Bates Takes On Rci’s $20 Mil. Account And Its In-House Staff

Bates USA Midwest in Indianapolis is forming a dedicated unit, Bates Travel and Tourism Group, to handle new client Resort Condominiums International.
RCI, which markets time-sharing vacation packages through 41 offices in 30 countries, last week named Bates to handle its estimated $20 million global ad business.
The agency will absorb Indianapolis-based RCI’s 12-person in-house creative and production staff and hire another five to 10 staffers to manage the account, said Dan Roman, Bates USA Midwest chairman. Those employees will form the shop’s new travel and tourism group, with RCI as its charter client. The agency, which lost the Trans World Airlines account to D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, in 1994, remains committed to adding another air carrier, which would fit well within the travel group, Roman said.
RCI has hired Bates for project work in the past, Roman said, but after it was acquired by HFS Inc. (now Cendant Corp.), the company decided to seek an agency of record and disband the in-house operation. Parsippany, N.J.-based Cendant also owns the Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Ramada lodging chains, as well as Avis, Century 21, Coldwell Banker and other companies.
RCI will rival ITT Educational Services as Bates USA Midwest’s largest client. Its other clients include Provident Bank, Indiana Tourism and regional utility Cinergy Corp.