Vacation.com finds eager adopters for EZguider booking tool
By Nadine Godwin
early users were the ones who could benefit
LAS VEGAS — At its annual conference EZguider features EZcruise, which inhere last week, Vacation.com was signing on cludes 10 preferred cruise lines. Users
members by the score to use its proprietary also can sell four travel insurance prod-EZguider desktop tool, a leisure booking ucts (CSA, Travel Guard, Travel Insured
product that is more comprehensive than and Canada-based RBC) and the first of a
any other available in North planned group of tour com-America, the group said. panies: the Globus brands,
At the moment, EZguider Travel Bound and Travel Im-offers booking capabilities for pressions, with Central Holi-cruises, tours and insurance days, CIE, Classic and Viking
and is projected to add air by River Cruises to be added in
year’s end with Amadeus as the second half of the year.
the booking engine; car and Vacation.com aims to drive
hotels will come later. more business to preferred
The Web-based system is suppliers by letting members
accessed via the trade group’s make side-by-side compari-AgentNet intranet, and it is sons.
viewed as a stepping stone Vacation.com President and CEO It also will use a section of
to a consumer website that Steve Tracas in Las Vegas. the screen to consistently re-would make use of the Vaca- mind agents at point of sale
tion.com brand. about supplier promotions, and it will
EZguider, which was previewed at the Vaca- provide displays highlighting preferreds
tion.com conference in New Orleans last sum- that offer the most value to agents and cus-mer, went live in December and now counts tomers, Tracas said. That bias may vary by
about 200 subscribers, according to Steve Tra- region and destination, too, according to
cas, Vacation.com president and CEO. Stephen McGillivray, vice president of mar-
Another 210 members registered for the keting, and it will certainly favor preferreds
free booking system during the first day of over nonpreferreds.
the conference, but Tracas cautioned that Nonpreferred cruise lines are available
Vacation.com was hooking up its members in the system. Tracas explained that “we
at a controlled pace by giving first dibs to are not so naive as to think members don’t
agencies that already have significant sales book Carnival [which is not a preferred],
for the suppliers now available in EZguider. but we want to keep them on EZguider,”
He said the purpose was to ensure that the where they can compare Carnival with the
competition and where Vacation.com can
weight listings and show which suppliers
offer which benefits.
In addition, Vacation.com now offers a
custom version of the VAX booking system
that gives access to Mark Travel products.
Tracas said EZguider does not replace VAX,
but “Mark Travel is a preferred supplier,
and we’d love to have that product in EZguider for one-stop shopping. But we have
to work that out with them.”
As for adding air bookings, he said Vacation.com believes about 800 to 1,000 members are without traditional GDS capabilities.
He said air sales on EZguider will be fulfilled with a Vacation.com member acting
as the host, and Vacation.com “has [a request for proposal] out on that now.”
EZguider interfaces with the Trams accounting system and ClientBase CRM program. Vacation.com is talking with Trav-com, another accounting vendor, Tracas
The next step will be linking EZguider to
agency-sponsored websites, and the third
step will be the consumer site, with “
consumers coming to www.vacation.com and
being referred to member sites.”
If those consumers don’t want to be referred elsewhere, Tracas said, Vacation.com
will have to find a way to capture the business and share the earnings with members
so as not to be competitive with them.
He projected 400 to 500 agency users by
year’s end, with the “real ramping-up next
year” and simultaneous building of the
B2B2C phase in 2009.
New programs use Travel Bound services
LAS VEGAS — Vacation.com, at its 10th annual conference here, rolled out two programs that use the services of Travel Bound to help members serve upscale travelers
and increase yields.
One is Hotel Elite, a luxury hotel program, which features a collection of about 100
four- and five-star hotels in cities around the world that offer 13% to 15% commissions
to members, negotiated room rates and a package of specially negotiated amenities
for the customers.
Agents will make bookings with Travel Bound, initially by phone, and Vacation.com
will collect and disburse the commissions.
The second service is World Connect, a proprietary service that enables members to
obtain and book commissionable, customized travel experiences for clients. — N.G.
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