January 27, 2004
Jan. 27, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 2
|Tour operators can get involved by participating in the Partnering Session during Tour Operator Spring Meet March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark. Register by Jan. 30 to take advantage of the early bird discount.|
Any sports fan will tell you that you may learn how the game is played from the sidelines, but you will never experience all that it has to offer unless you get involved.
The same can be said for your membership in NTA. Attending Convention each year is a great way to grow your business, but NTA offers many other events and ways for its members to be actively involved in the association and in the industry. Don’t settle for staying on the sidelines.
Tour operator-to-tour operator
Often the best people to learn from are the ones who do what you do. Tour operators have a chance to get together with their colleagues to share ideas, find partners, offer support and learn new ways of doing business at Tour Operator Spring Meet.
"Spring Meet is the only opportunity we have to get together with our fellow tour operators for the purpose of learning how to be better at what we do," said Kathy LeTarte, CTP, president and chief executive officer of New Horizons Tour & Travel in Jackson, Mich.
"I think Spring Meet is sometimes viewed as something you don’t see a direct benefit from, but I think that kind of thinking is unfortunate. Some of the most beneficial experiences that impact our companies the most are the indirect ones that we come away from Spring Meet with, the benefits that affect our long-term decision making and the way we run our businesses."
This year’s Spring Meet is scheduled March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark., and tour operators who register by Jan. 30 can still take advantage of the early bird discount. To register or find out more, click here.
NTA’s Grassroots Symposium, scheduled Feb. 23-25 in Washington, D.C., is a great opportunity to share your unique perspective on travel industry issues with federal legislators.
Symposium participants learn about the issues NTA wants to stress to lawmakers and how best to present their views, then they head to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators or members of their staff.
"I think going there as individuals who work daily in the industry and not as paid lobbyists counts more," said Scott Knapp, vice president of Carousel Travel Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., who attended Symposium for the first time in 2003. "(Legislators) realize that you’re there because you live this every day and you believe in it. It’s a great way to get involved."
Secure your spot to make your views known at the Grassroots Symposium today. Call Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205, or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Show you care
Another way to get involved is to join fellow NTA members and other travel professionals Feb. 27 in New Orleans for the second Tourism-Caring for America project organized by the Travelers Conservation Foundation.
Last year, NTA co-sponsored the inaugural Tourism-Caring for America project, a clean-up day at Ellis Island that produced significant results and, more importantly, showed that the travel industry cares.
"It was a great experience, and it was a way to say we believe so much in what we sell that we’re giving our time, our resources, our money, our labor to do this," said Pollianna Beerman with Embassy Suites and Hampton Inns of Charleston, S.C. "One day’s work may just be a small way to give back, but if we don’t start giving back in small ways nothing is ever going to change."
At this year’s New Orleans event, volunteers will clean and work to restore St. Louis Cemetery #1, the city’s oldest cemetery. To learn more, visit the TCF Web site by clicking here.
Connect with leaders
One of the best way to get involved is to share your views with volunteer leaders of the association. Throughout the year, they will be making decisions with you in mind, and they want to hear your opinions and get your ideas on how to grow NTA and keep it vital to its members.
Volunteer leaders consist of the NTA Board of Directors as well as those who serve on a variety of committees. The NTA Leadership Directory is available on NTA Online and provides e-mail addresses and phone numbers for each board or committee member. To access it, click here.
Don’t settle for being an armchair quarterback – get in the game! Get involved and reap all of the benefits of your NTA membership.
Tour operators interested in attending the VisitBritain-VisitScottland-sponsored "Market UK and Discover Scotland" trip March 2-9 should book by Jan. 30. The trip is designed to help you learn how to sell the United Kingdom and boost your business.
The event begins with attendance at the British Travel Trade Fair in Birmingham, England on Tuesday, March 2, followed by a workshop with UK suppliers the next day. The group will then head to Scotland on Thursday, March 4 for a series of fam trips focusing on themes including golf and spas, Scotland’s heritage, ancestral Scotland, Scotland’s islands experience, active Scotland (limited spaces available) and castles and gardens.
