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Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market

Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market

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Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market

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  1. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market

    Jeffrey L. Mills, CTP Mills Marketing Group Jeff-mmg@bellsouth.net
  2. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market Who is the customer? Where do they come from? How can I find them? How do I get more of them?
  3. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market Is our facility really ready for this market? Do we have “what it takes?” Is our staff “in tune” with real hospitality?
  4. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market DMO, TO, GL, CTP, CTAS, NTA, ABA, UMA, Bank Travel Management, Going on Faith, ITT, SATO Travel, MWR, Travel South, GMOA, AMA, MCASC, TNMA, NCMA Say what??? What is this alphabet soup?
  5. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market How do I price my services? What is tiered-pricing?
  6. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market What is a profile sheet? What should be included on this document? How effective is this?
  7. Capturing, Servicing and Maintaining the Group Tour Market Where can I get help? Who are my friends? Where are they when I need them the most?
  8. Alphabet Soup – Tourism Style DMO Destination Marketing Organization Your Convention & Visitors Bureau/Authority Sometimes a sales arm to the Chamber of Commerce May be membership based or a service to the industry DMO’s are one of the most effective arms to your sales department. Keep them informed Report to the bureau; share the wealth and get more!
  9. Alphabet Soup – Tourism Style TO Tour Operator Licensed and insured tour company. Many different kinds; could be local and regional or long distance May own their own coaches or charter directly from a motor coach company Should offer them a preferred rate
  10. Alphabet Soup – Tourism Style Motorcoach Owner/Operator Could own one coach or a fleet May have a tour office within their company May only do charters/transportation Fully licensed and insured at much higher limits than a tour operator as they have much more to lose with the coaches Could also have limousines, school buses, taxis, mini-buses or trolleys
  11. Alphabet Soup – Tourism Style GL Group Leader Usually a volunteer or designated person within a group or club that arranges trips/excursions/fun times for members May “work off the kitchen table” Not licensed or insured Should receive a higher rate from you
  12. Regional/State Motorcoach Friends Alabama Motorcoach Association (AMA) Your state motorcoach association www.alabamamotorcoach.org Has an annual convention and marketplace GET INVOLVED! Your state needs you. Database on website These operators are licensed and insured!
  13. Let’s review the website www.alabamamotorcoach.org Who is a member? What are the dues? When are the opportunities to get in front of the buyers/operators?
  14. Regional/State Motorcoach Friends Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association (GMOA) www.gamotorcoachoperators.org Has an annual convention and marketplace GET INVOLVED! They need you. Database on website These operators are licensed and insured!
  15. Regional/State Motorcoach Friends North Carolina Motorcoach Association (NCMA) www.ncmotorcoach.org Has an annual convention and marketplace GET INVOLVED! They need you. Database on website These operators are licensed and insured!
  16. Regional/State Motorcoach Friends Motor Coach Association of South Carolina (MCASC) www.scmotorcoach.org Has an annual convention and marketplace GET INVOLVED! They need you. Database on website These operators are licensed and insured!
  17. Regional/State Motorcoach Friends Tennessee Motor Coach Association (TNMCA) www.tnmca.org Has an annual convention and marketplace GET INVOLVED! They need you. Database on website These operators are licensed and insured!
  18. Larger Group Travel Associations ABA American Bus Association Headquartered in Washington, DC Motorcoach owners and tour operators www.buses.org Annual convention and marketplace
  19. Larger Group Travel Associations NTA National Tour Association Headquartered in Lexington, KY Tour operators network www.ntaonline.com Annual convention and marketplace
  20. Larger Group Travel Associations UMA United Motorcoach Association Headquartered in Alexandria, VA Motorcoach owners/operators www.uma.org Hosts an annual convention/expo
  21. Larger Group Travel Associations GLAMER Group Leaders of America Has nothing to do with beauty or a magazine! Network of group leaders than coordinate travel Host a huge number of gatherings in select cities across the nation every month
  22. Larger Group Travel Associations Travel South USA Travel South Headquartered in Atlanta, GA Network of tour operators, travel agents, international travel operators Where is this convention in 2010?
  23. PROFILE SHEET An overview of the services you offer One page – should be front and back Color is more eye-catching, but use black-and-white until you perfect it Let’s discuss what should be on this sheet
  24. PROFILE SHEET Think like a brochure All information regarding your company Contact name 800 numbers Direct line numbers to group sales office Email address(es) Photos of your facility INCLUDE A MOTORCOACH & PASSENGERS!
