May 8, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter May 8, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 19
|This issue of Tuesday is sponsored by Group Travel Technologies.
Managing groups is no easy task! The GroupMinder reservation system takes the hassle out of booking and managing groups, both large and small. For more information, please visit http://www.grouptraveltech.com/.
|Interested in becoming a Tuesday sponsor? E-mail Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
Annual Convention: Seven-minute Appointments are Back
Benefit Basics – Tour and Travel Exchange Means Bigger Returns
Spring Meet Highlights Web Page Available
Kansas City Set to Shine in November
NTA Announces Escrow Program for Tour Operators
Tour20 Group Offers Valuable Tool for Operators
Buy Your Tables and Tickets for the Tourism Cares Hall of Fame Dinner
July Courier Featuring California, New England, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia
Seven-minute appointments will be back for DMOs during the Tour & Travel Exchange at the 2007 NTA Annual Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
In February, NTA surveyed tour operators and DMOs regarding their experience with five-minute Exchange appointments during the 2006 Annual Convention in Salt Lake City and 76 percent of DMOs agreed with a proposal to go back to seven-minute appointments. Based on this member feedback, the NTA Board of Directors, during its recent meeting in Kelowna, British Columbia, elected to return all Exchange appointments to seven minutes.
At the 2007 Annual Convention, DMOs will have prescheduled business appointments during the Saturday Exchange. Tour suppliers will have prescheduled appointments during the Exchange sessions on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Also, none of the Exchange sessions will include consecutive appointments.
Registration for the 2007 NTA Annual Convention, to be held Nov. 2-6, in Kansas City, Missouri, will open Tuesday, May 15, at noon ET. Click here for more information on the 2007 Convention.
Recent innovations to the NTA Annual Convention have created more opportunities than ever before for members to conduct business and see returns. Do you know all the opportunities that NTA creates for you and your business?
Appointments during the Tour & Travel Exchange are the crux of the business at Convention. NTA offers attendees three scheduling components, each of which can contribute to more Exchange appointments. Delegates can formally request business appointments 1) through the computer-based appointment scheduling process, 2) by using Direct Request scheduling and 3) during the on-site appointment scheduling sessions.
While the formal business appointments at Convention occur in the Exchange, business happens all day, everyday on NTA’s open Exchange floor. Unlike many other industry shows, the open floor at NTA provides attendees with face-to-face networking at all times.
A recap of the 2007 Tour Operator Spring Meet is now available at NTA.travel. The specially created Web page uses photos and captions, along with member quotes, to highlight different aspects of the event.
NTA thanks Tourism Kelowna and its partners, for their assistance in making the event such a great success. Additionally, the association appreciates the support of the more than 50 Spring Meet sponsors.
A special thanks goes to all the donors and bidders who participated in the Government Relations Silent Auction at Spring Meet. The event generated $4,225, which will be split between the Government Issues Fund and TourPAC. The Government Relations Committee also appreciates the $3,000 contribution from Tourism Kelowna to the Government Issues Fund.
Tourism Kelowna made a separate contribution of $3,000 to Tourism Cares, NTA’s official philanthropy, and the Sacramento CVB continued its tradition of giving back by donating $2,500 to Kelowna’s Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society.
Kansas City, Missouri, will host NTA members for the 2007 Annual Convention, Nov. 2-6. Convention comes at an ideal time due to the $7 billion renaissance that is bringing new attractions to Kansas City, many of which will open just before NTA delegates arrive.
To showcase its revitalization, Kansas City has planned Fam and sightseeing tours that will introduce NTA members to the area and aid in product development. Also, three pre-Fam and three post-Fam tours will showcase the states of Missouri and Kansas.
Experience the NTA Annual Convention for yourself – join us in Kansas City. Registration for the event opens Tuesday, May 15, at noon ET.
Strategic development was top of mind for the NTA Board of Directors during its meeting in Kelowna, British Columbia. In their meeting following the Spring Meet, board members continued to discuss items that came up in January during the Leadership Team and committee meetings and focused on short-term programming for this year, as well as 2008. The group also recognized that it still needs to define long-term strategies for the association.
The Spring Meet delegates created some great momentum at the event and the board carried this into its meeting and moved forward on several initiatives. These include the approval of an escrow program for NTA tour operators (see lead article under Member Benefits) and the return to seven-minute business appointments for DMOs (see lead article under NTA Events). Click here to read other highlights from the board meeting.
NTA’s election season is kicking off, and now is the time to be thinking about your interest in leading the association as a member of the board of directors. The Nominating Committee will be making nominations in July for three tour operator seats, one tour supplier seat and one DMO seat to serve two-year terms, along with nominations for the officer positions of vice chair, treasurer and secretary, which all are one-year terms to be filled by tour operators.
