Pinehurst pays 10% on package elements

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PINEHURST, N.C. -- Pinehurst Co. Resorts expanded its commission policy to offer 10% commission on package items including accomodations, golf, breakfast and dinner sold at their four resorts.

Pinehurst formerly paid commission on accommodations only.

Pinehurst owns and operates the Pinehurst Resort here; Daufuskie Island in Daufuskie Island, S.C.; the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., and Barton Creek in Austin, Texas.

Pinehurst Resorts is paying 10%.The reason behind the change is simple: The company sees the agent market as an untapped resource, said Mary Beth Crumley, Pinehurst's national sales director for the travel industry.

Agents who typically book the company's resorts are a mix of corporate and upscale leisure, according to Crumley. Currently, she said, agent bookings account for 3% to 4% of annual sales at the company's resorts.

The low percentage of agent business is due to the fact that not many agents deal with golf, a lack of awareness of the resorts and because the package components weren't commissionable, she said.

"We are a niche product that earns high revenues," said Crumley. "The recent airline cutbacks make this the perfect product and a huge opportunity [for agents]."

To address the lack of agent awareness, a travel industry sales office headed by Crumley was created in February, and several initiatives to increase agent interest are under way.

The office was represented at industry events including Travel Industry Association's annual Pow Wow. The office did a direct mailing in May and is using the replies to set up an e-mail database to get information to interested agents. Additionally, a familiarization trip program is being developed.

An agent section on the Pinehurst Co. Web site, at www.thepinehurstcompany.com, is in the works for a 2002 rollout, she said.

Although Crumley's office aims to boost agent sales, she said that no estimates or formal goals have been released for publication.

Travel agents interested in Pinehurst Company Resorts can contact the travel industry sales office by calling (770) 725-0613.

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