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Leisure Travel Alliance buys hosts agency

From: www.travelweekly.com

Full Article: http://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Travel-Agent-Issues/Leisure-Travel-Alliance-buys-hosts-agency/

Leisure Travel Alliance buys hosts agency

By Kate Rice
Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA), a consortium with 300 member agencies, has acquired International Tours of Houston (ITH), a host agency.

ITH, which hosts 140 independent contractors, will become the foundation of LTA’s host agency operation.

ITH founder and owner Ron Sanders will assume the title of president of Leisure Travel Alliance Central, which will be LTA’s host operation. He will report directly to Stuart Godwin, president of LTA.

Godwin said that the host agency program will not replace or change LTA’s business model.

“We are talking about two different business models,” he said. “Both options are available. It’s up to individual agency owners and individual agents to choose the channel that best fits their needs.”

Sanders said that the acquisition will benefit consortium and host agency members, who “will shortly have access to a broader range of GDS, back-office and CRM platforms.”

Steve Kaplan, LTA’s vice president for industry relations, says that LTA executives had reached out to key preferred suppliers “early on” to test the …… See Full Article

Carnival Magic starts Galveston Cruises

From TexasCruiseCompany.com

Full Article:http://texascruisecompany.com/2011/11/18/carnival-magic-starts-galveston-cruises/

Carnival Magic starts Galveston Cruises

by DAVIDWERST on NOVEMBER 18, 2011

…..We spent the evening before boarding at Galveston’s Moody Gardens and attended their ‘Festival of Lights‘ courtesy of a travel association we belong to.  Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA) had a reception at Moody Gardens and we got to know the principals of the company and they provided tickets for a tour of the Festival of Lights all through Moody Gardens.  I have to say, Moody Gardens and their event staff really know how to put on a show.   You will be hearing quite a bit more about our association with LTA.  It is through them that we will be offering some affordable cruises, great deals on cruises, and very generous amenities for your groups or your individual cruises.  Here is a photo of Ramona Werst of Texas Cruise Company and Bobby Godwin of LTA.  He and his dad are two of the good guys in the travel industry.  This association and powerful marketing agreement will make Texas Cruise Company your preferred Cruise Agent for your next Galveston Cruise……See Full Article

Leisure Travel Alliance Questions ARC’s Helix

From: http://www.travelagentcentral.com

Full Article: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/consortia/leisure-travel-alliance-questions-arcs-helix-27014

Leisure Travel Alliance Questions ARC’s Helix

February 22, 2011By: George Dooley

The Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA), a travel agency marketing organization based in Austin, Texas, with 275 affiliated agencies, reported it has been closely monitoring the industry’s reaction to ARC’s Helix project.

LTA president Stuart Godwin told Travel Agent that that the decision to launch Helix changes the relationship between ARC – formerly the Airlines Reporting Corporation – and travel agents.

“Going back decades, travel agents viewed ARC and its predecessor organization as airline-owned institutions that filled a specific role as a licensing authority, settlement bank and enforcer of collective airline ticketing and payment policies,” Godwin said…… See Full Article

 

John Shands Passes

From: http://www.travelagentcentral.com

Full Article: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/agent-profiles/john-shands-passes-21961

John Shands Passes

June 14, 2010By: George Dooley

 

John C. Shands, executive vice president of Leisure Travel Alliance, died June 12 following a 10-month battle with cancer. John opened Shands International Travel in BrownsvilleTX in 1974. Shands International subsequently expanded to include branch offices in HarlingenMcAllen andSouth Padre Island in Texas. In 1996, John joined the staff of Houston-based Consolidated Travel Services, Inc. (CTSI), a regional travel agency consortium, as director of sales………. See Full Article

 

IsramWorld And Its Subsidiaries Named Preferred Suppliers By Leisure Travel Alliance

Thursday, January 21, 2010
IsramWorld
New York – January 20, 2010: IsramWorld–parent company to Isram, Orient Flexi-Pax Tours, Latour, Escapade Vacations and the newly established EuropeToo–has been selected, along with its subsidiaries, as a preferred supplier by the Leisure Travel Alliance, it was announced this week.Based in Austin, TX, the Leisure Travel Alliance is a widely respected travel consortium with more than 240 elite member agencies. This new partnership furthers IsramWorld’s established commitment to working with the travel agent community “every step of the way.”"We are thrilled to be selected as a preferred supplier by yet another leading travel agents’ consortium,” says A. Ady Gelber, President and CEO of IsramWorld. “And we’re looking forward to a very successful partnership with the Leisure Travel Alliance.”….. See Full Article

Agency Vets Launch Mktg Group – Travel Trade

Agency Vets Launch Mktg Group – Travel Trade
Thu, 04 Jan 2007 10:16:00 GMT

Our friends at Travel Trade published an article talking about the launch of Leisure Travel Alliance and it’s three senior executives.  You can see the article attached in .pdf format as it appears in the “Hot News” section of Travel Trade.

Many thanks to the Travel Trade team for the nice writeup!