If you want to run for office, you’ll need to complete an interest form by June 22. If you have any questions on the requirements to run, or wish to obtain the form, e-mail NTA’s Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson.
The nominees will be announced to the full membership in early July via Tuesday, which will be your source for all news pertaining to the 2008 board of directors and officer elections.
As a tour operator, how often are you asked, "Where do you hold my tour deposit?" or "Is it safe?" To help you with that, NTA has joined with National City Bank in a one-year pilot program to endorse its Travel Funds Protection Plan – a true escrow account that will ensure consumers total protection of their deposited funds.
As an operator who is part of the TFPP program, you will receive:
- Confidential, updated reports on account activity for each passenger
- Payment of airline tickets in accordance with ARC procedures
- Pre-payment and deposits to providers of travel services
- Disbursements to participating vendors
- Online capability to view activity
- Quick and efficient reimbursement for your customers if cancellations occur
The TFPP leaves you with fewer financial transactions to worry about and the ability to promote to your customers that their deposits are 100 percent protected. There are no membership fees and no bond or letter of credit requirements … just a competitively priced plan negotiated especially for every NTA tour operator with discounted fees as low as one-quarter of 1 percent.
To learn more about this new program, which is available to both NTA’s North American and international tour operators, click here. That page also contains a tour operator questionnaire, which you can fill out to get your company started with the TFPP, along with FAQ information.
Additional questions about the new program can be directed to NTA Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson.
Last year, NTA rolled out another new benefit for its tour operator members – the Tour20 Group. This is a program for tour operators to get together with a financial professional in a completely confidential environment, set financial and performance benchmarks, and learn from each other about profitability. Here are what a few members of the first Tour20 Group have to say about their experience:
"We welcome the opportunity to get together from time to time with other non-competing operators and a business analyst. The analyst uses our anonymous company data to help us look at financial and other aspects of our business and to compare our performance to others. We’re learning and sharing with each other and our company is becoming better as a result. I think this is one of the most exciting and beneficial programs that NTA offers."
– Dave Snyder, Travel Adventures (Lapeer, Michigan)
"I joined a Tour20 group in order to both evaluate the financial situation and processes of my company in relationship to the industry, and to learn from the best practices of other NTA members. As the owner of a small travel company based in Key West, 150 miles from our nearest NTA neighbor, I rarely have a chance to interact with my peers, so our Tour20 gatherings provide a valuable perspective to me."
– Phil Sheldon, Hanns Ebensten Travel Inc. and Alyson Adventures Inc. (Key West, Florida)
Tables are filling up fast for the annual Tourism Cares Hall of Fame Dinner. The gala dinner and celebration will be held Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut.
This year’s inductees are Dan Sullivan Jr., president and CEO of Collette Vacations, and the late Daniel Sullivan Sr. The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who, among other business accomplishments, have made significant personal contributions to travel and tourism through philanthropic, volunteer and mentoring activities. The Sullivans will join the ranks of recent inductees that include Arthur Tauck, chairman of Tauck World Discovery; Gilbert Haroche, co-founder and chairman of Liberty Travel; Bob Dickinson, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines; William E. (Bill) La Macchia, chairman of The Mark Travel Corporation; and John Stachnik, founder and co-owner of Mayflower Tours.
Platinum- and gold-level sponsorships as well as individual tickets are available. For details on tickets or sponsorships, or to participate as a "host" for this spectacular annual event, please contact Natalie King via e-mail. All proceeds from the evening benefit the initiatives of Tourism Cares, NTA’s official philanthropy, which gives back through grants, scholarships and volunteer projects.
The July 2007 issue of Courier offers plenty of opportunity to get your company/destination in front of tour operators. The space deadline for July Courier has been extended to May 11 so you have time to get in the magazine ranked No. 1 in the industry by tour operators.
Features this month will cover national parks and zoos and aquariums. The Trip Planners showcase Coastal California to Baja and Classic New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). July Travel Guides highlight Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.
"Courier is a wonderful tool for anyone in the tourism industry and one we feel is worthy of our advertising dollars."
– Lori Coppels, Pensacola, FL Convention & Visitor Information Center, Pensacola, Florida (member since 1983)
Click here to view the full 2007 Editorial Calendar. To reach your account executive call 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail advertising@NTA.travel for more information.
United Airlines, NTA’s official airline provider, announced that it will begin offering two more nonstop flights from the United States to international destinations starting this October.
The new direct flight routes go from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and from Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., to Rio de Janeiro. These additions boost United’s number of nonstop international flights out of Los Angeles to nine and push its Dulles total to 22.
For more information on United’s partnership with NTA, click here.