Cendant Targets 30 Million in Ticketmaster Deal

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Cendant Corp. has expanded its transfer plus marketing program through an agreement that the real-estate and travel conglomerate hopes will create an additional 30 million opportunities to sell its membership-based travel, dining and other services.

Cendant, Stamford, CT, has forged a multiyear deal with Ticketmaster, Los Angeles, to offer its services to callers to the nation's leading ticket seller.

Since its merger with HFS Inc., the former CUC International has established similar point-of-sale telemarketing to customers of its car-rental business, more than 4,000 hotels and 11,000 real-estate offices.

Ticketmaster will receive an initial $7.5 million for prepaid membership commissions generated by the sale of Cendant offerings to callers and a share in any additional revenues. Ticketmaster is the latest partner to join Cendant's transfer plus program.

"Over the last couple of years, we have partnered with a pretty wide variety of people that take 800 calls,'' said Tony Menchaca, executive vice president of Cendant membership services. "We have north of 20 people we do this with. They are mostly in the travel arena, but this is not our first nontravel partner.''

Consumers calling Ticketmaster call centers to order tickets or obtain entertainment information will be given the option to be transferred to an operator dedicated to Cendant services. Ticketmaster receives more than 30 million calls per year, the majority from consumers aged between 18 and 45, who have large disposable incomes, Menchaca said.

"This is going to generate hundreds of thousands of new members every year, even if the response rate is low,'' he said.

Transfer plus programs are generating response rates of 20 percent to 30 percent, Menchaca said. Those who agree to join a service are given a three-month trial, and he said about half remain after a year. The offers are rotated to keep them from getting stale and are tailored to meet the profile of the inbound caller.

Menchaca said transfer plus is effective because it reaches the right person at the right time. The transferred caller has planned to spend time making the call and is accustomed to buying over the phone.

By targeting consumers that already are on the phone, the basis of the offer doesn't make a difference. "We can pretty much work with anybody,'' Menchaca said.

Menchaca said Cendant expects to gain 2 million new members from the merger, but he declined to disclose membership figures from partnerships.

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