February 10, 2004
Feb. 10, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 3
|Maria Traylor, CTP (foreground), Sandra Rice, Cathy Greteman and Mike Neustadt participate in a small-group discussion during Leadership NTA.|
With lively discussion in an open format that encouraged sharing of ideas and opinions, 2004 Leadership NTA lived up to its billing: "NOT the typical NTA committee meeting of the past."
More than 30 volunteer members of NTA’s Leadership Team joined the association’s Board of Directors Jan. 29-30 in Lexington, Ky., to discuss issues and develop direction for the coming year. Leaders took part in large and small group discussions on topics ranging from strategies to attract or recruit diverse tour operators to developing a future vision for Annual Convention.
"It was one of the most incredible meetings I’ve ever been a part of," said Jim Kisselburg with Cendant Hotel Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. "The pace was quick, but it still allowed everybody to have a say and offer their opinion. I think I ended up being able to work with and talk to just about everybody. There was good discussion on the pros and cons on every topic, and that just seemed to spark really worthwhile ideas."
NTA’s move toward becoming more of a global association played a role in many discussions of the group, which represented a cross section of the association’s member categories.
"It was great to be there and see how important it is to the organization and how committed the members are to becoming more internationally focused," said Paul McDonagh with Visit Britain. "Based on what I heard in these meetings, I can talk to my suppliers back in Britain and let them know how NTA is moving forward. The same goes for my counterparts on other tourist boards. I can pass on that NTA is definitely an organization they should be involved with."
Volunteer leaders emphasized the need for change in order to grow the association, but that the change should not come at the sacrifice of the association’s tried-and-true practices and features that have made it successful.
"It was a very spirited, productive meeting," said Cathy Greteman with Star Destinations Inc. of Carroll, Iowa. "I love the fact that NTA is recognizing the need for change and just tackling it head on. I was thrilled to be a part of this group, to be looking at the challenges that face the industry and trying to work through them."
The team’s suggestions for enhancing this year’s Convention in Toronto will be the subject of an upcoming Convention Committee meeting. Other team ideas will be considered by the board in determining future direction on a variety of association and industry issues.
To get to know or contact members of your Leadership Team, click here.
Traveler safety and security and travel industry taxes and user fees top the list of five issues designated by NTA’s Board of Directors for priority advocacy emphasis in 2004.
Other issues noted for special attention include the updating of the Fair Labor Standards Act, federal lands issues and federal tourism support and promotion. During its January meeting, the board selected these issues based on responses from tour operator members in the December 2003 NTA Member Needs Survey.
"NTA’s government relations efforts have been cited by the tour operator membership as a valuable membership benefit and NTA’s leadership position on these priority issues will be important to the tour operator community in 2004," said NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP.
The association’s tour operators, such as members of NTA’s Grassroots Action Network, are increasingly acting as citizen-advocates. The survey noted that the percentage of tour operators contacting an elected official rose from 41 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2003.
"NTA’s Grassroots Action Network has proved to be an effective tool in buttressing the association’s advocacy efforts," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "Member involvement is critical, and NTA makes it easy for them to participate in advocacy by distributing alerts, calling our network to action and providing the tools they need to make an impact."
While five issues have been designated for priority attention, NTA’s advocacy efforts will not be limited to those issues. NTA recently became active in the drive to eliminate the United States travel ban to Cuba, culminating in NTA’s participation in a delegation of tourism officials that visited Havana in October 2003.
"This year is shaping up as one in which NTA will be tackling a number of major issues and opportunities on behalf of the packaged travel industry," said NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP.
The importance of networking rang through loud and clear in member evaluations of the 2003 Annual Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Among the enhancements made to the 2003 Convention was the addition of more networking events, including several all-member breakfasts and lunches. These events proved popular and useful, as evidenced by the impressive 8.4 out of 10 overall rating members gave when asked to rate the usefulness of the networking opportunities. Tour operators responded with an even higher rating, 8.7, to the question.
When asked to rate the importance of networking as a reason for attending the Convention, members gave it an 8.8 overall rating. Tour operators and tour suppliers both rated the importance of networking at 8.8, while DMOs rated it 8.6.
The productivity or success of appointments in the Tour & Travel Exchange continued to rank high, with an overall 7.4 rating, and tour operators rated their appointment productivity at 8.2.
NTA made changes made to the Convention to increase members’ business opportunities during the event, and evaluation results indicated high satisfaction. When asked to rate the quantity and quality of business opportunities gained through the overall Convention, attendees provided an overall 7.7 rating, with tour operators giving the opportunities an 8.2 rating.
Members also demonstrated that they liked the enhancements made to NTA Online appointment scheduling. Overall, members rated the usefulness of the appointment scheduling at 8.4, and DMO members measured it at 8.9.
NTA will use the Convention evaluation results to make enhancements to the 2004 Convention scheduled Nov. 12-16 in Toronto.
