TravelHUB Offers Private-Labeled Packages

Site lets agents customize Far & Wide companies’ tours and sell with their own imprint

By: David Peterkofsky

TravelHUB recently launched an Intranet system for its registered agents that allows them to offer private-labeled tours on Web pages created by six of Far & Wide Travel Corp.’s tour companies.

The program, introduced in May, allows agents registered with TravelHUB to “customize tours to every corner of the globe with their own agency imprint,” said Gary Bilbao, president of the Marlton, N.J.-based company. The Far & Wide companies participating in TravelHUB’s private-label program are Central Holidays, Zeus Tours, Tourlite International, Journeys Unlimited, Regina Tours and Spanish Heritage Tours, Bilbao said.

The private-label tours appear in a pop-up window on the agency’s own site, with the agency name listed at the top of the page and the contact information at the bottom.

A key selling point for the private-label program, Bilbao pointed out, is that agents can sell the tour operators’ products as their own without any concern of agent bypass, since only the agency’s name and not the supplier’s appears on the tour package. In fact, the idea for the private-label tour product came from discussions with retailers in which “an agency would say, ‘I don’t want a link to Central Holidays, but I wouldn’t mind having their tours on our Web site,’” Bilbao said.

Agents receive full commission on any resulting sales, just as they would on the sale of any other Far & Wide tour package.

The program allows participating suppliers to edit their packages’ descriptions via the Web, said Bilbao, a former Worldspan employee who co-founded TravelHUB in 1995. The Far & Wide suppliers can edit tour descriptions via a Web browser, changing dates, prices or copy, and the changes are reflected immediately on the agents’ sites.

That technology on the supplier side also makes things easier on the agents who list their specials.

“They can keep a current list of specials without contacting a Webmaster to go in there and set the HTML up,” Bilbao said.

TravelHUB doesn’t cap commissions, nor does it collect a fee on any resulting sales. Instead, it collects $50 monthly fees from its more than 900 registered agencies for its weekly e-mail broadcasting service, in which agencies can select and “broadcast” two daily specials private-label or not to Web surfers searching TravelHUB for deals.

Agents also receive marketing reports detailing how many people have viewed their specials, allowing them to gauge which specials are generating the most interest.

The specials are displayed on TravelHUB’s site, which receives 100,000 visitors a month and is linked to more than 800 sites; they are also featured in TravelHUB’s HUB Club newsletter, which reaches 35,000 subscribers.

In September, Bilbao said, TravelHUB plans to add more tour operators to its program, to coincide with the release of those operators’ new travel products for 2003.

TravelHUB currently is offering agents a 30-day free trial of its broadcast-specials program.

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