Holiday Travel Incentives Blog Holiday Travel of America en Copyright 2015 2015-02-19T20:36:31+00:00 Tips for Traveling to Australia Traveling to Australia?   Here are some essential tips to plan and enjoy your visit.    Getting through the airport U.S. citizens must get an electronic visa at least two weeks before travel for AUD $20. If you have an "electronic passport" with a microchip, look for the kiosks at immigration for a quicker entry into the country. You need to fill out an immigration card on entry, as well upon leaving the country.   Top attractions Tours of the Sydney Opera House, which, amazingly, took 17 years to build, are extremely popular and a great photo opportunity. The standard tour takes one hour, while the backstage option lasts two hours. For many who do it, climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a highlight of their trip. Do it at sunrise or twilight and, of course, bring a camera. Even jaded locals are amazed by the experience. Annual festivals Every January the Sydney Festival brings stages around 400 contemporary cultural performances: around140 events performed by more than 1,000 artists in more than 30 venues. In October, the annual Good Food Month brings street food festivals and other culinary events to Sydney.   Exchange rate The U.S. dollar currently fetches 1.14 Australian dollars. Tipping Tips are not customary nor are they expected, perhaps because the minimum wage is $17 an hour. No wonder they call it the "lucky country" Electricity Voltage is 220, and you will need both an outlet adaptor and a voltage converter if you're using appliances without built-in converters (you don't want to fry your curling iron or WaterPik). Even many top hotels, airport lounges and other venues lack 110-volt outlets, although they usually provide adaptors on request or you can get them from housekeeping, but it's best to bring your own. Useful apps Locals give high marks to the TimeOut Sydney and Australia Good Food Guide apps. The Sydney Official Guide app from Destination New South Wales is also highly rated. Arrivo Sydney (Android) and NextThere (iTunes) are useful public transit apps. Useful websites Destination New South Wales Airfare listings to Sydney Qantas Air New Zealand Virgin Australia TripAdvisor Things to Do in Sydney TripAdvisor Sydney Hotel Reviews   News & Events 2015-02-19T20:36:31+00:00 Announcing the Hire of Celia Bethurum Announcing the Hire of Celia Bethurum Carlsbad, California; February 2015 – Holiday Travel of America (HTOA)™, a sales and marketing incentive based company, who specializes in providing custom designed travel incentive packages announces the hire of Celia Bethurum, a Media Arts degreed professional with more than 20 years of design and marketing expertise as the Community Relations Marketing Manager. She will be tasked with showcasing HTOA’s products and services online and in print. Additionally, Celia will head up the company’s online reputation management as well as social media integration.  Rich Romanello, President/CEO, is thrilled to have Bethurum and anticipates her customer-service based expertise will continue to positively influence sales and service of national and international travel products to their corporate customers, located worldwide.   “Consistent delivery of a sound product, backed with true fulfillment is one of the keys to the success of Holiday Travel,” says Romanello “Another tenet is having a solid infrastructure, which is in place with the core management group having in excess of 100 combined years of management at HTOA alone.  We’ve worked hard to develop great relationships with employees, suppliers and clients”, continues Romanello. Years of service-based experience is already ingrained within the HTOA staff who works collectively to give excellent customer service to end users of our travel packages.  With Bethurum's innovative, proactive and comprehensive marketing techniques, HTOA anticipates that its current and prospective corporate customers will be ever more pleased with its already lauded products and services. “When aligning myself with a new company, I wanted to find an organization that could use my expertise, yet had a solid infrastructure in place and one that was looking to better itself constantly”, explains Bethurum.  “I love the products and services HTOA provides and I am eager to implement better practices with sales, marketing and reputation management”, continues Bethurum. While HTOA begins to launch its new online product support site including registration and reservation requests, the need for someone of Bethurum’s experience was extremely important.  “Celia has already improved our customer relations in the short time she has been with Holiday Travel and I find myself genuinely excited to work with her on our new social media platforms and online product support sites”, adds Randy Fish, Executive Vice President. About Holiday Travel of America Established in 1988, Holiday Travel of America (HTOA) is the industry’s premier provider of cost effective, powerful, travel promotions, incentives and packages for clients worldwide. HTOA is providing sales and marketing incentive based programs – many of them customized and private-labeled – for companies inside and out of the shared ownership/timeshare industry, helping them reach interested, active consumers. President/CEO Rich Romanello (; 760-431-8600, ext. 101) welcome callers who would like to explore how they can customize a program that protects the client’s brand and ensures their company’s integrity, while creating additional revenue. For more information, visit 2015-02-10T02:25:15+00:00 Holiday Travel Incentive Package Brings Hawaiians to the Mainland Holiday Travel of America introduced a new promotional package to fly from Honolulu to San Diego, L.A. and Vegas.  Carlsbad, CA – July 2013 / Hospitality 1ST / Holiday Travel of America (HTOA)™ – a premiere provider of cost-effective, powerful incentive packages for retailers to use to incentivize sales|–|recently announced a new travel package that will be used by clients to fly customers from Honolulu to the U.S. West Coast. The package includes airfare for two adults and two nights of accommodations. Travelers can select the destination of their choice from among three major venues: San Diego for a visit to Sea World®; Los Angeles with its Hollywood glam or Las Vegas for a shot at the Big One.  “We sensed the need on the part of businesses in Hawaii for a travel package to use to attract customers,” says Holiday Travel Founder and President Rich Romanello. “We have been serving resorts and retail clients with cost-effective travel packages for 25 years. Typically, we get requests for travel to Hawaii, but this is our first travel reward that focuses on sending Hawaiian residents to the mainland.”  “Holiday Travel has a number of relationships with providers that enable us to offer these packages to retailers at a very reasonable price,” adds Holiday Travel VP Randy Fish. “Our extensive business experience and buying power have been successful because we work hard to deliver top-level service and a variety of vacation packages such as this one.”  About Holiday Travel of America Established in 1988, Holiday Travel of America (HTOA) is a premiere provider of cost effective, powerful, travel promotions, incentives and packages for clients worldwide. President/ CEO Rich Romanello (; 760-431-8600, ext. 101) and Executive Vice President Randy Fish (; 760-431-8600, ext. 105) welcome callers who would like to explore how they can customize a program that protects the client's brand and ensures their company's integrity, while creating additional revenue. For more information, visit    2013-07-02T21:06:48+00:00 Holiday Travel of America Celebrates 25th Anniversary Reprinted from the April 2013 edition of Resort Trades, the news journal for Resort Development Professionals. Making Connections; Establishing Relationships How a travel incentive company has been putting a smile on millions of faces for 25 years. Last summer, Scott C. and his new bride, Sandy, were making plans for their once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. They had received a travel voucher after touring a timeshare resort and Holiday Travel of America was going to make sure they experienced the trip of their lives. Holiday Travel’s voucher gave them a number of options. …and, their choice? Honolulu. Talk about a high-demand destination: With controlled inventory during an always busy summer season, a travel company can’t get a bigger challenge. But Holiday Travel wasn’t going to disappoint….They came through with an absolutely gorgeous, beachfront property! This type of dedication to their clients’ customer satisfaction has been a major tenet of how Holiday Travel has done business since the company’s inception on March 21st 1988. There’s more to running a successful travel incentive company than meets the eye. “Sometimes I think we make it look too easy,” says Holiday Travel President and CEO Rich Romanello. “We’re providing an affordable, effective and attractive travel incentive to our resort clients. To remain a superior company, we must make sure the economics of our product development is designed with use in mind.” Key #1: Win-win relationships Romanello started the company working out of his home in La Jolla. Within months, he opened offices in La Jolla and kept expanding, finally purchasing a large building on 2.5 acres in Carlsbad, California. One of the primary reasons for Holiday Travel’s success is the ability to excel