Big Ups to San Diego; Contact Photos Now on Facebook! |72-Hour Alert!
August 21, 2012
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Big Ups to San Diego; Contact Photos Now on Facebook!
72-Hour Alert! Don’t Miss this Friday Deadline.
China Market Forum Fills Seats, Expectations at Contact
Contact Heads to Hawai‘i
Market Focus: Agritourism, Ecotourism, Student Travel & Market Trends
9 Avenues to Enter September’s Courier
Grab a Spot on the Morocco PDT
How Today’s Travelers Use Social Media
Industry News and Updates
We’re back from Contact ’12 and feeling Oh so refreshed! Got to hand it to San Diego for doing an amazing job at hosting this year’s tour operator retreat: Thank you!!
Describing Contact as "an incredible, incredible experience," and "an awesome couple days making new friends," Chris Babb of The Group Tour Company in Washington, D.C., spoke to the importance of the show to him, as an owner:
"I made a lot of new business contacts, renewed my energy for working in this industry. As an owner of a business in this industry there are very few industry meetings where you actually get a chance to talk to other owners—other people who are making decisions in this industry— to learn best practices, to talk about hiring practices and the expansion of business. It’s just an amazing friendly environment, with no pressure, just a lot of learning more about the industry."
More highlights from Contact are below and you can see each captured moment on Facebook (be sure tag yourself and your colleagues).
- Attendees were welcomed to the San Diego Zoo Icebreaker by the hungry roar of a male lion—a sound so primal you could feel it in your chest.
- The China Market Forum was standing room only.
- Takeaways from Kelly McDonald’s educational sessions were the talk of the luncheon following.
- A newbie to NTA and Contact said the speed-dating session was a great introduction to NTA.
- Fun(d) Run participants rose with the sun for a stroll, jog or run along the beautiful San Diego Bay.
- Each get-together gave the group plenty of time to visit with each other, share stories, laugh and delve into deeper conversations.
- From before-dinner drinks through to dessert, the progressive dinner was a delightful take on a Dine-around event.
- At SeaWorld on the final night, after dinner and time to explore the magic of the park, the group gathered on a private outdoor patio to watch the fireworks together and say good-bye to San Diego.
We’re already looking forward to Contact ’13—aren’t you? We hope you’ll join us next year in Hawai‘i, The Big Island. Aloha!
Early Bird Registration rates end Friday, Aug. 24. Register now to save up to $200 on your registration for Travel Exchange, and to be sure you’re in the system when Appointment Scheduling starts on Sept. 12.
Why NTA? Here’s what our members are saying:
"In three years, we went from doing maybe $20,000 group room revenue in tours a year to now we’re up way over $300,000. I can attribute a lot of that to joining NTA. Last year alone, I had over $70,000 in contracts from that show."
—Mark Tenholder, Crowne Plaza St. Louis Downtown
"For my hotel I brought back groups that booked all together—from NTA—more than $15,000. I go and I meet these people. I come back and they book with me."
—Aimee Corkern, Four Points by Sheraton Boston Logan Airport
"NTA’s show opens up such a huge door. There are plenty of new connections that are made every single year, and some of them are connections I didn’t think were possible, hadn’t thought of or didn’t even know existed. NTA is the most important organization today for travel within North America and to North America. It’s the one that yields the most positive results for me."
—Aniseh Dalju, Destination America
"If I hadn’t been going to NTA every year, every year, every year, I don’t think we’d have the business we have."
—Phyllis Veale, Grand Vista Hotel
"Given the scope and the size of the entire show, I still felt like I was noticed and I still felt like I was important. Feeling like you’re relevant was a major takeaway for me and I liked that a lot. I had people who wanted to quote me when I was right there on the floor. We exposed our company to several different markets that we’re trying to tap into, so that was very beneficial for us. I was going after every single market that I could get my hands on that was represented at that show."
—Brad Lattin, Sunsational Tours
"We were thrilled to get group bookings as a result of our first trip to the NTA convention in Las Vegas. We look forward to building on this experience and our relationships with tour operators."
—Barbara Kingsland, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
"For us packaged travel is a very, very important market. The relationships we built through the years with the tour companies by attending NTA and working with these companies supported us last year, which was one of the toughest years we’ve ever gone through."
—Barb Bowman, Grand Junction (Colo.) VCB
Are you registered yet? Join us for the most valuable sales opportunity you’ll have all year. (Go here to register.)
Early Bird savings:
And don’t forget you can register now and pay later by clicking the "Invoice Me" option on your registration form. We’ll sign you up at the Early Bird rate now and send you an invoice later.
See you in Orlando!
During China Market Forum, more than 60 Contact attendees explored key challenges with the inbound market, such as low-cost tours, guides and service quality. Leaders of the sessions included Yaping Xue, director of the China National Tourism Office; Isabel Hill, deputy director for policy and planning with the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and NTA members experienced in the China market.
"The NTA China Forum at Contact was very informative and beneficial to all who attended," said Phil Otterson, president of Abercrombie & Kent. "My company is deeply involved in the Chinese inbound-to-the-USA market, and NTA’s cutting-edge knowledge and expertise about this market is one of the reasons we have just become the association’s newest tour operator member."
Katrina White, travel trade manager for Visit Rhode Island, attended two of the seminars in hopes of learning more about a market her organization hasn’t fully explored. "The seminars were packed with information to help us get started," White said. "In fact, I have asked Haybina Hao at NTA to give seminars to my hotels, attractions and regional tourism offices on the travel habits of the Chinese inbound market and their expectations so we can develop product accordingly."
