Work It as a Team | NTA Included in White House Meeting | Deadline Approaching
November 20, 2012
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Work It as a Team, DMO Says
NTA Included in White House Meeting
We’re Thankful For …
Deadline Approaching for Holy Land PDT
Take a Tour of Travel Exchange via Courier
Member Museum Suffers Sandy Damage
Webinar to Focus on Canada as Top U.S.-bound Market
Successful Small Biz Owners Have Common Traits
Industry News and Updates
When Mindy Shea arrives in Orlando this January, she’ll be the only person from her office. Shea won’t be alone, though: She’s got a team.
Shea, director of tour and travel sales for Visit Savannah, works with representatives of a dozen Savannah hotels, restaurants and attractions to prepare for Travel Exchange. "Even though we’re representing our individual companies, it’s important to make a showing as a team," she said.
For weeks, Shea has been taking the names of tour operators who request appointments with her and passing them along to her "hospitality partners."
"Chances are that if an operator has an interest in Savannah, they will have an interest in what my partners are selling as well," said Shea.
Linda Sanders of River House Seafood & Bakery is on board with Mindy. "Savannah works together as a team, and by sharing our appointments, we get the operator the information they need to plan a trip to Savannah," Sanders said. "Mindy knows the ‘group friendly’ restaurants here in Savannah and can help operators locate one according to where they are staying and their budget."
Shea is a veteran of six NTA conventions, and with the addition of UMA buyers at Travel Exchange, she is confident of more success. "There are some new companies that I’ve not worked with—or even heard of—before, and that’s a big plus for me," she said. "It’s great to get in front of current and past clients, but it’s an extra bonus if you walk away with business from a company that’s new to you."
It’s those new companies, especially, that Shea hopes will use NTA’s online profile sheets. "I’d encourage everyone to fill them out or update them," she said. "It’s very difficult to determine where a company is based and what their destinations are if their profile sheet is blank or the information is old."
[Good point: To get more high-quality appointments, you can update your profile sheet here.]
Profiles aren’t the only things to update. Shea said she routinely checks the appointment scheduling system for new requests from operators, who she can then request herself, because a mutual request gets priority in the computerized system.
"I always want to make sure it’s a mutual request, and as we get closer to the show I’ll go back and make sure that I haven’t missed any newer additions."
Will you be a new addition? Travel Exchange is less than two months away! It’s time to get registered here.
The White House Business Council continues to reach out to business leaders on matters of national policy and yesterday held a meeting to discuss the upcoming "fiscal cliff." (In January, billions of dollars in tax increases and automatic spending cuts are set to go into force.) Other topics included strategies to expand job creation and efforts to reduce the national deficit.
Attending the meeting were more than 30 national business leaders—10 from the travel sector—including Steve Richer, NTA’s public affairs advocate.
The discussion focused on preserving middle class tax cuts, adding tax cuts for small businesses, increasing taxation on singles and couples earning over $250,000 (with tax increases on the portion over $250,000), the Affordable Healthcare Act, and budget cuts.
Speakers included Patrick Hildalgo, deputy director, White House Business Council; Jason Furman, assistant to the president and principal deputy director, National Economic Council; Benjamin Page, Office of Management and Budget; Jose Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic affairs; and Felicia Escobar, senior policy director, White House Domestic Policy Council (on immigration issues).
You are the glue that holds us together, the backbone that makes us strong and the voice that breathes life into this industry. Without your support and contribution, NTA wouldn’t be the leading association for professionals serving travelers to, from and within North America, year after year.
Because you are a part of this close-knit family, you—as a group—have built an organization that represents more travel product and gives access to more business-to-business networking than any other organization in this industry.
Thank you. We value your membership.
Tour operators wishing to join NTA’s Holy Land Product Development Trip have until Dec. 6 to register for the association’s first PDT focused on faith-based travel. The members-only trip, Feb. 10 through 22, includes workshops and opportunities for participants to network with local suppliers. Paul Larsen, who chairs NTA’s Faith Tourism Advisory Council, is ready to go.
