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9 Things to Do now to Prepare for Convention ’11 | Help! We Need Your Input!

August 23, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 35

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9 Things to Do now to Prepare for Convention ’11
Help! We Need Your Input!
NTA and UMA Move Forward on 2013 Event
Give Back to Las Vegas
Are You on the List?
Road Shows Connect U.S. Destinations with Chinese Trade
Look Who Else Is Collecting $100
September Courier—A Look Back at 9/11
Countdown to Valley Forge: Join Tourism Cares for Volunteer Day
Bonus Circulation = Bonus Qualified Travel Buyers
U.S. Travelers More Resourceful, but Still Willing to Spend
Industry News and Updates

9 Things to Do now to Prepare for Convention ’11  

Convention ’11 is just a few months away. (Can you believe it’s almost September?!) Appointment scheduling started last week, and the NTA hotel block at Mandalay Bay is already getting tight. It’s time to start preparing!

Here are nine things to do in the next few weeks to create your most valuable8.23.11 9 Convention experience:

  1. Register. It’s the first step to getting new business. Tour operators, remember, you have a buy one, get one offer. That’s just $330 for two tour operators to attend a week’s worth of education and business development.
  2. Reserve a hotel room. There is now limited availability in the NTA room block, so … the sooner the better!
  3. Book your transportation.
  4. Check out who’s coming to Convention. (When NTA member Carrie Maher saw the list of operators available for appointment scheduling, she responded: "I have a large list to choose from this yearGood job!")
  5. Update your online profile, making it as accurate and enticing as possible. It’s your biggest marketing tool at Convention. Make it count!
  6. Schedule your appointments and see who has requested to meet with your company.
  7. Get new running shoes for the GR Fun(d) Run! (You also have the choice to sleep in that day … for a price.)
  8. Follow NTA on Twitter (hashtag: #NTA11) and Facebook for news, tips and conversations on Convention ’11.
  9. Read Mark Hoffmann’s Afterwords article in the September Courier to learn how he uses his time at NTA Conventions.

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Help! We Need Your Input! 

We rely on you to tell us what you need and what you think. So please check your e-mails for the following surveys and give us your feedback!

Tour Operators: You’ve received a few in the last few weeks:

  • Your Opinion Matters, sent Friday, Aug. 19. This is a quick one. Should only take 10 minutes to tell us what you use, need and want more of from the association.
  • Check your e-mail inbox for the "Distinguished Dozen" survey. Your responses will turn into a series of Top 12 lists (destinations, attractions, etc.) in Courier magazine.

Contact Attendees: You should have received a survey about the Rhode Island conference. Your feedback is vital to making next year’s Contact in San Diego even better.

All members: Please don’t forget to nominate your peers for NTA’s industry awards. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 26. Details are here.

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NTA and UMA Move Forward on 2013 Event 

Members of the NTA/UMA 2013 Task Force met recently in Providence, Rhode Island, to work through details of the 2013 integrated event including scheduling, education, networking opportunities and hospitality functions—all with a focus on creating an event that’s productive, educational and enjoyable. The convention is scheduled for Jan. 19–23 in Orlando, Florida.

The task force is chaired by Michael Neustadt of Coach Tours Ltd. in Brookfield, Connecticut, who belongs to both NTA and UMA. Others who met in Providence were NTA members Audrey Bialas, Cathy Greteman and Jim Reddekopp Jr.; UMA members Larry Hundt, Tom Ready and Tim Wayland; NTA staff Lisa Simon and Lee Carter; and UMA staff Victor Parra and Maggie Masterson.

The group recommended the associations combine their final evening events—NTA’s Gala Reception and UMA’s Vision Awards—to create a comingled networking opportunity.

"Not only will the business and networking events be great for all attendees, but we’ll have a chance to learn more, too," said Cathy Greteman, NTA chair and CEO. "The task force recommended opening all education sessions to both NTA and UMA members so we can build a better understanding of the unique dynamics of the tour and motorcoach businesses."

More details about the 2013 event will be announced at Convention ’11.

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Give Back to Las Vegas   

We’ll be short-term residents of Las Vegas during Convention ’11, but we can make a long-term impact on the lives of local kids. Las Vegans have been hit hard by the nation’s economic woes, and with the unemployment rate still scraping the 14 percent mark in Clark County, many in the hospitality industry are experiencing tough times-and that includes their children.

NTA and Tourism Cares Give Back to Las Vegas will help. Convention attendees can donate cash (either as you register or onsite) to purchase gifts for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson. You can also give back in person: On Monday evening during Convention, Hard Rock Café will host a wrapping session, where NTA delegates can join with hospitality students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to wrap donated gifts.

