New Training for Agents: Specialty Cruise, Blogging, Villa Travel
by Dori Saltzman /

Travel Institute Launches Villa Specialist Course
The Travel Institute has added a Villa Travel specialist course to its Lifestyle series. Course content includes: how to differentiate villa rental vacations from vacation rentals; insights into the villa traveler, and best practices for selling and marketing villa travel. Travel professionals who complete the program, including online testing, earn 10 Continuing Education Units (CEU). The price for the course is $49 – online or on CD-ROM. The Villa Travel course is an elective in the Institute’s Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program.

Blogging Will Be Focus of ASTA Webinar on Aug. 31
ASTA will host a webinar for agents looking to step up their social media presence through blogging. The webinar – scheduled for Aug. 31 at 2 p.m., Eastern – will look at target marketing via the keyword phrase, SEO for blogs, how to post for web traffic, travel agent SWOT analysis, incorporating a blog into a Facebook page or Twitter stream and more. It will also provide an overview of the Travel Blog Project, which guided 225 agents through a 100-day online marketing effort encompassing SEO, social media and blogging. The presenter will be George Oberle, who is the force behind The Travel Blog Project. Registrants will receive a copy of Oberle’s e-book Travel Blogging Lessons Learned. ASTA’s Aug. 31 webinar is titled: Travel Agents Attack Social Media – 100 Days of Online Marketing with the Travel Blog Project.

CLIA’s New Specialty Cruising Seminar Is Now Online
CLIA’s newest seminar – Specialty Cruising – is now available as an online course. The course covers niche market cruising, river cruises, small ship cruising and special interest cruises, as well as how to identify and sell to clients using “hot buttons.” The course also provides practical and profitable ways to integrate specialty cruising into an agent’s existing business mix and sales and marketing efforts. Introduced at this year’s cruise3sixty conference, Specialty Cruising is also offered as part of TrainingFest, a two-day training seminar and trade show that travels throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Israel Slates Free Agent Seminars in September
The Israeli Ministry of Tourism will host complimentary evening seminars for agents in three East Coast cities in September. The events include dinner and a mini trade show. Agents will learn how to turn clients’ curiosity into sales and hear about new developments, including why more cruise lines are calling in Haifa and Ashdod. Seminar dates and locations are: Sept. 13, Baltimore; Sept. 14, Washington, D.C.; and Sept. 15, Norfolk, Va.; the events run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To reserve a spot, visit

Agents Offered 50% Savings on CTC and CTIE Programs
The Travel Institute has extended to Aug. 12 a promotion that slashes 50% off the price of enrollment in its Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) courses. For agents who have not yet earned a CTA designation, a test-out option is available allowing them to advance directly to the CTC or CTIE course. Both courses are available in print and PDF formats.

CLIA Expands World’s Largest Cruise Sale
CLIA is launching a one-week promotion in October – National Cruise Vacation Week: The World’s Largest Cruise Sale, slated for Oct. 17 to 23. The promotion encompasses consumer offers and booking incentives  – as well as marketing and PR support for CLIA agents, including tools for creating a personalized “microsite.” Registration for agents on CLIA’s website opens Aug. 9. The weeklong promotion replaces CLIA’s World’s Largest Cruise Night; the expansion was based on feedback from agents and cruise lines, according to CLIA. Last year, the World’s Largest Cruise Sale resulted in an estimated 41,000 bookings, more than $47 million in sales and the potential for agency commissions of more than $6 million.

Brendan Vacations Launches Agent Loyalty Program
A new Travel Agent Loyalty Rewards from Brendan Vacations allows qualified travel sellers to earn a $25 credit for every passenger booked on a Brendan tour. The credit may be used on any Brendan Vacations escorted or customized vacation. The tour firm also invited agents to experience its escorted vacations to Europe, Canada and the U.S. for $50 per night. For more information, visit the trade section of Brendan’s website.