Waimea balloon ride gives agents a lift with 10% commission

WAIMEA, Hawaii -- A new balloon ride attraction is opening for business in this Big Island town on Dec. 1.

Paradise Balloons will offer balloon rides over the Parker Ranch at a price of $240 each for adults and $190 for children under age 12, said co-owner Frank Reed.

The company will pay travel agents 10% commission on the rides.

Paradise Balloons will pay its agent partners their commissions twice a month after receiving pay from the customer, or the agent can book the tour and collect the ride fee from the client, then send a check to the company minus the commission, said Reed.

A balloon ride attraction is set to launch Dec. 1.The balloon ride, called the Paniolo Paluna over Parker Ranch, will operate daily in the early-morning hours starting about one hour after sunrise, weather permitting.

The company will use three hot-air balloons, which accommodate 12 to 16 people each. Each ride will last approximately one hour.

Included in the ride price is a champagne brunch following the ride. Total time of the tour including the brunch will be three-and-a-half hours, said Reed.

"We intend to have a first class operation, and we've already sold out one week in January to a meeting planner," said Reed.

"The Parker Ranch is the only spot to my knowledge in the whole state where you can consistently fly a balloon because it's in the wind shadow of Mauna Kea. "And we are the only company offering a balloon tour in the state."

Reed said the 44,000 acres of the Parker Ranch are ideal for flying a balloon not only because there is little wind, but because it is all ranch land with very few obstacles for landing.

"I have known about this spot for about 12 years, but it took us 12 years to convince the Parker Ranch that they should help us develop new business besides ranching."

Reed said guests will meet at mile marker 1 on Highway 190 30 minutes before sunrise to start the tour. The meeting spot is near the town of Waimea.

There is a limit of 36 passengers each day.

For more information, contact Paradise Balloons at (866) 887-6455 or 808-887-6455; fax: (808) 887-9487; e-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.paradiseballoons.com.

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