Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

AAA Brandon Travel finds new ways to compete in Internet age

TAMPA — Approximately 70 members of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce scurried about Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas the morning before it set sail to Cozumel, Mexico.

Guests don't check in until 1 p.m., so the chamber invitees snapped photos of chocolate pianos left in the luxury suites, pictured themselves relaxing in various 10th-floor staterooms and journeyed through the 16 on-board bars and lounges.

AAA Brandon organized the pre-cruise tour to give people a sneak peak of the cruise experience. After everyone checks out all the amenities and samples the food during a sit-down lunch on the 90,000-ton ship, AAA Brandon field manager David Miller explains why people should still trust the company that started in 1902 to help book their travel.

He belongs to six local chambers, something he deems a necessity in the on-going effort to compete with Internet travel sites.

"I do a lot of events like these," Miller said. "We do them all the time. It's another thing we point out for people why they should book with us."

Miller said AAA books your cruise for the same price you see online and then adds extra amenities such as VIP check in, champagne in your room and up to a $100 on-board credit. On larger ships, it makes special dining arrangements available and offers quarterly specials to members such as a spa treatment.

Miller said the extra perks make the $66 annual membership dues a "no-brainer," especially when you consider AAA provides a single point of contact to guide folks through cruises, tours, Disney trips and other vacation destinations.

Debbie Meyers, Royal Caribbean strategic account manager for Florida, agrees. She said she booked her vacation cruise through AAA as well.

"It's very good, especially for first timers," she said of the white glove, AAA service. "A lot of people have visions of The Love Boat."

The preview experience helped Darryl and Angela Sookoonsingh, who own the Dickey's barbecue restaurant in Riverview.

"We were thinking about going on a cruise and this gives us the opportunity to check it out," Darryl said.

Miller said the secret to booking a cruise is to plan your trip while kids are still in school to get the best rates. For more information, call AAA Brandon at (813) 681-5761.

Allstate agents open 2 Riverview locations

RIVERVIEW — Two new Allstate offices have opened in Riverview, offering insurance and financial services products. Allstate Agent Nathan Ellsworth opened a location at 6320 US 301, and Armando Morales started his business at 13157 US 301.

Both agencies sell auto, property and life insurance, as well as protection for motorcycles, boats, motor homes and recreational vehicles. In addition, agency staff members can offer guidance and counseling about those products, helping customers choose the insurance coverage that best meets their needs.

To find out more about Allstate's wide range of insurance products, contact Ellsworth at (813) 681-2886 or Morales at (813) 381-5650.

SHARE YOUR NEWS: If you have an item for Everybody's Business, contact Eric Vician at [email protected]

Comments
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

TAMPA — Four firms in marketing, construction and secure cash logistics will be the first to go to through a new Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program designed to help black- and Hispanic-owned companies grow their businesses through two years of...
Updated: 12 hours ago
FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

NEW YORK — The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.The FCC’s ne...
Published: 12/14/17
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17
American Social booming on Harbour Island

American Social booming on Harbour Island

HARBOUR ISLAND — Downtowners, conventioneers, hockey fans, concert-goers and anyone hungry for waterfront dining are discovering American Social Bar & Kitchen on Harbour Island. Panoramic views, accessible boat slips and walkability to Amalie Arena a...
Published: 12/14/17
A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

SOUTH TAMPA— Vale Food Co., a health food restaurant, hopes to make its mark on the bay area foodie scene with the opening of its first location in Tampa.In 2014, Sunny Ilyas was a Florida State student trying to find an affordable, healthy meal for ...
Published: 12/14/17

Tampa Bay is above average in minority homeownership

Tampa Bay ranks 22nd among the nation’s 45 largest metro areas in the percentage of minority homeowners. According to Abodo, an online apartment marketplace, 46.2 percent of minorities in the bay area own their homes, which have an average value of $...
Published: 12/14/17