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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Millennials in Travel Expands to Six Chapters (by Andrew Sheivachman/Travel Market Report)

Article link:

Millennials in Travel, a new networking and career development group for young people in all segments of the travel industry, is on a fast path to growth.

The group, which launched earlier this year in Los Angeles, has already expanded to five cities. The newest chapter, in Washington, D.C., is set to launch next week.

Chapters now exist in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and San Diego. Anyone who was born in 1975 or later can join the community.

Supporting one another
Gary Oakley, officer of development for the Miami chapter, explained the organization’s reason for being. “The purpose of the group is to network and meet like-minded people for support from different areas of the travel business.

“We have been planning events every month; our second event is next week at the Soho Beach House on South Beach,” he said. “The idea is to bring millennials together – to have a voice in the industry and to grow business in our area.”

Oakley is vice president of travel services for House of Travel in Aventura, Fla. He told Travel Market Report that he was surprised by the strength – and youth – of the local travel agent community.

“I didn’t realize we had so many young travel agents in the South Florida area,” said Oakley. More than 60 travel industry professionals have joined the Miami chapter since its launch on June 20.

Mentoring program for students
Although the Miami chapter is only months old, Oakley is already in talks with educational institutions about finding ways to expose young people to the travel industry.

“We’re partnering with local colleges and universities to start a mentorship program where students come out and perhaps do some shadowing at our offices to get a feel for things,” said Oakley. He mentioned Johnson & Wales University as a potential partner.

Barriers to attracting young agents
While the technology side of the business can be daunting to newcomers, he hopes that hands-on training can help draw more to the travel agency community.

“I think the biggest thing missing is that millennials see Amadeus or Sabre and get scared because it is foreign to them,” said Oakley.

“Also the whole travel agent name was not attractive. In my agency we like to be known as travel consultants.”

Reaching out
Oakley first became involved in Millennials in Travel after finding it hard in his early days to relate to the more experienced travel consultants with whom he works.

“I felt lonely; it was hard for me at first to communicate with the more mature and older employees,” admitted Oakley. “I wondered why we don’t have a lot of young people in the industry.”

After joining ASTA’s Young Professionals Society, he began corresponding with Millennials in Travel. He saw an opportunity to leverage the skills of millennials and draw in a younger workforce to the travel industry.

“We communicate differently, understand things in a different way and want to bring those qualities into the travel world,” said Oakley. “We want young people to know this is fun.”

Does not charge dues, yet
Currently membership in Millennials in Travel is free, but the group plans to start charging a membership fee sometime soon, Oakley said.

“Right now we are a nonprofit, but we will charge for membership and access to our database soon,” said Oakley.

See earlier story: New Trade Assn. Aims to Unite Millennials in Travel


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Family Travel Expert Shares Stats and Tips

NancySchretterDuring her NTA webinar on family travel last week, Nancy Schretter revealed some amazing numbers that describe the growth of the market. Perhaps most amazing is the number of facts and tips she shared in her presentation: No fewer than 106 facts about the market and 118 practical tips for professionals who want to expand their success with family travelers. (We counted.)

Schretter, founder and managing editor of the Family Travel Network, identified key trends and provided specific steps to capitalize on them. We picked a few suggestions that focus on using your website to attract more family business.
  • Highlight your great guides and insider destination expertise that are included in tours.
  • Put a "Celebrations & Family Reunions" navigation button on your website and show what you do for birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, etc.
  • Display accommodations that allow families to spread out (especially for multigenerational vacations).
  • If appropriate, make sure your site includes potential search terms such as "multi-sport family vacations" and "family adventure vacations" and "adventure vacations."
  • Most family travel vacation websites and ads showcase school-age children, so if you want to appeal to families with young adults, add those photos to your site.
Article link:

Travel Bloggers: Use This Formula to Write, Travel, and Get Paid

The following blog post is from my good friend and industry colleague, Jim Reddekopp - the Immediate Past Chairman & CEO of the National Tour Association, as well as an entrepreneur who founded the Hawaiian Vanilla Company and Earth Bound Tours.  Jim’s newest endeavor is Entrepreneurs in Travel, an all-virtual program where he personally teaches bloggers how to partner with professional tour operators so they make money from their blogs while getting paid to write and travel (www.entrepreneursintravel.com).

