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Tuesday Newsletter

February 8, 2005

Tuesday Newsletter February 8, 2005
February 8, 2005: Volume 25; Issue 3

Articles at a Glance
Tips on Group Utilization with United Airlines Recruiting New Members Pays … Literally
Audio From Ann Thomas Web Cast Available at Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Awards First Grant
2004 International Tourism Results Best in 20 Years San Francisco and Sonoma County are Fam-tastic
Mancini a Featured Presenter in Sacramento Save Money on Your Printing With ITS
China Grants Approved Destination Status to Canada Discounted Rates Available for Membership Directory

Tips on Group Utilization with United Airlines

United Airlines continues to work closely with CrossSphere to improve group utilization – the percentage of groups booked against groups flown, which averages less than 30 percent. One of the keys to improvement is United’s ability to maintain up-to-date utilization figures on groups booked. Tour operators play a big role in helping United do this, as they need to release any unused seats they have reserved in a timely fashion.

To strive toward improving group utilization, United Airlines offers these suggestions:

  • Release – If your group falls through after booking and before ticketing, contact the United group desk to cancel and release the space. Be proactive in contacting United, even if you know the group size is reduced.
  • Increase – If several operators release space they don’t need, seats might become available on a flight you are trying to book. In other words, by releasing unneeded group space back to inventory, this increases the likelihood of more group seats being available across the system.

    Currently, United Airlines offers the ability to book groups based in the United States 11 months prior to departure and international groups 24 months prior to departure, with deposits due 21 days after booking and names and ticketing generally required 30 days prior to departure. With this structure, there is a 10-month timeframe where group space is being held – both by the airline and by the operator – without names. In some cases, if a group is booked, United Airlines is unable to book other groups on that same flight due to aircraft size and/or group seat parameters.

    It is key to remember that airline price and inventory are dynamic. If you are canceling group space because the price is no longer competitive, or booked flights no longer desirable, call United and advise them of the situation; they might be able to meet these new criteria.

    To contact United for information on domestic groups, call 800-426-1122. The number for international groups is 800-237-9524.

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    Recruiting New Members Pays … Literally

    Pull out your marketing 101 textbook and you’re sure to find information about how word-of-mouth is one of the top marketing tools. CrossSphere is no exception to this rule, and your association grows stronger through word-of-mouth marketing.

    This month we send thanks to Fred Standeven of A.C.T. Tours/Frederick Travel for sharing the value of CrossSphere with his colleagues. For his efforts in recruiting new tour operator members, Standeven will receive $100 off his 2005 Convention registration. The same discount is open to you, if you persuade new tour operators to join the association. To find out more on how to earn your discount, click here.

    Why is membership growth healthy for you and for the association? As it relates to your business, it gives you more prospective business partners. Membership growth also creates a stronger voice in the industry – more lobbying power, increased purchasing volume and more networking opportunities. With a stronger voice, CrossSphere can provide more results in soliciting valuable corporate partners, more legislative clout and more results for business growth for members.

    For more information on how you can help refer new members or to get CrossSphere recruitment materials – including the 2005 Recruitment CD – contact The entire CD presentation also is available on the CrossSphere Web site.

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    Audio From Ann Thomas Web Cast Available at

    CrossSphere Chairman Ann Thomas, CTP, hosted Web seminars last week clarifying issues concerning the association’s name change. In case you missed them but want to hear what was discussed, the hour-long Feb. 3 session will be posted at within a week.

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    Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Awards First Grant


    Tourism Cares for Tomorrow CEO Bruce Beckham, CTP, announced last week that the organization has awarded its first grant to an innovative program that combines the best of both the conservation and educational worlds.

    George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) received a $20,000 grant from Tourism Cares for Tomorrow to plan a volunteer pilot program on Honduras’ north coast and in eastern Honduras, which is home to the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, a designated World Heritage Site. The initiative will support the Honduran government’s commitment to geotourism.

    Donald Hawkins, George Washington’s Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy, says the grant will be used to mobilize support from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, National Geographic Society, Counterpart International, RARE Center for Tropical Conservation, Citizen Development Corps and the Honduras Institute of Tourism with a goal of engaging local communities and volunteers in the creation of a "Geotourism Map Guide." In addition to the pilot program plan, Hawkins says that the collaborative team will identify subsequent projects that can be conducted by Honduran communities and future volunteers to further develop Honduras’ geotourism potential.

    "I’m so pleased that the new organization’s first initiative reflects a melding of the goals of our parent organizations, CrossSphere’s National Tourism Foundation and USTOA’s Travelers Conservation Foundation," Beckham said. "This first grant is symbolic of the strength of our organization’s ability to achieve great things through our coming together on behalf of the entire tourism industry."

    For more information about Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, visit

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    2004 International Tourism Results Best in 20 Years

    International inbound tourism experienced a strong rebound in 2004, with Asia and the Pacific leading the way, according to WTO World Tourism Barometer. International tourist arrivals reached an all-time record 760 million, which was a 10 percent increase over 2003.

    Growth was common to all regions, but was predominantly strong in Asia and the Pacific (+29%) and in the Middle East (+21%). Double-digit growth was also registered in the Americas (+10%), while Africa (+7%) and Europe (+4%) performed below the world average, but still substantially improved their results of previous years.

    After three years of depressed figures, 2004 was the year that finally brought tourism in North, South and Central America back to the growth side. Though still lagging behind the 2000 record volume of 128 million arrivals, international tourist arrivals increased by an exceptional 10 percent in 2004 to a total of 124 million, as all subregions performed positively.

