Leisure Group Travel Full.pdf

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Leisure Group Travel Full.pdf

DECEMBER 2010A Premier Tourism Marketing publicationwww.leisuregrouptravel.com


share thejourneyWhether traveling with lifelong friends or among kindred spirits,group travel remains the most rewarding way to see the world.Explore the Tuscan Countryside. Behold the Pyramids of Giza.Cruise Sydney’s famous harbor. Landmark experiences such asthese, like a great bottle of wine, should be shared with friends.Collette Vacations, a leader in travel since 1918, delivers thosespecial moments on value-packed tours that include:• Quality accommodations• Many meals featuring local cuisine• Must-see sights and enriching cultural experiences• A professional Tour Manager• On-tour transportationCollette’s No Worries Travel Protection waiverpromises you a FULL CASH REFUND even forcancellation right up to the day prior to departure.For more information contact your local District SalesManager or call 877.861.8687Mention promotion code C839-AX1-918FREE GIFTGroup TravelPlannerEscorted Tours to all7 ContinentsWORLDWIDE TRAVEL2011 - 20122011 - 2012Smithsonian JourneysTravel Adventures ®2011 - 2012Receive yourcomplimentary2011 Group TravelPlanner just for calling.(SEE INSERT)BOOK EARLY & SAVEUP TO $500 PER COUPLEA FREE RIDE!Receive complimentary roundtrip home to airport sedan service on all air-inclusive tours.ASIA • AFRICA • ANTARCTICA • SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICAAUSTRALIA • NEW ZEALAND • EUROPE • USA • MEXICO • CANADAA FREE RIDE!Receive complimentary roundtriphome to airport sedan service ona l air-inclusive tours.VALUE PRICED LEARNING VACATIONS WORLDWIDEEXPLORE. CONNECT. LIVE.Call 877.861.8687 for your FREE Brochure.


contentsVol.20, No. 6 December 2010NEBRASKACOVER STORY34 DESTINATION EVENTSSpecial events spark tour itineraries and encouragereturn visits by sue arkoFEATURES6 Group Planner's E-Book: Hot off the Press8 Reader's Choice Awards12 Youth & Student Travel Trends in 2011by jacqueline kassteen16 Student Travel Planning Guide28COVER STORYNebraska DED22 Cruise Industry Forecast: Insights for Groupsby cindy bertram28 Nebraska's Frontier Trails by randy minkCOLUMNS4 On My Mindby jeff gayduk36 On Marketingby dave bodle38 On Technologyby john kamm12Photo Courtesy of © 2010 JUPITER IMAGES CorporationDEPARTMENTS19 Student Travel News34ON THE COVER:Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Photo courtesy of Albuquerque CVB/Raymond Watt)Pasadena CVB


Over 500 LocationsService, Value, VarietyFree meals for your driver and group leader• Ample free motor coach parking • All-inclusive nationwide pricing • Food that’s ready for a quick, hassle-free stop• A wide variety of foods to accommodate specific diet choicesServing breakfast, lunch and dinnerReservations made easy. Visit www.buffet.com/leisuregroupemail: groupsales@buffetsinc.com or call 866-840-6654© 2010 Buffets, Inc.


on trip planning ❖Updated Book Now Availablefor Group Travel PlannersONE OF THE GROUP TRAVELindustry’s best educational resources hasbeen updated with fresh content, makingit an even more valuable companionfor tour planners looking to maximizetheir business’s potential. The revised2011 edition of How to Plan, Operate &Lead Successful Group Trips, an e-bookwritten by long-time Leisure GroupTravel columnist Marty Sarbey deSouto, is hot off the press.The re-introduction of the book,published by Premier Tourism Marketing,includes not only Marty’s magazinecolumns from the past three years,but reflects new developments on thetravel industry landscape, such as theadvent of social networking, changesin terminology and changes in airlinesecurity.“The purpose of the book,” she says,“is to give group organizers inspirationand practical help in planning and operatingbetter trips.”While there are many travel/tourismbooks in the marketplace that touchon group tour planning and leading asa small part of the overall book, How toPlan, Operate & Lead Successful GroupTrips focuses entirely on this segmentof the industry. This allows for moredepth, more detail and more answers totour leaders’ real questions.Topics in the book range from planningand promoting trips to legal issues,travel insurance and in-house operationalhints. The author also discussesspecific modes of travel, like cruisingand rail trips.Among the many subjects beingadded in the revised edition are:• Getting organized for the day on tour• Considering tour programming andleading as a career• How to “use” your tour participantsto help you• Finding inspiration for our tripsIn the chapter on “Dealing with SpecialMarkets,” Marty talks about packagingtrips for women only, attractingbaby boomers and how to get men tosign up for tours. For marketing travelprograms, she discusses paid advertising,press releases, direct mail, newslettersand promotional parties.The “On the Road” chapter focuseson tour escorting and what to expect inthe field. It covers such topics as airportcheck-in rules, shopping time, workingwith local step-on guides, dealing withdiverse personalities and clearing U.S.customs when returning from abroad.“Group travel is more importantnow than ever when the financial pictureof many folks is down,” Martysaid. “They need the social aspects—camaraderie, talking things over withothers, learning something.”“The purpose of the book is to give grouporganizers inspiration and practical help inplanning and operating better trips.”Group travel planners will find lotsof new material in the updatedversion of this how-to guide.—MARTY SARBEY DE SOUTOMarty Sarbey de Souto is founder ofthe travel industry training program atBerkeley (Calif.) City College, where shetaught all aspects of group travel for 32years. A Certified Travel Counselor(CTC), she continues to design and leadtours as well as provide consulting services.Marty’s 40-plus years of experienceinclude tour operations, itinerary design,trip costing, marketing and tour escorting.She is a two-time former presidentof San Francisco Women in Travel (nowcalled San Francisco Travel Professionals).Her latest activity: taking tangolessons. “I’m a good dancer,” she says,“but tango is hard!”To order the new edition of How toPlan, Operate & Lead Successful GroupTrips, visit Premier Tourism Marketing’seducational website, groupuniversity.com,and click on GU Bookstore. Price is$29.95.6 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


2010★READER ’SCH ★ ICE★AwardsYou voted...and the results are in! Congratulations to our2010 Reader’s Choice winners, selected by readers ofLeisure Group Travel. Subscribers voted by mailing in theirReader Service Card or going online at leisuregrouptravel.com.%About This Year’s Award WinnersOur readers this year must have heard the call of the wildas Alaska came out No. 1 (Platinum) in the Domestic Destinationcategory. The Last Frontier didn’t even place in the top3 last year, though it did earn Gold in 2008. The emergence ofBranson and Pigeon Forge as runners-up must be music tothe ears of tour planners who fancy packaging down-homemountain culture with state-of-the-art performance venues.These destinations contrast with the urban cast of last year’swinners (New York City and Washington, D.C. ranking No.1 and 2).Ireland, Italy and Switzerland took honors in the InternationalDestination sweepstakes. While Ireland and Italy are frequentpast winners, Switzerland is a newcomer in reader preferences.South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore looms largest this year inthe Attraction category (up from Silver last year), while anotherall-American icon, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, took Gold. GettysburgNational Military Park came in third, showing up in theawards for the first time (no doubt because of its new visitor center).These three distinctively American attractions dislodgedDisney World and Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival,which had dominated recent rankings.Top Theater honors went to Wisconsin’s Fireside DinnerTheatre, which had placed No. 2 last year. Sight & Sound reboundedto second place after not making last year’s list for thefirst time in a while. Newly recognized was Ford’s Theatre inWashington, which won Silver.Marriott, a perennial favorite, tied with Hampton for Silverthis year, relinquishing the Hotel Chain top spot it had enjoyedin recent years. Comfort Inn, which had never made the top 3,took home Platinum, while Hilton was right behind at Gold. InGaming Establishment, long-time favorites Harrah’s Las Vegasand Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun came in No. 1 and 2, followedby newcomer Pechanga of California.When it comes to Tour Operator, readers of Leisure GroupTravel for the fourth year in a row gave the Platinum and Goldto Collette Vacations and Globus, respectively. Diamond Toursreturned to its 2008 Silver slot (after being knocked out by TauckWorld Discovery last year). The Cruise Line competition alsosaw familiar players, but this time Princess was No. 1 and HollandAmerica No. 3, a reversal of their rankings in 2008 and2009. Carnival placed second.Thanks to all who cast their ballots in the Reader’s ChoiceAwards. For the first time, more of you voted online than mailedin cards. If you disagree with this year’s results, ensure your opinionis voiced in our 2011 Awards— voting starts next August.8 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