Travel Bloggers: Use This Formula to Write, Travel, and Get Paid

Getting paid to write, travel, and build your blog is easier than you think.

So easy, in fact, it’s hidden in plain view. This technique is also free, which makes most readers jump to the conclusion that what I’m sharing is a gimmick or the latest multi-level-marketing scheme.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m revealing the key principles of a traditional, proven, multi-trillion dollar industry. An industry that employs 600% more people than the global auto manufacturing industry, 200% more people than the global communications industry, and over 30% more people than the global banking industry.[1]
[1] World Travel and Tourism Council; Travel & Tourism Larger Industry than Automotive Manufacturing; April 2012.

The critical difference is that what I’m about to show you is a complete 180 degree shift in perspective.

It’s a completely different way to look at an existing infrastructure that stands ready to put money in your pocket, delight your readers, and keep you focused on traveling and writing.

Why This Is Real, and Why It Matters

Before we go any further, let me introduce myself. I am the Immediate Past Chairman and CEO of the National Tour Association (NTA), one of the largest trade organizations for travel-related businesses and professionals. Our members include tour operators, hotels, airlines, rail lines, bus lines, attractions, and destination marketing organizations.

I grew up in this industry. I watched and learned from my dad who spent his professional career as a successful tour operator. As an insider, I’ve watched the travel and tourism industries become increasingly modernized and personalized, largely thanks to a synergistic blend of technology, new media content creators, writers, and travel bloggers.

This insider perspective also means I see new opportunities that are ripe for harvesting.

Tour Designers – Your Partners in Success

I’m also an entrepreneur and tour designer. I do the behind-the-scenes work to build tour packages for my clients.

For example, I’ve created farm-to-table tour packages for specialty growers who teach fans and foodies how to stay connected with the land while savoring day-of-harvest freshness and flavor. I’ve created Hawaiian luxury tours for a lifestyle blogger. And I’ve created Hawaiian luxury yoga packages for a yoga instructor who offers clients the ultimate VIP health, nutrition, and fitness experience.

In other words, my clients are the hosts of the travel events. Together we can create anything imaginable. From bungee-jumping tours, to heli-skiing expeditions, to world-class spa retreats.

If you’ve ever purchased a travel package, a tour designer did the work to put the pieces together. He or she had the training and industry connections to bring together airline and other transportation companies, hotel facilities, destination centers, and activity or entertainment suppliers.

In other words, a tour designer did the work to bundle the different pieces into a single, purchasable, “unit” or package.  This is very different from being a travel agent. Among other products and services they offer, a travel agent can sell the tour packages a tour designer creates.

Now let’s take this concept a step further. What if you, as a blogger, were able to host a travel event?

Imagine being able to offer a custom-created, passion-inspired, travel package to your readers.

Rather than writing for them, imagine actually traveling with them – bringing them into the experience itself, in person, rather than through words and images alone.

More than sharing bits and bytes of data on a computer screen or mobile device, you’d be sharing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and adventures – in person.

As the host, your travel and writing expenses are paid for by the folks who are traveling with you. In other words, when you host a travel experience, you’re getting paid to travel and write.

The key to making this happen is knowing how to work with the right tour designer.

Tour designers are one of the best kept secrets in the travel and tourism industry. Their behind-the-scenes work is the glue that holds most commercial tour experiences together. They’re also some of the most well-connected people in the industry, which makes them the perfect partner to create an amazing experience for your readers.

Here’s where it gets a little mind-boggling.

Working with a tour designer is completely free. There are no – as in zero – upfront costs. Tour designers are not like lawyers or accountants who charge by the hour. Their services are free until the tour packages are sold and the travel experience happens.

