Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

How Apple Vacations Strengthens VAX’s Marketplace

Exciting news for VAX and OneALG: Apple Vacations launched on VAX on 11/19!

This is big, for Apple Vacations, for VAX and, most importantly, for travel agents. Having another of your favorite suppliers right in one spot with all your other faves helps make your jobs that much easier.

Prior to the launch, Apple Vacations did extensive training in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast. This training initiative included 22 trade shows and seminar events, which they used not only to spread the word of Apple’s launch on VAX, but also to promote their 50th anniversary, happening in 2019.

Giving Agents that Edge

What sets Apple Vacations apart from the rest? Their large selection of nonstop charter flights not only gives travelers great flight options, but gives agents a step up from competition from OTAs. Agents have access to more than 550,000 charter flight seats a year, which are not directly available to consumers through OTAs. “Having a product that’s nonstop that they have access to before anyone else really gives them that edge. I think that’s hugely important,” said Sandy Babin, vice president of marketing for Apple Vacations.

That dedication to travel agents is a cornerstone for Apple, and they put forth a lot of effort to enable agents to better compete against OTAs and to drive business right to agents. “We’re out there helping agents by marketing heavily to the consumer and driving the demand. You’ll find us in all key markets and all media types, from online media types to traditional: television, radio, outdoor,” Babin said. “The agents definitely benefit from that.”

Emerging Destinations

Charter flights aren’t the only focus for Apple. They’re also making moves to get into the newest, most exciting destinations like Panama and Cartagena, and to increase their offerings in Costa Rica, one of the biggest emerging destinations in Central America. “Consumers want to see something new, something authentic,” Babin said. “Central America is calling them.”

This evolution into Central America shows that Apple is looking at the next five years, not the next five months, and they understand that the next generation of travelers wants to really experience a destination in the most authentic way possible. “We just contracted six new hotels in Arenal because [travelers] want to see the Arenal Volcano. They want to get out of their resort. They want to go see the monkeys,” Babin said.

A Focus on Community, Near and Far

One thing Apple Vacations is most proud of is their Agents Give Back program. Agents have the opportunity to go on a volunteer excursion in some of Apple’s major destinations like Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun and give back to the community in a different way. Agents can participate in a beach clean-up or visit a children’s hospital and spend time with patients, reading books or playing games. Apple even organizes events in the states so agents can give back to their communities. Since launching in May 2018, the program has been a huge success, according to Babin. “Agents love it because it’s in their nature to give,” she said.

With all of the good things about Apple Vacations, VAX is very happy to welcome them to the travel marketplace.

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