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ORLANDO-Time-share developer Fairfield Communities plans to build sales centers inside Harrah’s Entertainment casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and Laughlin, NV. Harrah’s club in Vegas will even show a full-scale model of Fairfield’s 416-unit Grand Desert resort scheduled to open in Orlando next July.

The move is part of a year-old partnership arrangement. The companies are offering joint vacation packages. The sales center project gives Fairfield a custom-made entry to guests at Harrah’s hotel. Harrah’s guests would receive special offers for Fairfield travel packages, while Fairfield time-share owners could be offered to spend some of their vacation time at Harrah’s hotels.

Fairfield already has reception areas inside Harrah’s Las Vegas casino. The companies plan to further promote their amenities by targeting each other’s customer bases.

The marketing plans follow Fairfield’s three-week old disclosure that it is being acquired by Cendant Corp. of New York, the world’s largest hotel franchiser. The $635-million stock-and-cash transaction is tentatively scheduled to close by second quarter 2001. Cendant is assuming Fairfield’s $90 million debt load.

The pending merger gives Fairfield new funding avenues and wider customer marketing bases. Cendant, meanwhile, gains entry to Fairfield’s growing time-share portfolio, but faces an industry conflict-of-interest concern over its ownership of Resort Condominiums International, a fee-based, time-share exchange network.

For Fairfield, it will mark the second time at the merger alter. The company was left hanging in a planned $775-million stock deal in February with Miami-based Carnival Corp. The deal went south after the cruise line’s stock collapsed, reducing the value of the deal to $400 million.

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