ATTRACTIONMount Rushmore • PlatinumGrand Canyon • GoldGettysburg National Military Park • SilverCASINOHarrah’s Las Vegas • PlatinumMohegan Sun, CT • GoldPechanga, CA • SilverCRUISE LINEPrincess • PlatinumCarnival • GoldHolland America • SilverDOMESTIC DESTINATIONAlaska • PlatinumBranson, MO • GoldPigeon Forge, TN • SilverHOTEL CHAINComfort Inn • PlatinumHilton • GoldHampton/Marriott (tie) • SilverINTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONIreland • PlatinumItaly • GoldSwitzerland • SilverTHEATERFireside Dinner Theatre • PlatinumSight & Sound • GoldFord’s Theatre • SilverTOUR OPERATORCollette Vacations • PlatinumGlobus • GoldDiamond Tours • SilverBOOK YOUR GROUP WITH GATE 1 TRAVELGate 1 is your One Stop Group Shop!Land From Air From9 Day Central Thailand with River Kwai $429 $700*13 Day Affordable Turkey $699 $558*8 Day Affordable Egypt with 3 Day Nile Cruise $399 $852*8 Day Rome, Florence & Venice by Rail $399 $556*7 Day Affordable Greece $499 $642** Air prices include fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges are subjectto change, at the discretions of the airlines. Prices do not includeUS and foreign government airport taxes and fees of up to$290, depending upon the package, including the September11th Security Fee of $2.50 per US enplanement, up to $10 perround-trip; passenger facility charges of $4.50 per segment, upto $18 per round-trip; federal domestic segment fee of $3.70 persegment; travel facilities tax of $8 per direction; immigrationfee of $7; customs user fee of $5.50; APHIS user fee of $5; andinternational transportation tax of $16.10 per arrival or departure.More of the World for Lesswww.gate1travel.comWhy Gate 1 is Your Best Resourcefor Group Travel: Knowledgeable & friendly staff, experienced inhandling all types of groups Customized air & land itineraries; deviationspermitted Competitive net air rates & land prices throughoutthe world Bulk airline tickets - no price printed on the tickets Knowledge of handling all types of excess baggage Early booking of air space - as early as 11 monthsprior to departure 24 hour emergency accessFor more information,call 800-682-3333 option 3or visit www.gate1travel.com/groupsLeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 9


advertorialThere’s an ancient Chinese proverbthat states, “May you live in interestingtimes.” As we approach 2011and forecast our industry’s outlook, thephrase is telling. There’s never beena more interesting time to be in themotorcoach, tourism and group travelbusiness.Challenges are out there, and revivingleisure group travel is a formidableone. But these interesting times arefull of opportunities. Consider thesesigns of the times as we get ready forthe new year and Marketplace 2011 inPhiladelphia from Jan. 8-12.Cruising down the road by motorcoachis the carefree way to see America.The economy remains uncertain.Yet the mode shift toward bus travelcontinues, as modern, luxurious motorcoachesare increasingly being seen asan antidote to travel annoyances thepublic now expects from planes, trainsand automobile congestion. Taking theplane, train or the car is about “are wethere yet?”But getting there should be part ofthe fun, especially with the customizationchoices so many bus and groupThe 2011 Outlook for theMotorcoach, Tour & TravelBy Peter Pantuso, CTISIndustry President & CEO, American Bus Associationtour operators now offer withinthe template of the group travelexperience.Combine that with our abilityin 200-400 mile trips – distancestoo far to drive, too short to fly –to be competitive with air, railand auto travel on time, cost,convenience and passengeramenities, and motorcoachtravel becomes the top choicefor many groups.Leisure travelers understand thevalue, from a peace-of-mind perspective,of arriving at their destinationrefreshed, rather than looking for lostluggage or exhausted from drivingthrough white-knuckle gridlock. Theyunderstand intuitively that they canjump on the bus and be entertainedrather than detained – and do so withothers having similar interests.Because of the still-shaky economy,more Americans are traveling closer tohome for vacations, as well as lookingfor value, creating another great opportunityfrom those who can’t take acruise or a European vacation.It’s critical to remind these travelersthat discretionary leisure travel hasn’tbeen cancelled in North America. Wealready provide more trips than thedomestic airlines most years. It isn’t toomuch of a stretch to reach out to travelerswary of other modes and say tothem, “Take a bus and see our wonderfulcontinent, from Baja to Branson toBritish Columbia. Book the new leisuretrip sensation. See, rather than fly over,North America, and enjoy stopping andTour passengers enjoy more amenitiesand comforts than ever before.touring at its wonderful historic landmarksand iconic destinations.”In 2011, we’ll mark the sesquicentennialof the beginning of the Civil War.There are countless commemorations,re-enactments, historical tours andmonuments attesting to the milestonethat the Civil War represented in securingfreedom for all. And in those anniversaryevents, we’ll have the chanceto revisit perhaps the most importantturning point in American history.2011 will also be a year of politicalchange, and the outcome of the midtermelections will clearly have an impacton the motorcoach tourism andgroup travel industries. We need to educateincoming members of Congresson how motorcoach travel is a part ofany transportation solution. ABA’sFoundation studies show that all 435U.S. House districts and all 50 statesbenefit from bus tour groups infusingleisure travel dollars into destinations.We are living in very interestingtimes, as the proverb said. And if we dothings right, these times may be onesof tremendous opportunities for all.10 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


JANUARY 8-12, 2011HELPING BUS AND TOUROPERATORS GO FURTHERABA is the only industry organization that connects motorcoach and touroperators with people who can help you grow your business – thedestinations and suppliers that cater to the group tour market, and theproduct and service suppliers you want to see.WHY ABA’S MARKETPLACE IS CRITICAL TO YOUR BUSINESS: One-on-one appointment sessions with travel industry professionals who want your business. Unlimited networking opportunities with people who can help your business grow. Professional education seminars designed to help you succeed in business.MUST ATTEND EVENTS:SATURDAY, JAN. 8, 4:30 p.m.OPERATOR-TO-OPERATOR BUSINESS SESSIONSPONSORED BY BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL Sell your tour packages. Charter your coach to other operators. Meet operators in areas where you need assistance. Share best practices with your colleagues. Build business relationships with other operators.SATURDAY & SUNDAYABA’S PRODUCT PAVILION OFFERS: Face-to-face time with the industry’smajor bus manufacturers and dealers. Opportunities to meet with premierTire, Finance, Insurance companies and other vendorswho will save you money. Access to ABA’s Government Affairs staff to helpyou with issues affecting your business.SATURDAY & SUNDAYOPERATOR FOCUSED EDUCATION SEMINARS Managing Without Interference and theEmployee Free Choice Act - Presented by Obermayer,Rebmann, Maxwell, & Hippel LLP Harassment Recognition and Prevention in theWorkplace - Presented by Obermayer, Rebmann,Maxwell, & Hippel LLP Deskside Assistance - Presented by ABA’sGovernment Affairs DepartmentView the education schedule at www.buses.org/marketplace.“Being an ABA Tour Operator member keeps meinformed of trends and issues that affect my travelpartners and how their issues effect my operationsand clients. Membership in ABA allows me todevelop new products and relationships withthose suppliers who strictly attend Marketplace.”-Bryan Cole, PresidentSuper Holiday Tours, ABA Tour Operator MemberEVERYTHINGUNDER ONE ROOF800-283-2877 | WWW.BUSES.ORG/MARKETPLACE


on student travel ❖ jacqueline kassteenYOUTH&STUDENTT R AV E LT R E N D SI N 2011China looms as a hot destination for students,many of whom will enroll in study abroad programs.Once a year, professionals in the youth, student and educationaltravel industry gather at the World Youthand Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) to formulatepartnerships, strengthen business relationships and discoverthe latest youth trends both globally and regionally. Thisfall's event in Beijing revealed the behavior of youth andstudent travelers today, where they’re coming from, wherethey’re headed and what industry professionals can do toconnect with them and gain their business.Photos Courtesy of © 2010 JUPITER IMAGES CorporationYOUTH AND STUDENTS TODAYThere are 1.7 billion people on Earth today who are 15-30 years old. In an insightful seminar entitled Global YouthTrends, WYSTC speaker John Solomon discussed this importantconsumer group in both the context of a radicallychanging global youth population and an emerging China.Solomon predicts that in a not-too-distant future, Chinese12 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


