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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NTA's Ask the Tour Operator: What has been the biggest challenge in developing your new tour products?

Suzanne Slavitter, CTP, owner of Sports Empire, said there were so many things for travelers to experience in her own back yard, she and her partner opened SoCalSuzanneSlavitter Group Vacations. To create new packages, they consider trends in boomer travel, local events and festivals, and their own travel tastes. Her latest offerings include golf in San Diego and Palm Springs, the Laguna Beach Festival of Art and the Palm Springs Film Festival. So we asked:

What has been the biggest challenge in developing these new products?  "We've run into hotels that are not very friendly to tour operators looking to package for small groups or FITs," Slavitter said.  "This makes us so much more loyal to suppliers who are willing to work towards a long-term partnership—versus booking a minimum number of rooms over certain dates. We are going to these partners and telling them what we're up to and asking them to give us soft dates in the fall/spring. We can work together to fill their rooms at a fair price."

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