Each year, the Boys & Girls Clubs fall short of donations for kids 10 to 14 years old. Our Give Back project will target those kids this year, and your donations will purchase gifts for those youngsters. To jump on board, sign up for Give Back—as a donor only or as a donor/wrapper—when you register for Convention. If you’ve already registered (and there are loads who have), click here to get involved. Finally, you can make your contribution on the Convention floor at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ booth. There’s a limit on the number of delegates who can participate in the Monday evening event; there’s no limit, though, on donations.

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Are You on the List? 

Congratulations to all the graduates of NTA’s Certified Tour Professional program!

The CTP designation is the only certification program in the industry developed by tour and travel professionals for tour and travel professionals. The study-at-your-own-pace program is designed to be completed in one year, with all related course materials available conveniently online.

Earning your CTP demonstrates—to your peers and the industry—your commitment to professional competency and excellence in the packaged travel industry.

"I chose to be part of the CTP program because I wanted to show our industry and our travelers the high value our company places on education. This, in turn, demonstrates a desire to better understand and serve our travelers."
—Rick Pharr, CTP, CTN Travels, Midland, North Carolina

To develop the most comprehensive and specialized certification program in the industry, NTA teamed with Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. Packaged travel professionals who obtain their CTP designation demonstrate to the industry that they are experienced, knowledgeable and motivated professionals who care about the industry and their colleagues.

You can join the ranks of Certified Tour Professionals for just $150. Graduate in two years and that’s all you pay! If you don’t complete the program in two years, that’s OK. But once your two-year term expires, you’ll be invoiced an additional $450 for the remainder of the full $600 enrollment fee prior to graduating.

For additional information about becoming a CTP, please visit the following links:

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Road Shows Connect U.S. Destinations with Chinese Trade 

The NTA Visit USA Center will co-host several road shows this fall in conjunction with the U.S. Commercial Service offices in China. A road show is a group of American companies coming together to promote their respective tourism product to invited Chinese trade and media in select cities. 

"We choose second-tier cities where the economy is among the top in China, the population is around 30 million, and the travel trade is ready to organize outbound tours to the U.S.," said Haybina Hao, NTA director of international development. Shows are scheduled in Hangzhou (eastern China) on Sept. 16, focusing on luxury travel to the U.S. and organized in conjunction with Shanghai Commercial Service; and to Shenyang and Dalian, in northern China on Oct. 24 and 25, in conjunction with Shenyang Commercial Service. 

Hao said that recent road shows were quite successful. "This marketing strategy is highly demanded by the trade in both China and the U.S.," she said. "The Chengdu show in Western China, for example, generated a dozen original local media reports, which then got picked up by the national media and multiplied into a significant media exposure."

NTA invites U.S. companies to sign up for the road shows as a package deal with the China International Travel Mart, Oct. 27–30, and/or with COTTM, April 18–20, 2012.  For detailed information, please contact Hao.

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Look Who Else Is Collecting $100 

As Member Referral Month steams along, we’ve got more new members to announce—and more current members to congratulate on earning $100:

  • Shelda Rees of the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau referred Vision Hospitality Group
  • Kelly Murphy from Mount Snow Resort referred Killington Resort
  • Adrienne Baerny of Tailor Made Tours referred Waterways Cruises & Events

Now it’s your turn to connect a colleague with NTA. For each potential member you refer to us before the end of August (who joins NTA before Nov. 1), you’ll receive US$100. Here are some online tools to help you make your NTA pitch. After you’ve laid the groundwork for a new member, send your referral’s contact information to Lori Rempe at NTA headquarters, and she’ll take it from there. But do it before August ends: A new referral nets a cash reward all year long, but one made in August is four times more rewarding! 

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September Courier—A Look Back at 9/11 

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, travel industry professionals will have an opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years, the tragic events, the dramatic changes in business, and the determined rallying and rebuilding of the industry in the pages of the September Courier. The issue includes reflections from NTA Chairman and CEO Cathy Greteman (page 6), NYC & Company’s Vice President Fred Dixon (page 10) and NTA’s 2001–02 President Kathy LeTarte (page 10).

Additionally, the museums feature includes an article (page 29) on the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which opens to the public Sept. 12. You also can see some fun photos and read a recap of  NTA’s newest Business Builder, Contact, which took place in Newport, Rhode Island, earlier this month. Feature stories for October include museums and sightseeing rail, and this month’s destination profiles cover Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, the U.S. Southwest and the Czech Republic, Poland & Slovakia.