How to Work with a Tour Designer

When you know how to work with a tour designer, you have the power to offer unique travel experiences to your readers.

In other words, you have the power to get paid to travel and write.

There are four steps to the formula. Let’s discuss them now.

Step One: Create an Experience
Your first step is to get crystal clear about the type of experience you want to create. The key is to start from within yourself and then take it a step further to embrace your readers.

As the host, you’re the driving force – the engine that fuels enthusiasm and passion about the travel experience. That passion needs to come from within you, first and foremost. What do you wake up every morning wanting to do? What shared focus drives both you and your readers?

Is it food or photography? Is it adventure or relaxing? Is it art…music…wildlife?  Are you eager to do your part to make the world a better place?

The key is to start within, then imagine an experience that will stir the hearts and minds of your readers. An experience that makes them what to get out from behind the computer and join you in a real-world adventure.

Step Two: Plan and Manage the Details

Next we get into the nuts and bolts of putting together an exceptional travel experience. This is where your partnership with a tour designer begins. Together, you’ll fine tune the details of the travel experience.

You’ll decide on accommodations, meals, activities, outings, transportation, and everything in between. Your tour designer’s knowledge and skill really come into play here. Their industry connections and experience are the secret ingredients to putting together a singular and memorable experience for your readers.

Once you plan the details of the experience, your tour designer gets to work converting your idea into a reality. It’s their job to make the arrangements and do the proper scheduling to put all of the pieces together so your travel experience unfolds perfectly.

Your tour designer is also responsible for managing the administrative aspects of tour creation, including setting up the payment systems and managing the purchases.

Step Three: Promote the Experience
Once the travel package has been created, it’s time to promote it. You have a chance to shine, using your blog as a tool to build reader excitement. You can also work with your tour designer to host webinars and teleseminars about the trip. Introduce your audience to the people, places, and activities that are part of the adventure.

Step Four: Manage the Risk

Almost all hosts fall over the same stumbling block: the fear that something will happen and the tour will fail. What if no one signs up? What if travel restrictions are imposed?  What if there’s a strike of some sort, causing delays or loss?

The good news is that you can protect yourself from the “what ifs.” Again, your tour designer can help set up ways to manage risk, using insurance carriers designed to support the travel and tourism industry.
Putting It All Together
There is a natural synergy between bloggers and tour designers.
As hosts, bloggers have the unique ability to stir deep excitement and enthusiasm for the tours they create. This happens because they share their readers’ passion for the subject matter, activity, or location.
Tour designers, on the other hand, have the strong connections, contacts, and resources that only a “local” would possess. In fact, many of them are highly specialized, based on location or activity type.
In other words, as a travel blogger, yours is a creative role – the chance to dream and then actualize a stellar, in-person, travel experience for your readers.
As a co-creative partner, the tour designer is responsible for all operations. Their contribution makes your dream a tangible reality in every sense.
Getting Paid to Write and Travel
Travel and tourism are changing more dramatically, and more quickly, than ever. Bloggers are a revolutionary force, fueling this change. This means there are exciting opportunities that have never existed before.
As a result, it’s never been easier to write, travel, and get paid.
As a travel blogger you have the chance to jump aboard and join this new movement.  When you partner with a talented tour designer you have the power to offer custom-created, passion-inspired travel experiences to your readers.
Being of ultimate service to your audience, you have the power to pull them away from their computer screens and into the world of realized dreams and adventures.

Author Bio:
Jim Reddekopp has been involved in the travel and tourism industry for over 35 years and is the Immediate Past Chairman & CEO of the National Tour Association.

As an entrepreneur he is also the founder of the Hawaiian Vanilla Company, which has been featured in both TV and magazine articles, including The Discovery Channel, The Food Network, The Travel Channel, PBS America’s Heartland, Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, several in-flight magazines, and Hawaii Business Magazine.

Jim’s other company, Earth Bound Tours, has been in operation for over 30 years and has created and managed the travel experiences of over 50,000 guests in the last 5 years alone.

