Michael Hays — General Manager for WheelsUpNetwork.com

02 26 Friday Five Michael HaysSQWheelsUpNetwork.com is the new travel trade resource site where travel agents can Earn, Learn and Save More. WheelsUpNetwork.com has what agents want – from fams and agent incentives, to webinars and supplier updates – says General Manager Michael Hays.

First things first: what is WheelsUpNetwork.com?

Hays: WheelsUpNetwork.com is a new (well, four months new!) website dedicated to providing a user-friendly source of destination, hotel and supplier information to travel agents. We are not so much about advertising or fancy bells and whistles; we really want to provide an efficient platform between our partners and agents. If this kind of access to information helps agents Earn, Learn and Save More, then we have been successful!

What are the biggest benefits to travel agents who sign up for WheelsUp?

Hays: I would say the biggest benefit is having critical sales tools for multiple key industry players at your fingertips. That, and the fact that we truly want to create something great and useful for the agent community and will be responsive to any feedback that helps us do so. Seriously! My number is (416) 365-1500, ext 139. Give me a call if you have ideas that will help us do a better job!

What’s been the response to the webinars so far, and why are they such an effective learning tool for agents?

Hays: The response has been tremendous. We recently had to boost our capacity to handle all of the registrants. Why are webinars so effective? You can do them from your desk. They are typically 30 – 45 minutes, so not a huge time investment. The presenters have the most up-to-date information on properties (‘Is that resort renovation going to bother my clients?’ ‘Is the new kids’ pool finished?’). You get a real sense of destination facilities and services. Missed it? You can watch the recording. All this, AND, a lucky agent wins a $50 Visa gift card at the end of every WheelsUpNetwork.com webinar.

What sort of marketing tools are available on the site?

Hays: When posting information to our site, we always ask ourselves, Will this help agents? Please their clients and earn or save money? What pleases clients? Making sure they have a great trip and (for some) getting a deal! Our Learn More section has tools to help agents match destinations with clients: FAMs so you can experience the property first-hand, webinars to see and hear detailed property information and ask questions directly to BDMs, a Sales Tools page that has things like wedding coordinator contact lists, maps, brochures, latest news, videos, promotional flyers by supplier and much more. Our Save More section has a Travel Deals page that will help delight clients with great values. We also have Promotions & Incentives and Industry Rates sections which provide the latest earning and saving opportunities for agents.

The travel industry is known for its great perks. What are some of the best travel agent incentives and fams right now on WheelsUpNetwork.com?

Hays: For incentives, I like the Air France Chic Alors! contest, where agents can win a pair of Business, Premium Economy or Economy class Canada-Europe tickets. The Sandals Sell and Go program is great. Karisma Hotels & Resorts has put together a super combination of consumer deals and agent incentives for the Canadian market. They recently covered their offerings in a webinar and I posted the presentation to WheelsUpNetwork.com. It takes a few seconds to download but it is a very good resource. For FAMS, Royal Irish Tours just posted an eight-day luxury coach tour FAM that has garnered a lot of interest. If you’re sporty, I’d check out the Jamaica Tourist Board’s upcoming FAM that coincides with a 5/10k charity road race.

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