The Internet: Two thumbs up!
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Dear client: Like anyone who enjoys a good deal, it may have occurred to you that you can actually plan some of the best moments
of your life online. A proportion of vacation planning is done that
way and I, as your agent, want to tell you about some of the advantages
in using an online site, instead of me, to plan your next vacation:
1. Your privacy will not be invaded. The time discussing the relative merits of hotels
Internet will never want to meet you, and their locations, air routing, personal-to know your personal likes and dislikes, to ized sightseeing geared to your interests and
strive to treat you as an individual. No one feedback from personal inspec-will ask about your prior travel experiences tions. No downside information.
to match you with the very best travel prod- The Internet is always positive,
uct. No one will inquire about your medical even if your hotel is a hellhole. I
background. In fact, to protect your privacy, like that about them.
your entire transaction may be occurring in
Bangladesh. But this won’t bother you because no one will tell you this. 4. Int
to ernet sites often allow you
pay more for your vacation. This keeps lots of folks em-
ployed. You never have to worry Richard Turen
about being called a cheapskate
for using the Internet, since there is such a
good chance that you are paying the same
or more then you would have paid to use
You see, after you work with me, you
don’t have to call the
REALITY CHECK hotel, cruise line or tour operator, check-
ing to make certain
that the Internet site did not mess up your
reservation. Since I do my job and the Internet often doesn’t, who do you think gets the
better rates form suppliers?
6. Remember the Woody Allen movie
where prisoners were sentenced to
spend time locked in a room with an insurance salesman?
Well, on the Internet that won’t happen.
Chances are no one at all will discuss the
benefits of various travel insurance policies.
That would take too much time. You can always use more free time. So what if you’re
uninsured? What could happen?
EDITOR IN CHIEF: ARNIE WEISSMANN
EDITOR: ROB FIXMER
MANAGING EDITOR: REBECCA TOBIN
2. The simplicity of the Internet is appealing. The only bit of information you
need to give up is your credit card number.
Sure, credit card security is a major issue,
and you may actually be speaking with a hotel reservationist who is currently incarcerated, but giving your credit card to someone
who may be using a
fictitious name is not
really that dangerous.
Don’t worry about it.
7. You may get to work with
many Web sites to book
your vacation. It’s fun to try new
things. And because online travel
firms go out of business at a rate
that is significantly higher than
home-based or brick and mortar
firms, you will get to meet lots of
new friends, all of whom want to
be friends with your credit card
— but not with you — which means you’ve
saved even more precious time.
EDITOR/NEWS & OPINION:
Bill Poling (202) 429-9030; Fax (202) 429-9054
DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR:
Kent M.C. Lau
3. You won’t have to deal with any negative information. In fact, you probably
won’t have to deal with any downside information about your hotel, your airline seat
or your cruise line. Everything smells like
a strawberry on the Internet. It is a world
where everything is fine and your booking
will be simple and efficient without wasting
8. The best part of booking your next
vacation on the Internet is that it’s
more fun. If you have to cancel or change
your trip, doing it over the Internet is like a
strategy game. If you love virtual reality and
have lots of time on your hands, you will
love making changes to an existing Internet
booking. It is much more of a game then
just calling me up. Now that’s boring.
David Cogswell (Tour Operators)
Andrew Compart (Aviation, ARC, DOT)
(202) 429-9033; Fax (202) 429-9054
Jerry Limone (Copy Desk)
Michael Milligan (Hotels, Agent Organizations,
Car Rentals) (202) 429-9038;
Fax (202) 429-9054
Gay Nagle Myers (Caribbean)
Dennis Schaal (Technology, Business Travel)
Kimberly Scholz (Familiarization Trips),
Fax (201) 902-2034
Johanna Jainchill (Cruise, Alaska)
Nadine Godwin (New York, Retail)
Dan Luzadder (Business) (303) 670-9303
5. Booking online gives you one less number to call in case of an emergency. Just
strike it off your list. Just get your doctor on
the phone if there is a problem overseas.
Contributing Editor Richard Turen owns
Churchill and Turen Ltd., a vacation-plan-ning firm, and has been named to Conde
Nast’s list of the World’s Best Travel Specialists
since the list began.
Romina Paludi, Thoralf Tollefsen
DESIGNER: Thomas Lechleiter
CREATIVE CONSULTANT: J.C. Suarès
clients after a year or two, attracting young,
affluent travelers. We have a 29-year-old
agent who is doing $2 million in luxury
sales, and many of her clients are within 10
years of her age.
We’re a Virtuoso agency, and Virtuoso is
campaigning to attract young people and
show them that being a travel agent is a viable career.
Arnie, travel agents are a smart group, and
we will not let our travel industry die off.
Anne Morgan Scully, President
McCabe Bremer Travel
New passport law could
help boost commissions
The pending passport requirement for
travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean should be viewed as totally positive, as it will greatly increase the number
of passport holders from the currently estimated 20% of the U.S. population. Without
a passport, travelers are unable to visit Europe, Asia, Africa or South America.
For years, retail agents have bemoaned
the low levels of commission available to
them, yet when they now have the opportunity to sell long-haul vacations to a
wider client base, they view it as a negative
At less than $100 for a 10-year passport,
this must be the travel bargain of the decade. This should not be seen as a penalty
for travel to neighboring countries but as
an exciting opportunity to offer the world
to every client. With careful planning and
the assistance of a reputable tour operator, a
week in London can be less expensive than a
week in New York, including air.
It may be that agents do not know a destination and are concerned about their inability to give positive guidance and advice.
This shouldn’t be a deterrent. There are
destination specialist companies throughout the U.S. that are ready, willing and
able to assist agents in preparing an itinerary for the vacation of a lifetime to any
destination. Most destination specialists
offer scheduled departures and customized FITs and can advise on special-interest
We should embrace this need for a passport and look forward to the day when all
U.S. citizens, like Europeans, hold a passport
and can travel anywhere in the world.
Charlie Newton, President
Britain by Choice
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Kristin O’Meara Hillmann
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