    "As we foresaw in October, tourism in 2004 reached a record of 760 million international tourist arrivals and the best growth rate of the last 20 years," WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said. "We are confident that the tourism sector is back on the right track after three difficult years and (expect) the tourism sector will surely show again its extraordinary resilience and its ability to overcome."

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    San Francisco and Sonoma County are Fam-tastic

    Sonoma County is one of the most renowned wine-producing regions in the world.

    Looking for a great way to unwind after a productive Tour Operator Spring Meet? Then sign on for the "From the City to the Country – San Francisco & Sonoma County Wine Region" post-Meet Fam, which leaves the Sheraton Grand Sacramento at 9 a.m. on April 3 and returns participants to the Sacramento International Airport on April 6 by noon.

    San Francisco evokes an image of the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars climbing to the stars and world-class dining and shopping. Sonoma County is synonymous with grapevine-covered hills, cattle and sheep grazing. This tour blends these two contrasting regions and creates a journey filled with incredible sights, nostalgic sounds and remarkable tastes.

    The Fam takes you from the Sonoma County vineyards to Guerneville’s majestic old growth redwoods and from Petaluma’s Victorian Historic District and to the art galleries and boutiques of Sausalito before closing in the City By the Bay, where you’ll have time to enjoy some of San Francisco’s most popular attractions including Pier 39 on the Embarcadero, the Wax Museum, the Exploratorium and SBC Park.

    To sign up for this Fam, or to see information on any of the other six pre- or post-Spring Meet Fams, click here. The deadline to register for all Fams is Feb. 21, 2005.

    (Note – We regret that this information was left out of the December issue of Courier, magazine, which profiled the other Fams being conducted in conjunction with Spring Meet.)

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    Mancini a Featured Presenter in Sacramento

    The 2005 Tour Operator Spring Meet, coming up March 30-April 2 in Sacramento, offers an exceptional line-up of educational seminars that will help you strengthen and grow your business. Among the Spring Meet offerings are two seminars on Saturday, April 2, presented by CrossSphere member favorite, Marc Mancini.

    If you have seen Mancini before, you know you don’t want to miss these presentations, which will offer practical and relevant information that tour operators can immediately take back and use in their companies. During Mancini’s first session, "Psychographics Made Easy," you will learn three systems of customer analysis to help you better understand your customers and their preferred buying styles. You can then use this information to help you develop the perfect travel package for each of your customers.

    Immediately after that session, Mancini will present "Freud on Tour – An Exploration of Tour Psychology." In this hilarious presentation, he will explore the reasons group tours behave so strangely and examine such concepts as the flock factor, sibling rivalry and the regression syndrome. If you want to learn more about how to better serve your group travelers, this is a seminar you don’t want to miss.

    Make plans to join us in Sacramento for what promises to be a great networking and educational event. For more information on the Spring Meet educational programs please click here or contact Jason Jones, CrossSphere’s assistant director of education, at

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    Save Money on Your Printing With ITS

    ITS Design & Printing, a valued member of CrossSphere’s Corporate Partner team, can help make your printing dollar go farther. ITS, based in Ponoka, Alberta, offers graphic design, printing, bindery and technical support to a wide range of clients for both big and small jobs for all CrossSphere members.

    ITS offers a 5 percent discount on projects costing more than $5,000 and a 2.5 percent rebate on jobs priced between $1,500 and $5,000 – rates available only to CrossSphere members. ITS also provides quick turnaround times on your jobs by getting proofs to you within a 24-48 hour window, depending on when materials are received.

    For more information on saving money on your printed materials, contact Lorne Veleti, who serves as ITS Design and Printing’s CrossSphere representative. He can be reached via phone at 888.783.5777 (North America) or 403.783.5511 or by e-mail at

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    China Grants Approved Destination Status to Canada

    Canadian tourism professionals received some great news recently when the China National Tourism Administration granted Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS). The status enables Canada to market its tourism products in China and makes it easier for Chinese nationals to travel to Canada as part of organized tour groups.

    Receiving ADS is an important factor in setting the stage for sustained and significant growth in the number of Chinese visitors to Canada. Approved Destination Status allows Chinese residents to travel to Canada using a tourist exit visa. Previously, only a few Chinese visitors traveling on business could obtain exit visas to Canada.

    Under ADS, a Chinese travel agency that has been qualified and authorized to organize outbound packages must set up trips to Canada, and the group must be received by a qualified and authorized Canadian travel outlet. To become authorized, Canadian tour operators will have to meet the guidelines that are being established by the Canadian Tourism Commission’s China National Working Group.

    Canada became one of the more than 40 countries that has Approved Destination Status. Twelve European nations – Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Greek, Italy, Sweden and Finland – signed a similar agreement in 2004 and Ireland has since received the designation. Currently, the United States does not have Approved Destination Status.

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    Discounted Rates Available for Membership Directory

    Time is running out for you to receive special discounted rates when you book your advertisements in the upcoming CrossSphere Membership Directory. Ad space for the expanded 2005 Directory must be reserved by Feb. 11, before the rates return to normal.

    This Directory will include suppliers and DMOs, as well as tour operators for the first time, so you can get your company the additional global exposure you desire by reserving an ad space and enhancing your listing with bold and highlighting, as well as color company logos. Click here to learn more about these and other advertising opportunities available.

    Don’t forget that your Directory ad can be used with Courier for frequency discounts. Call 800.682.8886, ext. 3549 (U.S. and Canada), or 859.219.3549 or e-mail Taryn Lendrum.

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