Repeat advertisers in this issue are The Berkely Group (TPP), Empire State Building Observatory, Georgia Department of Tourism, Huntington Library Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Missouri History Museum, Mt. Washington Railway Company, Pensacola (Florida) Convention & Visitor Information Center and Roaring Camp Railroads.  We’re grateful to our repeat advertisers (those who book in three or more issues of Courier per year.) Click here for more information.

Upcoming content and deadlines: 

December issue: Restaurants; Shopping; Alabama; Louisiana; Mississippi; The Rockies (Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming); Smoky Mountains (Ashville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge); Spain & Portugal
Ad Space: Sept. 29
Editorial: Sept. 6

January Issue: Convention ’11 Recap; Sightseeing Cruises; NTA’s Distinguished Dozen; Alaska; California; Nevada; Oregon; Washington; United Kingdom & Ireland
Ad Space: Nov. 2
Editorial: Nov. 16

February Issue: Casinos/Gaming; Alberta; British Columbia; Idaho; Montana; North Dakota & South Dakota; Wyoming; Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia)
Ad Space: Nov. 30
Editorial: Oct. 31

Please click here to view the 2011 editorial calendar.

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Countdown to Valley Forge: Join Tourism Cares for Volunteer Day 

2011 TC Volunteer Day logo NEWOn Friday, Sept. 9, more than 200 travel and tourism industry volunteers will gather at Valley Forge National Historical Park in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, (just minutes from Philadelphia) for the second annual Tourism Cares Volunteer Day event, held in commemoration of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Like other national parks across the country, Valley Forge is facing funding challenges that prevent the staff from completing major maintenance projects essential to preserving the overall experience for its visitors. But you can pitch in and help.

Now is the time to lend your time and talents to a worthwhile project. You’ve got to step up now, though: Click here to learn more and sign up today.

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Bonus Circulation = Bonus Qualified Travel Buyers  

NTA’s Courier magazine reaches 1,500 tour operators every month, but the October issue includes bonus circulation to 900 UMA motorcoach operators. Why? Because we’re featuring a business/educational article on working with UMA and the opportunities you can expect as we approach an integrated Convention in 2013. Now is the time for you to promote your organization to gain momentum.

October features include Working with UMA, Gay & Lesbian Travel, Music, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Great Plains, London & Paris.

The space deadline is quickly approaching (Aug. 24) so contact us today to reach 2,400 qualified buyers: +1.859.264.6559 or by e-mail.

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U.S. Travelers More Resourceful, but Still Willing to Spend 

With more than three-quarters of U.S. consumers believing they "have become a much smarter shopper thanks to today’s economic situation," today’s travel professionals are courting resourceful customers, according to a new study by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group. A survey of more than 2,500 U.S. households in March revealed the following:

  • 80-plus percent of those who use the Internet for making travel plans said the feature they value most in a Web site is the ability to check and lock into the lowest prices.
  • 30 percent took a staycation during the previous year, traveling within 50 miles of their home and staying overnight.
  • 20 percent of leisure travelers purchased travel via a "flash sale," a time-sensitive offer sent in an unexpected e-mail.

On the other hand, today’s traveler isn’t completely focused on cutting corners:

  • 64 percent will pay full price if they are guaranteed the quality and service they believe they deserve.
  • 30 percent took a last-minute leisure trip (booked, on average, six days prior to departure) during the previous year.
  • 70 percent took a "celebration vacation" in the past year to recognize a milestone birthday or anniversary or other life event.

The study rolled survey findings into a "2011 Portrait of American Travelers," which portrays the American traveler as one who:

  • Relishes experience-based travel involving family and friends
  • Belongs to one or more frequent-flyer or frequent-guest program
  • Visits TripAdvisor prior to booking a hotel reservation
  • Engages in outdoor activities (beach/lake, camping/hiking/climbing, snow skiing/boarding, fishing, golf, adventure/outfitting or hunting) on a vacation (nearly half)

To get a better picture of the American traveler, go to the Ypartnership Web site.

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Industry News and Updates

  • District of Columbia residents will have the chance for an exclusive tour of the new $120 million Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial today, part of a week-long celebration of the memorial and the man.
  • The first group of Americans to tour Cuba under new, more liberal U.S. travel regulations was greeted by hugs, handshakes and a welcoming Cuban government.
  • When visiting one of Europe’s open-air markets, bargaining for merchandise is the accepted and expected method of setting a price. And it can be fun if you learn how to haggle.

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