The product development trip will culminate in a Monday, March 8 workshop at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh in which participants will meet and network with Scottish suppliers. A a gala dinner in the prestigious Queen Anne room of Edinburgh Castle will follow.
The cost to participate is $499 (U.S.), which includes round-trip airfare from a gateway city, accommodations and meals for seven nights.
Interested tour operators should contact Clare Packer with VisitBritain for more information at 212-850-0327 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on itinerary options and a registration form, click here.
Tour operator members who work in the inbound market are invited to attend the Receptive Services Association Summit, scheduled Feb. 11-12 in New York City.
The invitation stems from an alliance NTA and RSA have established which focuses on bringing new educational and business opportunities to members of both associations.
Registration is free and includes access to the Marketplace and the North American Destination Showcase.
For more information about the RSA Summit, visit http://www.rsana.com/ or contact RSA Headquarters at 856-638-0423.
NTA has unveiled a new program that will recognize members who give to either TourPAC or the Government Issues Fund on an annual and lifetime basis. The new program recognizes members who give as little as $50 per year on upward through lifetime contributions of $5,000 or more.
Recognition categories include:
Bronze ($50 contribution)
Silver ($100 contribution)
Gold ($250 contribution)
Platinum ($500 contribution)
President’s Club ($1,000)
Chairman’s Club ($2,500)
Santini Society ($5,000)
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There’s excitement in Carl Ecklund’s voice when he talks about a new direction he’s considering for his business. And he credits NTA for leading him to it.
Ecklund, chief executive officer and owner of Joni’s Journeys in El Cajon, Calif., participated in the December 2003 Product Development Trip to Italy. In talking with Italian tour suppliers at a workshop during the trip, Ecklund began to envision great new possibilities for bringing FITs to Italy.
"We’re really enthused about what’s available in Italy," Ecklund said. "Being able to sit down with suppliers really helps you to envision all the possibilities available to us."
Ecklund values his NTA membership mostly these days because of "the aggressive posture (the association) has taken in the development of international tourism."
"I think it’s one of the smartest things NTA has ever done," Ecklund said. "I’m very grateful because for us, a small company with limited resources, it would be virtually impossible on our own to do international trips and develop the contacts we need. There’s no way we’d even be thinking about international if it weren’t for NTA’s help."
Assisting to broaden businesses by making global opportunities possible is just one of the ways NTA serves its tour operator members. The upcoming Tour Operator Spring Meet March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark., will provide a perfect setting for tour operators to network and find partners. Convention puts tour operators in contact with thousands of tour suppliers and DMOs with which to do business. Throughout the year, NTA also provides tour operators with access to research on industry trends, government relations advocacy and member discounts from corporate partners.
Tour operators, you will be receiving your membership renewal invoices in early February. Be sure to renew your membership in NTA, the organization that is intent on opening the world up for you.
Looking for a bargain? The National Tourism Foundation had some great offers left from its auctions at the 2003 Convention and is offering them to the highest bidder through a special Online Auction.
To view the auction items, click here.
Tour suppliers & DMOs, renew your NTA membership by Jan. 31 to be included in the 2004-2005 NTA Tour Supplier/DMO Directory and to get in on important Convention information coming this spring.
Don’t miss out on this year’s Convention in Toronto and essential networking opportunities, progressive research, government advocacy and special member discounts. Click here to renew your membership online today. Don’t hesitate to contact NTA’s Member Services team with any questions at 800-682-8886 (U.S. & Canada), 859-226-4444, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Tourism professionals interested in appealing to the burgeoning baby boomer market are invited to attend the What’s Next? Business Conference scheduled April 13 in San Francisco.
The conference is sponsored by the American Society on Aging and its Business Forum on Aging and Mary Furlong & Associates. Mary Furlong, who has guided online and offline-marketing strategies for U.S. corporations for their 45+ age markets for more than 20 years, was an educational seminar speaker at the 2002 NTA Annual Convention in Los Angeles.
