Over my years spent in the travel and tourism industry I have used several successful, low cost marketing methods to increase a business’s share of the group travel market.
As such, what follows are four of my easy, low cost steps that any lodging, restaurant or attraction business owner can employ to increase their share of the group travel market in 2011.
First and foremost, those that want to build their share of the group travel market should become familiar with the following organizations and their publications; “National Tour Association”, “American Bus Association”, “Pennsylvania Bus Association”, “Maryland Motor Coach Association”, “Ontario Motor Coach Association”, and the “Group Travel Leader.”
Examples of the publications include but are not limited to; “Group Travel Leaders”, “Bank Travel Management”, “Going on Faith”, “Winning Sports Meetings and Destinations”, “Destinations”, “Courier”, “Tuesday Newsletter” and the “NTA Trip Planner.”
These magazines, newsletters and e-zines are produced throughout the year and focus on different market segments central to increasing group travel market share.
For example, “Group Travel Leader” magazine is published monthly and has a circulation of 30,000 group travel leaders. 74 percent of the magazine’s readership includes visits to theaters in their trip planning.
Once one is familiar with the previously mentioned organizations and their publications, it is time to obtain copies of their media kits, editorial and event calendars.
Accessing the editorial calendars of each is a simple task. Most of the publications maintain websites wherein current media kits can be readily downloaded.
These items will be needed in order to implement the next suggested steps for building one’s share of the group travel market.
With information in hand, one should begin to review the editorial calendars first to see when the publications are focusing on things pertinent to one’s marketing efforts.
For example, “Destinations” magazine’s 2011 editorial calendar indicates that the March/April issue will be devoted to highlighting culinary tours, food festivals, farmer’s markets and agritourism.
Therefore, restaurant marketing managers may want to consider writing articles on their businesses and sending them into “Destinations” magazine for possible inclusion in their March/April issue.
The restaurant manager may also want to consider purchasing advertising space in that issue as well. Doing so will give the manager more proverbial “bang for her buck.”
After the editorial calendars have been reviewed it is time to look at the organization’s event calendars. The event calendars generally contain such pertinent information as a list of upcoming trade shows, FAM trips, special events and other joint industry marketing opportunities.
This information is important because it gives tourism industry suppliers a chance to showcase their wares on a broader scale through such things as sponsorships, door prizes and gift baskets. Often times the cost of participating in the event is as low as the price of the item one is donating.
For example, organizations such as the “Pennsylvania Bus Association” participate in “National Travel and Tourism Week.”
For the uninitiated, “National Travel and Tourism Week” is an annual event that is scheduled to take place this year from May 7th until May 15th, 2011.
Those businesses that feel that it is too cost prohibitive to make their own gift baskets may want to consider soliciting the help of various related businesses in their area to make up one basket.
The gift baskets should then be given to organizations such as the “National Tour Association” to be distributed during key local, state and national events.
The above are just four easy steps to take towards increasing one’s share of the lucrative group travel market in 2011.
Those that would like to learn more about travel and tourism marketing techniques should consider consulting with their local tourism marketing professional.