A new online site, Aruba4Travel Agents.com, is giving agents an
opportunity to cash in on activities and excursions.
The site, operated by Crofton, Md.-based Destination Experts,
allows agents to directly book and receive commissions for
snorkeling trips, island tours and sunset cruises.
The Dutch Leewards island of Aruba is the company’s first
destination, and plans are under way to add the other ABC islands,
Bonaire and Curacao, in the near future, with other Caribbean
islands down the line.
Two hundred agencies have officially signed up to use the site,
which has already been accessed by 2,000 travel agents.
“Our goal, ultimately, is to get 10,000 to 20,000 agents using
the sites,” said John Allen, director of travel agency sales.
According to Allen, the impetus for Aruba4TravelAgents.com came
about over the frustration of clients trying to find space on
popular excursions and activities while already at the resorts. He
relayed a story about wasting valuable vacation time on Paradise
Island trying to find space for an activity that was sold out. He
said he sat patiently while a local tour operator made call after
call to her chums on the island.
Allen said Destination Experts owner, Linda Hamill, decided it
was time for agents to plan a client’s whole vacation, including
activities, and get paid for it.
“I think agents are getting tired of getting cut out of
commissions,” Allen said.
The site guides agents through virtually everything there is to
see and do in Aruba. Agents and clients can click on every
available Aruba tour and activity that interests them and obtain
up-to-date information, detailed tour descriptions, availability
and pricing. They receive instant confirmation.
In addition to the agent making the reservation, agents can even
provide their clients with an access code that allows them to book
the activities online at home.
“The agent still earns commissions on every confirmed
reservation,” Allen said.
While on Aruba, clients can visit the Aruba Experts Visitors
Information Center, located at the Royal Plaza Mall in the heart of
Oranjestad, for information and assistance. Allen said Aruba
Experts is a local company, privately owned and not affiliated with
the island’s government-run tourism entity, the Aruba Tourism
Authority. Destination Experts is the parent company of Aruba
Upon arrival at their hotel on Aruba, clients receive an island
welcome package containing their tickets, a vacation planner,
samples, discount coupons and other features that vary from time to
The site offers some apartments, guest houses, villas and
bed-and-breakfast inns on Aruba, though not the major casino and
Some of the site’s products include:
" A four-and-a-half hour Explore Aruba sightseeing tour,
visiting the lighthouse, St. Anna Church, the Natural Bridge, rock
formations and one of the island’s caves, plus a swim and snorkel
at Baby Beach. The cost is $26 per adult.
" Theater tickets to the Let’s Go Latin show at the Crystal
Theater, for $33 per person.
" A half-day tour in a Land Rover, visiting Casibari Rock,
Bushiribana Gold Mine ruins, Natural Bridge, the donkey sanctuary
and the Black Stone Shoreline, for $49 per person.
" The Jolly Pirates Starlight Dinner Cruise aboard the ship, the
Pirate’s Poison. Includes dinner, drinks and live entertainment,
along with a moonlit dip and rope swinging. A 10% discount is
offered; price depends on season.
Destination Experts will cut the 10% commission checks within 30
days of activity completion. Agents need to register online to
Payments are made via credit card, with no fees attached. Full
payment or deposit will be required, depending on supplier.
Aruba4TravelAgents.com will appear at the ACE (Aruba Certified
Experts) convention on Aruba in December, as well as the Caribbean
Hotel Association Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in