The What’s Next? Business Conference will focus on the marketing, product development, sales and other business aspects of serving the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, people who are age 50 and older. Successful companies and marketing strategies will be showcased as well as trends and opportunities.
"The spending power combined with the changing needs and interests of the growing boomer market give rise to tremendous marketing opportunities," said Furlong, co-host and organizer of the conference.
National Tourism Foundation Executive Director Randy Fiveash has resigned to take the job of Kentucky’s Commissioner of Tourism. Fiveash, who has served as the Foundation’s executive director since July 2002, will begin his duties with the state Feb. 9.
Fiveash, a 28-year veteran of the travel industry, led several convention and visitors bureaus before coming to the Foundation, including the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Gatlinburg Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Arlington Convention & Visitor Bureau. In his new state tourism position, Fiveash will serve under NTA’s former executive vice president Jim Host, who is Kentucky’s new Commerce Secretary.
"I have enjoyed my time leading the Foundation and will continue to have a passion for its work," Fiveash said. "We are extremely fortunate to have a talented, energetic Board of Trustees and management team that will carry out the great things planned for 2004 and beyond that will further the Foundation’s mission. I appreciate the support of NTA and the travel industry as the Foundation has continued to expand its role of helping to provide qualified and educated students a path into our industry."
The Foundation Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee will begin planning the search process for a new executive director this week.
"We wish Randy well and look forward to his accomplishments on behalf of Kentucky tourism," said NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP.
NTA will attend ITB, the world’s largest travel and tourism industry show attracting more than 60,000 trade visitors, March 12-16, in Berlin, Germany. Space is available for one tour operator to share the NTA booth at a cost of $2,500.
ITB is one of four international trade shows in which NTA will exhibit this year to promote travel to North America and its tour operators’ receptive services.
For more information about the shared booth opportunity, contact Carla Carr, NTA’s manager of marketing projects, at 800-682-8886, ext. 4235, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want your company or destination’s message always handy for tour operators, the place to be is in the 2004-2005 edition of the NTA Tour Supplier/DMO Directory. An impressive 95 percent of NTA tour operators use this directory when planning itineraries, so it’s a prime publication in which to advertise.
The directory has a full one-year shelf life (June 2004-May 2005), and advertisers may take advantage of convenient billing in June. Don’t delay – the deadline to reserve advertising space is March 5.
For more information, click here.
NTA has opened advertising within its Student Direct Mailer to tour suppliers and DMOs, but space is limited.
This 20-page magazine presents an exciting marketing opportunity to companies focusing on student travel and will be mailed in March to 33,000 school principals and activity planners in the United States and Canada.
The inside front and inside back covers are available at $4,000 each. Space will be sold on a first-come, first-sold basis.
Interested members should contact Dawn Pettus, CTP, at 800-682-8886, ext. 4288, or email@example.com by Monday, Feb. 2.
The application deadline for the Travelers Conservation Foundation Sustainable Tourism Scholarship has been extended until April 15, 2004. The annual scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time in 2004, is administered in partnership with the National Tourism Foundation.
The scholarship is available to graduate students in the tourism field. The successful candidate will be chosen on the basis of academic achievement and the creativity of an essay about practical applications and project ideas in sustainable tourism. Applicants are challenged to think about ways the industry can assist in helping to foster sustainable and responsible growth and use of sites around the globe. The recipient will receive $500 in the fall of 2004 and another $500 in the spring of 2005.
TCF Executive Director Bruce Beckham, CTP, announced the creation of the scholarship in November. "The Travelers Conservation Foundation’s mission is to be the tourism industry’s vehicle for encouraging responsible conservation, protection and use of the world’s natural, cultural and historic treasures," said Beckham. "This new scholarship is a logical addition to our philanthropic programs, all of which are designed to ‘give back’ to the sites and places which are, in fact our products."
Applications should be submitted directly to the Travelers Conservation Foundation. Click here to view an application form and the 2004 essay topic.
By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
It’s more and more common to talk with people whose native language isn’t our own. These accents can be both international and domestic. Miscommunication is easy with anyone who’s not talking as we’re used to hearing.
