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An Interview with Rob Betz, Vice President of Blue Sky Tours

 

Rob Betz joined The Mark Travel Corporation in 1994 and has held several duties involving sales, marketing, operations and product contracting.  He is inspired and energized to continue working with such a knowledgeable and dedicated team at Blue Sky Tours.  His mission is to grow the business and further the reputation of Blue Sky Tours as an industry leader in the Hawaii market.

TRO: Blue Sky Tours sells only Hawaii, why not offer other destinations?

RB: Hawaii has been very successful for Blue Sky Tours for over 30 years.  It is one destination that everyone wants to visit at least once in their lifetime.  Once we get the client to Hawaii they realize what a special destination it is and they become return customers.  All of our attention at Blue Sky Tours is focused on the one destination which truly makes us specialists.  Hawaii gets in your blood.

TRO: How do you decide which local tour operators to offer?

RB: We work with Aloha VIP for many of our tours and activity offerings.  They have been in business for over 30 years and understand our needs as well as our customers’ needs.

We add many activities and tours based on suggestions from the travel agents and requests they receive from the travelers.  It is always so important to listen to the travel agents as they know what the vacationing public wants.  We also want to have the latest and most popular activities so our travel agents can offer exciting and new activities and adventures to their customers before they arrive in Hawaii.

TRO: Is there any particular package or island you offer that is more popular than others?

RB: Hawaii is really six destinations in one.  Each island has its own character and charm.  What is great about Blue Sky Tours’ reservation agents is that we can help qualify the customer and get them to the best islands for them and that guarantees return customers.

TRO: And what is your favorite Hawai’i itinerary?

RB: It really depends on what you want to see and do.  For the first-time client it is nice to see O’ahu as you can get two different experiences.  You have the great beach and nightlife of Waikiki as well as the quiet outer-island feel of the North Shore.  It is also nice to do a two-island experience if you have over seven nights in Hawaii.  O’ahu and Kauai or Maui and the Big Island are great ways to experience a mix of night life, adventure and culture.

TRO: When it comes time for you to take a vacation, where do you like to go?

RB: I love all of the Islands but for me my first choice is Kauai.  It is a great mix of relaxation and adventure to balance out my ideal vacation.

TRO: Are there any destinations on your “bucket list”?

RB: I have been so fortunate to have worked in the travel industry and been able to travel to many places throughout the world.  However, that only makes you want to visit more. . . because of that, I have so many destinations on my own personal “bucket list”, but my wife and I would really like to visit Italy and  Greece.

TRO: What inspired you to work in the travel industry?

RB: I have a passion for travel and a passion for Hawaii so Blue Sky Tours is a perfect fit for me.  I had originally wanted to become a pilot, but when that did not materialize as expected, I knew I wanted to find another career that would allow me to travel and experience different destinations and cultures.  I was fortunate to have been hired by The Mark Travel Corporation nearly 18 years ago – not only has the company allowed me to grow professionally, but they have become like family to me.   Being able to be part of an organization whose core values align with my personal values makes work very rewarding.

TRO: Please describe Blue Sky Tours’ relationships with travel agents.

RB: Blue Sky Tours’ business model is based on relationships with travel agents.  We do not sell to the public – we only sell through travel agents.  Without the agents there would not be a Blue Sky Tours.

TRO: How can travel agents benefit from a partnership with your company?

RB: Travel agents never have to worry that Blue Sky Tours would be in competition with them for their clients as we only do business with travel agents.  Our reservation agents are Hawaii specialists and experience the islands first-hand yearly.  Because of our reservation agents’ knowledge, they are great at making sure the customer goes to the best island for the experience they want and guarantee a repeat client for Blue Sky Tours, the travel agent and the destination of Hawaii.

TRO: What types of educational tools do you employ for travel agents to learn about selling your product?

RB: We offer Destination Specialist programs for all of the islands each year.  We do webinars on a regular basis with the islands and suppliers to help keep the travel agents informed and updated.  Blue Sky Tours offers a marketing kit on our web site which includes articles, information, videos and marketing material.  VAX Destination Center is another wonderful resource with a wealth of information on the Islands of Hawaii.  We have the most knowledgeable reservation agents in the industry when it comes to the destination of Hawaii and they are happy to answer any questions as well as guide you towards the best vacation for your clients.

TRO: Is there anything new on the horizon for Blue Sky Tours that you would like to share?

RB: We are very excited about 2012 and the opportunities it will bring.  We will be launching our highly anticipated loyalty program in March called Mahalo Money.  This will be a great way to further reward our great agency partners.  We are also looking at some new product opportunities which I am sure our agency partners will appreciate.

 

To learn more about Blue Sky Tours or to contact their Reservation Specialists, visit http://blueskytours.com/.

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