Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, OVC announced the launch of a new host agency for mobile home-based travel agents that offers experienced and new travel professionals significant advantages over traditional host agencies. The company has plans to be a dominant player as a national host agency by offering the brand power of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, their exclusive Customer Relationship Management programs and state-of-the-art booking technology.
One thing that makes Expedia CruiseShipCenters, OVC different from other host agencies is the strength of its senior management team, three travel industry professionals who have over 100 years combined experience.
John Bloodworth, President and Chief Executive Officer, has a background that includes being CEO of Thomas Cook Group, plc in the United Kingdom and Ireland, member of The Board of Directors at MyTravel Group, plc, President and CEO MyTravel, USA and the Cruise Division which included CruisesOnly, CruiseOne and CruisesInc. Ed Rudner, Chairman of Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, OVC, was a co-founder of Alamo Rent a Car, former President and CEO of Certified Vacations, CEO of Renaissance Cruises and founder of Online Vacation Center Holdings. Adolfo Sanmartino, Vice President of Operations, began his travel career with Gold Coast Cruises and was a senior executive with MyTravel’s Cruise Division in Delray Beachand Orlando. Adolfo’s experience in developing and managing travel websites including SEO, SEM, CRM programs and background in booking and financial systems adds significant strength to the management team.
Also unique to Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, OVC is its sole focus on the success of its mobile agents. That’s why the company does not operate a call center or retail sales office. Another major difference is that its mobile agents will enjoy the capability of booking all travel products from a single booking engine and will be paid commissions on every product they sell including air, hotel, car rental, cruises and land packages.
Every mobile agent will be provided a consumer facing website customized to display the agent’s name, photo, phone number and email address combined with the Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, OVC brand, creating a personalized virtual storefront equipped with an online booking engine that is seamless and simple to navigate. Expedia CruiseShipCenters, OVC provides each agent with proprietary technology that automates everything they need to manage their business including booking and invoicing clients, managing payables and receivables, researching destinations, preparing customized itinerary emails or flyers, follow up letters and welcome home messages.
This back office system called Cruise Desk® contains real time revenue and commission tracking reports and houses a complete client database management system with full customization for specific client preferences, a training suite providing both product training and system training and marketing templates covering every aspect of selling and servicing their clients. The personalized, permission-based marketing pieces are sent automatically to the agent’s client list and include free e-mail newsletters based on customer destination choices, Dream Voyages© magazine, notifications of last minute special offers and more. This proprietary suite of innovative, web-based promotional tools will allow the agent to develop a “Customer for Life” experience with their clients. All of the marketing is linked to the mobile agent’s personalized website and email address to maximize sales and ensure that the mobile agent is always in control of their clients.
“Our sole mission is to build our mobile travel agents’ businesses,” said Bloodworth. “If we center our efforts on supporting our mobile agents and provide them with the Expedia CruiseShipCenter systems and tools, they can stay completely focused on their clients.”
“Our host agency is built around the idea that exceptional marketing grows business,” he continued. “We start by making it easy for new and experienced agents to build their book of business through the most recognized brand in the industry. We back them with a 24/7 agent support system and personalized Customer Relationship Management tools that return proven results.”
“We plan to grow quickly by leveraging the most powerful brand in the business and providing mobile home based agents a stable host environment,” Bloodworth said. “They will be paid high commissions on all products twice a month via electronic funds transfer and never have to worry about competition from their host agency. Our goal is to give mobile agents the opportunity to build satisfying careers while enjoying the flexibility that comes with being self employed. With this formula, we will be successful, the agents will be successful and their clients will recognize the benefits of working with a travel professional who is backed by one of the best known brands in the travel business, Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®.