Jim’s newest endeavour is Entrepreneurs in Travel, an all-virtual program where he personally teaches bloggers how to partner with professional tour operators so they make money from their blogs while getting paid to write and travel.

Visit his website at www.entrepreneursintravel.com

Millenial Entrepreneurs on an Incubating Cross-Country Train Journey (ABC News/Emily Deruy)

Another story about this fantastic event that took place in the past two weeks of combining millennial entrepreneurs with a cross-country train journey to discuss entrepreneurial ideas and initiatives. It's a simply awesome concept.

Article link:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chinese Tour Ops Ask: Are You Ready For Chinese Visitors? (By Harvey Chipkin of Travel Market Report)

The following article is from Travel Market Report and written by Harvey Chipkin after attending NTA's China Travel Market Forum in Hawaii.

Article Link:
Chinese travelers are eager to come to the U.S. but lack of air service and readiness by both Chinese tour operators and American suppliers is proving an obstacle.

That was the message from Chinese tour operators speaking at the National Tour Association’s (NTA) China Market Forum in Hawaii last week.

“There were several common threads in what they said,” said NTA president Simon of the Chinese tour operators who attended the forum for the first time.

“One concerned limited air service outside the major gateways,” she said.

“They have good service to gateways but not to markets in the middle of the country like New Orleans and Chicago. The thing is their customers really want to go to these places.”

Quality issues
Concerns over quality also surfaced during the event.

“There seem to be issues on both sides,” Simon said. “When Chinese companies bring their own tour directors here, they don’t know the U.S. product.

“On our side, there may be domestic tour directors who know the language and customs but don’t know destinations outside their own bases.”

Major U .S. gateway cities like New York and San Francisco are ready for Chinese visitors in terms of language skills and understanding cultural nuances, she said.

 “Smaller markets, however, are not ready,” said Simon.

“They don’t think they have to be prepared because Chinese visitors will not be arriving for several years but tour operators should at least be paying attention; at least try to figure out if they should be getting China-ready.”

A growing market
The numbers are reason enough for U.S. destinations and suppliers to pay attention.
Chinese visitation to the U.S. increased 41% in 2012, according to the federal Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI).

The fastest-growing U.S. inbound market, China is ranked as the nation’s eighth largest source of visitors and is projected to rank sixth by 2015.

Spending by Chinese travelers to the U.S. rose 19% in 2012, following 47% increases in both 2010 and 2011, the OTTI reported. Visitors to Hawai‘i from China are the highest spenders of any market, averaging $391.80 a day.

Government changes
Visitation could climb even higher as a result of government regulatory changes in China.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government announced new initiatives for the development of the country’s travel industry.

Measures include adding paid holidays, increasing budgets on travel infrastructure, encouraging incentive and conference travel and providing more opportunities for student travel.

Simon said the government’s recent enactment of consumer protection laws regulating tour operators, should make for better customer experiences.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Combining Tourism, Innovators and Millenials on a Cross-country Train Journey

Pretty fascinating concept below that combines our industry of tourism with innovators, entrepreneurs and Millenials. 

To learn more about this project click on organization's website at

THE MILLENNIAL TRAINS PROJECT (MTP) is a non-profit organization that leads crowd-funded transcontinental train journeys that empower diverse groups of enterprising and civic-minded Millennials to explore America's new frontiers.

New 2013 Adventure Tourism Report Just Published by ATTA

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) has just published its 2013 Adventure Tourism Report - a consumer report by The George Washington University (GW) conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA, www.adventuretravel.biz).

Click here to view press release on the above study.

Here are a few highlights and excerpts from the release and report:
* Adventure travel market is a $263 billion market.
* Adventure travel market has grown 65% per year since 2009.
*  Adventure travelers are younger than non-adventure travelers, with an average age of 36;
*  The average length of a soft adventure trip was ten days in 2012 compared to eight days in 2009;
*  Nearly 54 percent of travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip, compared to the 42 percent of travelers currently participating in adventure activities. The increase in interest comes largely from soft adventure activities;
*  45 percent of adventure travelers plan on using a tour operator on their next trip, compared to only 31 percent of non-adventure travelers;
The percentage of adventure travelers using Facebook (78 percent) has more than doubled since 2009.

