A $14 billion merger last December between Entertainment Publications' parent company CUC and travel marketing powerhouse HFS created the new Cendant Corp., a union that dramatically increased the brands available for discount programs and boosting its sales force by more than 20%.
The company's new division, Entertainment Publications Partnership Marketing, is already putting heavy pressure on regional operators of localized promotional programs using discounts on local businesses, industry insiders say.
ADDING MORE BRANDS
The merger added powerful HFS brands to Entertainment Publications' fold, including Avis, Century 21, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Jackson Hewitt tax preparation services, Ramada and Travelodge, to name a few.
"The merger gives us immense new leverage in creating incentives and loyalty marketing tie-ins for major marketers -- it quadruples our power," said Shaun Doherty, senior VP of Partnership Marketing.
This month the company begins testing Frequent Values, a new program giving custom-tailored discounts to consumers through partnerships with major marketers. One example is a tie-in with AirTouch Cellular customers in California, who receive discounts and deals on a variety of dining, entertainment and services in exchange for signing up -- and staying -- with AirTouch.
The core Entertainment Books, which were introduced in 1961, have reached critical mass nationwide with 190 editions in the U.S. and Canada. Eleven new editions are being added this year; the books sell for $25-$40 each. A major new growth area for the company has become distribution through schools, Mr. Doherty said.
MORE SALES OFFICES
Entertainment Partnership Marketing is also opening seven new sales offices around the U.S. this year to support its growth.
"Promotions have been our strongest area, but now we're setting our sights on frequency and loyalty marketing, where we see huge potential," Mr. Doherty said.