in the art of building relationships. It takes a special knack to manage dynamic affiliations, as Romanello learned in his early years as a nightclub owner, concert promoter and artists' manager. He left the music industry with a few gold records in the late ‘60s. By utilizing the promotional experience he had gathered, he designed marketing programs to sell recreational land, campground sites and later, timeshare ownership. Key #2: A Strong Bench “Throughout Holiday Travel’s 25 years we’ve been privileged to work with exemplary people,” says Romanello. “We are proud to have an Advisory Board made up of such tenured and well respected icons in the industry as Joe McAdams and Joe Hutchings.” The Executive Vice President Randy Fish ARP*, having been with the company since 2000, handles business and client relationship management, as well as new product development. Another key executive is Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer Anne White, who joined Holiday Travel in 1997, coming from having served for many years in a prominent CFO position with a major corporation. Given the longevity of the management team, combined with their talent, know-how and ‘can-do’ attitudes, the individuals make for a solid bench. Customer Service Manager Fern Vojnovich, has more than 20 years of timeshare industry experience. Vojnovich says, “Our goal in customer service is to make each certificate holder’s validation a smooth experience. Our performance in this regard is what took our BBB rating to an ‘A+.’”  Credit for this high rate of customer satisfaction must be shared with General Manager Estela Frias, who has been with the company for 18 years and oversees the fulfillment of all travel offers. Assisting Frias is Nuvia Preciado, the company’s fulfillment supervisor, who has been with Holiday Travel for 13 years. Ellinor Mason, office manager, human resources and executive assistant, has been with the company five years and handles multiple responsibilities while making it look easy. “Our company is our people,” says Romanello. “Because of them, we continue to evolve….We keep getting better and better.” Key #3: Creativity “Having a rich network of relationships supported by a great team, those are two principles that have led to our success. The third principle is creativity,” says Fish. “We use research and customer feedback to help us design innovative customized sales and marketing solutions. We continuously work with clients to test, improve and enhance their incentive programs.” When Romanello launched the company 25 years ago, he was able to pull from a rich reservoir of experience; having managed some of the largest volume land, campground and timeshare sales operations in the industry and being responsible for many mega-million-dollar years. “Building that volume of business called for an enormous amount of creativity,” he says. “It’s this ongoing creativity we put into the products for today’s relationships.” “Speaking of creativity, more and more consumers are demanding online access,” says Fish. “Most recently, we have created a booking engine that allows the customer to reserve their vacations with convenient, 24/7, user-friendly service.” Bottom Line: Credibility Fish mentions that the company’s credibility is an especially important component of their success. “Holiday Travel complies with the State of California regulations that state we must place all consumer deposits in a non-interest-bearing client trust account,” he says. “This sets us apart from competitors in other states, as we are required to answer to a higher standard than most. The fact that we are legally required to use trust accounts, rather than commingling these funds with our operating money, really makes our integrity unassailable. It helps account for our client list, which includes some well-known names: American Express, A & P Foods, Amana, Nob Hill Foods, Healthy Choice, Kodak, Meijer Supper Stores, Weight Watchers, Tropicana Twister, Global Exchange Vacation Club, Starpoint Resort Group, Shell Vacations Club, Travel to Go and Welk Resorts. Holiday Travel has the distinction to have been the only incentive travel company to have developed a specific package with Walt Disney Resorts.” “Performance, credibility and integrity are why we have had satisfied clients for decades,” says Romanello. “For example, our customer service has been so consistent that Shell Vacations has been a client for 24 years and the Welk Resort Group for 18, to name a few.” “Plus, there are our long-term relationships with suppliers and other key organizations,” adds Fish, “such as maintaining our preferential status with the Official NASCAR Members Club, the Airline Reporting Corporation, the International Travel Agent Network, the American Society of Travel Agents and Cruise Lines International Association. Our reputation has enabled us to negotiate with cruise and airline companies for permission to be self-approving logo users. It’s a distinction that is all but unheard of; it’s an extremely valuable and unusual privilege.” "Consistent delivery of a sound product sums it up,” adds Romanello. “We resolve travelers’ problems immediately and then find the cause so it doesn't happen again. No finger pointing!  “We’ve worked hard to develop great relationships with providers and clients for the last 25 years. These are some of the attributes that have earmarked Holiday Travel of America for success.” *Randy Fish is an Associate Resort Professional with the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) in Washington, DC. Look for Holiday Travel of America on LinkedIn:       2013-03-21T19:00:17+00:00 A Feast Called O’ahu Vacationing in Hawai’i, “the island state,” is part of the American dream. When it comes true, it’s everything you’ve been hoping for, and more.       Two nights on O’ahu doesn’t sound like enough time to enjoy the capital city of Honolulu and the legendary Waikiki beach, but that depends of what you make of it. I never really considered falling for incentive travel deals – the usual rewards for attending various sales events – until one day I saw a hard-to-resist “two tickets to Honolulu and two nights” offer.   The visions of blue Pacific, coconut groves, and pina coladas with tiny paper umbrellas were swirling before my eyes. I could practically feel the fragrance of plumeria flowers in the air. That’s how I got familiarized with the Holiday Travel of America (HTOA) and learned the ropes of free travel – hard to get, but wonderful to enjoy. Not a travel agency, HTOA utilizes unused seats on airplanes; cabins on cruise ships; and vacant rooms in hotels and resorts. When airlines, cruise lines, and hotels discount and sell out their surplus in bulk, this surplus can be formed into neat “packages” that include transportation and lodging. The packages are pre-designed and given away as incentive trips, less taxes. The tax deposit has to be paid in advance to secure the offer. However, should you decide to alter your trip by extending your stay or changing your accommodations, this tax deposit will be applied toward the cost of the upgrade. Being patient and flexible is the key to success. You must be prepared to submit your dates of travel well in advance, change them if those you want are not available, make multiple phone calls, and wait for a travel confirmation on a very short notice. But, when you see your name on a sign held by a sun-tanned guide burdened with lei garlands to greet you and your fellow vacationers at the Honolulu airport, it all seems worth the effort. Our two night stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani was pleasant and care-free. The beautifully appointed resort is located smack in the middle of the Honolulu main drag, and steps away from the Waikiki beach. Tropical cocktails around the pool, nightly entertainment, and clean airy rooms overlooking the palm trees teaming with birds, were everything we needed for a relaxing retreat.   On our first evening, my husband and I walked to the historic Royal Hawai’ian, a Luxury Collection Resort that looks like a rosy dream, or rather, like the Pink Palace of the Pacific.             Besides being the ultimate upscale hotel on Waikiki, that hosted royals and presidents since its opening almost a century ago, this Spanish-Moorish style property, recently renovated to sparkling splendor, is home to a new restaurant, Azure, headed by the Hawai’ian-born and French-educated executive chef, Jon Matsubara. Seated on the open air terrace overlooking the world famous beach, we felt like royalty, luxuriating in the succession of wonderful sensations. The sea breeze, the warmth of the setting sun; plush candlelit ambience with onyx bar, illuminated by cool LED lights; excellent wine and food, and attentive service – everything was perfect.    Azure serves the freshest seafood from the daily Honolulu fish auction, and we had more than one chance to try it with our tasting menu. House-baked green olive and black sesame bread came with butter and Hawai’ian red salt. Azure signature sashimi included Hawai’ian yellowfin ahi and hamachi, garnished with avocado and radish salad, soy-ginger vinaigrette, and wonton crisp.    “Ocean Cappuccino” in a coffee cup contained Dungeness crab and Black Tiger shrimp bouillabaisse with good chunks of seafood and dairy froth on top. Kona lobster tail risotto was redolent of saffron, served with Waialua asparagus and locally-grown tomatoes, and paired with sweet German Riesling. Butter pouched filet of beef tasted buttery, indeed, accompanied by local taro and brandy puree, hamakua mushrooms in truffle sauce, crowned with quail egg, and paired with Vita Nova merlot from Santa Barbara, California.   