Tools to sell ski from Ski.com, VAX, Alpine Adventures

By Kate Rice - 22 october 2013

This season, travel agents will find they have several new tools to help them sell mountain vacations.

Agents can now place a link to mega ski tour operator Ski.com on their own websites. Clients who click on the link will be connected to the full Ski.com website, but it now has the addendum “Sold and Serviced by Your Travel Agency” and displays the agency’s phone number rather than the Ski.com number.

Typically, said Dan Sherman, managing director of marketing for Ski.com, ski consumers browse the site and then call their travel agent to actually make the booking.

Ski.com, which pays 10% commission, upgraded its agent website, SellSkiVacations.com, in August, giving agencies the ability to set up the link.

Any bookings made through the link are flagged with the agency’s industry identification number.

Agents can opt to have the call go to a Ski.com agent if they so choose but still get their usual commission for the booking, even if a Ski.com sales agent handles it. However, Sherman said that most agents opt to talk to and qualify the client then work with a Ski.com agent on the client’s behalf.

Clients see all of Ski.com’s content when they click on the agency’s link.

In addition to being a booking engine, SellSkiVacations.com, introduced last year, offers a variety of selling tools. Agents can create quotes for clients on the website and customize email offering Ski.com’s special deals to clients.

The site also offers agent training. Current training modules cover Colorado and Utah.

Ski.com is about to introduce a module that covers what resorts are best for which customers: families, luxury, access and other groups.

Ski.com offers mountain vacations at 100 resorts in North America, South America and Europe. About half its bookings come from travel agents.

VAX resource center

VAX VacationAccess has launched a ski initiative designed to educate agents about how to sell ski vacations.

It now has a Ski Vacation Resource Center live on VAXVacationAccess.com that includes a variety of educational sections, including markets for ski, booking a package, qualifying the sale, promotions, e-postcards, recommended hotels and destination highlights.

VAX will offer a webinar on Oct. 24 from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Central time. A panel of VAX ski experts will host the webinar, titled “Lunch & Learn — Make Money Selling Ski Vacations.” It will teach agents about ski destinations and compare several vacation options to help agents design ski vacations for their clients.

Alpine Adventures teams with insurer

Alpine Adventures, which pays agents commissions ranging between 10% and 12%, has partnered with April Travel Protection, which provides adventure travel insurance coverage. April, a 25-year-old company, is popular with European travelers and entered the U.S. market this year.

All April policies purchased with Alpine Adventures include trip cancellation, trip delay and emergency medical benefit compensation.

April provides travel agents with a URL that is unique to the agent for booking insurance. Agents can make the booking on the site or they can provide it to their clients so they can book the insurance themselves. Either way, the insurance booked on the agent’s site generates an agent commission.

Alpine Adventures is upgrading its website and plans to add online booking capabilities for agents, according to Pete Kovacevic, director for international operations. Currently, agents and their clients can browse the website, and agents can make the booking with an Alpine Adventures sales agent.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.