By KarryOn @karryontravel02 Mar 2017Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow. 1. Why Aussie travellers are missing out to Americans Australian travellers have a habit of leaving their plans to last minute and it’s causing them to lose out to their American mates when it comes to booking small-group, luxury tours. Speaking at a media lunch in Sydney last night, Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) Australia’s Managing Director Sujata Raman explained that unlike Aussies, Americans tend to book their trips “months in advance”. She said these early birds are filling tour spots, especially in Africa and in boutique lodges which are popular among the A&K market. Read on 2. How much baggage does a Saudi king travel with? Who needs, NO, who has this much stuff? Oh the gluttony! So much gluttony (and clutter – eek someone please introduce him to Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’)! If you ever need a walking, breathing, regal waving definition of over-consumption then please look towards any royal to have ever reigned on this planet, but just for today, turn your attention towards His Royal Highness Saudi Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The Middle Eastern leader is making headlines this week for his lavish, excessive, extravagant and completely over-the-top travel luggage which allegedly weighed in at 460 metric tonnes, or according to Google conversion – over 4oo,000 kilograms (I triple checked that and apparently it’s right). Read on 3. Extra commission, reduced booking fees Rail Plus is getting in good with Travel Agents via a new strategy that’ll see consultants earn more on a variety of bookings. First and foremost, Agents who book select Rail Plus products effective immediately will earn double the commission Double! Read on 4. Trailing the I.N.C.A has never been more rewarding for Travel Agents Leave those hiking boots behind and don’t even bother with that pre-hike training, there’s a new I.N.C.A trail in town and it’s designed to help Agents sell without breaking into a sweat. Chimu Adventures’ new online Agent portal called ‘Interactive Network for Chimu Agents’ aka I.N.C.A was officially launched today with a variety of useful and comprehensive tools. Designed to be an ‘invaluable selling tool’ by providing consultants with the knowledge and confidence to sell Latin America and Antarctica, it also features deals and ways to earn serious commission. Read on 5. G Adventures launches Central America campaign Your clients can save 15 percent on Central American hot spots like Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico as part of G Adventures’ newly released ‘Uncover Central America’ campaign. The sale run until 1 April 2017 on departures through to 31 December 2017 with trips varying in length and style, providing travellers with the chance to taste the flavourful cuisine, feel the warmth of the sun along kilometre after kilometre of beautiful beaches, or simply discover an unspoiled tropical paradise within the magnificent region that is Central America and the Caribbean. Among the itineraries on sale include the Costa Rica Quest selling from $977; the 22-day Mayan Adventure from $2,549; and the Cuba Colonial availlable from $2,235. 6. Canberra is receiving its first schmick Adina property TFE Hotels is taking its Adina brand to Australia’s capital with the new Adina Apartment Hotel Grand opening in Canberra in 2020. The property is part of a $300 million development by Capital Property Group at the corner of Constitution Place and London Circuit, where two purpose-built buildings will set a new standard in environmental design. The hotel will be designed by architects Bates Smart, who designed the stunning Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport, and will have 132 rooms, offering guests a choice of studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. Typical of all Adina Apartment Hotels, it will offer the best of both worlds, combining spacious apartment living with hotel services and facilities. Guests will be able to enjoy 24-hour reception, room service, knowledgeable concierge service and a well-equipped gym. 7. Intrepid puts native foods & bush tucker on the menu Responding to growing consumer interest in Australia’s native foods, Intrepid has added a range of native foods to the menu on select trips operating in Australia. Developed in consultation with respected chef and bush tucker specialist Andrew Fielke, the new menus will feature on Red Centre and Top End itineraries from 1 April 2017. The all-new gourmet menus will incorporate native produce that has sustained the Indigenous population for thousands of years. From emu pate to Kakadu plum cheesecake, kangaroo tail osso bucco and camel tagine with dates and desert lime, the menus go beyond damper and billy tea to deliver a real taste of Australia, cooked over the campfire coals and eaten under the stars in front of the ‘bush telly’. Andrew Fielke believes that one of the best things people can do while travelling in Australia is get more involved with native foods. 8. AAT Kings appoints new Senior Sales Manager of North America AAT Kings has announced the appointment of Margot Windenburg to the role of Senior Sales Manager of North America. Based in Seattle, Margot will be responsible for all AAT Kings’ trade sales and marketing activity in the Americas. With a wealth of experience in both marketing and sales, Margot has specialised in the Australian and New Zealand market having held previous roles at Down Under Answers and Anza Travel. Margot joined AAT Kings from her most recent role as Director of Sales at Clipper Vacations, a provider of Pacific Northwest travel. Hans Belle, Managing Director, AAT Kings, commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Margot to the AAT Kings family. Reporting to Fleur Ulbrick, Head of International Sales and myself, Margot is a fantastic addition to the team and will surely become a key leader ensuring our continued growth and success in an expanding market.” Margot commenced her role on Wednesday, 22 February, 2017. 9. Viking’s third ship sets sail Viking Ocean’s fleet is quickly expanding, with the line’s third ship embarking on its maiden voyage from Rome’s Civitavecchia port to Barcelona this week. The 47,800 tonnes, 930 passenger Viking Sky joins near-identical fleet mates, Viking Star and Viking Sea, in offering a destination orientated cruise experience, with few days at sea, long days in ports and more overnights in key destinations than offered by other lines. Her inaugural season will include sailing itineraries throughout the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, before making her way to officially be christened under Norway’s “midnight sun” on 22 June in Tromsø. 10. USA delivers for DriveAway Holidays After a positive year of business in the USA throughout 2016, DriveAway Holidays senior management attended the Visit USA Sydney event last month to seek out further opportunities to develop partnering relationships with various tourism offices throughout the USA. Marketing partnerships manager, Ashleigh Robinson said it was important to take advantage of events such as these to meet face-to-face with influential colleagues within the travel industry. The most recent figures from 2016 show growth of more than 10 percent in motorhome hire in the USA by Australian travellers over the last 12 months, with heaviest usage between April and September. However, the figures for October to December are only slightly lower than the summer months and even winter use has shown an increase. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Other stories you may like 5 top tips for selling adventure travel MOVERS & SHAKERS: Meet G Adventures’ new Director of Sales, Wendy Wu’s new GM & more G Adventures’ UMI is coming back in 2018, the question is: where will Agents go?