Be sure to read the full press release on the 2013 Adventure Tourism Report by clicking here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

NTA-ASTA 3rd Hispanics in Travel Caucus on Sept 17, 2013

NTA and the American Society of Travel Agents are hosting the third Hispanics in Travel Caucus on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 10:15 a.m., during ASTA’s Global Convention in Miami, and you’re invited! U.S. Hispanics are the country's largest, fastest-growing minority, and they represent an increasingly important segment of the travel market.

The Sept. 17 session will focus on a study examining the role of travel in the lives of Hispanic Americans (including college students): their travel patterns and aspirations, the reasons they travel and the relationship between travel and overall satisfaction. The study was sponsored by ASTA, NTA and Florida International University.

Keynoting the event is Emilio Gonzalez, Ph.D., director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, who will discuss the importance of the Hispanic market and the potential impact of the immigration bill that is currently before Congress.

For more information, follow this link.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Definition of Faith-based Travel

What is Faith-based Travel?

Faith-based travel is the providing of transportation, lodging, food/beverage, travel arrangements, tour packages and other related travel and hospitality services to people of faith or to a place of faith.
(Source: NTA Faith-based Travel Market Reference Guide) www.NTAonline.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NTA and China Market Forum: Global tourism association gathers experts on burgeoning market

LEXINGTON, Kentucky - As Chinese travelers flow into the United States in ever-increasing numbers, NTA is hosting a definitive analysis of the burgeoning market—and helping tour operators cash in on the rising tide.

At Contact, a business retreat for tour operators held Aug. 15–17 on Hawai‘i, the Big Island, NTA is offering the China Market Forum, a four-part program geared to help operators develop new product and improve existing offerings. This is the latest milestone in the association’s successful journey within the China market, begun in 2008 and punctuated by partnerships with the China National Tourism Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service and Brand USA.

“This market is exceptionally promising for our members, and we’re working with a variety of partners to grow it: U.S. and Chinese government officials, Chinese travel agents, and of course, NTA tour operators, suppliers and destinations,” said Lisa Simon, NTA president. “The China Market Forum will bring all the players together in Hawai‘i so we can formulate a game plan for growth.”

The China Market Forum is part of a larger education program for tour operators attending Contact, held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Each of the forum’s four sessions focuses on a distinct aspect of China-U.S. tourism:

Market Overview—China market experts will examine the Chinese government’s recently announced initiatives aimed at increasing travel for its citizens and will discuss what the U.S. is doing to welcome these travelers.
• Isabel Hill, director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, will present travel data and predictions.
• Jay Gray, vice president of Brand USA, will outline the United States’ China market initiatives.
• Nick Hentschel, director of business development and legal affairs for AmericanTours International, will discuss China’s new tourism laws.

Ask the Top China Operators - A panel of Chinese travel agents will provide an overview of their operations and help U.S. tour operators grasp current trends and anticipate coming changes.
• Tony Ong, Beijing Hua Yuan International Travel Service, will discuss how to develop travel product for Chinese travelers.
• Skylar Jiang, China Youth Travel Service, will cover operational issues and ways to meet customers’ needs.
• Mark Wang, China Travel Service, will explain what U.S. tour operators should know about the Chinese government’s influence over Chinese travel agencies’ practices.

Packaging Travel for the Chinese Traveler—Participants in this session will examine all aspects of an itinerary and explain how to work with destinations and tour suppliers to create and market a meaningful, top-quality tour for the Chinese traveler.
• Tony Ong, Beijing Hua Yuan International Travel Service, will offer a Chinese travel agency’s perspective.
• Gil Buitrago, Delta Air Lines, will focus on the role of airline services.
• Jay Geng, Wasabi International Tours, will represent receptive operators.
• Tony S. Vericella, Island Partners Hawai‘i and Luxe Travel Hawai‘i, will represent destinations and tour suppliers.

