An Arizona travel representation company may have found a way to help vacation ownership companies answer their most difficult and expensive challenge: securing a reliable and high-quality tour flow. Discover the World Marketing, which represents more than 40 travel companies, including many in the lodging business, has a plan to use travel agents to solicit their customers to take timeshare tours while on vacations the agents have arranged.

“It's an arrangement we think works well for both travel agents and the timeshare industry,” says Rick Cooper, vice president of strategic planning and development. “The hotel brands tell us timeshare marketing is a volume game, but the problem is how to drive high-quality tours. Travel agents, on the other hand, have had their businesses squeezed in recent years and they're looking for additional revenue streams.”

During the next few months, Discover the World will launch the program in 12 major U.S. markets, working with 15 to 20 agencies in each market in areas with more affluent consumers. Agents will be encouraged to leverage their existing relationships to either sell mini-vacations or invite their customers to take standalone tours while vacationing. The timeshare firms will pay commissions on tours booked and provide incentives for agents to book high-quality prospects.

“Good travel agents know their customers — their interests, their travel preferences, even their levels of affluence — so they're well-equipped to match them with the vacation ownership opportunities best for each of them,” says Cooper.

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