Condo consortium inks deal with booking service

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STAMFORD, Conn. -- Condominium Travel Associates, a 300-member agency consortium here, signed a marketing pact with Dial 800, which owns rights to the 1-800-ORLANDO phone line used by consumers for information and direct bookings.

According to Rick Fisher, consortium president, consumers who call the line for reservations will be transferred via prompt to the Condominium Travel Associates Reservation Center in Prospect, Conn.

There, callers identified by the staff as serious travelers will be referred to either a consortium-member agency in their own area or a member agency elsewhere in the country where travel processing and fulfillment will be carried out.

Fisher noted that more than 60% of vacationers to central Florida do not buy a package. People in that category are often looking for help with their accommodations, he said. "We anticipate tens of thousands of telephone inquiries, especially since the vacation-rental type of accommodation has evolved into one of the fastest-growing segments of the lodging sector," Fisher said.

Furthermore, he said, most of these nonpackage travelers are either self-drive or frequent-flyer vacationers who would not necessarily use a travel agent. "They represent new, incremental customers for our consortium members," he said.

A national consumer-awareness campaign is planned to acquaint travelers with the services to be found by dialing 1-800-ORLANDO, according to Russ Sartain, Dial 800's vice president of marketing.

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Dial 800 is seeking to position the 1-800-ORLANDO phone line as "the premier and only reservation source for consumers to turn to for accommodations," he said.

The company also controls word-based toll-free lines unrelated to travel.

Although the agency consortium's members are dedicated to the marketing and promotion of condominium, villa and home-vacation rentals, for test purposes it was decided to sign up with Dial 800 only for home-vacation referrals, Fisher said.

Orlando vacation-rental prop-erties sold by consortium members, he noted, are within 10 to 25 minutes' drive of Walt Disney World. Some properties are near the Medieval Times dinner show and the Orange Lake Country Club, he said.

Condominium Travel Associates
Phone: (800) 975-7714

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