Hotel's visitor pass boosts sales

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- The Hotel Mont Vernon on Orient Bay Beach in St. Martin bolstered bookings this year by offering commissionable visitor passes as an option for guests booking at least seven nights, according to hotel officials.

The St. Martin Pass -- priced at $693 per person and commissionable at 10% -- in effect transforms a vacation at the 370-suite property into an all-inclusive experience, as opposed to the hotel's traditional room-and-breakfast plan, said Chris Aubanel, director of sales for North America here.

"Reservations are strong for the winter season, thanks to the interest generated by the all-inclusive vacation program," Aubanel said, although he noted there's still plenty of availability.

The price of the pass -- which breaks down to $99 per person, per day -- includes three meals at the property's La Creole dining room, seven hotel lunches and four dinners at select restaurants elsewhere on St. Martin; all meals include tax and service.

In addition, the St. Martin pass includes daily transfers to a Phillipsburg casino, a four-day Alamo or National car rental, a Jet Ski rental, a parasailing experience, a sunset cruise, a discotheque visit and a discount book of coupons redeemable at local shops.

The hotel's concierge is ready to assist guests using the St. Martin Pass in making arrangements, Aubanel said.

The Mont Vernon's rack rates, which include American buffet breakfast, are $179 during the winter and $165 spring to fall.

U.S. tourists account for 65% of the Mont Vernon's guest roster, said Aubanel, and that business is generated mostly by agents, a quarter of whom tend to book direct with the hotel; the remainder deal with tour operators.

Among operators selling the Mont Vernon this winter are American Airlines Vacations, Apple Vacations, Delta Vacations (Delta Air Lines just reinstated service to St. Maarten from Atlanta) and Gogo Worldwide Vacations. Other tour operators include GWV International, Inter Island Tours, Island Resort Tours, Travel Impressions and US Airways Vacations.

Although Mont Vernon's Web site accepts direct bookings from consumers, it carries this advisory: "Call your favorite travel agent for the best rates available and great packages with air included."

During 2003, agents will be getting even more attention when the North American sales office relocates to New York, Aubanel said, and a sales staff is hired.

For information and sales aids, agents can call the hotel's North American sales office at (216) 221-6385 or visit www.hotelmontvernon.com.

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