VISITThe Country MusicHall of Fame ® and MuseumDowntown Nashville, TennesseeCountry Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964.FAMILY TRADITION:The Williams Family LegacyPresented byExhibit Closes December 31, 2011Don’t miss one of the most powerful exhibitionsever to be displayed at the museum, examiningthe personal lives of Hank Williams and HankWilliams Jr. and exploring the dynamics thatinspired some of the most influential country musicever recorded. Your group will be inspired by thisincredible story of love heartache and redemption.UNIQUE GROUP TOUR PACKAGES AVAILABLE800-852-6437CountryMusicHallofFame.orgFollow us on:Where every visit createslasting memoriesMotorcoach travelers know that Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to makememories. Could be because there’s so much to see and do here … shopping,shows, Dollywood ® or the majestic beauty of our Smoky Mountains. Or it couldbe that warm welcome they receive, kind of like visiting an old friend. Whateverthe reason, they know that every visit creates memories that will last a lifetime.PigeonForgeTours.com1-800-285-7557


on student travel ❖youth will be trendsetters and influencebrand decisions globally.Millennials are “the largest, mostdiverse, educated and influentialshoppers on the planet,” according toGen Buy. The more a brand fits intotheir lifestyle, the more inclined theyare to gain personal identificationwith that brand. This identity connectionin turn means that youthtoday are extremely brand loyal.Once they find a product or servicethey like, they continue to come backto it. And for a generation born intothe social media era, they are naturallyinclined to share their opinionswith their friends and family – nearlyevery minute of every day.TOMORROW’S TRENDSSolomon predicts that we couldsee this trend reversing. Young peoplePhoto Courtesy of © 2010 JUPITER IMAGES CorporationA student trip to New York City is notcomplete without a harbor cruise.today are in a state of “hyper selfawareness”of their own emotions,thoughts, actions and desires, but intime that can become so exhaustingthat they will begin to limit the extentof their openness and restricttheir social profiles to only their closestcontacts. Quality will win out overquantity.What does this mean for thoseof us whose customers are youthand students? Currently they can beyour biggest mouthpiece, easing thestrain on your marketing budget.But if their social circles shrink, sodoes your brand exposure; therefore,companies might also need to focusmore on the quality of their offerand rely less on simply reaching themasses.Luckily, the youth market has ahigher lifetime value than otherCome join us for a fun-filled experience of sandybeaches, endless shopping & dining, Broadway-styleentertainment (Alabama Theatre & Carolina Opry)golf & more! For your next motor coach tour, theFairfield Inn Myrtle Beach North is a perfect fit.We offer COMPLIMENTARY motor coach parking, aCOMPLIMENTARY tour leader room, on board motorcoach greeting, welcome reception, COMPLIMENTARYbreakfast and porterage at the best available rate.A perfect location for value conscious travelers.Reserve your tour group today! Please call843-361-8000 or email the Sales Department atdos.fimbeach@parkplacehg.net, or visit ourwebsite at www.marriott.com/myrfnSituated only moments to the historic district, thebeautiful & unique "round" Holiday Inn Charleston Riverviewcaptures the spirit of Charleston and invites you to enjoythe spectacular views of the cityscape and the Ashley River.As our special guest, we offer express check-in and checkout,COMPLIMENTARY on-site motor coach parking, porterageservice & COMPLIMENTARY shuttle service to & from theHistoric District of Charleston as well as the SC Aquarium &Ft. Sumter Tours. Enjoy the amazing & beautiful panoramicview of the city of Charleston & the Ashley River atop thehotel from our full-service Harbor View Restaurant & Lounge.Reserve your tour group today! Please call 843-460-1440or email Brandy Olson at bolson@hiriverview.com, or visitour website at www.hiriverview.comLooking for the perfect place to stay with plenty to offer yourguests, all within walking distance of the hotel? Look no furtherthan the Harbor Front Hampton Inn & Suites in downtownFernandina Beach! As our special guest, we offer expresscheck-in and check-out, parking for your motor coach, baggagehandling, a welcome reception and COMPLIMENTARY welcomebags. Your guests will enjoy a COMPLIMENTARY full hotbreakfast in our Café while taking in the beautiful views of thehistoric Fernandina Harbor. We have over 50 restaurants,shops and attractions within walking distance from the hotelmaking us the perfect destination spot for your tour!Reserve your tour group today! Please callCeleste Christian at 904-491-4911, or visit our websiteat www.hamptoninnandsuitesameliaisland.com14 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


travel sectors - today’s backpackers andstudents are tomorrow’s honeymoon,family, business and leisure travelers, aswell as foreign employees in local industries.Plus, not only do they return todestinations they like, they also continueto travel to more destinations, furtherenriching and unifying the industry.At a value of approximately US$136 billion per year, the youth travelindustry commands great power and isset for growth. Solomon highlightedanother trend he nicknamed the PeterPan Syndrome, meaning that today’syouth want to stay younger, longer.Students are now prone to defer life’sbig decisions and are increasingly turningto gap years, especially with strongunemployment figures intimidatingthem. For the global youth travel industry,this means even more revenuepotential.W Y S E T R AV E L C O N F E D E R AT I O NThe WYSE Travel Confederation (wysetc.org), which is endorsed by theUNWTO and UNESCO, is a not-for-profit membership association that supportsthe global youth travel industry and creates new opportunities for youth andstudent travelers worldwide. It consists of various niche associations such as:• International Student Identity Card Association (ISIC)• STUDY WYSE Association• Safe Travel Accommodation for Youth Association (STAY WYSE)• International Association for Student Insurance Services (IASIS)• WYSE Work Abroad Association• International Au Pair Association (IAPA)The Confederation’s annual event, the World Youth& Student Travel Conference, connects the manysectors and organizations in this niche market.Bringing these industries together provides a singularopportunity to pursue innovative partnerships,develop marketing and distribution channels, andtap into new markets. WYSTC will take place inEurope in September 2011. Event photos, seminarvideos, industry and event news can be found at http://wire.wystc.org.Navy Pier is Chicago’s top-visited, year-roundattraction, featuring restaurants, rides, shops,dining cruises, free entertainment and so much more!LeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 15


STUDENT TRAVELPLANNING GUIDEPROVIDES VALUABLELESSONSTour planners interested in expanding their student travel offerings—orjumping into the student market for the first time—will find a gold mine of practical tips in the 2011 edition of StudentTravel Planning Guide. A comprehensive resource for planningstudent/youth trips, the 36-page guide is published by PremierTourism Marketing, parent company of Leisure Group Travel.Randy Mink, managing editor of Student Travel PlanningGuide, said, “Teachers, travel agents and other tour planners willfind the handy guide a welcome addition to their arsenal of resources.There is nothing like it out there.”Written by educators, the second annual edition of StudentTravel Planning Guide provides how-to advice on planningand executing successful youth trips. Directory listings pinpointattractions, tour companies and destinations eager for studenttravel business. Sections include:✓✓✓✓✓✓✓Setting a Trip-Planning TimelineWorking with Tour ProvidersChoosing a Tour HotelStudent DisciplineChoosing ChaperonesGroup Travel InsurancePost-Trip ActivitiesONLINE RESOURCESIn addition to Student Travel Planning Guide, Premier TourismMarketing offers InSite on Student Travel, both a website andmonthly e-newsletter. The website, with listings and links tothousands of student/youth-friendly destinations and businesses,is designed to be the premier research tool for the market. Thee-newsletter takes its cue from InSite on Leisure Group Travel,offering news, destination reports and practical tips. To obtaina copy of Student Travel Planning Guide or subscribe to thee-newsletter, visit insite.studenttraveldirectory.com.16 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


