Who’s Coming to Convention ’11? Get a Sneak Peek. | Dealing with Disaster: 3Qs with Mike Roberts
June 21, 2011
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Who’s Coming to Convention ’11? Get a Sneak Peek Here.
Dealing with Disaster: 3Qs with Mike Roberts in Post-quake Japan
Contact Speaker Appears Before House Committee Meeting (VIDEO)
Three Spots Remain for the Saskatchewan PDT
3 Ways to Avoid a Twitter Nightmare
July is Jumpin’ with Courier‘s Updates on Newport, Vegas and More
Your Colleague Looks to Reach 20,000 Group Leaders & NTA Tour Operators—and He’s Loving It!
Tourism Cares for Fundación Galápagos Ecuador
Conference Call: Corporation for Travel Promotion Board Meeting
Apply for UNWTO Course in Tourism and International Cooperation
Industry News and Updates
Convention ’11 registrations are pouring in, with members taking advantage of the Early Bird savings (between $110 and $200), as well as setting their sights on building business for 2012 and beyond. Who are these thrifty, forward-thinking folk? Your next partner? A buyer you want to re-connect with? Your competitor? The current list of attendees is below; you can register here and join them! See you in Vegas.
When a powerful earthquake struck Japan on March 11, Mike Roberts, owner of Samurai Tours, was leading a tour in the southern part of the country. Far from the quake’s epicenter, he completed that tour but had to cancel several in the following weeks. Roberts resumed tour operations in April. (See the news release about "Rediscovering Japan-USTOA/NTA Mission 2011," the delegation of tour operators traveling to Japan June 21–26.)
As a Japan travel specialist dealing with disaster in Japan, Roberts’ experience can provide insight to other operators.
How did the earthquake change your business?
For about a month after the earthquake, we received cancellations or transfers to other tours. Compared to other tour operators, however, we have been relatively successful at keeping our customers. We have maintained about 75 percent of our clients: 15 percent transferred to later tours, and 60 percent maintained their registrations. Most of the remaining 25 percent cancelled within the first month after the earthquake.
How did you retain so many bookings?
We immediately began e-mailing our clients, informing them of the situation in Japan. We periodically checked news outlets for the latest reports, and we tried to respond. When there was cause for concern, we were truthful and informed clients of the issues. And the fact that we were writing to clients from Kyoto gave us another level of trust. We were living through the results of the disaster. I was on the phone with our Tokyo staff every day to find out what was happening in Tokyo, which we passed on to our clients.
And even before the earthquake, we always tried to make customers feel comfortable with our knowledge of Japan. I am convinced that without that confidence and trust, we would have been doomed after March 11.
What can we expect for travel inside Japan—and for the outbound market?
Japan is safe. Northern Japan still has its issues, and will continue to have issues for quite some time. However, you typically would only find Japanese tourists here. This area of Japan was known for its outdoor activities and onsens (hot springs resorts).
Both domestic travel and outbound international travel by the Japanese dropped 20-25 percent after the earthquake. This was due not to any kind of physical disruption, but to the mental and spiritual mood of the Japanese. They were not in any frame of mind to travel after the disasters. This is beginning to change, though.
Vic Parra, president and CEO of UMA, appeared with other industry representatives at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Bus Safety meeting on June 13 to focus on the U.S. Transportation Department’s efforts to keep unsafe bus drivers off the nation’s roads. View Parra’s appearance at the meeting in the video below. (Click through in the image below, then press the play button and slide to the 40:55 minute mark.)
Parra, along with Wes Barber of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will also cover the topic at Contact, Aug. 1–3, in Newport, Rhode Island. Their seminar, "Understanding Your Liability: The New Bus Safety Rules," will explain the latest safety measures and rules so operator owners will know what to look for in a motorcoach partner.
Don’t miss this timely and important presentation. Register for Contact now (and sign up for the pre-Contact culinary Fam tour before the July 1 deadline!).
Tour Operators: Don’t miss Tourism Saskatchewan‘s Explore Saskatchewan Product Development Trip, a combination of rural beauty and urban vitality Aug. 30–Sept. 4, 2011. Only three spots remain, so register now! Registration closes July 1.
The itinerary is packed with unique experiences including Prince Albert National Park, the Seager Wheeler National Historic Site and Dakota Dunes Casino. The $100 cost of the PDT includes round-trip airfare to Saskatoon from the U.S. or Canada. (One registration per company, please.)
If you’d like a visual, check out this video, which showcases the woods and water of the province:
Public relations nightmares have been a common occurrence in social media, especially on Twitter. And often, these mishaps aren’t so much Internet security issues as they are failures in using good judgment when communicating in 140 characters or less.
Here are three ways to avoid your own personal/professional Twitter nightmare:
- Change your Twitter password on a regular basis. Any of your online accounts—e-mail, Facebook, banking—can be compromised by a determined hacker. So, it’s best to use passwords that consist of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and then change your passwords every few months.
- Be mindful of your personal and professional brand. Before you post any tweet, ask yourself: "Would I be okay having a client (or my Mom) see what I write? Am I writing something a competitor could use against me?" Twitter is full of varied opinions and it’s okay to share yours, but you never want to be branded as something you’re not.
