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Travel Incentives to Boost Your Business?

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/24/2007 | Travel

Everyone loves a freebie, but can you really get one for travel or a vacation? We have all seen the offers from various businesses. This marketing tool has been around for decades and you can decide if this method of increasing business is right for you.

The most infamous of all "free vacations" is the stay at a resort where you are required to attend a time-share presentation. Actually, these are great offers if you don't mind sitting through a high-pressure sales presentation for 2-3 hours. For many it is worth it. But if you do decide to take advantage of one of these offers, leave your checkbook and credit cards at home because the salesmen in this industry are very good at what they do.

Just go in with a firm resolve that you are not going to buy anything and give the salesman their due respect, they are just doing their jobs and after all you made a deal! You knew what you were getting into, so pay the piper, do your time and enjoy the vacation.

One of the most popular offers used by off-line and on-line businesses is the "vacation certificate". Even though these are presented as free, there are costs involved. But if you understand these offers and how they work, they can be quite lucrative in helping expand your business and make you clients very happy also.

Here are some things to look for before purchasing any of these certificates. Blackout dates-they are in the fine print and read them carefully. Some are reasonable some are not. Blackout dates between December 1, and January 15 are fairly common as most certificates won't allow travel during peak holiday seasons. Also, try to stay away from certificates that specify or restrict travel to certain day of the week.

Make sure the "lead time" or advance notice for the reservations do not exceed thirty days for a short 3-day vacation or 60 days for an 8-day vacation.

The hotels, knowing in advance from previous trends when they will have vacant rooms that will not be sold, make almost all of these vacations possible. The hotels figure the room is going to stay empty anyway, so why not invite a guest to stay for free with hopes that they will spend money in their casinos, restaurants and shops. If the traveler enjoys their stay they may even come back or extend their vacation at the resort.

You do not get to choose the destination property, as this would defeat the purpose of this system. However, industry wide, there are very few complaints about accommodations and you can expect to stay in a 2-4 star property in the location of your choice.

Most travel incentive certificates require a small processing fee, usually around 10.00 to 15.00. Also, almost all will require the traveler to pay the room taxes that would run about 12.00 to 18.00 per night for a 3-day vacation. For longer 8-day vacations the cost could be as much as 300.00.

Consumers love these deals, and many businesses thrive on bringing in new business with these vacation certificates. Another aspect is the good will you can create with your current customers or clients.

Only you can decide if giving away an almost free vacation to your potential clients or customers is a good idea. One of the best features of these certificates is that they are very inexpensive. Some companies even let you print them yourself for a small one time licensing fee.