Rewarding Agents

Hawaii wholesalers offer agents appreciation programs that include cash and other rewards

By: Marty Wentzel

Travel agents deserve more than just a tip of the hat for their hard work, and Hawaii wholesalers are expressing their thanks by offering agent appreciation programs.

Runaway Tours, for instance, is continuing its Runaway Rewards program in 2003.

“We want to recognize our agent partners’ dedication,” said Runaway President Ed Jackson. “Behind every great vacation stands a professional travel agent’s experience.”

For every five qualified bookings, front-line travel agents will receive $50 cash. Runaway also offers seasonal Reap the Rewards incentives such as tickets on United Airlines, accommodations and car rentals. Agents making five bookings get one roundtrip ticket on United system-wide. For 10 bookings agents receive a second United ticket, and 15 bookings result in a three-night stay in Hawaii with a rental car. Call 800-622-0733, ext. 8290.

For 15 years, Hawaii World has provided agents with $10 store coupons when they make any type of booking that includes a trip and cancellation waiver. Coupons are good at such retailers as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel and Home Depot.

In another Hawaii World program, once agents book 100 passengers, they get a $600 United Airlines credit.

“Not only do we give them an incentive, we send them to Hawaii to make them better-versed in the destination,” said Mary Twist, Hawaii World president. Hawaii World’s sales team helps individual agencies customize incentive programs. They might include arranging for a massage therapist to visit the client’s office or providing baseball tickets for the entire staff.

“Basically, the agency creates its own incentive,” Twist said. “It ends up as a great team-building exercise.” Call 800-4HAWAII.

Classic Custom Vacations’ travel agent incentive is called Special Travel Agent Rewards STAR. Agents earn one point for every $100 in sales on all qualified bookings.

For 2003, Classic has revised its reward system so that 200 points earns the agent $100 in cash. For 500 points, an agent gets a two-night hotel stay in Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean, with 750 points good for three nights and a rental car in one of those destinations.

Agents with 1,000 points receive two-night vacations with a roundtrip coach air tickets, hotel and rental car, while 5,000 points translates into a nine-night vacation in Europe with two business class roundtrip air tickets, transfers and hotel. Call 800-221-3949.

Apple Vacations has been running its Royalties program since 1997. When making qualified bookings, agents earn one to three points for every $10 they sell.

They can cash in with as few as 3,750 points, which earn them such gifts as a Smart Shot camera, a sports duffel bag or a Fossil Watch.

With 7,500 points, agents can get free gifts such as a rolling suitcase or a hand vacuum. For 75,000 points, awards include camcorders, 25-inch televisions and digital cameras.

In addition to the regular points-per-booking program, Apple will come out with bonus offers throughout the year. Call 800-800-0202.

Pleasant Holidays has its own way of saying thanks to its travel agent partners.

For two qualified bookings, agents get a $40 bonus above and beyond the commission. Bookings must include five-night minimum hotel stays and the purchase of the Pleasant Protection Plan or Travel Protection Plan.

Pleasant Holidays also offers commission overrides for all agencies based on production. Call 800-448-3333.