Through Dec. 22, Outrigger is paying travel agents a $50 bonus for every realized booking of five nights or more at any of its condominiums on Oahu, Maui, Kauai or the Big Island. Clients get rewards as well; for example, those staying four nights or longer at an Outrigger property receive a special amenity when they arrive, delivered in the agent’s name. 800-688-7444
Condominium travel is a great answer for clients seeking a home-away-from-home on vacation, but trends show that direct bookings with vacation-rental owners are on the rise. The most telling factor is the growth in owner-direct Web site listings, said Outrigger Condominium Collection sales and marketing director Tim Alex, who has been meeting with agents to listen to their concerns.
“Many agents have asked how they can combat the increasing trend of consumers using agents’ expertise and time to get information on condos, only to lose them to direct rentals to save a little bit of money,” said Alex.
To help agents overcome that challenge and safeguard their potential for commissions, Outrigger released tips for agents on the benefits of booking hospitality provider-managed condominiums.
“We want our travel agent partners to protect their clients’ travel investments and vacation experiences while providing solid recommendations,” said Alex, who shared the following suggestions.
• Recognize the risks: Agents can help clients understand the risks they face when booking vacation rentals by owner. Since owners manage units individually, there is no assurance of quality, no options in the event of an unexpected problem, no resort-like amenities and no sense of hospitality, all of which can affect their vacation experience.
• Focus on the benefits: Hospitality provider-managed condos give clients the kind of quality accommodations and service that they’d find at a resort, like daily housekeeping, a front desk and a concierge. At the same time, they have all the luxuries of home, like fully equipped kitchens. Since most condos have washers and dryers, clients can pack light and avoid paying excess luggage fees on airlines.
• Remove stress: In the event of a maintenance emergency or desire to relocate to a different unit, the hospitality provider-manager has an expert team ready to assist clients. This safety net allows for the client’s peace of mind and far outweighs any independent rental deal.
• Protect your clients: Travel is an investment, and agents can shield clients from making decisions they will regret. Payment in full, far in advance, as well as service and cleaning fees are pitfalls of owner-rented properties. At hospitality provider-managed condos, travelers never pay additional service fees.
• Customize each vacation: In addition to notable commission opportunities, the wide variety of hospitality provider-managed condos helps agents customize vacations for each client. Agents can match the optimal living quarters with the number of guests, desired activities and price points.
• Highlight flexibility and control: Clients don’t want to pay huge fees for changes to an itinerary. In the event that they need to cancel, postpone or alter their plans, hospitality provider-managed condos have flexible policies.
• Choose extraordinary locations: Help your clients select properties in the location that’s right for them. Hospitality provider-managed condos span the Hawaiian Islands, and they give clients a home base in a spectacular natural setting as close to — or far away from — attractions as they desire.
• Protect yourself: By clarifying the risks clients may encounter when booking an owner-managed rental, agents can build trust and lessen the chance that they will book their accommodations independently.
• Communicate your knowledge: Agents should demonstrate how much they know about the latest travel trends — including the increasing popularity of condominium vacations in Hawaii.