Island plans pay 5% to 10% commission following partnership

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LAHAINA, Hawaii -- A new partnership between Activity World here and Livermore, Calif.-based Hawaii World enables the former to offer travel agents 5% to 10% commission on its island activities such as luaus and helicopter rides.

Activity World, which has no ownership connection to Hawaii World, said it hopes to reach even more agents than it works with now.

"We've been working with travel agents for 15 years, but the new twist to this is our partnership with Hawaii World," said owner Craig Hill.

Mary Twist, president of Hawaii World, said she is happy to offer her agents an extra way to make money.

"We're sending out [Activity World] brochures first to our top 250 agents, but they will be available to all of our agents, which is about 3,000," said Twist.

Twist said her company is acting as a "marriage broker" between agents and Activity World and is not taking a cut of the commission.

Activity World also launched an incentive that enables agents to pick up more commission for activities their clients book independently when arriving on the islands.

"Any agent can get a commission for all subsequent bookings his client makes, provided the first booking was made with the agent prior to the client arriving here," Hill said. "Commission on subsequent bookings is like free money."

Activity World offers more than 400 activities on all the islands, with an emphasis on Maui.

Activity World and Hawaii World partnered to pay retailers commission on Hawaii adventure activities and attractions, such as the Waimea Valley Adventure Park. Some of the company's most popular activities are luaus, helicopter rides, private tours, rain-forest hikes and volcano tours on the Big Island, according to Susan Singhaus, head of Activity World's travel agent department.

Other larger wholesalers in the Hawaii market "corral clients at breakfast seminars once they are in Hawaii, where they are sold the activities and the wholesaler takes all the commission and the travel agent gets nothing," Twist said.

"That's why this is revolutionary for us -- because it gives the commission to the agent. There's nothing in it for us except as a service to our agents."

Hawaii World will give Activity World the names and hotel phone numbers of its agents' clients in Hawaii so Activity World can make a sales pitch to them once they have arrived.

"The agents I spoke to felt good about this part of the program," Twist said, and were not worried clients would be irritated by unsolicited phone calls.

"This program is a major hot ticket for agents," she added. "I did a few seminars recently, and when I told them about the program, they applauded because it's a new way for them to get commissions."

Twist said Hawaii World sells almost exclusively to California agents. The vast majority of her clients are high-end repeat visitors who visit the outer islands.

Singhaus said Activity World has 20 locations on Maui. There also are sites on Kauai and one in Kona on the Big Island.

Singhaus said she previously worked at a company doing the same type of activity program with agents and the "growth in pre-booked activities has been tremendous. In the last three years, my sales went from $60,000 to $400,000 to $800,000.

"Right now, I have probably 450 travel agents I work with, not counting those at Hawaii World who are coming on, and I hope to double that by the end of 2002," said Singhaus.

"One thing the agents like is that I am in Hawaii, I know all the activity sales reps and I have all the up-to-date information."

To get a copy of Activity World's brochure, call (888) 667-7777 or visit www.hawaiiactivityworld.com.

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