on student travel ❖STUDENT ORIGIN MARKETS –WHERE DOES IT ALL BEGIN?China and India are the main sourcecountries for the US $17 billion overseasstudent industry, which employs125,000 people and funds 25 percentof university teaching. Researchshows that 645,000 Chinese studentswill be studying abroad by2025, a staggering 84 percent increasefrom 2007.Young Chinese today take an activeinterest in other cultures andyearn to travel and study abroad.They place a premium on Westerneducation, and with a market thesize of China, the potential is lucrative.By 2015 there will be 500 millionpeople under the age of 30 inChina, roughly the population ofthe European Union. And with currentfigures showing 256 millionyouth online in China, it’s no secrethow to reach them.In the next five to ten years, thepowerhouses of China and India willbe joined by a number of emergingsource markets such as Brazil, Chile,Bolivia, Peru, the Czech Republic,Vietnam, Pakistan, Russia, Georgia andCentral Asian states such as Kyrgyzstanand Tajikistan.WHERE ARE YOUTH GOING?Once again, China takes the crownand is pegged to be the world’s No. 1tourist destination by 2015. By next yearalone, the total China travel market (inboundand outbound) is forecasted at$65 billion, and by then over 20 percentof it will be online. (Source: PhoCusWright – Emerging Online TravelMarketplace).The study abroad industry is akey component: China plans to attract500,000 international students in 2020,including 150,000 in universities. QiuXiaoping from the Beijing MunicipalCommission of Education also delivereda speech during WYSTC’s opening session,encouraging further cooperation ineducation and culture communication.“The Chinese government is more opento international academic communicationprograms as increasing numbers ofoverseas students are coming to study inChina,” Qiu said.Meanwhile, “countries like Chile,Colombia, the Czech Republic, Romaniaand Saudi Arabia are becomingmore integrated in global trade andcould begin to attract students,” statedAngel Calderon of Australia’s RMITUniversity in his recent paper “EmergingCountries for Student Recruitmentin Tertiary Education.”Youth travelers are continually hailedas pioneers and trend-setters, forgingnew tourism frontiers and opening upnew markets through their adventurousspirit and desire for new experiences. Byappealing to this market, places likeBeirut, Nairobi and Cape Town are becomingthe new destinations of choice.Perhaps then it was no coincidencethat a new hop-on, hop-off travel company,Falafel Travel Corp., was launchedIndustry leaders recently gathered in Beijing to discuss youth travel issues.at WYSTC by Australian Frank Scerri.The company will begin operation ofits backpacker bus across Jordan, Israeland Egypt in March 2011. “People aregenuinely excited about this product,but the biggest question I have had isabout security in the region,” he said.“These countries are very safe places totravel, and the people are extremelyfriendly.”WHAT REALLY MATTERS?Solomon told the WYSTC audiencethat this generation is not one of creatorsbut one of sharers. Youth today are oftenconsidered to be lazy or spoiled sincetechnology has created things for them;they are used to getting whatever theywant or need at any time or place. HeLeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 17


on student travel ❖ON BROADWAYIMPERIAL THEATRE800-432-7780BillyElliotBroadway.com©2008 BILLY BROADWAY, LLCSPECTA ACULAR HARBOR TOURS d epart fromSouth St. Seaport. 1-hour fun and educational rides.Days or evenings. Custom and specialtycruises.Catering available. NYWATERTAXI.COM866.981.2542HOW DO YOUNEWYORK?1- hour ZEPHYR Seaport Liberty Cruise. Forgroups up to 400. See the Statue tue of Liberty andmore. Private areas available ailable with meal options.nywatertaxicited a trend coined “now-stalgia,” clarifyingthat rather than looking aheadtowards a brighter future, they are lookingbackwards and revitalizing old fashions,movies, songs and video games.Therefore, companies must provide thetools for them to have new experiences.Furthermore, with youth’s addiction tosocial media and sharing quick updatesor moments, businesses not only need tocreate new moments for them but alsofacilitate the subsequent sharing of thoseexperiences.“But don’t just sell experiences, sellmeaningful experiences,” WYSTCkeynote speaker Daniel Levine of TheAvant-Guide Institute urged. Levinehighlighted the global financial meltdownas the key reason for a suddencultural change: “a social earthquake.”He showed that travel opportunities thatreflect the desire for education, learningand personal experience are becomingincreasingly popular.Solomon echoed this in stressing thatyouth are leading the trends towardsself-improvement, eco-awareness, socialresponsibility, community involvementand volunteering. Millennials are particularlyattracted to travel offerings thatmove beyond the mainstream andprovide value-driven, conscientious experiences.The message from this year’sWYSTC was loud and clear:• Travel products and services need tobe unique and of high-quality• Your company must create new,enriching experiences for youth andstudents• Give your customers the tools andopportunities to engage with you andwith your potential customers• If China isn’t already part of yourbusiness plan, then find the right partnersand get into this market now LGTDeparts from South Street t Seaport frequently.circlelinedowntown.com | 866.981.2542Jacqueline Kassteen is the communications andmarketing officer of WYSE Travel Confederation18 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Attractions across America offer studentgroups educational components as well as funNEW YORK CITYStudent groups can fly over theStatue of Liberty, ride the Cyclone rollercoaster and experience other New YorkCity landmarks at NY SKYRIDE, thevirtual tour simulator attraction on thesecond floor of the Empire State Building.Its latest add-on package, for groupsof up to 80, is a meal plan ($6 a person)at Rosa’s Pizza, inside the city’s tallestskyscraper.NY SKYRIDE, an entertaining introductionto America’s largest city, offersfree, downloadable school curriculums(certified by the State of New York forgrades 6-12) and walking tours. In thevirtual tour, the city comes to life viaspecially designed seats and a platformthat move in sync to a two-story-tallHD screen. The narrator is actor KevinBacon. Groups can combine SKYRIDEwith Fast Track admission to the EmpireState Building Observatory, reducingwait time by 75 percent. The comboplan for student groups is $26 a person.Many groups, though, just do theSKYRIDE ($12), according to ReneeWilson, assistant director of businessdevelopment. (212-299-4904,skyride.com)Standards, is designed to empower educatorswith the tools they need to deliverlessons in areas such as history, politicalscience, social studies and media beforeand after visiting the wax museum. ThePresidents Gallery, one of the museum’sspecial features, will have life-sized waxfigures of all 44 U.S. presidents fromGeorge Washington to Barack Obama.Newsstudent travelThe gallery is expected to be completeby February.Madame Tussauds offers an array ofbuffet dinner options in conjunctionwith an evening group visit. Popularchoices include pasta bars, pizza partiesand hot sub sandwich bars. Catering isprovided by La Prima Catering. (888-923-0334, madametussauds.com)CAST IN WAXStudent groups at Madame TussaudsWashington D.C. can add an educationalseminar or scavenger hunt to theirvisit. Current seminars are available intwo subjects: art history and marketingand public relations pertaining to thetourism industry. Scavenger hunts areoffered in short (20-25 questions) andlong (40-50 questions) formats.Madame Tussauds has a mini-educationalcurriculum guide and poster featuringthe 44 U.S. Presidents. The guide,developed in accordance with the U.S.Department of National Social StudiesStandards and National Council for theSocial Civil Rights Movement StudiesLeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 19


Call 866 868-7774 (866 Tours SI)TTY: 202 633-8850or visit www.si.edu/group_tours on Demand! UNDER THE SEAThe National Aquarium, a studenttravel hotspot in Baltimore, offersschool groups a variety of tours andprograms, including scientific investigationsand animal presentations. Topicsrange from sharks and Australian animalsto coral reef ecosystems. There’seven a squid dissection lab. The ChesapeakeBay Explorations program letsstudents test water samples and measureoysters to draw conclusions about thehealth of the bay. For advanced highschool biology students, a behind-thescenestour emphasizes water chemistry,animal care, exhibit maintenance andaquarium careers.All programs support the MarylandVolunteer State Curriculum in Science.Teacher booklets are available to provideclassroom activities that prepare studentsfor the program and discussion after thevisit. Groups may pre-order box lunches,dine in one of the Aquarium’s cafes oreat in the waterfront park.Besides exhibits, Aquarium highlightsinclude a dolphin show and the 4-DImmersion Theater, which combines3-D film with sensory effects such asmist, wind, snow, bubbles, steam, legticklers and seat vibrations. (410-576-3833, aqua.org/teachers)Newsstudent travelTOP OF CHICAGOSkydeck Chicago, the 103rd-floorobservation deck atop the 110-storyWillis Tower, offers new educationaltools for student groups, includinga 37-page guide, The Hows, Whatsand Wows of Willis Tower—A Guide forTeachers. On a clear day, four states—Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin andMichigan—are visible from the nation’stallest building (formerly Sears Tower).A scavenger hunt encourages students tocheck off sights like the Lincoln ParkZoo, Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pierand O’Hare Airport. Students especiallyDaring students brave The Ledgeat Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago.like The Ledge, a glass balcony experiencethat extends 4.3 feet from outsidethe building, giving them a clear view1,353 feet straight down. Free bus parkingis available for groups with reservations.(312-875-9447, theskydeck.com)TROPICAL FUNWhite Water, the water fun park inBranson, Mo., unveils Aloha River atHula Hula Bay in May 2011. The park’snewest area will provide a setting of lushPolynesian jungles reminiscent of theSouth Pacific. Floating riders maneuveringthrough the calm waters will meetwith unexpected twists and turns, waterfeatures, fountains, misters and geysers.The 800-plus-foot river will be thepark’s longest ride. New seating areasLeisureGroupTravel.com


