March 2012 NTA News
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March 2012 Top Stories
Industry & Association News
Two Big Dates
Tweak to Travel Exchange Dates Adds More Opportunities
Jim Reddekopp Answers Questions on Travel Exchange
‘So thankful and appreciative I am of your industry.' [VIDEO]
Brand USA Joins Summit Seminar Lineup
Coming to Contact? Meet You at the Zoo!
Could Your NTA Membership Be Free?
Members See Rebound in Travel to Japan One Year after Quake
New Phone App Provides Motorcoach Safety Records
5 Ways to Use Facebook for B2B Marketing
We wanted to give you a heads-up and the opportunity to join NTA before two big dates arrive:
- Our membership directory closes at the end of next week and you must be a current NTA member to be included. Don't miss your chance to be seen by your next potential business partner!
- Registration for Travel Exchange opens April 10 and you have to be a member to register. For one show price, Travel Exchange brings you all the business-building and education of the NTA Convention, plus the UMA Motorcoach Expo — an entire new exhibit floor of buyers and sellers. You'll want to be in Orlando, January 20-24, for the inaugural Travel Exchange!
You don't want miss out on these two big benefits of membership, do you?
If those dates look slightly different to you, it's because they are! By shifting the dates of Travel Exchange from a Saturday start to a Sunday start, the Travel Exchange Task Force has achieved an even better match in when the UMA and NTA floors are open, giving members of both organizations even more access to each other.
Registration rates are below:
Early Bird rate (until Aug. 24): $220
Regular registration rate (after Aug. 24): $330
(Buyers are eligible for a $650 rebate, and a special BOGO offer!)
Early Bird rate (until Aug. 24): $1,200
Regular registration rate (after Aug. 24): $1,400
Associates: $2,500 (includes a booth)
As our members prepare for Travel Exchange—registration opens April 10!—we know they'll have questions about the new show and how to get the most out of it. So, this month we took two FAQs to NTA Chairman Jim Reddekopp, Jr.
Q: Why is NTA co-hosting with UMA? What will be better for NTA members?
Reddekopp: The quick answer is that adding UMA introduces a new set of buyers—and potential partners—who do not currently participate in NTA. But I know not all our members are familiar with UMA, so let me give a quick breakdown:
Members of both NTA and UMA are involved in the packaged travel business. However, due to the different purposes of the two associations, there is very little overlap in members between them. NTA members represent worldwide packaged travel—to, from and within North America—and the majority offer group tours. Motorcoach operators (UMA members) provide an integral component to the tour operator's product—the motorcoach—and some sell their coach services to tour operators. Many UMA motorcoach companies also offer charter services directly to groups or have their own tour departments, which puts them in the position of being potential buyers with all NTA member categories.
Travel Exchange brings all these possible buying and selling scenarios together into one show.
Q: Is Travel Exchange a co-location of shows or an integration of NTA and UMA?
Reddekopp: NTA and UMA are—and will remain—separate organizations. But our members' businesses are so complimentary that it was a no-brainer to bring the two shows together to increase the business opportunities for everyone. At Travel Exchange, we will be combining the social/networking opportunities of both shows, but—and this is important to both associations—the traditional business components of each will remain the same:
- UMA's business floor will be a trade show featuring motorcoaches and vendor booths with motorcoach operator buyers walking.
- NTA's floor will include the Destination Pavilion and Exchange with pre-scheduled appointments between buyers and sellers.
The NTA and UMA floors will be open to all Travel Exchange attendees, giving them open access to new partners and opportunities.
Visit the Travel Exchange Web site for more information and for sponsorship opportunities.
NTA members in the Orlando, Florida, area gathered for breakfast on March 20 at the first of a series of Travel Exchange Road Shows. For the Orlando gathering, local tour operators, DMOs and tour suppliers were invited to join members of the NTA-UMA Task Force, who were meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel, to spend some quality member-time together and ask any questions they had about Travel Exchange.
The group was also treated to the inspirational story of Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Rosen, a long-time member of NTA and now owner of six hotels and several convention facilities, credited his career success to the group industry. "Today Rosen Hotels has about 6,500 rooms, and we have three convention properties. None of what I have today would have been possible without your industry. If it weren't for the motorcoach industry, Rosen Hotels would not exist today. So thankful and appreciative I am of your industry."
To watch the video of Mr. Rosen's presentation (it's a good one!), go to the Do Big Things blog.
