An Interview With Avoya Travel’s Skip Fortier


Skip Fortier
Director of Join Avoya
Avoya Travel® / American Express®

By Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC

Recently Joanie had the opportunity to meet with Skip Fortier of Avoya Travel to see what is new for 2013 with Avoya’s hosting program. Here is how it went.

How can Avoya Travel / American Express help to increase travel agents’ sales?

In my 25 years in the travel industry, I’ve noticed that there are two businesses that travel professionals are in – the marketing business and the selling business. Marketing is extremely difficult and expensive for small agencies, yet finding new customers is essential for success. Avoya Travel offers Independent Agencies the ability to outsource their marketing, as well as other aspects of their business, so that the travel professional can focus on selling specialties they want to sell.

In fact, Avoya Travel’s Network of Independent Agencies makes 10 to 20 times more money than the average home-based travel agent. When travel professionals affiliate with Avoya Travel, they can focus on selling and generating top-tier commissions because we offer 24/7 access to our exclusive Live Leads™ program. Avoya Travel spends millions of dollars to generate vendor and destination-specific Live Leads which are new customers sent exclusively to each Independent Agencies via the phone, Internet, or text message.

In addition to generating new clients, Avoya Travel offers to market to the Independent Agencies’ personal client base on their behalf, and there is no cost for this! They no longer need to spend time sending out brochures and designing marketing campaigns themselves, and they don’t need to worry about how their phone is going to ring.

What makes Avoya Travel different than other host agencies?

Well, there are many great things about Avoya Travel that our Independent Agencies find valuable to their businesses. The main differentiator is our Live Leads program.

– Our Live Leads and Marketing

Avoya Travel offers a turnkey marketing solution unlike anything in the industry that enables travel professionals to do what they do best – sell travel. Avoya Travel and its Live Leads program are unique because travel professionals can benefit from world-class, competitive marketing without incurring the cost or spending the time.

Avoya Travel also offers many benefits in addition to marketing, which sets us apart from our competition:

– Our Unrivaled Technology

Avoya Travel Independent Agencies have exclusive use of our easy-to-use, patent-pending, Agent Power™ technology – the industry’s most comprehensive online Travel Agent Operating System™ allowing Independent Agencies the ability to sell travel from anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Agent Power offers access to Live Leads, integrated booking engines, Customer Relationship Management resources, internal forums to help Independent Agencies connect with each other, on-demand supplier and sales Professional Developments, easy commission tracking, and more! We even pay commissions to our network via automatic deposit on a weekly basis.

We also offer our Independent Agencies a private-label website, which provides customers with real-time pricing, promotions, and rich content that is automatically updated. It looks and feels just like the www.AvoyaTravel.com website, yet it displays the travel professional’s contact information.

– Our American Express Affiliation

Avoya Travel has been affiliated with the American Express Travel Representative Network for over 20 years, which offers many benefits to our independent agencies and their customers, including being able to offer clients the option to purchase their vacation using their American Express Membership Rewards Points.

What type of Professional Development and support does Avoya Travel offer?

Accessible through Agent Power, our Independent Agencies have access to Professional Development programs at Avoya Travel University™ which offers top educational programs, including daily and on-demand vendor, destination, and sales Professional Developments.

Independent Agencies also have access to Seminars at Sea, Ship Inspections, and FAM trips, regional meetings, and an annual national conference.

In addition, we also handle aspects of business that take time away from selling through accounting and commission tracking, more than 25,000 cabins in group space, a customer care and contact center, and more.

Independent Agencies also benefit from Avoya Travel’s membership with industry associations including ASTA, CLIA, IATA, NACTA, and OSSN, and the educational and Professional Development opportunities these organizations provide.

What is a typical Avoya Travel Independent Agency?

To expand our business, Avoya Travel needs more Independent Agencies and is looking for passionate experts who sell cruises, tours, and vacation packages, and who run their businesses with Integrity and Professionalism™.

Avoya Travel Independent Agencies are experienced sellers of travel that are entrepreneurs who own their businesses and want to keep and extend relationships with their customers. They can outsource all of their marketing so they can focus on helping the customer achieve their desires and provide extraordinary service.

We can help travel agencies out there today by doing what we do best, which is finding them new sources of customers. We give our network of Independent Agencies extremely efficient methods to work with these customers, including unparalleled technology that powers those relationships.

Tell us more about Avoya Travel and the company’s background?

Avoya Travel is a family-owned business that traces its roots back to 1964, when it began operations in Hawaii. Previously known as America’s Vacation Center until late 2010, we changed our name to Avoya Travel as part of our expanding initiative to provide personalized planning to travelers around the world. Today, Avoya Travel is one of the most reputable and awarded travel companies in North America and beyond.

The root word of Avoya is ‘voy’, which means ‘Path’ and we believe that Avoya Travel is the Path to Success for travel agencies and the future of travel. We continue to grow with our Shared Success model, which allows travel agents to live a lifestyle of success and make more money, while providing customers with exceptional vacation experiences, and developing prosperous relationships with the industry’s top suppliers.

We offer independent businesses a Path to Success with Live Leads, an established reputation, increased income potential, Professional Development and specialization, award-winning technology, a community of entrepreneurial travel professionals, and exclusive competitive consumer advantages.

Avoya Travel and our network have received numerous industry accolades, including being named ‘Travel Agency of the Year’, by Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, American Express Travel, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Brendan Vacations. Avoya Travel’s long-standing reputation for being one of the top-producing agencies worldwide allows Independent Agencies to offer customers exclusive deals, value, and more from suppliers.

Call us today! Avoya Travel is currently looking for passionate experts who run their businesses with Integrity and Professionalism™. For more information call us at 888-500-6471 or visit www.JoinAvoya.com.