Camino Real's take on business: Keep it simple

MEXICO CITY -- In an effort to boost business -- and agent sales -- Camino Real Hotels is simplifying the way it markets its product and is rolling out new programs.

The same research that revealed Camino Real's hotels were a bit "stale" also showed that agents weren't getting their commission checks fast enough.

That concern is being addressed, according to Adrian Schjetnan, Camino Real's vice president of sales and marketing, who said the company also is upping pay to as much as 15% on its More Mexico for Less packages for the rest of the year.

In addition, the firm lowered the minimum-stay requirement on those packages from three nights to two, giving agents and clients more flexibility.

Also, the packages will be priced the same year-round in 2001, and health club use will be added to the package components.

"This will make our prices very attractive in the winter when rates are traditionally higher," said Schjetnan.

In an effort to grow its rack rate business from 2% to 6% of total bookings, Camino Real lowered the rate to $179 from a high of $280 and is including breakfast in the rate.

"The new rack rate represents good revenue for the company, good value for the customer and a good commission opportunity for the agent, who should be able to sell more rack rate business at the lower rate," Schjetnan said.

In addition, clients who book the more expensive Camino Real Club rooms will receive free breakfast and a $25 food and beverage credit.

Making a comeback in January will be the company's guest affinity program, Camino Real Membership, which will include a dedicated Web site through which members will be able to track points, or "reales," and choose their rewards, which will include free hotel stays, airline tickets and merchandise from brand-name retailers.

For more information or reservations, call Camino Real Hotels at (800) 7-CAMINO or visit the company's Web site, at www.caminoreal.com.

-- Jorge Sidron

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