  25. PROFILE SHEET Use BULLET POINTS. No one is going to read a lot of descriptions. If they have questions, they’ll call you. This is not the place to exaggerate and embellish. Perks or special features for groups What constitutes a group? Motorcoach parking? Is there a charge Restroom facilities?
  26. PROFILE SHEET Is there a gate fee for entrance of a motorcoach, mini-bus, etc? Do you offer food service? Can you handle a banquet? For how many? Do you offer an on-board greeting upon arrival? Do you offer a send-off? Door prize? Any perks for drivers? Escorts?
  27. PROFILE SHEET What else should be included? Where is the closest dump station to your facility? Where can the driver have the coach serviced, washed or filled with diesel fuel?
  28. Tiered pricing Perhaps you know this, but does management realize the importance of this? Your success, as well as your facility, depends upon it. Tiered pricing is a must! Retail/gate price/general room rate Group leader price Tour operator price Receptive/wholesaler price
  29. Tiered pricing If you don’t take away anything today, please review tiered pricing with management, revenue managers, yield management personnel, group sales directors and anyone else that helps you determine a price for a tour group. If you facility “gets caught” offering a lower price to a group leader and an operator finds out, the operator will not do business with you in the future. Worse yet, they tell other operators!
  30. Loyalty of Group Tour Customers You have XYZ group and they use Cross County Tours coaches. All of a sudden, you see Cross County Tours coaches at your competitor! WHY?
  31. Loyalty of Group Tour Customers People do business with people they like. People do business with people they trust. People do business with people they know will take good care of them. People do business with people with higher rates because they like you, trust you and know you will take good care of them!
  32. Rates/Competition There is no need to think group tour business is low-rated business. Sometimes businesses don’t want tour groups until they see the coach in the competitor’s parking lot. Give a fair rate. There is no need to prostitute your house with a low rate. There’s room for everyone. Some low rates discourage operators.
  33. Rates/Competition Think. Think often. RATE INTEGRITY! It‘s paramount in your city or everyone suffers.
  34. Rates/Competition If you want to get more than your market share, THINK and have management think with you.
  35. Rates/Competition There is probably a marketing plan completed every year for your company.
  36. Rates/Competition Your company has records for years and projections are made annually for the next year based on past performance.
  37. Rates/Competition What day/night is your weakest? What are doing to prevent this from continually happening? Has it been this way for years? Has there been any focus on strengthening the weakest day/night/month? Which MONTH is the weakest? Can you offer a special deal to operators?
  38. Rates/Competition Challenge your management Request a group tour rate that will capture more business during your weakest times. Are your turnstiles not turning? Are your bedrooms not being occupied? Is your restaurant empty?
  39. Rates/Competition Think of it this way: If you are not busy, the motorcoaches aren’t rolling either! If those coaches are sitting on the lot, there is no money being made. They only make money when they are rolling with passengers! THEY NEED YOU AND YOU NEED THEM.
  40. Are we really ready? Is a motorcoach going to have difficulty getting on your property? Have an overhang at front door? What is the height?
  41. Are we really ready? Do you offer complimentary motorcoach parking? Is it secure?
  42. Are we really ready? Do you have a group entrance that will eliminate fifty (50+) people from entering your facility along with the general public? Chattanooga Aquarium
  43. Are we really ready? Do you have adequate restroom facilities to handle the group? Do you have a café, restaurant or “quick service” station for coffee, beverages, snacks?
  44. Are we really ready? Do you have wireless Internet capabilities for guests in your lobby? Is there adequate seating when there is a lot of walking required?
  45. Are we really ready? Is your staff aware of what to expect and what is expected? Is your staff hospitable? Do we need to have a crash course?
  46. Sales Opportunities FACT: Tour operators will call for rates and availability. FACT: Tour operators have very little time to await an answer. Call back immediately if you discover a message.
  47. Sales Opportunities If you are continually on the phone and miss phone calls regularly, a “hot line” would be most appreciated. This line should ring directly to you at your desk and avoid a switchboard and “ghost operators.”
  48. Sales Opportunities Eliminate phone calls, capture the groups and make friends. OFFER YOUR TOUR OPERATORS A YEAR-LONG RATE, based upon availability.
  49. Sales Opportunities An operator having a YEAR-LONG rate allows them the freedom to sell your hotel ALWAYS without having to call every time they need rooms in your area. IT WORKS!
  50. Sales Opportunities What sets you apart from your competitor? Why would someone choose your facility over another?
  51. Sales Opportunities What is your COMP policy? Be specific!
  52. Sales Opportunities Do you offer anything special for the motorcoach driver? Should you?
  53. Sales Opportunities What sets YOU apart from your competitor? What captures the imagination and excellence of your service? What can you do to make them remember YOU?