and cabanas are being added. Favorite rides at White Waterinclude the seven-story Kalani Towers for speed racing,Tropical Twister and Bermuda Triangle. (800-417-7770,silverdollarcity.com)PARK AFTER DARKStudents can wake up to giraffes, zebras and hippos onsleepover programs offered by Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.Included are special animal encounters, hands-on educationalactivities, a pizza dinner, continental breakfast and overnightaccommodations. Also available are two- or three-night campadventures with behind-the-scenes encounters. There’s alsotime to enjoy the theme park’s rides, shows and attractions.Busch Gardens Camps support the National Science EducationStandards and Florida Sunshine State Standards.(877-248-2267, buschgardens.org)NEW IN MYRTLE BEACHA WonderWorks attraction will open in March 2011at Broadway at the Beach entertainment complex in MyrtleBeach, S.C. The first attraction of its kind in the Carolinas,it will feature more than 100 interactive exhibits. Wonder-Works will be located adjacent to Soar & Explore’s zip lineand ropes course, an attraction openedby WonderWorks management earlierthis year. It will appear as a four-story,classically-designed building that appearsto have landed upside down.Exhibits include the hurricane shack,where guests will feel the effects ofwinds reaching 74 miles per hour; a bedof nails, where visitors will feel the sensationof 3,500 sharp nails; the Wonder-Wall, where people can create a 3-Dimpression of their bodies by pressingonto a wall made of 40,000 plastic pins;the XD Theater 4-D Extreme MotionRide, which uses special effects and fullmotionseats to take guests along anamazing adventure that transcends time,space and imagination; and ShuttleLanders, where visitors can experiencethe challenge of landing the DiscoverySpace Shuttle.Other WonderWorks attractions arein Orlando and Panama City Beach,Fla. and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (wonderworksonline.com)LGTGROUPSCALL 410-576-3833TO MAKE YOURRESERVATIONBE TAKEN.501 East Pratt Street • Baltimore, MD 21202aqua.orgLeisureGroupTravel.com


industry forecast ❖ cindy bertramCRUISE INDUSTRYFORECAST 2011– INSIGHTS FOR GROUPSSix cruise line executives discuss the advantages of oceanvacations and their strategies for attracting group businessPort of MiamiDespite the challenges that theeconomy has dealt to most areasof the travel industry, cruise industryleaders remain optimisticabout continued growth and success inbringing groups to their ships.Cindy Bertram from Leisure GroupTravel spoke with cruise industry executivesto get their input and ideas onpositives they are seeing as well as tipsand insights for group leaders.Participating were Ron Gulaskey, director,corporate sales and charters,Celebrity Cruises; Mike Julius, managingdirector, U.S. sales, Carnival CruiseLines; Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executivevice president, marketing, salesand guest programs, Holland AmericaLine; Richard Sasso, president andCEO, MSC Cruises; Janice Tully,CTIE, senior vice president, sales, UniworldBoutique River Cruise Collection;and Maurice Zarmati, president andCEO, Costa Cruises North America.Cindy Bertram: What advicewould you like to provide to grouporganizers who are currently not22 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


CRUISE INDUSTRY PANELpromoting cruise groups? Whyshould they consider organizing andpromoting cruise groups as opposedto land tours?Ron Gulaskey: Group business is anabsolutely incredible revenue source forgroup leaders! Why focus on groupbusiness? It’s a way to increase yourclient base – new people you neverwould have found otherwise. It createsyour future business pipeline, and it isefficient selling because specific policiesand amenities are very organized for thegroup planner.Mike Julius: If someone in thegroup has never sailed before, it’s importantfor the group leader to “set thestage” – do they want the prime rib orlobster or both? Our staff is trained todeal with groups, and there is an ease ofpulling all the components together –from transportation and accommodationsto destinations, meals and entertainment.This is where cruises excel.Richard Meadows: For consumers,cruising provides the top vacation valuetoday particularly relative to land-basedtravel and fluctuating currencies. Forexample, in Europe, you can’t beat beingable to visit three to five cities and experiencedifferent cultures for the valueof a cruise paid in U.S. dollars. Culinarygroups are one of the biggest trendsand, for Holland America Line, thetrend falls right into line with thestrengths of our premium brand. Allour ships have a multi-million-dollarshow kitchen at sea called the CulinaryArts Center presented by Food andWine magazine. Building a grouparound a local chef, with food demonstrationsand interaction with both theguest chef and our own shipboardchefs, is a wonderful way to create aunique experience for guests. We offer aspecial Culinary Group package.Richard Sasso: Cruise groups are theeasiest groups to control and manage.Mike JuliusCarnival Cruise LinesRichaRd sassoMSC CruisesMauRice ZaRMatiCosta CruisesRichaRd MeadowsHolland America LineJanice tullyUniworld Boutique River Cruise CollectionRon GulaskeyCelebrity CruisesleisureGrouptravel.com december 2010 23


industry forecast ❖Port of Tampa/Tampa Port AuthorityMost of the details of the group’s needsare already included in the cruise operation,from meals, tours, services, attentionto details and special events toon-the-spot customer service. Cruisegroups are the foundation for returnbusiness year after year. Using thethemes offered by many lines, like ourBig Band and baseball cruises, provide agreat opportunity to direct and targetyour sales efforts to a specific audience.Janice Tully: We provide a “onestop”shopping experience for the grouporganizer. Our knowledgeable groupreservations agents can guide them tothe perfect river cruise; one phone callcan secure the entire group booking.Our attractive group discounts arecombinable with our brochure discounts(EBD, PIF and River HeritageClub discounts). Our onboard cruisemanagers take care of all of the shoreexcursions, so the group organizer canenjoy the trip without having toworry. All of the details are handledwith no packing and unpacking gettingfrom one place to another.Maurice Zarmati:There is simply nobetter value for your clients than a groupprogram at sea. On a cruise, not only willaccommodations be included for yourclients, but they’ll have their dining,activities and entertainment covered aswell. Cruises also provide value for you,the planner, as there’s such a wide varietyof “already planned” activities onboard,complete with meeting space nearby.How important is group cruise businessto your cruise line? What percentageactually makes up total sailings?Gulaskey: Celebrity loves to havegroup business for many reasons andusually we limit group business to 25-30% of our sailings. This allows a nicemix of groups/FIT and nobody feelsexcluded or left out.Julius: At Carnival, group businessis very important to us and we wanttrue affinity business.Meadows: Cruise group businesscan represent up to half of the guests ona cruise departure, depending upon thespecific destination. A well planned andmarketed cruise group contributes tothe success of the sell and will returnrepeat business later.Sasso: MSC targets almost 50% ofour inventory to groups. We provide anattractive advanced rate with a host ofamenities to offer the best value to thegroup guest.Many Western Caribbean cruises depart from Tampa, a top Gulf Coast port.Since 1990, the cruise industry has had anaverage annual passenger growth rateof 7.2% per year, according to CLIA—Cruise Lines International AssociationZarmati: It’s very important to usand we pride ourselves on being groupleaders. The percentage fluctuatesbased on the time period, but overallis around 30%.Bertram: Do you have one briefsuccess story or tip you’d like to shareon how to build a successful groupcruise in 2011?Gulaskey: One travel partner thatreally has embraced growing groupbusiness has been Cruise Planners outof Coral Springs, Florida. They haveproactively teamed up with us this yearto offer many types of group trainingsfor their franchisees. They are trying tomake sure all their members knowabout the benefits of group cruises.Julius: The key word is affinity. Themost successful groups are driven by theaffinity, and not the ship or the itinerary.These are people taking this cruisebecause they want to be with their families,friends or people they share anaffinity with – this can also includebank travel clubs, collectors or hobbyists,church groups, quilter groups.Meadows: One of the best ways toget started is to get a copy of HollandAmerica Line’s free guide “DevelopingGroup Business.” For 2011, we’ve addedfive new items to our Group AmenitiesProgram. The GAP menu now features41 amenities, including the new HomeCity Air Credits. Guests purchasingHolland America Line Home City Airreceive a credit of $50 per person foreconomy-class tickets and a credit of$75 per person for business class. The24 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