For dessert, we enjoyed Kula strawberries from Maui with balsamic and cinnamon drizzle over ice cream.   Bustling nightlife, swimwear, jewelry, and souvenir shops, and street entertainers turn Kalakaua Avenue, which parallels Waikiki beach, into a never-ending parade of activities and a natural stroller’s paradise. Next morning, conscious of those sweet extra calories consumed the night before, we headed for Hans Hedemann Surf School, a few short blocks away from our hotel.    While my husband enjoyed a vigorous surfing lesson with a skilled instructor, I attempted an ancient and graceful water sport, known as stand-up paddle boarding.  In the process, I learned two things about myself: that my toes can curl and thrust the board just like cat’s claws to maintain the balance, and – that I can maintain my balance on the board gently swayed in opposite directions by the ocean currents.     After this calorie-reducing exercise and some frolicking in the silky blue waters of Waikiki, exhausted but excited, we made a reservation at the landmark Honolulu restaurant, Chef Mavro, named after the famed French-born chef/owner, George Mavrothalassitis. Where can I find the words to describe the opulence of the culinary experience produced by one of the founders of the Hawai’ian Regional Cuisine movement?   Chef Mavro’s gastronomic creations and wine pairings are true masterpieces in balance and subtlety, thoroughly appreciated by the local elite and visiting dignitaries alike. Our tasting menu started with amuse bouche of Japanese egg custard with shiitake mushrooms and Bay shrimp in Ponzu glaze. I won’t soon forget those meaty Kaua’I shrimp nestled in the bright orange sea urchin froth, and paired with the delicate Ginsuika sake. Day boat catch brought in a tender ono filet crusted with mochi, and garnished with asparagus spears in green veloute. Botani, dry muscatel from Malaga, complimented it nicely. Kurobuta pork two ways came with vanilla glazed Molokai sweet potatoes and Sumida farm watercress, paired with delightfully full-bodied Andis Grenache from Amador County, California. When it seemed I couldn’t be impressed any more, our knowledgeable server brought along a delicate cube of champagne gelee with watermelon balls inside, and sweet Italian malvira to make it complete. We also had a full-size dessert of guava malasadas, and then a trio of traditional French mignardises – lavender chocolate pave, pear macaron, and lychee pate de fruit. Our one full day on O’ahu proved to be rather eventful and definitely joyous. Next morning, before heading for the airport, we met with a Honolulu friend, who took us to breakfast across the street from our hotel, to theMoana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. This grandiose white-walled hotel – Waikiki’s first resort – was designed by the architect Oliver Traphagen in the old colonial style, and opened in 1901, signifying the birth of Hawai’ian tourism industry. Today, its open air restaurant, The Veranda, is very popular for its delicious breakfast selections, from salmon eggs Benedict to powder sugar-dusted Belgian waffles with fresh berries. Not a day goes by the Moana Surfrider without a wedding – or three. Couples from all over the world are clamoring for a chance to get married here, at a gorgeous historic property, on the beautiful Waikiki. O’ahu is a feast that never ends, and come September, the capital island of the fiftieth state will host the increasingly popular annualHawai’i Food & Wine Festival.  This fantastic event brings top chefs from around the Pacific and the continental U.S. together in a four day food and wine extravaganza, turning the island into premier epicurean destination. The Festival features more than 50 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawai‘i’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, it  will showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, and meat in Honolulu and Ko Olina Resort on September 6 through 9. For tickets and information go to: Additional information at:   2012-08-17T20:49:53+00:00 Holiday Travel Announces New Official NASCAR Members Club Marketing Program Holiday Travel of America offers access to racing fans for the timeshare industry. Holiday Travel Announces New Official NASCAR Members Club Marketing ProgramCarlsbad, CA – February 2012 / Hospitality 1ST / Holiday Travel of America (HTOA)™ announced their FASTTRACK Promotions – a travel incentive division created seven years ago with the Official NASCAR Members Club® (ONMC) – is making available its NASCAR fan database for use by timeshare/shared ownership industry companies. “Our resort clients