Page 1

on the record ❖

Readers Share Their Plans for Marketing New Tours in 2010 FOLLOWING ARE ANSWERS from Leisure Group Travel readers who responded to the question: What new types of tours are you trying for 2010?

During a most trying time in the hospitality industry it is easy to step back and not take chances. In 2009 Mayflower Tours experimented with chartering a river cruise ship in the Netherlands. Although chartering an entire vessel for one’s own needs has many advantages, it also comes with risk. We are happy to report that we sold out the 2009 charter. In 2010 we wanted to do the same – we sold out the first charter, reserved and sold out a second charter, and then reserved and sold out a third charter. The traveling public is ready for a new way to look at cruising – and river cruising is turning out to be a very positive and long-lasting trend. We are pleased that we “took a chance” on this exciting means of touring – and know it will be an integral part of our philosophy for years to come. John Stachnik, CTP, CTC President, Mayflower Tours Downers Grove, IL

We have been successful promoting a variety of different tours with our valuable group leaders in 2010. River cruising has been especially popular as our leaders have successfully promoted European river cruises (Rhine, Danube, Rhone and others) with Avalon Waterways. Some of these groups are extending their vacation and visiting the LeisureGroupTravel.com

MeliSSa McKinley

Michael lundquiSt

German village of Oberammergau for the Passion Play in 2010. Our group leaders have also successfully promoted tours to the National Parks, England and worldwide. We can work with groups as small as eight passengers and as large as our group leaders make them grow. We even offer customized tours. In fact, we have a group leader who is taking members on a historical James Bond and movie-focused tour in Europe. Michael Lundquist National Group Sales Manager Globus Family of Brands Littleton, CO

Collette’s itineraries are designed for the mature market, namely baby boomers ages 55+ with experiences crafted specifically for this market segment. One such popular experience has been train journeys and for 2010, Collette introduces the “Trains & Canyons of the Southwest” itinerary. This nineday tour with a starting rate of $1,999 per person, double, land only, covers Arizona and New Mexico and features the resort towns of Scottsdale, Sedona and Santa Fe. Rides aboard the historic

Sandra Pellegrin

Grand Canyon Railway and vintage Verde Canyon Railroad pass ancient Indian ruins, and travel over trestles and through tunnels. Melissa McKee, Public Relations Collette Vacations Pawtucket, RI

The new tour I am currently offering is a custom group itinerary to Milan, Stresa and Venice, Italy this September. It is upscale-oriented with many inclusions. Highlights include five-star accommodations, a guided tour of the palace and gardens of Isola Bella, viewing of Leonardo DaVinci’s The Last Supper, sampling wines at an organic winery in the Gattinara region, a private after-hours guided tour of the Doges Palace, private pre-opening tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, a visit to four wine shops in Venice, and a train ride through Switzerland and Northern Italy. Melissa McKinley Want To Go Travel Dallas, TX It is not so much what we are doing for new tours but how we are changing old tours: April 2010 19


on the record ❖ 1. No group meals unless it is a themed meal. On the majority of our overnight tours customers receive a prepaid MasterCard. They have the choice on how they are going to spend it. Sometimes people want a big meal and other times they want a light meal. Whatever is left is theirs to keep.

2. We are doing lots of train tours, which cuts down on the cost of motorcoaches. We provide our guests with local bus tickets to where the train stations are, provide the Amtrak tickets and then use local transportation when we arrive. 3. We are doing many more one-, two- and three-day tours than we have

Leisure Group Travel Partners with Mayflower Tours on 2010 Travel Planner Event Chicago educational and entertainment experience is scheduled for June 10

L

eisure Group Travel magazine has joined up with Downers Grove, Ill.- based tour operator Mayflower Tours to promote the firm’s popular travel planner

event. The 2010 show, coined Ticket to Ride, includes an educational session, trade show and luncheon hosted by Mayflower’s sales team. The trade show features top domestic and international destination stations where travel planners will have the opportunity to meet with local experts from Mayflower’s top tour destinations. The luncheon features regional specialty foods that highlight Mayflower’s up-and-coming destinations, entertainment and giveaways, including 20 pounds of Nova Scotia lobster. “This annual event for travel planners is both educational and entertaining,” remarked Sherri Guiborat, vice president of sales for Mayflower Tours. “Attendees have not only gained knowledge of all of the deluxe escorted holidays we offer, they have increased their group sales year-over-year offering new products to their travelers and earning even greater commissions and free travel.” “We’re excited to partner with Mayflower on this event for group travel planners,” commented Jeff Gayduk, publisher of Leisure Group Travel. “It’s a great touch point to get out and meet with planners to gauge the pulse of the industry at a grass-roots level, while introducing our magazines and websites to new readers.” Details of an adjoining 2-night Chicago-based familiarization trip that will

