Vacation Express, part of Sunwing Travel Group Inc., has been in existence for over 25 years and is one of the largest tour operators in the Southeast. The Atlanta-based tour operator specializes in quality vacation packages to over 35 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.
The company sells air/land vacation packages from most U.S. cities via regularly scheduled airline service. In May 2012, capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by Sunwing, the company expanded its business model and introduced a seasonal Sunwing program featuring non-stop champagne flights from Cincinnati to three of the company’s most popular destinations, Cancun, Jamaica and Punta Cana. The seasonal service has been extremely successful and due to unprecedented demand in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, the DOT has already approved a continuation of the Sunwing CVG service for 2013. The introduction of AeroMexico operated charter flights out of Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans has given travelers the added convenience of direct flights to Cancun.
Sunwing customers enjoy award-winning in-flight ‘Elite Service’ which includes a “Bon Voyage” glass of champagne, hot towel service, a choice of hot meals or hot snack, in-flight movies, wine with meals, kids backpacks with games and toys, comfortable leather seating throughout the aircraft and checked baggage (up to 44 lbs. per person) at no extra charge. Clients may opt to upgrade to Elite Plus Service for only $40 each way and receive an extra leg room seat, advance seat selection, additional 22 lb. checked baggage allowance and priority check-in and boarding. “It is really nice to see an airline adding more services rather than taking them away” commented Rene Jongmans, President of Vacation Express. Customers flying with AeroMexico also enjoy complimentary bar, select snacks, in-flight entertainment, complimentary headsets and a checked bag up to 44lbs per person. Upgrades to First Class are available for only $75 each way. First Class includes the above mentioned, priority check-in and boarding, 2×2 seating with extra legroom and an additional checked bag up to 44lbs. In addition to the extremely affordable air/hotel packages, Vacation Express offers low-cost air only options as well.
Vacation Express offers a wide range of hotel options, but is primarily focused on the all-inclusive vacation experience. A highlight is their “SMILE” program which includes a selection of family-friendly all-inclusive resorts that not only offer extremely budget-friendly rates but also many exclusive year-round family travel bonuses you won’t find anywhere else including kids 2-12 stay free year-round; preferential pricing for teens 13-17 year-round; and a single supplement waiver for single parents traveling with their children. According to Mr. Jongmans, the success of this program is a strong indicator that not only affordability but good value for the family vacation dollar is still very much a priority with consumers. More recently, the 2013 product opened for sale with the addition of a number of high profile all-inclusive hotel additions including popular brand name resorts in the Riviera Maya, Jamaica, St. Thomas and Punta Cana catering to families, couples and groups. Plus they have added St. Maarten/St. Martin to their program due in part to synergies afforded by Sunwing Travel Group coupled with demand from agents for this charming dual-nation island. More exciting product additions are expected as the company focuses on the right product mix for its client base.
Vacation Express’ Costa Rica program continues to be one of the most extensive programs available, featuring a number of different ways for agents to sell this amazingly popular eco-tourism destination. Using the company’s convenient, efficient and user-friendly online booking engine, agents can choose to book one hotel and add on half-day or full-day optional excursions or they can customize a multi-region itinerary based on specific client interests and personal preferences. Or, to make the planning even easier (especially for first time visitors), agents and their adventure-bound clients can choose from eight exciting and affordable pre-set itineraries, taking advantage of the company’s years of experience in Costa Rica – and if preferred, they have a very knowledgeable team of Costa Rica experts ready to assist, advise and answer any questions.
In addition, Vacation Express also offers two new product brands designed specifically to accommodate the varying needs of today’s travel agents. VEValue.com is designed for those agents who deal with price-sensitive clients. Pricing on VEValue is very aggressive and competes favorably with the large online travel agencies. Commission levels are lower, but it is a product for which the company has had great demand and excellent response. The second product, VEPremier.com, is ideal for agents who enjoy a loyal client following and are comfortable charging certain clients a premium for a vacation package in exchange for their expertise and travel planning assistance. VEPremier pays 3% commission on air and 17% commission on the land portion of an air-inclusive package and 17% commission on a land only package. Extra perks include the elimination of Vacation Express change fees and quality mailed documents at no extra charge.
Vacation Express’ product staff has developed profound professional relationships with some of the industry’s most sought-after hotels and resorts in the most frequently requested destinations. This, in conjunction with Sunwing Travel Group’s long-time experience as Canada’s leading leisure travel company, translates into excellent service for your clients as well as the most competitive rates available. Each of the company’s experienced product buyers, including the executives of the company, insists on personal examination and assessment of the hotels they sell. These long-term relationships, nurtured over more than two decades, provide a standardized method of determining which choices are best suited to your client’s personal vacation requirements.
“We are committed to providing the best product, the best service and the best prices to the travel agents and their clients – and we have rededicated ourselves to providing the best benefits as well,” stated Mr. Jongmans. The company offers a number of agent incentive programs. The company’s popular “Wild Wednesdays” program has been enhanced to offer generous cash rewards to the top five ‘early-bird’ agents who book the featured, aggressively-priced hotel of the week. This is an email exclusive promotion, so agents must sign up to receive the weekly emails with associated promotion code to participate. Agents should check out the company’s other travel agent incentive programs including the ever-popular FREEBIES and the easy money EXPRESS CASH. Plus, the company’s group department offers one-stop shopping for all group business (including destination weddings), saving agents considerable time and effort and paying a per passenger EXPRESS CASH bonus. Vacation Express Group team members average 10 years of experience as travel professionals. This experience translates into high quality service, cost effective pricing and strong vendor relationships that together guarantee a successful group experience.
To learn more about Vacation Express or to contact one of their team members, visit www.vacationexpress.com or call 1-(800)-486-9777.