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By Beth McGuire

RISMEDIA, May 14, 2008-With the decline in the real estate market, many Realtors are clearly feeling the impact. This uncertain state of the industry has undoubtedly challenged Realtors to think outside the box when developing strategies that will set them apart from their local competitors. As the industry faces more challenges, agents, brokers and homeowners alike are looking for new ways to boost sales and are turning to unique methods.

A tool that has proven to be effective for many Realtors has been the use of Resort Vacation Certificates from Group RCI.

“The stress of buying and selling a home is daunting for customers and the fact that their agent understands what they are going through means a great deal,” explains Linda D’Amico, manager of Port Jefferson Station, New York-based Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “Customers love the certificates, and offering them keeps the agent in the minds of the entire family long after the deal closes.”

The program is simple. Each certificate entitles the recipient to a seven-night stay at any Group RCI-affiliated resort, based on availability (Group RCI has 60,000 properties in over 100 countries). Companies or individuals may buy these certificates as a business tool to help generate leads, get their name into the community, and increase referral business.

“The Resort Vacation Certificate program is such a great advantage to agents and managers in so many ways,” says D’Amico. “In this competitive market, to allow buyers and sellers the ability to get a week’s vacation for their purchase is amazing.”

Besides a closing gift, the certificates can also be used to reward employees.

“We also use the certificates as a perk for the agents and managers to enjoy for personal use and the retention factor is terrific,” says D’Amico. “As the person who places the certificate orders, the agents and managers call me and tell me how wonderful all these places are, how much their customers and clients loved them and how many recommendations they get because of them.”

Nancy Thorne, president of Century 21 River-Valley Realty in New Brunswick, Canada, uses the certificates in a variety of ways.

“I use the certificates as a recruiting tool for potential sales associates,” says Thorne, “However, I’ve also effectively used them for fundraising, which has helped our office give back to the community where we live and work.” To that end, some Realtors offer the Resort Vacation Certificates in exchange for sponsorship mentions or participation at golf tournaments and charitable or fundraising events.

For more information, visit