- Pretend that nothing is private. There are two ways to be private on Twitter: 1) you can "protect" your account so that the only people who can see your tweets are people to whom you give permission, or 2) communicate privately with a follower via direct message, otherwise known as a DM. Neither is recommended, though, if you intend to get the most out of the time you’re investing in social media.
If you put limitations on your account and tweets, you’re essentially taking the "social" out of social media, which defeats the purpose. And while many DMs between mutual followers are harmless in nature, it’s incredibly easy to make the mistake of sending a public reply instead of a private one, especially with so many different methods and interfaces—desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile, third party apps—at your disposal.
It is possible to delete a tweet but, online, it still exists somewhere and can resurface long after the fact. Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging and known as @unmarketing on Twitter, recently offered his 93,000+ followers this piece of advice: "Don’t text/tweet/post anything you don’t want on a billboard. Nothing good comes out of your phone after 8 p.m."
Twitter is all about being authentic, engaging with others and providing value to your audience. If you keep those things in mind, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of having to issue a public apology after one of your tweets.
The July issue of Courier abounds with updates on NTA’s upcoming business builders. You can get the 411 on Contact, including details on educational seminars, a mini-regatta, the 5K Fun(d) Run/Walk/Sleep and the full schedule for the Aug. 1–3 event in Newport, Rhode Island.
In "The Vegas Evolution Continues," Courier managing editor Doug Rentz offers a look at some of the new things you can experience in Las Vegas at the 2011 NTA Convention. The Where to Go section of the July issue provides updates on Boston, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Southern California, as well as shining the spotlight on wine tour options in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The business section includes updates on the Grassroots Congressional Summit for Travel and the agreement signed between NTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Repeat advertisers in this issue are Angstrom Graphics, The Berkely Group (TPP), Buca Di Beppo, Cracker Barrel, Empire State Building Observatory, Maid of the Mist, Mississippi Development Authority, Mt. Washington Cog Railway, Pensacola Convention and Visitors Burea, Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, The Huntington Library and Yankee Candle Company. 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:
October issue: Gay & Lesbian Travel; Music, Music, Music; Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont; Connecticut & Rhode Island; Massachusetts; Great Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota); London & Paris.
Ad Space: July 27
Editorial: July 5
November issue: Convention; Delaware; New Jersey; New York; New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island; Quebec; America’s Historic East (Maryland; Pennsylvania; Virginia; Washington, D.C.); San Francisco Bay Area; India.
Ad Space: Aug. 24
Editorial: Aug. 1
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
"Thanks again for allowing us to advertise in the Trip Planner for Group Leaders. I’m a big believer in this publication and we find it so valuable."
—Ken Sperr, National Artists Management Co.; member since 2008
What’s more powerful than a huge distribution number combined with your colleague’s testimonial? The Trip Planner for Group Leaders is relevant and targeted, and it boasts a strong distribution list of 20,000 qualified group leaders and NTA tour operators who are actively planning tours. You can’t afford to not be represented in this publication!
For information on how you can be included, contact NTA Services by e-mail or by phone at +1.859.264.6559.
Tourism Cares is proud to award a 2011–2012 Globus Special Grant to Fundación Galápagos Ecuador.
Dedicated to promoting a sustainable way of life in the Galapagos Islands, the foundation will use this $8,000 two-year grant to develop environmental education programs for children as well as to support solid waste recycling and coastal cleanups. This is the first site in South America to be selected for this prestigious grant.
"Receiving this important Tourism Cares Special Globus Grant guarantees that the Fundación Galápagos sustainability projects can continue generating solid results for the Galapagos community and their environment," said Francisco Dousdebes, environmental affairs manager for Fundación Galápagos. "In today’s world, the funding of local programs is essential to promote awareness and improve the quality of life for both local inhabitants and travelers exploring fragile destinations. The benefit of these programs is to ensure that future generations inherit a much better place from their ancestors."
To learn more about Tourism Cares Globus Special Grants, visit the Tourism Cares press room.
You are invited to join the Corporation for Travel Promotion Board of Directors on Tuesday, June 21, at 2 p.m. ET for its next conference call. The board welcomes comments and questions from the public and looks forward to your participation.
Call-in number (U.S. toll free): 800.923.9042
Call-in number (international): +1 212.231.2904
Access code: 3326307
For more information, visit the Corporation for Travel Promotion’s Web site.
If you have an interest in projects that combine tourism with international cooperation, consider this course offering: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is now enrolling for Tourism and International Cooperation for Development, organized by the UNWTO Themis Foundation and The George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies.
The 2011 course combines online and on-site sessions. Online training is from Aug. 22 to Sept. 23, and on-site training runs October 1 to15, at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The deadline to apply is June 30.
- To provide participants with the necessary basic knowledge and tools to take part in international cooperation projects through tourism.
- To disseminate UNWTO’s principles and guidelines, especially tourism’s role as an instrument of development and poverty alleviation.
- To disseminate the ideals of service and solidarity rooted in the essence of volunteerism.
- To form part of UNWTO Volunteers Corps.
- The Dominican Republic saw a record increase in tourists, most from the United States.
- The latest airline satisfaction study ranks carriers in two segments, traditional and low-cost. When you compare the numbers, though, you’ll see price rules.
- With airfares and hotel rates on the rise, it’s more expensive for companies to send employees on business trips. Executives, though, say it’s a good investment.
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