will now have the ability to market to segments of a 4.5-million-strong database of contextual NASCAR fans,” says Holiday Travel’s President and CEO Rich Romanello. “They can offer these consumers a free, one-year membership in the Official NASCAR Members Club in order to present additional offers. Holiday Travel’s FASTTRACK Promotions became the official marketing partner of ONMC in 2005. HTOA is now celebrating 24 years of service to the industry and is a BBB A+ rated company.” FASTTRACK Promotions clients are currently making use of the access through telemarketing, direct mail and email campaigns offering tours and mini-vacations to racing fans. About Holiday Travel of America Established in 1988, Holiday Travel of America (HTOA) is the shared ownership/timeshare industry’s premiere provider of cost effective, powerful, travel promotions, incentives and packages for clients worldwide. HTOA is providing marketing programs – many of them customized and private-labeled – for companies such as Welk Resorts, Shell Vacations Club, El Dorado Royal in Cancun, Mayan Riviera and Occidental Resorts, helping them reach interested, active consumers. President/ CEO Rich Romanello (; 760-431-8600, ext. 101) and Vice President of Operations Randy Fish (; 760-431-8600, ext. 105) welcome callers who would like to explore how they can customize a program that protects the client’s brand and ensures their company’s integrity, while creating additional revenue. For more information, visit 2012-02-24T17:50:52+00:00 HOLIDAY TRAVEL OF AMERICA RECEIVES FOURTH CONSECUTIVE CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES’ ‘PINNACLE AWARD’ Carlsbad, CA June 23, 2009 – Holiday Travel of America of Carlsbad, CA has received its fourth consecutive Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Pinnacle Award” which recognizes us as one of the top marketers of the “Fun Ship” vacation experience. The program was created by the Carnival to acknowledge high-volume travel agencies that meet a certain sales criteria and exhibit excellence in promoting and selling the Carnival product.   Travel agencies are an important part of our distribution system, which is why we created the ‘Pinnacle Club’ to recognize those high-volume agencies like Holiday Travel of America who are truly experts in their field and exhibit the highest levels of professionalism,” said Carnival’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales Joni Rein. To be eligible for the program, Holiday Travel of America had to adhere to Carnival’s sales criteria, and demonstrate exceptional professionalism, creativity in sales and marketing techniques, and outstanding support of the Carnival product. Carnival has been very supportive of Holiday Travel of America over the last 18 years. Our Cruise Incentives have prospered immensely with their involvement and we have been able to maintain a significant market share with these incentives, thanks to the tireless efforts of Drew Santiago, Business Development Manager and Vicki Tomasino, Vice President of Sales, Western Region for Carnival Cruise Lines”, says Randy Fish, Vice President of Operations. To celebrate our induction into this elite group, Drew Santiago of Carnival Cruise Lines presented the staff of Holiday Travel of America with a beautiful gemstone globe to display at their office. To view our award winning Cruise Incentives please visit us at   GetBlogs Blog Directory 2009-06-30T17:19:42+00:00 Holiday Travel of America Celebrates 21 Years in Business On March 21, 2009, Holiday Travel of America will celebrate it's 21st Birthday.  Created by marketing genius, Richard Romanello on March 21, 1988 from his home in La Jolla, CA Holiday Travel now resides in Carlsbad, CA in its 12,000 square foot corporate headquarters housing more than 50 employees. Dedicated to providing cost effective marketing programs and incentives Holiday Travel has survived numerous periods where market conditions put most travel companies and competitors out of business. "Shifting the companies short term projects and goals to fall in line with how market conditions are continually affecting the travel industry has seperated us from our competition and has also provided our clients with unparalleled customer service and effective marketing campaigns." says Randy Fish, ARP Vice President of Operations. "Following September 11, we realized that the travel industry is a moving target and we must adapt to everything we face, from gas price increases to cruise line fuel supplements to bankruptcies of major airlines, we are always ready to adapt." Holiday Travel of America has thrived for 21 years in an ever changing industry, by making the necessary changes to adapt to market conditions.   GetBlogs Blog Directory News & Events 2009-03-19T20:53:25+00:00