You may remember Etihad Airways’ recent Live Free for a Year promotion, which promised a year’s worth of paid cost-of-living expenses to the travel agent with the most contest entries—which were based on what class and how many Etihad Airways tickets were booked. Eric Hrubant and his team sure do.
Hrubant, a director at MMG Travel Journeycorp, a division of Tzell Travel, was awarded the grand prize last month. The monetary value of the promotion was determined based on the average annual cost of rent/mortgage, utilities and groceries for a travel agent based on their region—for Hrubant, that totaled to $90,000.
“I don’t recall the exact number of total flights [booked], but it was around 75-125 tickets,” Hrubant says. “We are very lucky to have a strong business on Etihad already. It’s our number one international carrier, because we have a lot of business based in the U.A.E. and the U.S., so it was very easy to enter all these bookings.”
When Hrubant says “we,” he’s referring to two other agents on his team. “I work for an independent agent, and all three of us work together on our bookings. Any one of us could have won. I split the winnings with my two colleagues since we’re a team in everything we do.”
Etihad Airways ran the promotion as a big “thank-you” to its most loyal travel agent partners. Says CCO Peter Baumgartner, “Our trade partners act as our brand ambassadors abroad, brining our brand to a wider base of clientele. We hope to show with this promotion the immense gratitude we have for our loyal supporters.”
“It was very fitting that I won,” Hrubant says. “I personally was one of the first agents six years ago who was selling and supporting those flights—I’ve had a relationship with our sales manager since day one. We’ve seen them grow, and they’re very agent-friendly, and they truly get it. When I need something, I e-mail my sales office and they get it done quickly and with ease. It’s wonderful.”
Since winning the promotion, Hrubant says he and his company have been enjoying the fame—both personally and professionally. “The recognition from Etihad and the press have been a godsend, getting our brand out there and just getting MMG Travel known. We just landed a new account, not directly related to this, but it’s literally going to double our business.”
Additional agent-focused promotions that rolled out this year include the Etihad SuperSeller travel agent incentive program, debuted in March, and the Double Your Salary promotion, which runs through the end of August. For both programs, the more bookings an agent makes the more incentives they’ll earn, and the higher chance they’ll have to win a grand prize. Baumgartner says, “We’re thrilled to launch these innovative programs to reward our valued travel agent partners, particularly offering the opportunity for all agents to reap the benefits of our award-winning Etihad guest loyalty program. We’ll continue to focus on travel agents as we devise new and exciting ways to show our gratitude for their support.”
For more information about incentives and promotions offered through Etihad Airways, visit etihadagents.com.