April 4, 2006
Tuesday Newsletter, April 4, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 14
|The Berkely Group provides a competitive Travel Protection Plan to NTA members. The plan includes an administration-free product that operators can sell to their clients and a group product that offers flexibility in pricing and compensation. To learn more click here or contact Geni Priolo at firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
All NTA tour operators will be receiving a Web survey from a group of students at George Washington University Wednesday, April 5. These students have volunteered their time to assist with the first test survey designed to help collect much-needed DMO tracking information.
The survey is an effort to gather data that will help DMOs as they seek critical information to prove the return on investment of the packaged traveler and the volume their destination receives from NTA tour operators. It came about thanks to the NTA Tracking Task Force, which has been working with George Washington students to develop the survey.
Operators will be asked four questions about each individual destination they packaged to in October 2005. Since this is the first attempt at gathering tracking information for DMOs, operators also are encouraged to provide NTA with feedback at the end of the survey. If you have any thoughts or questions on the DMO tracking survey, you can contact Lisa Nelson at lisa.nelson@NTA.travel.
The tracking issue received a lot of attention at the recent Tour Operator Spring Meet and has been widely discussed on the NTA member forums. To read the forum postings, click here, then go to the "General Discussion" folder and click on "Tracking Crisis." (You will need your individual ID and password to log on.)
From the tour operator speed dating and roundtable discussion sessions, to the educational seminars and the evening events, the 2006 Tour Operator Spring Meet received high praise from those in attendance. Here is a sampling of some of the comments your fellow NTA members made about this year’s Spring Meet and its host city, Louisville, Ky.:
Last week, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced that he will be submitting an amendment to immigration-related legislation that would greatly benefit cross-border travel. The amendment would soften the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires a passport or other approved documentation, like the "PASS" card, for travel to and from the United States and Canada.
Research conducted by the travel industry shows that U.S.-Canadian travel would be harmed significantly if this law remains in force as written. But, Sen. Dorgan’s amendment, titled the "Common Sense Cross Border Travel and Security Act of 2006," seeks to address some of those concerns. It includes the following provisions, which maintains border safety and security while also benefiting the traveling public:
"Senator Dorgan is to be commended for his practical, common sense proposals regarding the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative," NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini said. "His legislation is very consistent with positions taken by NTA since the onset."
For more information on this key issue, click here, or contact NTA’s Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4250 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4250.
Have you signed up for NTA’s Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) program? The program was born to connect members that work in similar niches. The AIM program consists of the following six categories, each focusing on a specific market in the travel industry:
Last week, tour operator members received a survey, asking them to identify AIM categories in which they are interested and indicate whether they are a business member or a learning member. After all of the information has been gathered, AIM rosters will be posted for each category that will help members identify which tour companies are focusing on various kinds of product. These rosters can be used to find resources and business partners.
Tour suppliers and DMOs are also encouraged to let us know which areas they are involved in. Do you cater to students? Do you have strong ties to history and heritage? If so, click here to access a sign up sheet, because suppliers and DMOs also will be added to the AIM rosters so tour operators can locate supplier partners that cater to their market niche.
One of the hottest topics at the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Louisville was the new Tour20 Groups. The groups, designed to help tour operators identify financial benchmarks that can assist in the creation a more profitable business, were introduced in the Feb. 14 issue of Tuesday. The groups will be kicking off very soon, so any tour operator interested in signing up should do so by April 15.
If you would like more information about the Tour20 Group, an FAQ page has been developed to answer your questions. To sign up, please complete the registration form and fax it to Lisa Nelson at 859.226.4404. If you have further questions about the Tour20 Groups, please e-mail her at lisa.nelson@NTA.travel.
The recent Tourism Cares for Tomorrow cleanup project that lured more than 300 travel professionals, including many NTA members, to aid their friends and colleagues on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi had an additional goal besides providing physical assistance.
"The overriding goal of this particular Tourism – Caring for America event was to bring national attention to an area that had hardly been touched seven months after Hurricane Katrina hit," Bruce Beckham, CTP, executive director of Tourism Cares said. "That goal has been reached and continues to be exceeded."
To date, the event has been mentioned in the press more than 100 times. Many local and regional television stations from coast-to-coast included it in recent news coverage and, most importantly, this media coverage has brought the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the attention of the nation.
Beckham said, "The tourism industry showed up and provided the labor and the caring. Thankfully, the media recognized both and they’re telling the world."
Edward Sturrup of Tour Trends in Plymouth, Mass., won a complimentary registration for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City. Each tour operator who pre-registered for the Tour & Travel Exchange® during last month’s Spring Meet in Louisville, Ky., was entered in a drawing for a free registration.
Online registration for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention, to be held Nov. 3-7, opens for all member categories May 16 at http://www.nta.travel/. For more information on registration fees click here or to read about the updated Exchange schedule, click here.
Better Business. Better Be There.
As Spring progresses, the days get longer, the swallows return to Capistrano and the annual FIT (Females in Tourism) Brunch will be held on Sunday just prior to the start of TIA’s International Pow Wow. Now in its 15th year, the annual brunch is scheduled for May 7 at 11 a.m. at the Café TuTu Tango in Orlando (less than a mile from the Convention Center).
Sharon Gaiptman, CTP, director of marketing for NTA member Alaska Discovery, began the brunch after attending her first Pow Wow in 1991. According to Gaiptman, the FIT Brunch enables women from all over the globe in every facet of tourism to not only reconnect with their friends and acquaintances, but also to make new contacts.
"It’s the perfect networking opportunity – meeting and eating! And it’s extremely inclusive – no secret handshakes, special ribbons or formal initiations," says Gaiptman. "Just let me know you’re coming, pop the check ($60 per person, inclusive) in the mail and plan to be there that Sunday!"
For more information (and the menu) for the 15th Annual FIT PowWow Brunch, contact Gaiptman at email@example.com or by calling 907.321.0751.
Congratulations go to Ann Thomas, CTP, last year’s NTA Chairman and CEO, who was recognized last week as the Mentor of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Carson City, Nev.
The Western Discovery president began participating in the mentoring program four years ago when she was paired with an 8-year-old, Brianne, who was so withdrawn that she would not talk in class or to anyone – not even to Thomas for the first two months or so. Since then, Thomas said that Brianne has grown into a charming pre-teen and "we do lots of things together such as going to the movies, shopping, reading and homework."
If you have similar news you’d like added to the Family News page at NTA.travel – milestone birthday/anniversary, birth of a child or some other a personal highlight – please forward it to NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson at pat.henderson@NTA.travel and it will be posted.
Sponsoring a lunch at Annual Convention allows you to capture the attention of NTA tour operators in a creative way and gives you the most visibility at the industry’s premier show. Set your company or destination apart from the rest by sponsoring the Friday, Saturday or Tuesday lunch.
Luncheon sponsorships can be shared to make it a very affordable option, while still providing you with optimum exposure to NTA’s key tour operator audience.
Sponsorships are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, so act quickly. Call Karla DiNardo at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail her at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel to secure your lunch sponsorship today.
Click here for a complete list of available sponsorships.