Home-Based Travel Agent.com March 26, 2008 By: Tom Ogg Circulation: Unknown Become a Home-Based Travel Agent An Interview with America's Vacation Center I first met the Anderson family way back in the 1970s as a Sales Manager for Aloha Airlines. Pal Anderson Travel in La Jolla, California was considered a top account for Aloha and I always enjoyed calling on Pal. The Andersons’ continued in the travel industry to become one of the most dynamic and well-thought-of host agencies in America. I caught up with long time friend Brad Anderson for an interview about what AVC is doing today. Brad, how long has AVC been in business? As a family-owned business, AVC traces our roots back to a Hawaiian travel company owned by our founders in the 1960’s. Today, AVC is one of the largest and fastest- growing travel companies in North America and beyond, with hundreds of independently owned and operated affiliates worldwide. How much revenue is AVC producing? AVC’s 2007 sales totaled $150+ million; a 50% increase over 2006. How long has AVC been hosting agents? AVC started hosting Independent Affiliates nearly 20 years ago, however the home- based agent program started to significantly accelerate in 2000, after the launch of AVC’s patent-pending, proprietary Agent Power™ software. Agent Power™, an Agency Operating System™, integrates everything including access to AVC Live Leads™, live inventory, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and dozens of other features, enabling AVC Independent Affiliates to assist more travelers and provide exceptional customer service. How many independent agents are working through AVC? AVC currently has 300+ Independent Affiliates in its network and we are looking to add hundreds more in order to provide unparalleled customer service to our clients. Is there a fee to join AVC? Yes. (Please see the question below for additional details.) Home-Based Travel Agent.com March 26, 2008 By: Tom Ogg Circulation: Unknown How much is the fee? AVC charges a $495 start-up fee for the Platinum Agency Program™. Start-up fees include all exclusive training opportunities through AVC, access to AVC’s patent-pending, Web-proprietary software Agent Power™, Live Leads™, and more. How much is the AVC commission split? AVC’s Independent Affiliates earn 80 percent on their own customers and 30 percent on AVC’s customers on cruises, river cruises, escorted tours, and vacation packages. Does AVC offer any overrides? No. Does AVC have any preferred suppliers? AVC has preferred supplier relationships with cruise lines, tour operators, and vacation package wholesalers. What kind of automation does AVC offer? AVC’s patent-pending Web-based software Agent Power™ is focused on productivity, relationships, and integration. Agent Power™ automates everything including: commission payments, calendar items and reminders, integrated e-mail, live inventory, and more. Agent Power™ acts as a virtual assistant and lets AVC Independent Affiliates focus on what they do best – sell travel and provide exceptional customer service. Does AVC offer any sales leads to its agents? Yes. An industry first, AVC offers free access to its innovative Live Leads™ program, which connects on-demand customers directly to Independent Affiliates. AVC also offers a Business Development Center, which helps Independent Affiliates grow their personal business. Does AVC accept new agents? At AVC, we are not currently accepting travel agents that are new to the industry. Our model is focused on helping experienced travel professionals in catapulting their business into a lifestyle of success. Home-Based Travel Agent.com March 26, 2008 By: Tom Ogg Circulation: Unknown Does AVC require a minimum level of revenue? At AVC, we don’t have any sales volume requirements or quotas. An AVC Independent Affiliate can work when, how, and where they want as long as it is done with integrity and professionalism. What qualities does AVC look for in an agent? First and foremost, AVC is looking for Independent Affiliates that run their personal business with integrity and professionalism. In addition, we are looking for travel specialists that are dedicated professionals, not hobbyists, and those that are looking to skyrocket their business with AVC’s award-winning support, cutting-edge technology, and Live Leads™. What special qualities does AVC have to offer? Two of the most unique aspects of AVC are that we offer our network of Independent Affiliates free access to our patent-pending, propriety software Agent Power™, and free access to our innovative Live Leads™ program, which connects on-demand customers directly to Independent Affiliates. AVC’s Independent Affiliates also have live support seven days a week, 24-hours a day with 60+ support staff. An industry first, we also provides our Independent Affiliates with access to affordable health insurance in all 50 states through AVC Protect™. In addition, we also provide our Independent Affiliate network with the brand recognition and consumer buying power of America’s Vacation Center and American Express. AVC joined the American Express Travel Representative Network in 1987, providing our customers worldwide with access to travel and foreign exchange service locations in more than 140 countries. Our outstanding sales and service have earned us the American Express Representative Excellence Award year after year, and in 1999, AVC was inducted into the American Express Worldwide Travel Hall of Fame. Travelers know that when booking through AVC they are receiving the best value, service, personal accountability, and more because of our long-lasting relationship with American Express and our unrivaled reputation with the leading cruise, tour, and package wholesaler suppliers in the industry. Home-Based Travel Agent.com March 26, 2008 By: Tom Ogg Circulation: Unknown Lastly, AVC Independent Affiliates have access to exclusive training opportunities. America’s Vacation Center University™ (AVCU) is one of the industry’s leading training programs, and includes the following educational programs: sales coaching, business development coaching, My AVC Mentor™, AVC Regional Chapters™, continued education, private FAMs, and more. AVCU is also the presenter of the Travel Executive Forum™ (www.TravelExecutiveForum.com), a free online venue where travel professionals can interact with leading executives in the industry. Who should agents contact for more information about AVC? Travel professionals interested in affiliating with AVC should visit www.JoinAVC.com and either submit a ‘Get Started Now!’ form online; e-mail us at Contact@JoinAVC.com; or call us at 800-396-8507. Do you have any other comments that you would like to add? AVC’s unique business model provides travelers with the best customer service experience possible when planning a vacation. Every client works with a qualified specialist to help create their perfect vacation, and they can contact their personal AVC Independent Affiliate directly with any questions, comments, or concerns. Combined with the fact that AVC is licensed, bonded, and fully accredited by ARC, ASTA, CLIA, and IATAN, travelers trust the AVC brand and know they are planning their dream vacations with a company that stands for professionalism and integrity. With AVC’s innovative technology, elite network of Independent Affiliates, and leadership in the travel industry, AVC was recently recognized as: ‘Travel Agency of the Year’ by Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line; ‘Travel Agents of the Year’ by Travel Trade magazine; recipients of the ‘Best Agency Success Story’ Trendsetter Award from TravelAge West magazine; inclusion in Travel Weekly magazine’s ‘Club 33: The 33 Most Influential People in Travel’ list; and more. AVC’s host agency program was designed for and by travel professionals, and it is undeniable that our corporate structure is successful. The travel agent is still the backbone of the travel industry, and while the Internet has changed what it means to be a travel professional, they are still the predominant worldwide force in connecting travelers with the vacations of their dreams. AVC realizes the importance of the travel professional and the Internet in the travel industry, and we have embraced both to create a flourishing company.