ever done. The difference is that we are now selling an experience rather then a destination. The destination is only the place where the experience takes place. Mel Tye, CTP CEO, Tye’s Top Tour & Travel Merrimack, NH Our company’s new tour for 2010 is an American Birding Association-endorsed spring birding tour of the Stikine River delta and the coast of Wrangell Island. This is one of just three ABA-endorsed tours in Alaska. It includes a complimentary guided tour of Petrogylph Beach, a state historic park. Wilma E. Leslie, Vice President Alaska Waters, Inc. Wrangell, AK Thought you may be interested in a comment from an operator in the UK who works with lots of North American groups: We are finding 2010 as tough as we expected, but 2011 enquiries are very strong. The exchange rate at the moment is very favorable to those from North America, and the UK has never been better value. We are getting a lot of interest in our faith-based programs and tours designed for those interested in a particular niche, anything from private shore excursions for cruise groups to quilting, afternoon teas, World War II people and places, and always Britain’s history and heritage. Keith Somers Sales Manager, Inbound Tours Norman Allen Group Travel Ltd. Hereford, England

allow group planners to experience the Windy City’s sights and sounds will soon be announced.

For more information, or to reserve your Ticket to Ride, call 800-728-0724. 20 April 2010

Our company is sending more groups to Canada. We are doing Nova Scotia and Vancouver. We also have a Holy Land Tour booked to Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Israel. We are doing WashLeisureGroupTravel.com


ington DC, Savannah & Charleston, Chicago, New York and Branson as our main sellers and have incorporated more Amtrak travel into our motorcoach tours. We are giving groups more free time to explore on their own and are combining with other operators because our groups are smaller.  Sandra Pellegrin Cajun Tours Houma, LA We have designed a 14-day tour of the Mississippi River starting at the headwaters in Northern Minnesota traveling south to St. Louis. It includes three days of riverboat travel through the backwaters, where you will see nature at its best. The tour uses luxury hotels each night and includes many historical attractions. We plan to do

this tour three times a year—spring, summer and fall. Henry Beyer, President Mississippi River Valley Tours Dubuque, IA One of our main thrusts for 2010 will be tours featuring wine and vineyards. We are offering a tour to the Finger Lakes region of New York State and have selected five wineries/ vineyards for tours, tastings and meals paired with wines. We are also offering wine camps on Long Island, N.Y. and in Lincolnville, Maine. These will give hands-on experience from the vine to the wine. Each is a threeday/two-night experience. Don Adams, Vice President GeoDon Tours Exeter, NH

IN THE JUNE ISSUE of Leisure Group Travel, our On the Record column will look at enhancing group tour itineraries. Please send us your response to this question: In crafting itineraries, what do you add at little or no cost that makes a big difference in satisfying customers? Are there hidden extras, surprises, even gifts that provide icing on the cake and bring smiles to passengers’ faces? Along with your comments, please include your name, company name and location. Also for publication, send a high-resolution photo of yourself. A selection of responses will be printed in the June 2010 issue. Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. Send to: Randy Mink, randy@ptmgroups.com

Superior Value & Customized Service Get the best prices and service in group travel today. Every tour is totally customized to the needs and budget of your group. Ask for a free quote. • Book it all – air, hotels, motorcoach, sightseeing, activities, guides, meals, shows, meeting space, exclusive events, insurance – even a tour manager.

• Every group receives the best possible price and personalized service from our staff.

• Any type of group – student, alumni, religious, family, reunion, retirement, club...

• Cruise Groups – gain added value from every cruise with hotel nights, transfers and sightseeing before the cruise, while ensuring your group doesn’t miss the cruise departure. Book exclusive shore excursions from ports-of-call, or inspiring post-cruise travel.

• Destinations near home or around the world – create your own itinerary, or we’ll help you.

• Staff in our global office network provide local assistance with on-the-road issues.

• You decide your selling price, so you set your profit. • Flexible payment options.

Customized Groups: Tel: 800-808-9547 | Fax: 800-808-9548 | Groups.tb@gta-travel.com LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2010 21

Group Organizers Comment on Tours Planned for 2010  

Readers of Leisure Group Travel responded to the question “What new types of tours are you trying for 2010?” Some tour planners report that...