From the Travel Trade Press Release (www.traveltrade.com)

 

Agency Vets Launch Mktg Group

By George Dooley

The founders of Leisure Travel Alliance are (l.-r.) Steve Kaplan, Stuart Godwin and John Shands. The new organization plans to target midsize to large agencies in the West and Southwest.

Former Vacation.com executives Stuart Godwin, CTC, John Shands and Steve Kaplan are launching a travel agency marketing organization, Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA), targeting midsize to large agencies in the West and Southwest.

According to Godwin, LTA president and CEO, the marketing group is negotiating vendor agreements and securing preliminary agency commitments. LTA expects to be fully operational by Feb. 1 and hopes to attract 200-300 agency and agent members in 2007, with similar numbers added over the next two to three years.

Godwin said that a group of private investors in Houston and Austin, TX provided the majority of the equity funding for the new venture. Godwin and Shands are also investors and shareholders in the new enterprise, based in Austin.

Shands is executive vice president and Kaplan is director of industry relations.

Godwin, Shands and Kaplan said that there is a demand and need for a high-touch travel agency organization that is responsive to regional needs.

Regional Groups

All three LTA executives were associated with regional travel agency organizations acquired by Travel Agents Network (TAN) and Vacation.com in 1998 and 1999.

Kaplan was president of Crown Travel Group, a regional agency group based in Phoenix. Godwin was president of Texas-based Consolidated Travel Services for 15 years prior to its acquisition by Vacation.com.

Shands, former owner of Shands Travel Group, a multibranch travel agency in south Texas, was one of Consolidated’s initial travel agent shareholders in 1984. Shands later joined Consolidated’s staff as its director of sales.

Shands left his Vacation.com position as a business development manager for an 11-state territory in November.

Godwin was senior vice president for Vacation.com’s Western region prior to Vacation.com consolidating its sales department under one vice president last year. Kaplan resigned his executive role at Vacation.com in 2002.

The new company will focus its efforts on midsize to large agencies in geographically compatible areas, according to Shands.

“One of the phenomena we’ve observed throughout the consortia and co-op community in recent years is the attempt to serve all member travel agencies regardless of size,”he said.

Core Group Overlooked

“The result has been that a core group of midsize to large agencies has been overlooked in recent years. It is this group of members that we can best support as a travel marketing organization. Moreover, suppliers want us to focus on the growth-minded agents within this group, and we intend to do just that.”

Kaplan, a long-time proponent of regional networks, believes that both supplier and agency needs are influenced by geographic location.

“Travel agencies in New York do business with tour operators and consolidators on the East Coast that agents in Arizona, Utah, Texas and California have never even heard of and vice versa,” he said.

While most travel agencies book clients on all major cruise lines, some cruise lines have stronger regional identities than others, noted Kaplan.

“We can’t promise that we will satisfy every supplier need, or the desires of every individual agent in every region, but we are going to place a lot of emphasis on matching vendor programs to regional agency needs,”Kaplan said.

While a for-profit enterprise, LTA will adopt some characteristics of agency co-op models, including pay-for-performance revenue sharing and an agent-friendly dues structure, Godwin said.

LTA will have robust marketing, technology and training programs, but Godwin said he sees no need to reinvent the wheel.

“There is already an abundance of proven marketing strategies and fully developed travel technology tools in the marketplace,” he said.

“Our goal is to consolidate and organize existing marketing and technology tools on a platform that serve the needs of agents and vendors in logical, efficient and effective ways.”

Godwin added, “We are not going to waste one minute of our time, our members’ dollars, supplier dollars and our own dollars just for the sake of reinventing an array of excellent supplier technologies, GDS technologies and other third-party technologies that already exist.”

Accommodating Platform

“The agency platform we have acquired will accommodate the best of these existing and future technologies very nicely.”

With respect to marketing programs, Godwin said that direct mail and online marketing will both be components of LTA’s program.

However, he noted that the direct mail channel is heavily saturated with travel offers and LTA is considering alternative channels that are not as heavily used.

Godwin, Shands and Kaplan, all long-time travel agency advocates, said that they hope to resume their advocacy activities with ASTA and other agency associations.

Godwin was a former co-chairman of CTIP, the travel industry advocacy group in Washington, DC founded by Travel Trade editor and publisher Joel M. Abels. Godwin was subsequently recognized as Travel Trade’s Travel Agent of the Year in 1998 for his lobbying efforts on behalf of travel agents.

Shands was also a CTIP participant and is the current allied chairman for the Southwest Chapter of ASTA.

Kaplan was formerly the director of the Arizona Travel Agents Association (ATAA), the predecessor of Crown Travel Group. Kaplan, ATAA and Crown were active supporters of both ASTA and CTIP.

Agents and suppliers interested in obtaining additional information about Leisure Travel Alliance can contact LTA by phone at (512) 788-5586 or by E-mailing 
sgodwin@leisuretravelalliance.comskaplan@leisuretravelalliance.com 
and jshands@leisuretravelalliance.com.