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AgentPort Quick Start Video

Using the Agent Booking Information and engine to look up offers found in AgentPort and then create and customize emails to send to your clients!

Watch this quick tour of AgentPort Quick Start.

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AgentPort Quick Start Video

Take this quick tour of AgentPort and get started on sending out those offer emails to your clients!

Use the Agent Booking engine to search for offers in AgentPort and then create and customize emails to send with those offers!

Watch here.

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Guidelines for good websites

If you need a website or have one…
Strategies and Guidelines for Good Web Site Management

Marilyn J Macallair
Vice President Business Development

View Marilyn’s actual Power Point demonstration here

Ask yourself these questions

  • Do you have a website?
  • Do you think your website is working well for you?
  • Do you have enough content on your website?
  • Do you update your website?
  • Do you have time to manage your website?
  • How important is your website?

Your website should be mighty important!

Website strategy should be an integral part of your overall marketing plans:

  • Direct Mail
  • Newspaper advertising/Yellow Pages
  • Consumer shows and fairs
  • Email Marketing
  • Overall promotion of your brand

Why do you need a website?

  • Because everyone else has one (close to 80% of travel agencies)
  • To stay competitive
  • To grow your business with your existing client base
  • To add new customers

Case Studies

Gary Davis, All About Travel said:

“Close to 50% of my business ($20M in leisure sales) originates from electronic communications, my website or emails that have a call to action”

“…the sale may not be booked online but it is definitely qualified online”.

Greg Burgess, Beach Hut Vacations said having a website is essential to his business.

“Email is the key driver. I participate in any and all special supplier emails that are available at no cost…Email doesn’t necessarily generate the sale from that particular offer…Talking to your customers, sending relevant offers creates awareness. The email makes the phone ring and the agent makes the sale”.

Your website is your brochure

What does a website need most?

  • Content – updated and consistent
  • Customization – prioritize your offers, highlight what you want to sell, customize your message
  • Ease of use for the customer – Your have 4 seconds or 3 clicks to entice a customer or they’re gone
  • Clarity – what do you sell? What is your specialty? How does the customer contact you?

What should a website NOT do?

  • Be busy, confusing or gimmicky – many supplier logos; too much flashy media
  • Use too many colors
  • Have awkward navigation – supplier booking engines
  • Include link titles that don’t mean anything – “Click here!”
  • Use links that take people away from your website…

Maximize the consumer experience

  • Provide clear navigation!
  • Key objectives – get visitors to stay on the site and find what they are looking for easily
  • Important links in prominent places, preferably on top or left because this is where the eyes go first
    • Avoid putting important information on the bottom of the page
    • Primary links are all visible without scrolling and available on every page
  • Limit depth of navigation
  • Keep it Simple!
  • Emphasize YOUR Brand – avoid too many suppliers logos
  • Accurate and complelling content
  • Avoid multiple, redundant supplier search engines and content
  • Avoid the ‘Endless Page’ – too much data

Some tips for improving your website and working with Search Engines

  • Add your City, State and Zip code to the footer area of your website
  • Sign up for the agency locators on your preferred suppliers website (Remember to include a link to your website!)
  • Ask companies that you like or that you work with if you can link to their website from yours and ask them to link to yours.
    • For example: If you are a honeymoon specialist and work with a wedding planner, link to your wedding planners website and ask them to link to yours.
  • Include your website link on all printed material – your business cards, email signatures, invoices, client documents, even the sign on your building!
  • Customize the text on your website. Your clients want to know about your agency. Some suggestions are:
    • Specialities/Expertise
    • Recent Trips – make a reviews area and include a review on every destination you visit
    • Meet our agents – include contact information, a brief bio and specialties for each agent
    • Favorite destinations
  • Look at the text links on your website and change the ones that say things like Click here. You want to change the Click Here’s to a better description of what the client will be shown when they click on the link
    • For Example: If you have a honeymoon page that says Click here to see Jamaica Honeymoons, change the clickable link to Current Jamaica Honeymoon Specials
  • Avoid using PDF’s for things like special groups, cruise information or newsletters. Instead, create a page and copy the text from the PDF onto the page.
  • Submit sitemaps to Google and Yahoo.
  • Add a META description tag. You should add a unique META description tage to each page, but start with the home page. The META description tag should be a 2-3 sentence summary about that page. A Home page example might be:
    • ABC Travel – the premier adventure travel agency in Portland, Oregon – has just celebrated 23 years in business. We are commited to making your next adventure vacation a dream come true. From rock climbing to whitewater rafting, we’ve done it all and can advise you on the perfect destination for your adventure travel interests.
  • Add Google’s META verification tag

Summary

  • Stand out from the clutter
  • Use the tools in your arsenal
  • Create or highlight unique content
  • Control your message
  • Prioritize your product offers
  • Maximize revenues – directionally sell to reach financial targets
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From the Desk of Randy Goodrich: Getting Ready for Wave Season

Wave Season will be back soon. With the Holidays coming, try to take time to update all of your clients’ profile information, especially email. Passport Online will again be sending emails on behalf of the cruise lines, which you can forward to your clients. In addition, make sure that you have activated the Global Offer Groups for the weekly cruise specials on your web site. These Offer Groups feature great cruise values each week from Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, RCCL and Silversea and will certainly include many of the Wave Season specials.