China-ready seminars for the Travel Industry—Daniel Crain of BRIC Marketing Group will describe a series of seminars soon to be rolled out for tourism professionals. The sessions will explore three components of becoming “China-ready”—product, sales and service—and will be offered to the industry this fall in both in-person and online courses.

NTA’s work with the Chinese market goes back to 2008, when the governments of the United States and China agreed to allow Chinese leisure travelers to visit the United States in group tours. NTA was designated to maintain a list of U.S. tour operators registered to handle those groups.
Since that time, the association has specialized in facilitating U.S.-inbound travel by educating travel professionals in China and the United States, and by participating (and leading) trade events in both countries. NTA’s efforts are spearheaded by Haybina Hao, director of international development for NTA.

“The best way for U.S. tour operators to capture their share of this market is to meet directly with professionals from prominent Chinese travel companies, and this forum in Hawai‘i is an exceptional opportunity,” Hao said. “We’ll hear from Chinese experts who move huge numbers of travelers.”
Chinese visitation to the United States increased 41 percent in 2012, according to OTTI. As the fastest-growing U.S.-inbound market, China is ranked as the nation’s eighth-largest source of visitors and is projected to become No. 6 by 2015. Chinese arrivals into Hawai‘i increased 28 percent last year (through November), and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority projects the China/Taiwan market to grow an additional 40 percent in 2013.

OTTI also notes that spending by Chinese travelers who visited the U.S. rose 19 percent in 2012, following 47 percent increases in both 2010 and 2011. Visitors to Hawai‘i from China are the highest spenders of any market, averaging $391.80 a day.
Visitation numbers could climb even higher. In February, the Chinese government announced new initiatives to guide the development of the country’s travel industry. Measures include adding paid holidays, increasing budgets on travel infrastructure, encouraging incentive and conference travel, and providing more opportunities for student travel.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ask the Tour Operator: Corey Marshall, President of Anderson Vacations

Article link:

Ask the Operator: Corey Marshall 
CoreyMarshallCalgary, Alberta-based Anderson Vacations became an NTA member in 2001, and company president Corey Marshall is a regular at the association's Business Builder events. He'll be heading to Hawai‘i this week for Contact. During a recent interview, we asked:

What's the value of attending Contact and Travel Exchange?

Regarding Contact:"Other than catching up with friends, what I value the most about Contact is the sharing of best practices among colleagues: talking to people we've done business with for a long time about their HR practices or insurance or any of these issues that we deal with. I think that's pretty cool, and it's a big reason I've always enjoyed that smaller, more intimate exchange."

Regarding Travel Exchange:"We go and network with other tour operators. Sometimes we take a seller's set of appointments, and sometimes we're there as a buyer and can network on the floor. In any case, it's a great way to meet potential new customers.

"Convention for us is an opportunity to look at new destinations and products and partners. It's a great way to find partners that are interested in our programs in Canada or the South Pacific, and we always pick up one or two or three accounts. Travel Exchange [also helps us] maintain our relationships with existing clients. And then the educational seminars are critical, so I pick the ones where I gain ... insights, whether it's social media or contracting. 

"NTA provides a platform for us to make sure we're staying on top of market trends, researching new products and opportunities and able to sell to our fellow member tour operators." 

What does it take to be an intrapreneur in the travel industry?

Article link from NTA:

What does it take to be an intrapreneur in the travel industry? And what exactly is an intrapreneur?

Kevin Wright, NTA's director of growth markets, tackled both questions in an online Q&A. An intrapreneur, like an entrepreneur, turns ideas into profitable products and services, only an intrapreneur does so as an employee of a company.

