Seminar Illuminates Faith-based Tourism Market | Members Report Hurricane Irene Damage
August 30, 2011
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Seminar Illuminates Faith-based Tourism Market
Members Report Hurricane Irene Damage
Want to Serve on the NTA Board? Start Here Today.
First-Timer Convention ’11 Insider Webinar
Two Days Left to Earn $100
In Case You Missed the 9/11 Memorial Webinar …
Who’s Hosting Contact ’13—You?
One Sure Way to Make Vegas a Success
Japan Inbound to U.S.: Recovering but not Recovered
Where Will America Travel for Labor Day Weekend?
Changing Your Business Using the 90% Rule
Online Bakery Adds Tourism Cares to Its Charity Menu
Industry News and Updates
Find out how to tap into the lucrative $18-billion-dollar, 300-million-traveler-a-year faith-based tourism market by attending Diversify and Amplify Your Revenue Streams Through Faith-Based Tourism & Hospitality, at Convention ’11, Thursday, Dec. 8; from 2–3:15 p.m.
Encompassing more than the expected pilgrimages and religious study, the growing-and lucrative-faith-based market can better be described as same-faith individuals who choose to travel together on any kind of tour: art, music, festivals, fine food, conferences and conventions, cruises, historical destinations, hiking and biking, volunteer vacations, ski trips or safaris.
According to Paula Bohaty, group travel manager for Nebraska Travel & Tourism and member of NTA’s Faith-based Tourism Advisory Council, faith-based travelers want to travel with people who have the same faith, beliefs and/or purpose in life and are looking for travel experiences that will tie members closer together through fellowship.
"These travelers and organizations seek experiences to not only validate their faith but also enrich the heart, soul and mind," said Bohaty. "At the end of the journey the traveler has renewed enlightenment and has grown through fellowship and faith."
With one in four people expressing interest in traveling or attending an event with their faith community, you may want to consider the following questions:
1. Has your organization fully tapped this revenue stream?
2. What can you do to reach and serve modern-day faith-based travelers?
3. How can you cater your products and services to this emergent group?
And if you’re interested in entering the market but don’t quite know how, the seminar at Convention will be a good place to start.
Hurricane Irene menaced the eastern U.S. seaboard over the weekend, making good on its threats in some areas and bypassing others. NTA HQ received updates from the following members:
- Kristi Driver, with the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, passed along word that beaches along the North Carolina coast are open-check this Web site containing information about specific towns.
- Mikie Wall of the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB said Wilmington and the island beaches of Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville are open for Labor Day weekend visitors.
- Norma Dobrowolski of the Ocean City (Md.) CVB reports no damage in her town, which is "fully open for business."
- Sarah Willoughby of the Greater Wilmington (Del.) CVB said Wilmington survived the hurricane and a tornado. "All in all, we are okay!"
- Katrina White, with the Rhode Island Tourism Division, said her state came through with minimal wind damage and no significant damage from storm surge. Parts of Providence are still without power (including White’s home).
One member who did not fare well is Chris Donnelly, owner of Sugar Tours in Wilmington, Vt. The 160-year-old building (an old sugar house) that houses his business was badly damaged and is still inaccessible. In fact, the entire town is inaccessible, with surrounding roads damaged by flood waters.
"It looks like World War III. One wave of water tore out the whole town," said Donelley, who is trying to contact his suppliers-and the 80 groups he has lined up for the fall foliage season. "We’ll rearrange what we can rearrange. Any tour operator who has a New England fall foliage tour should check with your provider to find out who is open."
Greg Gerdel of the Vermont Department of Tourism said that several of the traditional routes for motorcoach tours are currently closed and have some serious repairs ahead. But he’s optimistic.
"These are primary highways for Vermont, and their repair will be a priority," Gerdel said. "Our expectation is that most areas and roads will be passable by the time the leaves begin to change." Gerdel advises operators to check with destinations and providers, of course, and to also check the department’s Facebook page or go to http://www.511vt.com/ for remaining road closures.