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From the Desk of Randy Goodrich: Increasing Trip Requests

Q: Danny Pinchot from All Aboard Cruises & Vacations asks… With my NexCite (allaboardcruises-vacations.com), I get a lot of hits, but am wondering how I can increase my Trip Requests?

A: Managing your website so that it produces more sales is really not much different than how any retailer manages their retail stores. Take Nordstrom for example; they have great products and great service, but what drives the customer in to shop? Advertising. In our case the easiest vehicle to drive clients to your website are emails with interesting and exciting travel products. These will peak many of the clients’ interest and they will click on the link and go to your website. It’s easy to create a great email in just a few steps! Check out our training schedule to take an AgentPort class and learn how.

Once on your website, clients can shop through travel options. At that point, you control what products are featured on your site. Those products should highlight the types of products that you know your clients like. The more you can do that, the more likley the client will buy.

You need to manage your website merchandising, again similar to Nordstrom who changes their displays to feature seasonal items, new arrivals and on-sale products. This keeps clients coming back to the “store” to see what is new.

Essentially, a combination of regular email promotions with attractive travel offers and a focus on merchandising the right products on your website will produce results for you. There is work involved – but if done effectively the clients will shop and book with you, making for a much more profitable transaction for you and your clients.

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Resizing Images

Resize your images to no more than 300 pixels wide before uploading them to your NexCite. If you aren’t sure what software to use, visit www.shrinkpictures.com.

Note: The photos intended for your slideshow, must all be uploaded to the same folder under the Images tab, AND only resized slideshow images should be in that folder (i.e., no supplier logos, or unintended photos, not to be included in the slideshow)

Tip: Be sure your photo filenames have no spaces or characters in the name. (example %, #, ., &)

Recommended Image Dimensions
When you take a picture with your digital camera, chances are, it’s a very high resolution photograph that’s intended for printing out.  However, when you show that picture on the Internet, it doesn’t need to be nearly as large, because computer monitors can’t show the same level of detail as a printer. 

Resizing Images
There are a number of software packages that will allow you to resize images.  Most digital cameras come with easy to use photo programs that can be used to resize, crop, and adjust your photos.  If you don’t have this software, you can use free online image resizing services, such as http://www.shrinkpictures.com.  However, if you want to shrink really large photos, this can take a while, because the image has to be uploaded to their system before they can resize it for you.

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Understanding the difference between Sections and Pages

It is important to understand that there are three main categories within NexCite:

  • Sections
    • A Section is a navigational tab, like the Home or Cruises, which places a tab on all pages for easy navigation.  These are typically used for primary topics. Not sure what you can do with a section or why you would want one? See What can I do with a Section.
  • Menu Items
    • Menu Items are secondary navigational tabs that place a sub-tab underneath a Section.  These are typically sub-categories of the primary topic.
  • Pages
    • Pages are text, pictures, links and other things that you enter into a the page. You can build many pages to be easily accessed from different areas of your NexCite. 
    • There are two main page options:
      • Model Pages – Model Pages are pages that you create based on the look of one the basic NexCite Pages (Home, Cruises, Vacations, etc). If you wanted to create a page that has the same look and feel of an exisiting page, it is easiest if you start with a model page.
      • Blank Pages – Blank Pages start out with no text, images or modules on them.  If you are creating a page that doesn’t match the format of any of the basic pages you can start with a blank page and add in any text or images that you want.
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Update Name Servers (DNS)

A Name Server is a system that translates the friendly names we use for websites (for example, www.demoagency.com) to the numeric IP addresses that computers use to communicate (for example, 204.158.55.15).  When you type www.demoagency.com into the address bar of your web browser, your computer asks a Name Server for the IP address for that address.

When you register a domain name, you must tell the world what Name Servers are responsible for providing this information for your domain name.  When you host your website through NexCite, we provide this service for you.

But first, you must tell the company that you registered your domain name with (known as a Domain Registrar) that you will be using the NexCite Name Servers.

The process of changing your Name Servers is different for each Domain Registrar.  Most Registrars provide a website that you can login to for administration of your domain.  Below we have listed several popular Domain Registrar’s with with a link to step by step instructions for how to update Name Servers with them.

If someone else registered the domain for you, you should contact that person or company to determine which Registrar your domain was registered through, and to get the necessary login information. 

Name Server Information

Once you have logged in to the Registrar administration website, look for an option labeled “Name Servers” or “Change Name Servers”.

When you locate this option, replace the existing name servers that are listed with the following:

Primary Name Server:  ns1.vacationport.net
Secondary Name Server: ns2.vacationport.net
Technical Contact Information

There are several types of contacts listed for your domain.  These typically include at least an Administrative Contact and a Technical Contact.  Many times, the Technical Contact will be configured to be a person at your hosting company.  If your Technical Contact appears to be someone affiliated with your previous hosting company, you should change it using the following information (not all Registrars will ask for all of this information):

Company Name: Passport Online, Inc.
Contact Name:  Passport Online Hostmaster
Email Address: hostmaster@passportonlineinc.com
Address:  9786 Nimbus Ave
City, State, Zip: Beaverton, OR  97008
Phone Number: 503-626-7766
Fax Number:  503-626-8676

After you save the above changes, it will take 24-48 hours for the rest of the Internet to become fully aware of the change.  Once it has been completed, though, you will now be able to view your NexCite website using www.yourdomainname.com.

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Adjusting your Supplier Preferences

Adjusting your Supplier Preferences is a great way to choose which suppliers your agency wants to feature. Continue reading »

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