas. Eleven personal travel managers (PTMs) recently participated in an exclusive TravelManagers famil to the two provinces, which provided them with valuable first-hand insights.
The group were hosted by China’s National Tourism Office and China Travel Service (CTS), with flights provided by Air China. They spent a total of ten days in China, beginning their famil in Sichuan Province’s capital city, Chengdu.
Viking information sessions
Viking has announced a vast array of new destinations for its second round of complimentary information sessions for 2019, Think Viking Information Sessions, including Sutherland Shire and Manly in NSW, Mornington Peninsula and Ballarat in VIC, and Toowoomba and the Gold Coast in QLD.
Launching in Darwin, NT on 27 August 2019, these one-hour showcase events are designed for travellers who haven’t cruised with Viking previously and are interested in discovering the style of cruising that the award-winning small-ship cruise line offers, as well as the destinations that Viking visits.
Plus, a $1,000 Viking travel voucher is up for grabs at each location for one lucky guest, as well as special booking offers available for those who attend on the day.
Think Viking Information Sessions will run from 27 August to 16 October 2019. Each session will run for approximately one hour, and there are multiple time slots for each location, depending on the area of interest of the guest. Travel agents are encouraged to bring prospective clients, and all guests will be treated to light refreshments.
RSVPs are essential – Click here to secure your place.
MTA Advisors go ‘sumo-size’ in Japan and Singapore
MTA – Mobile Travel Agents Advisors Stacey Harding and Jason Denisenko recently had the opportunity to join a combined Intrepid Travel Group/Singapore Airlines ‘Sumo Sized’ study tour visiting Japan and Singapore.
Program highlights in Japan included visits to Tokyo, Kamakura, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Takayama while in Singapore, the duo had the opportunity to attend an Adventure Travel Summit.
Pictured (from left to right) Stacey Harding; Intrepid Travel manager – industry events and engagement, Penny Callaghan and Jason Denisenko at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
NYC & Company and Broadway Inbound host Melbourne agents for NYC Broadway evening followed by hit musical Come from Away
Last night NYC & Company and Broadway Inbound treated the Melbourne travel industry to an intimate evening update on New York City and Broadway Inbound before experiencing the latest Broadway musical to hit Australian shores, Come From Away.
The group enjoyed the musical at the Melbourne Comedy Theatre and was able to experience a slice of New York City in Melbourne prior.
Rodney Rigby, founder of Newtheatricals and producer of Come From Away, attended the evening where he provided an overview of Come From Away’s humble beginnings and described how “the greatest shows on earth are always playing on Broadway”.
Come From Away is based on a powerful true story about how individual lives can be changed by people coming together and showing kindness in times of great adversity.
Your Travel & Cruise gives home-based agents a leg-up with live booking tool
In a first for home-based agents in Australia, host agency Your Travel & Cruise is offering all its agents access to a live airfare, hotel and cruise booking portal as part of their membership package.
While agents already had access to live cruise bookings, Your Travel & Cruise has added an airfare and hotel booking tool for no added cost.
Your Travel & Cruise Managing Director Les Farrar said the addition of flight and hotel bookings provided agents with a unique advantage to help them grow their business.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World launches new preferred agency program: withIN
Small Luxury Hotels of the World is bolstering its ties with the travel trade through the development of a new travel agency programme aimed at gathering the very best travel agencies in the world. A total of 360 prestigious travel agencies across the globe have so far adhered to the exclusive programme including 8 Continents Travel (China), RASK Travel (UK), Atelier Voyage (Germany), Smartflyer (Australia), Protravel International (USA) and Superviagem (Brazil).
Newly launched this month, the withIN programme is now bookable via the GDS and the SLH Voice reservations team, with a dedicated travel agent website expected to launch in Q1 2020. Affiliated travel agencies are granted commission levels at 10 per cent on standard room types and 15 per cent on suites (subject to a minimum of two nights). Travel agencies signed up to the programme are also able to secure highly attractive benefits for their customers including:
- Complimentary daily breakfast for two people
- Room upgrade to next room category (subject to availability at the time of check-in)
- Early check-in/late check-out (subject to availability at the time of check-in)
- A credit worth minimum $50 per room, per stay to be spent on non-accommodation extras such as food & beverage and spa on property
- Complimentary WIFI
235 SLH hotels have so far confirmed their participation to the programme including brand new properties such as The Celino South Beach (Miami), Ovolo The Valley (Brisbane), The Merchant House (Bahrain), Finca Serena (Mallorca), Vintry & Mercer (London) and The Outpost Hotel Sentosa (Singapore).
Scenic unveils new modules for global Agent Academy e-training platform
Scenic has today launched the latest module updates for its new global e-learning platform – Agent Academy – with the release of South East Asia River Cruising courses on 30 July.
As an incentive for agents to complete these new modules, Scenic is offering $250 Scenic Rewards points to the first consultant in each Australian state to complete the two courses by 30 August. The next 50 to complete the courses will receive $50 Scenic Rewards points.
Australian agents can access Scenic Agent Academy via the company’s website.
Two Weeks Left to Register for the Bunnik Tours and Small Group Touring Co. mega famil to Sri Lanka
With registrations due to close on 15 August, the countdown is on to join the first-ever Sri Lankan mega famil hosted by award-winning leading group tour specialist, The Bunnik Group.
Nearly 400 agents have already registered for this ten-day visit which will see a group of 45 lucky people travel to this stunningly beautiful location in October 2019.
Led by Dennis and Marion Bunnik, the trip will explore the fascinating culture, history, culinary scene and lush landscapes of Sri Lanka – recently announced as Lonely Planet’s top ranked country for travel.
The group will depart Australia on 3 October flying with Singapore Airlines and return on 13 October.
The top selling Bunnik Tours and Small Group Touring Co agents from each state who have booked tours from 1 April through 15 August 2019 will qualify. There will also be bonus lucky draws.
The tour price is $250 per person. A single supplement is available on request for an additional $450 per person.
Australian Virtuosos head to Las Vegas for 2019 Virtuoso Travel Week
More than 100 Australian-based Virtuoso travel advisors will head to Las Vegas this month to expand their knowledge, connect with other industry leaders, celebrate network superstars and top up their detailed product familiarity for their valued clients.
Virtuoso Travel Week, the world’s leading annual luxury travel networking event, brings together more than 6,000 Virtuoso travel advisors and preferred partners from across the globe for more than 300,000 meetings held over the course of a week each August.
The human connections and insider knowledge advisors acquire at the event, the largest of its kind, provides them with a competitive edge in the industry. An estimated US$420 million dollars in business is transacted as a result of Virtuoso Travel Week.