Do you want an opportunity to serve on the NTA board? The Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from tour operators, tour suppliers and destination representatives interested in serving on the NTA Board of Directors. Please contact Katey Pease to receive an application and for more details. Applications are due Sept. 27.
NTA has a new election process, which was fine-tuned after the NTA Board received feedback during Contact. Attendees at the Newport, Rhode Island, event had an opportunity to share their input on a revised election process. The Nominating Committee and NTA Board used this information to finalize the process, which will help NTA continue to have strong board leadership for the future.
Here’s a step-by-step look at the process:
- 1. Call for nominations! Contact Katey for the application. The open positions are:
- secretary/treasurer (tour operator) (Executive Committee)
- vice chairman (tour operator) (Executive Committee)
- three tour operator director positions (two-year terms)
- one supplier director position (two-year term)
- one DMO director position (two-year term).
2. The Nominating Committee will go through its normal process of vetting all applications. Then, the committee will nominate one candidate per position, being mindful of qualifications, geographic representation and business type.
3. Once those nominations are announced in October, members who were not nominated can complete an application by Oct. 25 to run "from the floor" and be placed on the ballot.
4. When elections open prior to Convention, members can vote on each position individually, including for a candidate from the floor. Operators will vote for operator candidates and officers, suppliers for supplier candidates, and DMOs for DMO candidates.
5. You can learn more about the candidates and ask questions during "Meet the Candidates" sessions. Watch for a schedule of these sessions; some will occur prior to Convention and others will be on-site in Las Vegas.
6. After members have a final opportunity to vote at Convention, elections will close, and the 2012 NTA Board will be introduced in Las Vegas
If this is your first Convention, you’ve probably got questions. And we’ve got answers!
NTA is presenting a Webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 2 p.m. ET (and again on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. ET) to help first-time attendees prepare for the big event in Las Vegas. The Webinar will touch on all areas of Convention including:
- Researching and arranging your business appointment requests
- The different business appointment sessions (Buyer to Buyer, Fast Pitch, and Tour & Travel Exchange)
- Your role in the Destination Pavilion
- Working the Tour & Travel Exchange and open-floor format
- Educational opportunities and social networking events
We’ll answer your questions following the presentation. You can participate from any computer and/or phone. Click on this link to register and follow the directions to join the Webinar.
If you miss the live version, the entire Webinar will be recorded and posted online in early October, on the First-Timers Program page of the NTA Convention ’11 Web site. If you have questions or need assistance signing up for the Webinar (or just about Convention in general!), please call 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.264.6540.
So far in August (Member Referral Month), 11 members have earned US$100 for referring some of NTA’s newest additions. Last week, Joleen Haran and Phil Otterson became the latest to take advantage of Member Referral Month. Haran, of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, referred Chicago’s Finest River Walk Tour and Otterson, of Cragmont Baron Group, referred Universal Travel Agency.
Want to earn your own $100? It’s easy: Just give us the name of someone who you think belongs at NTA. For each person you refer before Aug. 31 who becomes a member by Nov. 1, you’ll receive $100. The more you refer, the more money you can make!
You can submit your referral’s contact info to Lori Rempe; she’ll take it from there.
… You can still get the information in a podcast.
The 9/11 Memorial opens to the public on Sept. 12, and tour operators are wary of the traffic congestion on the streets surrounding the site.
The 9/11 Memorial Webinar not only delivers meaningful background information and documentation of the ongoing construction, but it also provides tour operators the logistics of getting your customers in and out of the memorial site, with information about motorcoach drop-off times, parking and regulations. Because there’s no available parking at the memorial, the Webinar will help you learn how to use walking routes or partner with other tour companies—from motorcoach to water taxi—to get your group through the venue in a timely manner.
Hosting an NTA meeting gives you a chance to showcase your destination or venue to your association’s leaders. The bid process is now open for destinations interested in hosting Contact 2013.
Contact is a tour operator-exclusive event focused on in-depth education while providing an opportunity to network with colleagues in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Katrina White, host of Contact ’11 in Newport, saw benefits as soon as tour operators returned to their offices.