credit is available for 2011 group bookingsof five staterooms or more.Sasso: Start small and think big. Itonly takes a handful of group leaders toget the ball rolling. The priest, the bandleader or the disc jockey can be theheadline for the solicitation. Fundraisersare always successful and doingcruise nights promoting the departureis very useful. Once you get one checkfrom one guest the rest will follow. Alwaysbe alert to what clubs and associationsare gathering in the area and tryto contact the key person.Tully: Uniworld offers an EpicureanAdventure Program on selected departureswhich has attracted many wine andculinary groups. We have family programson selected departures, great formulti-generational travel. You see quitea few grandparents taking their kidsand teen grandchildren on our cruises.Zarmati: If you’re involved in anaffinity-type community group, becomemore involved and build a group basedfrom the relationships within. Some ofour most successful groups are broughttogether by Armenian and Irish heritage,love of oldies music and even kosherlifestyles. People like to travel with likemindedindividuals, and building a groupbased on this is a recipe for success.Bertram: What cruise destinationsseem to be the most popular forgroups? On the flip side, what are goodcruise group destinations your lineoffers that would be good for grouporganizers to consider?Gulaskey: The Caribbean continuesto be the leader in group cruises whetherit is for organizations looking to getaway to a warm climate in the middle ofwinter or a family reunion sailing in thesummer because the kids are out ofschool. I have to be honest – every regionof the world seems to host many groupcruises for us with many reasons. Wealways recommend that group organizerswork with their district sales managersto identify high-opportunity sailings.Julius: At Carnival, we “own theCaribbean, Bahamas and Mexico,” so tospeak. Our seasonal destinations includeEurope and Bermuda, along with differentlengths of cruises. As a groupleader, you need to have choices and weprovide incredible ones. Start with thenumber of nights along with yourbudget and pocketbook. The best part?Our product delivers the same whetheryour group is on a 3- or 7-day cruise becauseour ships provide outstanding entertainmentand food, with consistencythroughout our fleet. Our goal is to getmore “cruise rookies” to sail with us, experiencethe excitement and then cruisewith us again and again.Meadows: Depending on the group,the most popular destination will vary.Alaska and Europe always seem to drawIn 2009 the industry occupancy rate—consistently over 100%—was 103.9%for member lines of CLIA—Cruise Lines International Associationattention from group planners. Thesetwo cruise destinations provide a greatvalue to vacationers and also offerunique opportunities to customize theexperience for group guests throughtours and the on-board experience.Sasso: The Caribbean is alwaysa strong market, romantic and warmprime timeWith our rich 200-year history, Greenbrier County is a great location for your next tour. Weare home to America’s Resort, The Greenbrier, one of only four operational Carnegie Hall’s inthe world, West Virginia’s Official Year-Round Professional Theatre, Greenbrier Valley Theatre,and the city of Lewisburg, a West Virginia Certifi ed Arts Community. For complete details aboutthe area log onto greenbrierwv.com/groups for more information. To request a copy of ourDestination Planning Guide call 800-833-2068 or email info@greenbrierwv.com.LEWISBURG WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS RONCEVERTE ALDERSON RAINELLELeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 25


industry forecast ❖For 2010 the Caribbean and Bahamasrepresents the No. 1 destination with41.3% of capacity deployment.weather. Alaska can also be a great targetfor experienced cruisers. Of course theMED has the most history, culture andvariety. Wine, music, cooking and a hostof themes attract a crowd that showsmore interest in the exotic destinationslike Europe and the Mediterranean.Tully: All of our itineraries are perfectfor groups. Our embarkation anddisembarkation ports have easy air accessand our pre- and post-cruise hoteloptions are professionally organized,with transfers included to and from theship. The itinerary choice all depends—Cruise Lines International Associationon what culture the group wants toexperience, from Europe, Egypt, Russiaor China. Uniworld provides the “bestof the best” in river cruising.Zarmati: We are the group leader inthe Mediterranean. We’ve been therefor over 60 years, we know the ports insideand out, and we have numerousnew ships there based year-round. Somany groups have already “been there,done that” and are looking to try out anew destination. The Mediterranean isa unique option with surprising affordability.Bertram: Today there is even moreprice sensitivity than ever before. Inthe past, it was more common for agroup organizer to book their cruisegroup at least 12 months out, butwith the current economy, the mindsethas been to “wait til the price goesdown.” This is a dilemma that grouporganizers are facing. What reassurancedoes your cruise line provide togroup organizers as far as the actualpricing?Gulaskey: Celebrity Cruises is alwaysextremely fair with their travelpartners when it comes to pricing.Comparing group rates to FIT rates islike comparing apples to oranges.Groups get the existing FIT rates, butthey need to remember they also gettour conductors, group amenity points,first choice for staterooms and first assignmentof dining times, table types26 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


and location in the dining room – numerousbenefits right there alone.Julius: When it comes to the questionof price protection for all Carnivalguests, we have found “the silver bullet,”so to speak, with our “Early Saver” program.Launched two years ago, this programencourages our cruise guests tobook early, and it is the only rate codethat we protect. For cruises six days orlonger, the guest has to book at least fivemonths in advance of the sailing date.Although the “Early Saver” program isfor an individual cruise booking, if agroup leader blocks their group space ona particular ship and sailing date, theyhave the option of going back to individualreservations, having an “EarlySaver” rate booked for a stateroom, andthen get it transferred back into theirgroup allotment.Tully: Uniworld is 100% trade dedicated;we rely on our travel partners tosupport our product. Pricing integrity isessential to maintaining our businesspartnerships and customer satisfactionlevels. If a lower individual rate becomesavailable and the group organizer/travelagent has an existing group on this date,they can switch to the lower rate and stillearn the tour escorts and amenities (Europeand Russia only.) In most cases theycan qualify for the group discount, whichwould give them the advantage overbooking through individual reservations.Zarmati: This is something that alllines face and one that we take seriously.We understand the importance of pricesensitivity and do our best to protect thetravel agent partner and their clients inany situation they have. LGTBring 12 and TWO travel FREE!EARN AN EXTRA $500 for your groupwhen you reserve by January 31.Call us at 1-800-438-7672 | goaheadtours.com/groupsY’all Come. It’s our mission statement, a warm invitationthat promises friendship, personal comfort and safe havenfor groups large and small.In Natchez we have history, scenery, and a walkable downtownoffering great cuisine, events, gaming, outdoor recreation, andbreathtaking views of the Mississippi, without the traffic andhullabaloo of the big city - in short, a tour operator’s dream.Easy access, affordability, charm, and the right mix of excitementand relaxation make the perfect recipe for successfultours. See for yourself. Plan for lovely, historic Natchez, and allthe credit goes to you.Cindy Bertram has 15+ years of cruise expertise insales, marketing and training, with an MBA fromLoyola University Chicago. She can be contactedat cindy@ptmgroups.com.Obtain Cruise Industryvisitor guides anditineraries – andcontact groupfriendlysuppliersdirectly – atleisuregrouptravel.com/instant-infoLeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 27


on location: midwest ❖ randy minkNEBRASKA’SFRONTIER TRAILSTour groups cruising through theheart of Nebraska don’t have tostray far from the superhighwayto get a taste of early life on the prairie.In fact, one attraction actually bridgesInterstate 80.Meandering 455 miles betweenOmaha and the Wyoming border, thistranscontinental corridor follows theroute taken by 19th century settlers incovered wagons as they trekked westwardon the Oregon, California andMormon trails. Pony Express riders,stagecoaches, steam locomotives andautomobile drivers on the LincolnHighway (America’s first cross-countryroad) also followed the path, much ofit paralleling the Platte River.In the same pioneering spirit,today’s travelers can blaze their owntrail across the Great Plains, sampling anumber of historical places a short hopfrom I-80 exits.A recreated 1880s street in Ogallala invites visions of the Wild West.JUST OFF INTERSTATE 80, GROUP-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONSNebraska DED PhotosTake a journey back in time at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (left) and Great Platte River Road Archway.28 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Interstate 80 meets the Platte River at Grand Island, homeof the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, a 200-acre livinghistory complex. In Railroad Town, a village of 60 historicalbuildings, visitors explore shops, period homes and barnsamong townspeople demonstrating crafts and going abouttheir daily lives. One home is the birthplace of actor HenryFonda. See a multi-media presentation and exhibits aboutNebraska history in the Stuhr Building, designed by notedarchitect Edward Durell Stone. American Indian and OldWest artifacts are displayed in Fonner Rotunda. The reconstructedPawnee earth lodge offers a glimpse into Nebraska’sonly indigenous tribe.Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village in Minden, southwest ofGrand Island and 12 miles south of I-80, houses one of theworld’s largest collections of Americana. With more than 50,000antiques in 26 buildings, the attraction was started in 1953 byStuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island is one of the Midwest's most celebrated living history museums.BRING ALIVE THE STATE’S COLORFUL PIONEERING PASTFrontier days come into focus at the Stuhr Museum's hardware store and Fort Kearny State Historical Park.LeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 29


REDISCOVER THE ROAD TRIP IN NEBRASKA.