"February can’t come soon enough," Larsen posted on NTA’s Facebook page. "I’m getting goose bumps thinking about standing on the Mount of Olives and looking across at the Golden Dome and Jerusalem with my NTA friends and partners in Israel and Jordan."
NTA President Lisa Simon talked about the Holy Land PDT while she was a guest on Travel Talk Radio with Sandy Dhuyvetter over the weekend. "Our faith-based initiative is … about fellowship and traveling together, which is what tour operators’ products are all about," she said.
Simon, who traveled to Jordan and Egypt soon after the Arab Spring began last year, responded to a question about the safety of travel in an oft-troubled region. "We see a lot of images on the news, [but] when you’re going with travel professionals and hosts, you can feel confident that you’ll have a good experience and stay out of harm’s way." Simon added that some 100,000 tourists are currently traveling undisturbed through Israel.
Click here to hear the interview, which covered many markets: youth, U.S. Hispanic, China and Cuba. (Simon’s interview begins at 25 minutes, 30 seconds.)
Topics include tips on what to pack, how to connect with UMA attendees, information about appointments, ideas on ways to use social media before, during and after the event, volunteer opportunity information and lots more. The issue also includes great destination coverage of Spain and Portugal, Yukon, the Rockies, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi along with our special section on the Lincoln Highway’s centennial.
Can’t wait for Courier to arrive? See it here first.
Carolyn Feimster of Historic Shopping and Dining Attractions reports the South Street Seaport Museum in Lower Manhattan continues to struggle with damage from Hurricane Sandy.
"The crew is working around the clock to re-open the doors for our visitors as soon as possible," she wrote in an email to NTA, explaining that while exhibitions and collections were completely unharmed, the museum’s electrical equipment suffered costly damage.
"Donations in any amount to the Seaport Museum can be made at www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org," Feimster said. "Please send whatever you can! Even a small gift will make a huge impact."
For questions about groups and FIT travelers, contact Feimster via email. To see her letter in full, read the story on NTA Headlines. And for more details on the museum’s battle with Sandy, read here and here.
Canada is the No. 1 tourism market into the United States, both in visitor volume and visitor spending. To get a better bead on Canadian arrivals, join a webinar that covers U.S. destinations most visited, spending patterns and other trends.
The webinar offers critical data, market intelligence and practical market entry advice from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and the U.S. Commercial Service Travel & Tourism Team.
There’s no magic key for opening and maintaining a successful business, but there are insights to be gained by examining successful business owners. An American Express OPEN survey of business owners reveals several traits and behaviors shared by the highest achievers:
- They take more risks: More than two-thirds have increased their appetite for risk compared to one year ago (67 percent, versus 35 percent of the total population).
- They don’t just plan for growth, they make it a priority: A majority of high achievers say they are planning to grow their businesses over the next six months (93 percent, versus 69 percent of the total survey group).
- They invest in their business: More than three-quarters (78 percent) are planning to make capital investments (versus 49 percent of the total survey group)
- They provide incentives to customers to get repeat business: Forty percent offer loyalty rewards (versus 22 percent overall), and 41 percent offer differentiated products or services (versus 23 percent overall).
- They leverage social media: Seven in 10 use social media (70 percent versus 49 percent overall).
- More than three quarters (79 percent) use social media to attract new customers (versus 57 percent overall).
For the full report, including details of the survey, see the American Express OPEN release.
- Gas prices continue to fall in most of the United States, but areas in the Northeast hit by Sandy are seeing a price increase. Lowest: $3.04 in Memphis, Tennessee. Highest: $4.18 in Long Island, New York.
- Variable pricing (based on purchase and redemption dates), already used by airlines and the ski industry, is being considered by theme parks and other attractions.
- Many in the United States will take off a day or two for Thanksgiving this week, but how does the U.S. stack up against other countries in the number of days off work? Along with the rest of North America and parts of Asia, the U.S. is vacation-deprived, according to a study.
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