Task force members Cathy Greteman of Star Destinations (member of both NTA and UMA), Paul Nakamoto of Roaring Camp Railroads (NTA member), Audrey Bialas of Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau (member of both NTA and UMA), and Larry Hundt of Great Canadian Holidays/Great Canadian Coaches (UMA member) offered their insight to audience questions such as:
How will the partnership with UMA change the NTA show?
Paul Nakamoto: For the NTA member side, as a tour supplier, it's not going to change at all what you've done in the past with NTA. You're still going to have your prescheduled appointments, and you'll still be able to make additional appointments on site. The difference is now with the UMA side, you've got all the motorcoach operators. At the UMA Expo this year, I actually made contact with two motorcoach operators, and I picked up a new series tour for next year just because of that relationship. So working with the UMA motorcoach operators is a tremendous thing.
Audrey Bialis: UMA motorcoach operators that do operate tours have the option to take appointments. So not only are you going to be able to schedule appointments with NTA operators, but when the appointment scheduling opens, throughout the whole time that it is open, keep checking back because as they register and choose that ability to take appointments, you'll be able to reach a whole new audience that you might not have been able to reach before.
Hundt: In our case, this will be the first time in many years that our tour-planning staff is going to come with our coach operators staff to the same conference. We're going to attract quite a few new tour operators who are going to come to the show because there's so much more at this show now. The UMA operators number about 900 in our total membership, and we will have a lot of our major companies here who have a tour department, and you'll have access to talk to them. They'll be bringing their tour-planning staff because it will be a one-stop shop for them. You'll have access to a lot of new companies and new faces that have the potential of bringing business to you.
If you have any questions about Travel Exchange yourself, please share them with us via e-mail at email@example.com. And be sure to mark April 10 on your calendar as the first day to register for Travel Exchange, Jan. 20-24, in Orlando, Florida.
Attendees of the 2012 Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit will learn about the latest trends and strategies for promoting travel to the United States from Joel Secundy of Brand USA. Secundy, vice president of strategic outreach for Brand USA, will give a detailed presentation about the organization's newly designed consumer Web site and interactive social media tools, along with other elements of the comprehensive marketing campaign.
Brand USA (formerly the Corporation for Travel Promotion) was created in 2010 to encourage travelers from all over the world to visit the United States. Prior to joining Brand USA, Secundy served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services at the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.
The Summit is set for May 8-10 in Washington, D.C., during National Travel and Tourism Week. Sponsored by NTA, the Southeast Tourism Society and Destination Marketing Association International, the Summit is an opportunity for tourism professionals to network with government and industry leaders and to fine-tune their understanding of legislative priorities and processes. Click here for a schedule of events.
The Summit comes at a time when attention to tourism has picked up in Washington. President Obama's Jan. 19 executive order that called for a national strategy with three aims: increase the United States' market share of worldwide travel, promote travel to U.S. national parks and expand tourism opportunities in rural communities.
Contact 2012, NTA's tour operator-exclusive event, Aug. 16-18, in San Diego, California, is shaping up to be the must-attend event for business-savvy operators. Here are just a few of the highlights so far:
Kelly McDonald, one of the highest-rated speakers at NTA's Convention '11, will be at Contact to present new material on social media and generational marketing. Cathleen Johnson from Edelman will be sharing effective branding techniques. And that's just the marketing track.
San Diego has rolled up their sleeves to roll out the red carpet with an Icebreaker at the San Diego Zoo and a farewell party at SeaWorld San Diego.
See you there!
[Tour suppliers and DMOs: Click here to see how to attend Contact.]
"Thanks to the NTA Corporate Partner programs, my NTA membership doesn't cost a thing. I save so much through the programs like Fed Ex, that I reap more from my member benefits than what I'm paying in dues. It definitely is a win-win!"
—Donna Cappa, Tulalip Resort Casino & Spa
NTA members receive valuable, exclusive discounts from NTA Corporate Partners on payroll and credit card processing, insurance, shipping, office supplies and more. When you become an NTA member, you can take full advantage of these Corporate Partner programs *:
ADP (for U.S. members only) offers:
- A 20 percent discount on payroll processing costs
- FREE month of payroll processing services
- Waived one-time setup fee
Aon Affinity Berkely Travel offers:
- NTA tour operators can receive up to 35 percent compensation on Travel Protection Plan sales.
