Columnist Michael Browne says that traditional travel agencies have the advantage of being able to entice winter-weary travelers into their businesses through splashy signage to warm climes. However, home-based agents can use their telephone, a computer database of clients and their knowledge about a good deal to an enticing location to drum up business, he writes. "If an agent called me up and shared some great offer for a long weekend, I think I'd be pretty easy to convince right about now," Browne writes.

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