During the first five months of 2012, Chinese visitation to the United States increased 43 percent over 2011, a year when Chinese arrivals rose 36 percent over the previous year and topped 1 million for the first time, according to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the site of next year’s Contact, Aug. 15-17, 2013. The announcement was made in San Diego at this year’s Contact by Jim Reddekopp Jr., NTA board chairman and CEO, who lives on Hawai‘i and operates Earth Bound Tours and the Hawaiian Vanilla Co.
"You may have seen Hawai‘i before, but you’ve never see the Big Island like you’ll see it next year," Reddekopp told the gathering of tour operators. "You can look forward to this as a barefoot native adventure."
Contact incorporates an education program with three tracks: CEO/owner, sales/marketing and operations/product development. The conference allows tour operators to explore business opportunities in an intimate setting, and Contact attendees also engage in sightseeing and familiarization trips. Reddekopp, a lifelong resident of Hawai‘i, is eager to showcase his home state.
"We have been working with our local suppliers to provide a fantastic Hawaiian event," he said.
The conference will take place at Hilton Waikoloa Village, a 62-acre resort on the Kohala Coast on Hawai‘i Island, where conferees can swim, golf, dine, dolphin-watch and participate in a 5-K run. Some attendees at last week’s Contact immediately registered for Hawai‘i. You can find more information on NTA Online.
Market Focus connects you to articles about specific industry segments and links you to the NTA member to contact for more information. If you have a news story or educational article about your organization’s involvement in a key industry market, send it for possible republication to Kevin Wright, NTA’s director of growth markets.
New Website Links Tourism to Vermont Produced Food
NTA member to contact: Vermont Department of Tourism
Mexico Offers Everything From Pyramids and Ecotourism to Tequila
NTA member to contact: Mexico Tourism Board
Junior Tours and Manhattan Tour & Travel Announce Merger
NTA member to contact: Junior Tours
More interesting reading:
Smaller Group Tours
Consumer Travel Trends 2012: Booking Channels
Smaller Group Tour Trend Satisfying for Tauck and Travelers
Ready to Ride the Rails? The September issue of Courier spotlights four seasons of rail experiences offered by NTA members across North America. You can take a sneak peek at some of the education coming your way at Travel Exchange in January. The month’s destination articles cover Ontario, Eastern Europe, the U.S. Southwest, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Here is a nine-question scavenger hunt to inspire you to enjoy a relaxing browse through this product-packed issue.
- What is Turkey’s No. 1 destination for faith-based travelers?
- What is "dark tourism" and where can you learn more about it?
- What city in Poland was the birthplace of Pope John Paul II?
- What Orlando attraction allows you to be a guest alligator trainer for a day?
- In what North Carolina city can groups watch Shakespeare in a lakeside amphitheater?
- What NTA supplier is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens?
- Where can visitors see Canada’s largest collection of 14th- to 21st-century European art?
- What NTA sightseeing railroad puts together a Rails to Ales event each fall?
- Which town is considered to be the birthplace of America’s country music?
A few openings are still available for the NTA Montage product development trip to Morocco, Oct. 20–30. "The Exotic Land of Morocco," hosted by Hospitality Marketing Services, will explore the culture and mystique of this northwestern African nation.
Participants will begin their journey with a tour of Casablanca, the famous port city that sits along Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Following a tour of the nation’s capital, Rabat (named a new wonder of the world), the group moves on to Fes for a tour of this ancient city known as "the Athens of Africa."
Next up is a scenic drive into the High Atlas Mountains for a look at the natural beauty of the Moroccan countryside, including spectacular kasbahs, canyons and valleys. Participants will spend the next few days experiencing Marrakech and its many attractions, landmarks, outdoor markets and legendary cuisine before returning to Casablanca for their flights home.
The cost for the PDT trip, open to tour operators only, is $1,595 (double occupancy) or $1,795 (single occupancy), which includes roundtrip air from New York’s JFK International Airport to Casablanca; participants are responsible for their own airfare to JFK. The price for spouses is an extra $250.
The number of American travelers who are active with their mobile devices during vacation is increasing, as is their use of social media before, during and after their travels. Ragan.com reports that three out of every four vacationers use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) on vacation, and a like number post vacation photos. Other interesting numbers:
- 52 percent of travelers use social media for vacation inspiration (led by Facebook)
- 46 percent of travelers post hotel reviews
- 40 percent share reviews about attractions
- 40 percent write restaurant reviews
Click here to see more data, including how travelers use mobile technology while planning a trip.
- New AAA hotel rating guidelines incorporate changing expectations of travelers: free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, power stations for gadgets, eco-friendly services and expanded fitness options. But more guests now have to pay for some of those extras.
- A UK study of frequent cruisers showed that restaurants, destinations and value are the top qualities they look for in booking a cruise. Thirty-eight percent usually book with the same cruise line, while 46 percent like trying a new ship on each cruise.
- Travelocity determined the most popular destinations for U.S. travelers over the Labor Day weekend, up nearly 3 percent from 2011, to be Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando. Follow this link to see the entire Top 10 and a list of "up-and-coming" destinations.
- An opinion piece about hosting the Olympic Games includes a discussion about U.S. residents’ "awareness about an underappreciated yet vital part of America’s economy—tourism and travel."
Click here for the Tuesday archive.