In the article, Wright described his most notable intrapreneurial success: While working at Globus, he created a business plan for a new initiative, which the company used to launch a faith-based-travel division.
He said being an intrapreneur takes more than having a good idea. "An intrapreneur must exercise the skills of communication, diplomacy ... and problem-solving and possess a strong knowledge base and expertise over the subject matter."

To see the rest of the interview, which includes advice for aspiring intrapreneurs, follow this link.

Get Noticed at Travel Exchange

Be a noticeable part of NTA's biggest Business Builder event, Travel Exchange, inTravEx SponsorAdv logo Los Angeles, Feb. 16–20.

Travel Exchange is the show that puts the full spectrum of travel buyers and sellers on the same floor by bringing together approximately 4,000 NTA and United Motorcoach Association members for a week of appointments, networking and education.

Advertising and sponsorships are terrific opportunities to make your organization stand out! To see what's available (and why it works so well), follow this link.

Exploring Adventure Travel (Interviews with Storm-Chasing Company and Travel Alberta)

Get up-close and personal with adventure travel by reading personal interviews with:

1) Martin Lisius, President of Tempest Tours, a storm-chasing expeditions company

2) Bart Donnelly, Director of Travel Trade for Travel Alberta

Read their full interviews here:

Domino's Debuts Commercial Promoting Business Innovation via Pizza-Fueled Meetings

While watching TV last night, I was really impressed with a new Domino's Pizza commercial I saw for the first time.  In the commercial, Domino's associates eating pizza with entrepreneurs, business-building meetings and break-through innovation thinking.

This new "Powered by Pizza" campaign by Domino's I believe is brilliant from a business perspective.  And what I find amazing is, how simple the concept and reality is behind it. 

The vast majority of us in the travel industry can identify with pizza often being at our side during key meetings of breakthrough on new travel products, services, marketing, sales, and promotional ideas.  As for me, I can say pizza has been a part of our meetings at NTA, WRTA, Globus, and Maupintour, as well as at various trade industry conferences and events.

Here are a few highlights about the new "Powered by Pizza" campaign:
* Recognizes pizza as the food that fuels innovation
* Honors and rewards people involved in the business innovation process.
* Domino's will gift 30 startup companies with Pizzavestments: $500 gift certificates
* Domino's will support upstart campaigns on crowdfunding site www.indiegogo.com with free food and other Pizza perks

To read more about this innovative campaign by Domino's (which yes, they say was formulated in company meetings fueled by pizza), click on this article:

Monday, August 12, 2013

9 Ways to Get Started in a Niche You Know Nothing About (by Steve Gillick/Travel Market Report)

Steve Gillick, founder of Talking Travel, shares some great insights in his Travel Market Report article below in getting starting in niche markets.

Article link:

Brief excerpts from article below (click on above article link to read the full details of each 9 ways below)....

Once you find out how popular a certain niche or special interest is among your clientele, and how niche travel can generate new revenue for your agency, you will want to learn more about it.

Here are 9 ways to get into a niche travel market that you know nothing about.

1)    Identify and list.
2)    Pick and choose.
3)    Interview and learn more.
4)    Research and experience.
5)    Browse and chat.
6)    Create and co-opt.
7)    Customize and craft.
8)    Show and tell.
9)    Boast and post.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Register Now for Oct 16 Webinar: 5 Innovative Ideas in Faith-based Travel for Increased Profits

The following Oct 16 (12pm ET) webinar is open to any travel or tourism professional.  Pre-registration is required. To register, send an email to NTA (National Tour Association) staff at headquarters@NTAstaff.com
5 Innovative Ideas in Faith-based Travel for Increased Profits 

One new idea can make a business flourish and increase profits. What if you were given five innovative ideas? Imagine the possibilities. Whether you dabble in or are a seasoned pro with faith-based travel, this webinar is perfect for discovering new ideas on how to improve your market position within this industry segment – especially among tour operators. Hear firsthand from several guest panelists who have successfully implemented resourceful ideas themselves, while also having an opportunity to share your own questions and thoughts with the group. The webinar is designed for tour operators, suppliers and destination management organizations.  
Paul Larsen, Ed-Ventures
Scott Feinerman,
Israel Ministry of Tourism
Edita Krunic,
Select International Tours
Cindi Brodhecker,
The Priscilla Woman's Tours
Ty Antle, Wet 'n Wild Orlando