"In just a week after the conference we were already seeing an ROI by way of new business, not to mention what a great time we had showing off our destination," White said. "Hosting Contact was one of the best investments we have made into the packaged travel market."
Want to know a proven way to have a successful Convention? Sponsorship. Did you know 77 percent of tour operators say sponsors introduce them to potential products/destinations? Sponsoring at Convention puts your name above the rest and gives you a presence in addition to your appointments, networking and social activities!
Sponsor promotions are in full swing, so contact Melisa-Beth Rooke today by e-mail or phone (+1.859.264.6561) to add your name to this list of companies who will stand out in Vegas! (Additional details also found here.)
The number of Japanese travelers into the United States is beginning to recover from a downturn following the island nation’s March 11 earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks, according to the most recent Japan Travel Trade Barometer.
Key Japanese tour operators are reporting that cancelations for bookings to the U.S. mainland have gone from 40 percent canceled during March and April to 10 percent during July through September.
"We’re still looking at a decrease in bookings," said Scott Johnson, TMI principal. "At the time of the survey, bookings for the second quarter were down by an average of 4 to 9 percent. However, bookings for the third quarter were down only 1 to 3 percent on average, with a quarter of the trade reporting a rebound in bookings compared to last summer."
Some 20 percent of NTA’s tour companies serve inbound travelers from Japan. "It’s an important market for the U.S. and for a good percentage of NTA’s U.S. receptives," said Lisa Simon, CTP, NTA president. "It’s promising to see that a recovery is in the works, but we know that ongoing marketing efforts will help U.S. businesses and destinations regain a greater share of the Japanese market."
An NTA news release provides more details about trends and factors related to travel from Japan to the United States.
While fewer Americans are expected to travel during this Labor Day weekend than last year, AAA still expects a big number: More than 35 million will journey 50 or more miles from home. (That’s a 2.4 decrease from last year.) Which cities will see the most people pack up and leave?
According to Travelocity, the top five cities whose residents are most likely to squeeze in a final summer getaway are New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco. Click here to see the top 10 cities, where they’re going and how much they’ll pay for hotel rooms. A few tidbits:
- Las Vegas is listed as a top-three destination for six of the 10 cities.
- South Florida is the top destination for New York travelers, and New York is most popular with South Floridians.
- San Francisco residents are most likely to be flying to Hawaii, while Bostonians listed San Francisco as their top destination.
If you’re thinking about making big changes in your business model in order to reach the next level, think again. Your best chance for success lies not in reversing course, but in slightly extending or adjusting what you’re already able to do. In The 90% Percent Rule: What’s Your Next Big Opportunity?, authors Ken Tencer and John Paulo Cardoso say the greatest opportunities for growth and success are based on what your company is already 90 percent capable of doing.
Matthew E. May of Shibumi Creative Works reviews the book and its concepts here, but the title alone offers a unique perspective: Maybe success isn’t that far away. To buy the book, click here for options and information.
And if you need ideas for that 10 percent window of change, here are three Web sites that spark new ways of looking at your business and finding creative solutions.
Baking for Good customers can now choose Tourism Cares as the charity to receive a portion of their purchase. For every order, Tourism Cares will receive 15 percent of the total purchase price (before taxes and shipping).
Baking for Good, an online bakery, offers a wide variety of products (flavors, monogrammed, design-your-own) and uses natural, organic products to make the treats. The company ships nationwide.
This is an easy way to support NTA’s official charity: When you order from Baking for Good, select Tourism Cares as your preferred charity during check-out. As the company’s slogan says: "A little sugar goes a long way!"
- Hawaii has seen a 16 percent increase in expenditures by visitors for 2011 through July, with more modest increases for number of visitors and length of stay. However, the number of visitors who went on group tours is declining.
- U.S. gas prices, on hold for two weeks, could dip due to a drop in demand. A recent survey showed the highest prices in Chicago ($4.02 per gallon) and the lowest in Tucson, Arizona, ($3.26).
- East Coast towns want to put Hurricane Irene behind them and convince tourists to return for what’s left of the summer season.
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