Today, with more business going global, it’s key to be ready to know how to deal with a foreign accent. Don’t forget, to those from another country, we are the ones that have the foreign accent. These tips will go both ways, and they’re effective both on the phone and in person.
Here are five key points to know to help you at your job and in your personal life when working with someone who is difficult to understand – accent or not.
Don’t pretend to understand. It’s OK to gently explain you are having a little difficulty understanding them. One of the least effective things you could do when not understanding someone is to pretend you do. Some folks nod or say, "OK" just to move the conversation along. That’s not doing anyone any good.
It’s perfectly OK to simply and gently say, "I apologize. I am having a little difficulty understanding you. If you could slow down just a little bit, I’ll be able to get it all correct for you." That’s the most important thing to the person with the accent; knowing you want to help and get it right. They’re aware you might be having difficulty. And if you nod yes or pretend you understand, it won’t help the situation at all. Your tone of voice is international and universal. So keep it at a light, slower pace – and yes, smiling is also universal. They’ll hear your smile in any language.
The phrase I mention above is most effective – and a key phrase to learn. I know for a fact, it is accepted very warmly. I’ve had many a person from another country come up and thank me for sharing that technique with the audience. It apologizes, acknowledges, empathizes and creates credibility. It shows you want to help.
Don’t rush. Rushing threatens callers. Often there’s a tendency to want to really rush someone who speaks with an accent. Not a good idea at all. Rushing threatens the best of us, especially someone who is not able to express themselves in our style. Slow down, not to excess, of course, but if you find yourself constantly saying "uh huh," over and over in rapid succession, you’re probably rushing the customer.
Don’t shout. They are not hard of hearing. Many a time we subconsciously speak louder or repeat the same word over and over, thinking that will help. It doesn’t. People with accents different from yours normally hear very well. It’s insulting to shout at them. Keep that smile on your face; it will show that you have the patience to help. Keep trying to let them know you are there to help. It might take time, but it will help.
Don’t be rude. No one really thinks they’re rude. But if you’ve ever said, "Hey, I can’t understand you" or even a short, terse, "Huh?" you’re considered rude. Again, go back to the first rule, and explain you’re having a little difficulty understanding. They’ll often repeat it for you. If the situation is hopeless and you simply aren’t getting anywhere, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to call for help. Perhaps another person can better understand what the customer is saying. But remember, being shuffled from one person to another is frustrating to anyone, accent or not.
Do keep a job aid available. Most often, 80% of your calls may be from customers from the same country or region of origin. If your job has you working with a large percentage of customers who speak the same language, keep a few simple phrases in that language near you – short phrases that would let the customer know you’re trying.
If you’re in a Hispanic environment, phrases like, "Un momento por favor" (one moment, please) will help. Even if we mispronounce it, they’ll understand. Hopefully, there is someone in your area that is either fluent or well spoken in the particular language who can help you formulate an effective work aid.
And remember, your smile is universal. Use it early and often, no matter who you’re talking to.
Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, author of four best-selling books and the featured spokesperson on the Telephone Doctor videos, Friedman will be an educational seminar speaker during NTA’s Tour Operator Spring Meet scheduled March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark. Visit her Web site at http://www.telephonedoctor.com/.
An excellent opportunity to showcase your destination or property to NTA’s tour operators during the upcoming Tour Operator Spring Meet is still available.
Sponsor the Saturday, March 27 dinner during Spring Meet and you can 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.
Contact Annie Barret at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4238 for more information regarding this sponsorship opportunity.
If you have a job listing to post in Tuesday’s Job Marketplace, please fax your listing to Tuesday Editor at 859-226-4447. The cost is $1 per word for NTA members, and $1.50 per word for nonmembers. NTA will send an invoice upon publication of the posting. Members also may post job listings for free on NTA’s online forums. Just log on to http://www.ntaonline.com/http//:www.ntaonline.comand click the "forums" link at the top of the home page. Then, post your listing in the discussion folder marked "Job Opportunities.".
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