Vacation.com began marketing a program dubbed “Engagement Level Two” that aims to facilitate focused promotions by preferred suppliers to thousands of Vacation.com members` clients.
The 10,000-member trade group said it believes the project—which ultimately may involve aggregating millions of names of known travelers into a single database—will boost both sales activity and earnings per booking for agencies that are “engaged,” meaning that participate in the program.
Bobby Heiser, executive vice president, sales and marketing for Vacation.com, explained that for the program to work, members have to be willing to entrust their databases to the trade group.
Once Vacation.com has enough customer files to sort for various demographics and travel histories, the trade group believes it will be a considerably more valuable selling partner for its preferred suppliers.
Using the principles of the “Engagement” project, he said about 200 agencies already have provided customer lists for a total of about 200,000 names. In these cases, he said, agencies sorted their own files and provided selected lists for specific promotions undertaken recently with several cruise lines, including Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
Now, Heiser said, those agencies and any others that sign on are expected to provide their full lists, and Vacation.com plans to sort the names for each promotional project based on the desired target group of the participating supplier.
He predicted 2,000 members will submit more than 3 million names to the database by the end of the year, a file that is expected to be the industry`s largest database of proven travelers.
Heiser said the data, to be maintained using the ClientBase software from Trams, will be protected, and suppliers will never see the files.
For each promotional mailing, participating agencies can opt in or opt out; in some cases, the mailings will be free to the agencies, while with other projects, participating members will pay part of the cost.
In all cases, Heiser said, each consumer will be referred to the specific agency that supplied the consumer`s name. It will appear that each agency has prepared its own mailings, he said.
He said Vacation.com has about 15 to 17 supplier promotions planned for 2002, “from this point forward.” In the early days, he said, HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean will undertake additional promotions and Carnival Cruise Lines will sponsor one, too.