IN NEBRASKA, YOU CAN RECAPTURE THE MAGIC OF ROAD TRIPS PAST.With so many fun places to visit, it’s easy to let loose and relive the good times.So what are you waiting for?888-444-1867, Dept. 1LGCNebraska Department of Economic Development’sTravel and Tourism Division


on location: midwest ❖Warp, the youngest of 12 children ofNorwegian immigrants who grew up onthe Nebraska prairie. He made his fortuneas a plastics manufacturer.Buildings at Pioneer Village includea sod house, log cabin, Pawnee earthlodge, 1872 railway depot, originalPony Express station and a generalstore stocked with 19th century merchandise.Craftspeople demonstrateweaving, spinning and broom making.A collection of 350 antique cars, 20 airplanesand 100 tractors also sweeps visitorsback to yesteryear, and they can seeexamples of seven generations ofAmerican kitchens since the 1830s. Inthe town of Minden, groups might beable to catch a show at the newly renovated1891 Minden Opera House.Kearney (pronounced “CAR-nee”)is famous as the location of GreatPlatte River Road Archway, a monumentto America’s pioneering spirit andfreedom of mobility. A log bridge spanningI-80, it offers an entry movie andinteractive exhibits about westward migration—inwagon trains, stagecoaches,cars and trains. Visitors experience abuffalo stampede, a “prairie schooner”journey and a frontier fort. The LincolnHighway exhibit showcases a 1914Model T Ford and 1927 Oldsmobile.Scout's Rest Ranch in North Platte was the home of Buffalo Bill Cody.Military history buffs like FortKearny State Historical Park, the siteof a frontier outpost on the OregonTrail that housed a Pony Express andstagecoach station. The recreated stockadehas a sod blacksmith shop andpowder magazine. The park is a goodspot for viewing the sand hill crane migrationin March and early April.Gothenburg, west of Kearney on I-80,is the “Pony Express Capital of Nebraska,”offering such attractions as theSod House Museum and an originalPony Express Station.Visions of the Old West captivategroups at Buffalo Bill Ranch StateHistorical Park in North Platte. On 16acres of the original ranch of WilliamF. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, visitors can tourthe three-story Victorian home and abarn with faded promotional posters ofCody’s famous Wild West Show, whichbecame an international phenomenonin the late 1800s. The ranch was a rest-TOUR OPTIONS ABOUND IN NEBRASKA TOWNS LIKEEarly forms of transportation are displayed at Harold Warp's Pioneer Village (left) and Cody Park Railroad Museum.32 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Check out the Pawnee earth lodge at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer.ing place for many of the performersand animals. Check out the park’s smallherd of bison. Another 233 acres of theranch is a state recreation area with picnicking,camping and hiking.Also in North Platte is GoldenSpike Tower and Visitor Center, aneight-story observation tower thatoverlooks Bailey Yard, the “world’slargest rail yard” and focal point of theUnion Pacific Railroad system. Railfans can peruse vintage equipment andmemorabilia at Cody Park RailroadMuseum, located in a park along theNorth Platte River, a site where BillCody staged his first rodeos. NorthPlatte Rail Fest, an annual event inSeptember, made the American BusAssociation’s Top 100 Events in NorthAmerica list for 2011. North Platte’sLincoln County Historical Museumhas artifacts that relate to NativeAmericans and early settlers, and itdocuments the legendary North PlatteCanteen, a World War II hospitalitycenter that served soldiers passingthrough town on the train. Fort CodyTrading Post, at the I-80/Highway 83interchange, bills itself as “Nebraska’slargest souvenir and Western gift store.The Wild West lives on at FrontStreet and Cowboy Museum, a recreated1880s street that recalls the rowdypast of Ogallala, a cowtown once nicknamedthe “Gomorrah of the Plains.”On summer nights after watching ashootout on the street, tourists moveindoors for the Crystal Palace Revue, aWestern stage show. The attraction alsohas a restaurant, bar and gift shop.Other sights in Ogallala include BootHill Cemetery, where many cowboyswere buried with their boots on, andMansion on the Hill, one of the finestexamples of Victorian architecture inNebraska.For modern-day trailblazers in theCornhusker State, Western lore andgood old-fashioned nostalgia await—just off the exit. LGTObtain Nebraskavisitor guidesand itineraries –and contact groupfriendlysuppliersdirectly – atleisuregrouptravel.com/instant-infoGRAND ISLAND, MINDEN, KEARNEY AND NORTH PLATTEThe Stuhr Museum's one-room schoolhouse and Great Platte River Road Archway provide peeks into Nebraska's past.LeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 33


on special events ❖ sue arkoDestinationEvEntsA Reason travelers visitand Return to DestinationsPasadena CVBPasadena's dazzling Rose Parade ushers in the New Year.Albuquerque CVB/Raymond WattThe International Balloon Fiesta,a photographer's dream stagedin early October, highlightsAlbuquerque's travel calendar.Once two totally separate industries,the special events industryand the travel industry are workingmore closely together than ever before,leading to mutually successfulbusiness relationships, new and freshtour itineraries, and destination events(as opposed to local events) putting“heads in beds.” The American Bus Associationhas realized this for the past28 years and annually votes on the Top100 Events in North America for touroperators. Similarly, Red Hot Celebrationsis rapidly becoming the traveltrade’s event connection.Special events are often the reasonfirst-time travelers select a destination.The economic impact of these first-timeguests traveling to destinations for nichecelebrations, fairs, festivals and anniversarycommemorations can be felt foryears to come.On the other hand, tour operatorswho have a loyal customer base needreasons for repeat guests to return to adestination. Their itineraries need to befresh and special events add novelty andexcitement to existing itineraries andpreviously-visited destinations.Creating special events during slowtravel periods is another reason whydestinations and tour operators are aptto offer them. The Annual Winter34 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Lake Havasu City CVBBreak in Primm, NV is conducted thesecond week of January each year. It is aslow time for the destination, and touroperators need revenue in January. Thusthe creation of this successful event –now in its ninth year.Some popular events, such as theTournament of Roses Parade, KentuckyDerby, Super Bowl and AlbuquerqueBalloon Fiesta warrant a stand-alonepackage. These events are some of themost elite and recognized events in theworld, and are not for all groups becauseof budget concerns and availability oftickets. In addition to tickets, hotelavailability, price and deposit requirementsare also factors. For the inexperienced,large events are not always theeasiest to maneuver. So, for groups whohave always dreamed of attending aworld-class event, using an experiencedoperator can make or break their trip.However, smaller events are perfectfor any tour operator to add to existingprograms. Or combining several eventscan link smaller communities using acommon theme. Take, for instance, aholiday vacation to Arizona. Almostevery community has activities takingplace in December, and by combiningseveral of the best, such as the LakeHavasu Boat Parade of Lights, RedRock Fantasy in Sedona, and ZooLights in Phoenix, a statewide, five-dayitinerary becomes attractive for tour operatorsto offer.These smaller events have differentchallenges for operators. Lead time canbe an issue as schedules are not alwaysavailable 9-12 months in advance. Also,special events rely heavily on sponsorshipdollars, so they may be subject tocancellation in today’s economic environment.Experienced tour operators workingwith event promoters can offer addedvalueor behind-the-scenes componentsthat the average guest would not be ableto experience. Possibly a meet-and-greetwith the feature entertainer, a specialcooking demonstration, or a hands-onworkshop can be customized.The Boat Parade of Lights brightens the season in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.Local CVBs are great contacts whenconsidering adding special events totour itineraries. Dineene Bradley, vicepresident of tourism development forthe Louisville CVB, shares her experiencesin the following interview:Festivals and special events are becomingan important part of most tourplanners’ itineraries. Why do youthink this has evolved?DB: “Several years ago, we startednoticing an increased interest from touroperators in promoting special eventsand festivals in our city. Those who hadbeen to Louisville before knew it wasgreat place for groups. But to attractrepeat customers, they added a specialevent which allowed their guests to experienceLouisville in a new way.”Your biggest event is the KentuckyDerby Festival. What opportunitiesare there for tour operators to planpackages around this event?DB: “Louisville is the only city inthe world that can take a two-minutehorse race and turn it into a two-weekcelebration! The Festival starts offwith the largest fireworks show inNorth America called Thunder OverLouisville. Other Derby Festivalevents include an air show featuringmilitary aircraft demonstrations overthe Ohio River, the Great SteamboatRace featuring the Belle of Louisvilletaking on a new contender each yearand the Derby Festival Parade on theThursday evening prior to the Run forthe Roses - the Kentucky Derby. Alimited number of guests will be ableto attend the Derby itself. But theweeks preceding the Derby are equallyas festive.”Are there any other motorcoachgroup-friendly events and festivals inyour region you’d like to tell us about?DB: “My favorite time of year inLouisville is always the holiday seasonand with so many new events to offer,we are excited to have groups visit atthat time of year. For the 2010 holidayseason, KaLightoscope is coming to theU.S. for the first time at the Galt HouseHotel. The event includes a dazzlingdisplay of fabulous holiday luminaries,towering 16 to 30 feet high. At theDerby Dinner Playhouse guests canenjoy Plaid Tidings. The Frasier InternationalHistory Museum is presentingO’Deadly Night and the famousLouisville Slugger Museum & Factoryis offering Merry Christmas, CharlieBrown.”Destinations around the world offera multitude of events throughout theyear. Plan a trip based on your group’sfavorite flavor. LGTLeisureGroupTravel.com December 2010 35


