Ships N Trips Travel — A mad, mad, profitable summer | TravelResearchOnline

Ships N Trips Travel — A mad, mad, profitable summer

This past month has been insanely busy, between following up on leads from the consumer show, and attending a local industry trade show over the last weekend of July.

Last month I talked about a consumer show (sports themed) in which I participated.  One of my leads from the show turned into a 10 person Christmas trip to Maui with a budget in the $30,000 range.  This single booking paid for my participation in the show, and relieves much of the anxiety I was experiencing about spending so much on the booth.  In addition to the sizeable Maui booking, I have had several meetings with a golf pro who I met at the show.  We sat down with my Sceptre Tours BDM last week and put together a customized golf package that can be provided as an “exclusive” benefit to the members of his golf club.  He’s also considering the possibility of escorting some groups himself.  If that weren’t enough, I’ll also be sponsoring a hole-in-one at a tournament at his club next month (giving me access to approximately 120 avid golfers.)  So all in all, the risk of participating in a consumer show that cost me over $2,000 (booth space, flyers, promo items, etc.) was well worth it.  However, the key, as always, is following up on the leads you get from these types of venues.

Even as I was following up on all of these leads, I somehow found the time to attend a local travel industry show last week.  It is put on every July by a local industry organization, the Travel Agents of Tennessee. Typically 30-40 suppliers come in to present, participate in the trade show, and to socialize with agents in a relaxed atmosphere.  Agents attend to learn about suppliers and new products that they have to offer, as well as to network and share best practices with other agents.    It’s a great weekend and well worth the price of attendance (Agents from outside of Tennessee are more than welcome to attend; email me if you’d be interested in joining us next year.)   Just like when I attend cruise3sixty, Cruise World, and other industry shows, I come away from the TAT conference renewed, reinvigorated, and full of new ideas to implement.  I invariably meet one or two new suppliers that I am excited to do business with in the coming months.  My “big score” this time was winning a 3 night stay at Braco Village Spa & Resort in Jamaica, which I turned around and donated to a charity silent auction a few days later (with the BDM’s blessing).

And it’s now getting to that time of year – to start planning my 2013 marketing.  Over the next couple of months I’ll continue following up on leads from the consumer show, but I’ll be shifting my focus a bit more towards what I want to accomplish in 2013.  If you read through past TRO articles, you’ll find a wealth of information about creating a marketing plan, including the fact that you should start working on next year’s plan well before the end of this year.  Join us in the TRO community forum, and let’s share some marketing strategies!

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships N Trips Travel as well as niche operations trading as Kick Butt Vacations, focused on college students; Kick Butt Events focusing on fundraising; and Your Kiwi Specialist specializing in anything New Zealand. You can reach Susan by email at susan@shipsntripstravel.com.

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