Special Advisor to President Bush Tim Goeglein will kick off the 5th Annual NTA Grassroots Symposium, scheduled Feb. 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
Goeglein met with NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP and 2003 NTA Chairman Charlie McIlvain, CTP, last year to discuss tourism security issues and will give this year’s Symposium attendees an insider’s view of the White House.
National Park Service Director Fran Mainella also will address participants and discuss the search for a new NPS Tourism Director and current projects impacting members utilizing NPS sites.
Elected officials Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) also have been invited to participate.
The Symposium would not be possible without the generous support of NTA member sponsors New World Bus, Jones Lang Lasalle, Spirit Cruises, Phillips Seafood Restaurant and the Sheraton Four Points Downtown.
Don’t miss your chance to offer legislators your perspective on the industry. Space is still available, but don’t procrastinate. Contact Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205 or at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
|Attendees learn about travel trends during last year’s Spring Meet, and they will once again have the opportunity to hear industry predictions for the future during the General Session of this year’s Spring Meet.|
Attendees at Tour Operator Spring Meet March 24-27 in Little Rock can expect to return home with a treasure trove of knowledge gained during a wide variety of educational seminars. In fact, there will be so many worthwhile programs to choose from, you might want to consider bringing more than one person from your company so that you can double up on the educational opportunities.
While the entire seminar schedule is impressive, by far the most jam-packed day will be Saturday, March 27. Here’s a peek at the Saturday lineup:
Marc Mancini with Marc Mancini Seminars and Consulting in Los Angeles, is always a favorite speaker at NTA events and will pull double duty during Spring Meet this year. His "Selling to Lifestyles and Lifestages" presentation is designed to help you tailor your sales and marketing to the five generations that now buy from you. In "How to Design Exceptional Itineraries," Mancini will offer 15 tricks of the itinerary-planning trade that will help you design anything from a clever FIT to a large-group departure.
Wondering how to market your business in the post-Consumer Protection Plan era? Ralph Weickel with Performance Management in Lexington, Ky., will identify specific financial alternatives that would help give you a competitive advantage that could lead to new business.
In "Working with Transportation Providers – Building Better Business Relationships," representatives from Amtrak, Carnival Cruise Lines and United Airlines will offer tips on how to most effectively work with transportation providers and will field questions from the audience during the second half of the session.
Bob Losyk with Innovative Training Solutions Inc., in Davie, Fla., will also pull double duty on Saturday. He will offer creative techniques to attract the right candidates to your organization in "How to Recruit and Hire the Right People." And if you have what seems to be a revolving door syndrome when it comes to retaining employees, "Turning Around Turnover: How to Keep the Best Employees," is a must-attend program for you.
NTA members may be familiar with Steven Strauss through his small business-focused USA Today column or similar works he provides for NTA Online’s This Just In and the Tuesday newsletter. Strauss will teach you how to TAME the four monster parts of your business – Taxes, Law, Money and Employees – in "Business Tips Every Tour Operator Needs to Know." He will also share cost-effective ideas for marketing your business in "Marketing on a Shoestring Budget."
Your fellow tour operators also can provide valuable tools and advice. Keith Griffall, CTP, with Western Leisure Inc. of Salt Lake City, and Randy Julian with Julian Tours in Alexandria, Va., will offer their expertise in "Alternative Revenue Sources: Non-Traditional Ideas to Increase Tour Operator Profits." And owners, CEOs and presidents of companies won’t want to miss the "Principals Only Crackerbarrel" in which you can share important information and ideas with your peers.
Because none of us has a crystal ball that allows us to look into the future, we will look to J. Walker Smith with Yankelovich Partners in Atlanta to offer us the latest on consumer trends and the future of the marketplace in the General Session program, "The Consumer of 2004 – A Look at Current and Future Spending Trends."
The educational offerings on Saturday alone make Spring Meet attendance a great value. To register for Spring Meet, click here.
Tour operators who would have never entertained a thought of partnering with other tour operators a few years ago are now finding such business relationships crucial. That’s why the Partnering Session at the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock is a "don’t miss" event.
Set Friday, March 26, the Partnering Session offers tour operators an opportunity to meet with their colleagues to sell or buy and share information. In this free session, "buyers" will walk the floor and "sellers" will be seated in booths.
Tour operators planning on attending the Spring Meet’s Partnering Session should register for the event by Feb. 13 in order to receive the best exposure. Those registered by the deadline will be included in a registry with basic information on each participating company. Participants also have the opportunity to submit a classified ad to be included in the registry.
Tour supplier and DMO members, don’t miss out on this year’s Convention in Toronto or being in the 2004-2005 NTA Tour Supplier/DMO Directory. The deadline for membership renewal has been extended to Feb. 29, but don’t procrastinate. Click here to renew your membership today.