on marketing ❖ dave bodleFocusing on the 4 P’s in 2011I MIGHT BE OLD SCHOOL, butI still believe in the “Four P’s of Marketing”—Product, Price, Promotionand Place. In 2011 we’ll do our bestto share some insights into each of the“P’s” and how you can use them tobetter market your business. I’m excitedto share some of my experiences withyou and hope you’ll do the same withme. Here’s a look at some topics we’llbe exploring:New business is the lifeline ofevery business. About 100 years agowhen I was a young account executivein a mid-size advertising agency, mymentor shared a sound piece of advice.We were basking in the joy of a sizeablepiece of new business when he told me,“Today, you’re one day closer to losingthis account. You should probablybegin thinking how you’ll replace thelost business.”It was only after I matured andbecame more business savvy that I fullyunderstood what he meant. He wasn’tputting down my account managementskills. He was simply stating a fact.Today’s professional tour planner isfaced with a host of challenges in maintainingand replacing business. Lookfor an upcoming issue to read aboutsome thoughts in constructing a newbusiness plan that fits your business.Where does new media fit into themix? I’ll be the first to admit that mostnew media (and some not so new) haspassed right over me. Frankly, with allthe old media trying to re-invent themselvesto look like new media there’sonly one thing I know for sure—thereare entirely too many media choicesavailable. Much of the traditionalmedia still has its place and probablyalways will. Watch for a column thathighlights traditional media and thentakes the plunge into a look at the newmedia. Hopefully, we discover how itall fits together.How much do you really knowabout your customer? The old adage“treat customers as you would like tobe treated” needs some tweaking. Let’stry “treat customers how they’d like tobe treated.” That brings us to the obviousquestion. How well do we reallyknow our customers? Without the answerwe’re going to waste considerabletime and money.A dear friend, Mikie Wall of WilmingtonCape Fear Coast CVB (NC),once shared a statement that I’ve usedhundreds of times. She told me, “Tour& travel is a high-touch, not high-techindustry.” With that as our guide we’lllook at what we need to know, why weneed to know it and how we go aboutbetter knowing our customer.I’ve about had my fill of branding.While in college I wrote a thesis abouta fairly new term in the retail industry,“Differential Advantage.” At the risk ofoversimplification the term implieswhat sets retail stores apart from oneanother.Merchandise, price, presentation andeven floor coverings all contribute to astore’s differential advantage. My taskwas to explore if the term related to nonretailbusinesses. Although the details escapeme, a relatively logical argumentwas presented proving the obvious.Today, the hot button is brandingand we do not have a shortfall ofexperts in the field to help your businessdiscover its inner self. Although I’llprobably avoid “branding,” we will takea look at how we position ourselves inthe marketplace.Professional tour planners need to reallyknow their customers because tourism isa high-touch, not a high-tech industrySo, just where are we going with thiscolumn? As revealed in the openingparagraph, it’s a pretty safe bet thiscolumn will give considerable emphasisto marketing’s four “P’s.” Sometimes inour day-to-day business experiences wewaiver from what we know. It’s my hopethat for a few minutes in each issueI’ll be able to keep you on target andprovide some ideas you can bring tothe table that very same day.Dave Bodle is a 25-year veteran of the grouptravel industry, having served as publisher of theCarolina Explorer, Virginia Explorer and TennesseeTrails group travel publications. Dave willbe sharing his knowledge and insight with readerson the pages of Leisure Group Travel in 2011.In addition to a regular marketing column, Davewill also head up Leisure Group Travel's southernregion editorial coverage. Contact Dave at 843-712-1140 or email dbodle@sc.rr.com.36 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


on technology ❖ john kamm, ctpInto the CloudTHE FUTURE HAS A way of creepingup on us, like the double habaneroburrito that seemed like a good ideaat 3 a.m. All of a sudden it’s there,demanding urgent attention. There areseveral technologies worth your attention,and while the action is not burritourgent, your business may be ableto benefit by understanding what theyoffer.The future of computing is clear:it will be in the clouds, or more accurately,THE Internet cloud. Utilizingthe cloud requires a shift in our thoughtprocess and enables dramatic changesin our computer usage.The cloud provides applications andservices, instead of the pictures/textcontent of most of the half billionactive web sites. We use services likeeBay, Amazon, Google and FaceBookto shop, shop, search and snoop.A critical aspect of the cloud isthat the physical relationship betweenus, our digital stuff and computerhardware can no longer be defined insimple terms like “office,” “home,” or“laptop.” If yours is like most companies,all the data you require to runyour company is located on the computersin your office; your employeeswork in your office and, except for outsidesales people and tour managers, ifthey are outside of the office they arenot working.The cloud makes that model obsolete.Its resources make it possible foryour sales and marketing data to residesomewhere in a dedicated applicationlike Constant Contact or SalesForce,your email on some other remote server,your mapping to come from GoogleMaps. In fact, all of your data files andapplications may be served from acloud server rented from Amazon orGoogle. Because of the advances innetwork bandwidth and reliability,employees can access the resources theyneed to perform their jobs from almostany location.When I call my daughter at school,I “know” where she is when she answers,she is with her cell phone. Really, Idon’t have a clue where she might be –unless I activate the GPS chip functionalityof her phone, but that’s anotherstory. The point is, are you ready tomake this leap with all of the digitalassets of your company? The technologyto make this shift is relatively inexpensiveand readily available; the hard part isgetting your head around the possibilitiesand letting go.If you do rent space from a serverfarm,it will likely be on a virtual server.Think of this as the computer versionof Joanne Woodward in The Three Facesof Eve. Multiple machine “images” runsimultaneously on a single computer.A software layer called a hypervisorruns on the host machine, doing for aserver what the cubicle does for officeToday’s forecast: The future of computingwill be in the Internet cloudspace. There are excellent reasons toutilize virtual machines on your officenetwork as well – separating your dataserver from your web server or creatingvirtual workstations for remote-accessemployees.Aaron Smith, author of a recent Pewtechnology study, found that 96% ofadults 18-29 years old have cell phones.Six in ten seniors have cell phones. Whydo we have them? Because they providea desirable, reliable service. How canthey provide that service? Through thecloud. We have already proclaimed ourtrust in the cloud with the highest formof affirmation we have – our wallets.Become a fan of ours on Facebookand we’ll keep you informed of thelatest news in the industry by sendingyou Facebook updates when news breaks. Simply search for “GroupTravel” and look for the Premier Tourism Marketing logo! Leisure GroupTravel is also joining the Twitter craze. Go to Twitter.com/LeisureGroupto get the latest “tweets” from the Leisure Group Travel staff.John Kamm is a tourism industry veteran, formertour operator and developer of software. Hefounded TourTech Systems, Inc. in 1996, to developand support TourTools®, a software solutionproviding comprehensive automation for morethan 240 packaged tour companies and tourismorganizations throughout North America and Australia.Visit www.tourtools.com or call TourTechSystems at 1-740-439-0738 for more information.38 December 2010 LeisureGroupTravel.com


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