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Further Your Education at the Tour Operator Spring Meet

March 21, 2007

Further Your Education at the Tour Operator Spring Meet
March 21, 2006 – The 2006 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet kicks off tomorrow in Louisville, Ky. Besides the social and networking events, delegates will be privy to an outstanding lineup of educational speakers this year.

Thursday’s General Crackerbarrel features Linda Simpson, Meeting Professionals International, on "Examining the Benefits of Multicultural Marketing." Simpson will explore the benefits of multicultural marketing and provide ideas on how to reach non-traditional market segments. In addition, delegates will hear which minority segments are growing the fastest and offer the greatest opportunity.

On Friday, Jim Santini, NTA Legislative Counsel, and Mark Hoffmann, CTP, Sports Leisure Vacations, will facilitate the Government Relations Idea Exchange. Delegates will hear updates on government issues and learn the importance of building relationships with congressmen, local civic leaders and state legislators. This session offers a great look at how travel companies can get the most from our government.

Also on Friday, Courier Magazine Editor Frances Figart will moderate a panel including Ron Mader, Transitions Abroad and, H. Peter Jorgensen, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, and Dave Lipton, Parks Canada. This panel will explore the importance of sustainable tourism, define ecotourism, nature-based tourism and agritourism, and share examples of successful culturally responsible and ecologically sensitive tours.

Saturday sessions starts with "Beyond Brochures: Alternative Ways to Promote Your Travel Product" with Jeanne Allert, of Ellipsis Partners in Ellicott City, Md. This session will look at how new technology is supplanting the need for printed materials to promote tour product to customers. Jeanne will explore how CD-ROM, mini-CDs, virtual tours, Flash animations and even PowerPoint slides on the Web can give potential customers a more realistic experience of tours and an increased awareness of travel products. In addition, Jeanne will discuss what goes into developing these marketing items and will share some models of good practice.

Also on Saturday, Jeanne will facilitate the Technology Idea Exchange. This open-microphone session gives delegates an opportunity to discuss new technology trends with peers or ask questions to get feedback on technology challenges. Our facilitator also will be available to discuss topics such as technology best practices, Web site marketing, Web page issues, e-mail marketing and new technology-based marketing strategies.

Bob Hoelscher, CTP, Flemming Tours and Mark Hoffmann, CTP, Sports Leisure Vacations, will facilitate the Transportation Providers Idea Exchange, which focuses on one of the most significant issues facing tour operators today. Tour operators face numerous challenges working with air, cruise and rail companies both operationally and in having open, effective communication. In addition, motorcoach issues such as fuel surcharges and safety requirements create challenges for operators as well. This session provides an opportunity for operators to discuss these challenges, while sharing ideas and working to find solutions.

Judy Randall, Randall Travel Marketing, presents "Predicting the Future: How the Major Shifts in Demographics and Customer Patterns will Change the Future of Travel and Tourism" on Saturday. In this session, Judy will reveal her research into demographic changes and discuss how the world of travel and tourism will change dramatically within the next 20 years.

Saturday’s Closing Session is "Top Ten Trends in Travel and Tourism" which also features Judy Randall. This session received such rave reviews last year that we invited Randall Travel Marketing back to share its new research for 2006! As tour operators plan their travel products for the months and years ahead, it is important to understand the needs and wants of customers as well as the industry trends that drive business. Judy will share her research on the top 10 travel industry trends for 2006 and beyond, as well as provide practical information crucial to product development and marketing planning.

To view the full list and descriptions of seminars taking place during the Tour Operator Spring Meet, click here.

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