This year promises to be even more of a "can’t-miss" experience. Make sure you are part of it all: access to more than 630 tour operators, progressive research and educational programs, unprecedented networking opportunities, government advocacy, special member discounts and top-rated publications.
Contact NTA’s Member Services team with any questions at 800-682-8886 (U.S. & Canada) or 859-226-4444, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Sponsor the Saturday Dinner on March 27 during the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock and get an excellent opportunity to showcase your destination or property to NTA’s tour operators.
Bring your own entertainment and show the industry what your company or destination has to offer tour businesses. The Saturday dinner is the final night to wow tour operators in Little Rock, so send them home with a lasting impression of your organization.
"Frankly, I believe this is an incredible opportunity for a DMO or supplier who has the budget and wants to make some serious impact with NTA operators," says Mark Hoffmann, CTP, owner and CEO of Sports Leisure Vacations in Sacramento, Calif. "Because most of your audience is comprised of owners, buyers and decision makers from NTA tour operator companies, you are getting the ‘cream of the crop.’" To read more of why Hoffmann thinks sponsoring this dinner is an opportunity not to be missed, click here.
Contact Annie Barret at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4238 for more information regarding this sponsorship opportunity. For a list of other available Spring Meet sponsorships, click here.
From continued government advocacy to opening the door for more business opportunities with an enhanced Annual Convention, 2003 was filled with NTA member value. Tour operators, if you like what you experienced in 2003, you’ll love what this year has in store.
NTA is working to help you keep expenses in check. Tour operator annual dues are $400, but the invoice you will soon receive will say only $300. In the past, the NTA tour operator membership year has run April 1-March 31. But because NTA is moving its dues cycles to a calendar year, you are expected to pay only $300 to renew your membership through the end of 2004.
Make sure you are part of all the networking and business opportunities available at Annual Convention and Tour Operator Spring Meet, and enjoy the benefits of special member discounts on insurance and business services, and top-rated, newly designed Courier magazine.
Your invoice should arrive in the mail soon. If you have any questions, contact NTA’s Member Services team at 800-682-8886 (U.S. & Canada) or 859-226-4444, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
The World Travel & Tourism Council is organizing its 4th Global Travel & Tourism Summit May 1-3 in Doha, Qatar.
The theme for this year’s summit is "Driving Change" and it will focus on bringing forward the agenda for travel and tourism as a contributor to economic regeneration, employment and investment.
WTTC is the forum for global business leaders comprising the presidents, chairs and chief executive officers of 100 of the world’s foremost travel companies. NTA is a member of a coalition WTTC created to promote and encourage governments to get involved in tourism security.
To find out more about the summit or to register, go to http://www.globaltraveltourism.com/.
Online check-in capabilities introduced by NTA Transportation Provider Southwest Airlines last week apply only to individual full-fare passengers and not to group customers.
The new online check-in privileges allow customers to print a boarding pass on their day of travel, but Southwest said the service is not available for multiple passenger PNRs and non-ticketless reservations, categories into which group customers fall.
Southwest passengers traveling on youth, senior and military fares also are not able to use the online check-in.
The airline anticipates that ticketless check-in for groups and for other fare classes will be available in a year.
To find out more about Southwest’s group travel program for NTA tour operators, contact Kara Miller, group and meetings marketing manager, at 214-792-4402 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to NTA members’ increasing preference for e-mail communications, the fax version of the Tuesday newsletter will discontinue after the Feb.24 issue. The Tuesday newsletter is now published in an HTML format, which means it appears as a Web page in your e-mail box. Twice each month, members receive an e-mail with the following subject line: NTA (date) Tuesday Newsletter. That e-mail contains links to the entire HTML newsletter, and once you are in the newsletter you can print the entire text of that particular issue.
NTA members with AOL accounts may have experienced problems when trying to read the previous format of the Tuesday newsletter, but should not have problems with the new HTML version.
Members who were receiving the fax version of Tuesday are asked to provide NTA with an e-mail address so that you will continue receiving the newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest NTA member news. To provide your e-mail address, send an e-mail to email@example.com. If you do not wish to receive Tuesday via e-mail, you may access the latest issue of the newsletter by going to NTA Online, clicking on "News & Publications," then "Tuesday Newsletter." To view older issues, click the "Archives" button on the left of the newsletter.
The National Tourism Foundation, a client of Host Communications Inc., is seeking a candidate for its Executive Director position.
The Executive Director will be responsible for managing the organization. Primary duties include design, management and implementation of comprehensive fund-raising program; management of scholarship and grant programs and development of relationships within the travel industry and higher education.
Candidate should have extensive management level foundation fund-raising or travel industry experience, and preferably a combination of both. Strong leadership, interpersonal and communication skills are a must.
Please forward resumes, references and salary requirements to Leah Park at firstname.lastname@example.org. (No zip files)
Competitive compensation and benefits package includes medical, dental, vision and prescription, 401(k), disability and life insurance. Host Communications Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and encourages minorities to apply.