- NTA tour operator members may qualify for premium credits as high as 15 percent off already low NTA member rates on insurance.
Credit Card Processing
Capital One offers:
- No set-up or underwriting fees
- Low Visa/MasterCard discount rates
- Authorization for Discover, American Express, JCB, Diners Club and major debit brands
- Ability to utilize your existing equipment and interface with major POS systems
- No annual or compliance fees
- 24-hour comprehensive terminal support
(U.S. members participating in the FedEx Corporate Partner program save an average of $513 a year on shipping!)
FedEx (for U.S. members only) offers:
- Up to 26 percent off select FedEx Express® U.S. services
- Up to 20 percent off select FedEx Express international services
- Up to 12 percent off select FedEx Ground® services
- Up to 10 percent off select FedEx Home Delivery® services
- Discounts on offices supplies
- Multiple ordering channels: online, fax or phone
- A 10 percent credit on copy services provided at our 1,100 retail stores located throughout the United States
- Computer and technology supplies, furniture and more
*Not all benefits/discounts are available for all members. Please review the information and disclaimers for each partner. These discounts are offered through NTA Corporate Partners, not NTA.
March 11 marked the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan and disrupted travel in the island nation. (During those frantic days following the disaster, NTA's Tuesday e-newsletter provided a firsthand account of the situation from Michio Endo, a friend of NTA.)
Tourism into Japan took an understandable dip, but recovery has been significant. The Japan National Tourism Organization, an NTA member, reports the number of visitors to Japan in April 2011 was down 60 percent from the previous year, but by January 2012, visitor numbers had recovered.
An NTA tour operator has a similar report. "While the number of Americans visiting Japan certainly decreased, Americans seem to be the first nationality to be returning to Japan," said Mike Roberts, owner of Samurai Tours. "For all of our spring tours, we are up 11 percent over 2011."
Those figures don't include the increase in individual travel that Roberts is selling. "We are getting so many requests for FIT packages now, we added another person in our Japan office to handle the requests from international customers so that our Denver office has the time to respond to our American customers."
Click here for images and more reports from JNTO.
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched SaferBus, a mobile application that provides safety information about the nearly 6,000 interstate commercial passenger carriers registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Designed for the Apple iPhone and iPad, the app can be downloaded for free by visiting the Apple iTunes App Store or by going to FMCSA's "Look Before You Book" Web page.
The free app allows tour operators to easily access a bus company's safety performance record. And while the app is available to the public, the information is more valuable in the hands of a travel professional who can more readily interpret it and assess options. Here's what you'll find on the app:
- Operating authority and insurance status: Determine if a bus company has a valid U.S. DOT operating authority and complies with federal insurance requirements.
- Safety performance records: Check the record of a carrier's performance in a number of safety categories: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, and vehicle maintenance. The app gives a snapshot of the data that FMCSA also makes publicly available online at its Compliance, Safety and Accountability Web site.
- Safety ratings: FMCSA issues three types of safety ratings. The top rating is Satisfactory, followed by Conditional (may pose a higher safety risk) and Unsatisfactory (should not be operating).
The SaferBus app also allows users to report a complaint to the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database. To get the company's U.S. DOT number or Motor Carrier (MC) number, go to the FMCSA Web site and enter the company name and headquarters.
Safety information in the app is based on 24 months of roadside inspections and violations of a company's drivers and vehicles, along the results of any DOT/FMCSA investigations of the company's safety practices. If you're unable to use the app, you can visit the DOT Web site that contains the same information.
Facebook might not seem like an obvious path for selling your product to other businesses. After all, the social site is built around person-to-person relationships, right?
But so is B2B marketing, according to Ann Handley on Entrepreneur.com. She outlines five ways to use Facebook to reach out to other businesses-and the people within them:
- You'll need to land a "like" from potential leads before you can expect to engage further with them. Your Facebook page allows you to build awareness and trust.
- After you've got the like, turn it into a lead by regularly offering free content and useful links.
- Create a contest to attract fans, but pick a prize that makes sense for the B2B audience you're trying to attract. (And be sure to read the Facebook fine print regarding promotions.)
- Learn how to make the most of EdgeRank, the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what appears in news feeds. Tips include inviting interaction, posting at different times (and on weekends) and limiting posts to one or two per day.
- Integrate Facebook-sharing icons onto your company's Web site landing page to increase engagement with potential customers.
For more details, see the full story.