MLT to Assume Operations of United Vacations

Also partners with Globus Family of Brands to offer escorted tours and river cruises By: Deanna Ting
MLT’s Ken Pomerantz broke news regarding MLT and United Vacations at the three-day conference. // © 2010 MLT VACATIONS
MLT’s Ken Pomerantz broke news regarding MLT and United Vacations at the three-day conference. // © 2010 MLT VACATIONS

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At the 17th annual MLT University held in St. Paul, Minn., at the St. Paul River Centre, MLT Vacations announced that it would assume operations of United Vacations from Milwaukee-based Mark Travel Corporation, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Minneapolis-based MLT, which currently manages Delta Vacations, Continental Vacations and Worry-Free Vacations, broke the news to more than 2,000 travel agents — the event’s largest attendance record to date — at its three-day agent education conference, held from Sept. 12-14.

“We’re thrilled about the United announcement,” Ken Pomerantz, MLT co-president and chief marketing officer told TravelAge West. “Now, with United Vacations, we can extend more of our product offerings and work with more partners in Hawaii, Asia and Europe, where United has such a strong network.”

Given the pending merger between United and Continental Airlines, which is expected to be completed on Oct. 1, Pomerantz said that exact details for the transition are still unavailable, but he suspected the transition would be similar to MLT’s assumption of Continental Vacations in 2008. He said that MLT is currently working with United to smooth out the details.

MLT did, however, release details about its new partnership with Globus Family of Brands. Under the new distribution agreement, which had a soft launch on Sept. 1, agents can now purchase escorted tour and river cruise products from Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways when purchasing Delta or Continental Vacations packages for their clients. Newly added destinations for MLT, of which there are more than 30, include India, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Some select tours and products are exclusive to Delta Vacations, however, and MLT will continue to work with its already established ground operators in Australia, China, Japan and Thailand.

“Continental and Delta asked us to expand our destination and product offerings, so we went looking for a partner who could help us accomplish just that,” said Pomerantz. “Globus has great brands and lots of variety of product and such a good name. They are a perfect fit.”

Agents who book Globus products through MLT will continue to get exclusive airfare rates through Delta and Continental, as well as the same MLT-established commission rates. Revenue produced from these bookings will also count toward an agent’s MLT revenue goals. Beginning Oct. 1, agents can utilize MLT’s online booking engine, WorldAgent Direct, to book Globus product.

MLT also announced that it will launch an online affiliate program for travel agents on Oct. 12. The program enables agencies to post links on their own agency websites that allow their clients to book directly with them online, while ensuring that agencies receive their proper commission.

“We know that agents are challenged with getting eyeballs on the Internet, and this helps them with that greatly,” said Pomerantz.

Alex Trettin, president of Tacoma, Wash.-based Travel Leaders, welcomed the new affiliate program.

“One of the biggest things I’ve wanted was an affiliate booking site,” Trettin said.

Additional highlights from the convention, which offered more than 40 travel destination and trend classes, included the MLT Quality Assurance Awards honoring top hotel suppliers, as well as the MLT Star Reception, recognizing the efforts of outstanding travel agents. The next MLT University is scheduled to take place Oct. 2-4, 2011, in St. Paul, Minn., at the St. Paul River Centre. 
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