Christine James

Client leads by the thousands: Vacation.com

Christine James

The dollar may be down but bookings are still up for Vacation.com, says Christine James, CTM, Vice-President, Canada for Vacation.com (Canada), Inc.

Every year has its challenges and this year it’s the Canadian dollar. How did Vacation.com agencies fare in the first half of 2016 and how is the rest of the year looking?

“There’s no question that the declining Canadian dollar is an added challenge to all the other factors facing our industry this year. That said, when we look at our year over year performance with our suppliers, overall, we are still trending into the positive for the first half of the year and even on future bookings to year-end.

“Additionally, many of our cruise line partners are offering very competitive ‘Canadian dollar at par’ promotions to compensate for the exchange rate.

“Vacation.com is also pleased how our key partners have readily stepped up to the plate to extend exclusive offers and incentives to support our members and boost sales. It also helps that we haven’t been burdened the currency surcharges applied from our suppliers as we’ve seen in previous years when the dollar dipped below 80 cents.”

Vacation.com has a record number of promotions available through its Engagement program in 2016. What are the advantages for an agent who signs up for Engagement?

“Our signature award-winning direct mail / email program is truly a hands-off option that allows our members to deliver compelling offers to their clients. We launched this program in Canada in 2002 and it just keeps getting bigger and better each year. This year our members can opt into over 60 direct mail and 120 email offers.

This program is free of charge to our entire membership and is highly sophisticated with professionally designed pieces targeted to the right customer.”

Agents can connect with so many more potential clients through the Agent Snapshot program. Can you give us a couple of examples of how Agent Snapshot has really widened an agent’s reach and brought in new clientele?

“Agent Snapshot has already generated over 35,000 client leads (5,900 Canadian) for members. The online tool enables Vacation.com members and their agents to introduce themselves and their travel expertise to consumers through www.vacation.com, and has been be so well-received by members that there are more than 2,200 published bios (360 Canadian) available for travellers to access on the website.

“In addition to the live Agent Snapshots and consumer leads, the site has received over 10,000 reviews from clients – and the reviews each agent receives play a significant role in consumer decisions. We continue to receive feedback from our members about the lucrative bookings that these leads have generated for their agencies.”

Vacation.com’s 18th International Conference & Trade Show in Florida this past spring was a huge success. Can you give us any details about the 2017 conference?

“The overall energy and enthusiasm generated was overwhelmingly positive. We’ve received great feedback both from our members and suppliers alike.

“In 2017 we’re heading to Orlando from May 1 – 5, 2017 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, where Universal is closing down the park to host an event just for Vacation.com delegates! How cool is that?”

Is Vacation.com actively recruiting right now in Canada?

“As in the past Vacation.com continues to seek the right members that will take advantage and benefit from our existing programs, tools and solutions in addition to some exciting new opportunities coming their way!”