Sponsored by Israel Ministry of Tourism

Join 3,600 Tour and Travel Buyers and Sellers at Travel Exchange (Los Angeles, CA)

Join the Family Travel Webinar featuring Nancy Schretter (Aug 21 at 12pm ET)

Families are the fastest growing leisure travel market segment, accounting for approximately 115 million trips per year. According to the recent MMGY Portrait of American Travelers Survey, 44 percent of leisure travelers brought kids along on their trips, and 37 percent of grandparents traveled with their grandchildren.

In this engaging and information-packed webinar, Nancy Schretter will lead you in exploring the family travel market and developing a strategy for success.

The webinar will be Wednesday, August 21, at noon ET. Please email NTA Headquarters to register today!

Don’t miss any of the upcoming Free Webinar Wednesdays; register today! All sessions start at noon ET:
  • Sept. 25: Working with Travel Bloggers
  • Oct. 16: 5 innovative Ideas in Faith-based Travel Sponsored by Israel Ministry of Tourism
  • Nov. 20: How to Sell Business Internationally
  • Dec. 18: World Travel Outlook
Remember, the more the merrier! So please feel free to invite your colleagues to participate in any of these upcoming, member-only webinars.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Generation Y will be spearheading a new era of innovation as Intrapreneurs in the Travel Industry (Published by sa.am)

My interview on the topic of Intrapreneurship with  was published today.
 Here's the opening and closing excerpts.....
1.     You call yourself an intrapreneur. Can you tell us what the term means to you?

In my personal blog on the subject [IntrapreneurEntrepreneur.com], I define intrapreneurs as “entrepreneurs who turn ideas into profitable products and services as employees of a company.”  If I wanted to get a little fancier, I would define intrapreneurs as “company incubators of tomorrow’s products and services.”

One of the first dictionaries to ever define the term of intrapreneur is the American Heritage Dictionary.  Interestingly, they define an intrapreneur as “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.” Although I like this definition and believe it conveys excellent insight into what an intrapreneur is (especially in reference to “risk-taking and innovation”), it has one inaccuracy in my opinion:

An intrapreneur can be found in companies of all sizes, not just large corporations.

9.     What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring intrapreneurs?

Do not be afraid!  Don’t be afraid to present an unsolicited idea, or even business plan, to your company executives and decision-makers.  If I had been “too afraid” to present my voluntary business plan to our company executives at Globus, not only would my career have not progressed in the way it did, but our company would also not have developed an entirely new customer base and pillar of revenues.  Moreover, Globus’ launch of the new business unit has led to job creation for society and permanently impacted the trajectory of the global faith-based travel marketplace.

So, whatever industry you may be in, do not be afraid to put forth your intrapreneurial idea… you just never know where it may lead!

Read the rest of the interview at:


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Watch Travel Exchange Video (NTA Convention + UMA Motorcoach Expo)

Video highlights from Travel Exchange 2013: Click here to watch the video and all the buzz is about Travel Exchange. Travel Exchange 2014 logo

It's been half a year since the inaugural Travel Exchange rolled out in Orlando, Florida, where attendees booked $114 million in total business on the show floor; $59 million in new business alone.

Take a look at this video, which brings it all back: the people, the action, the booths, the business and member comments like these:
  • "The connection between NTA and UMA this year really has opened up a lot of doors ... and a lot of appointments that we didn't expect."
  • "Everyone I'm meeting here has been a new contact for me, so it's definitely beneficial."
  • "It's a great opportunity to network and meet a lot of international as well as domestic tour operators."
  • "The more relationships we can have with our partners, the better it makes the association."
  • "It's all about relationships, and that's what brought it together for me."
Watch Travel Exchange Video

Monday, August 5, 2013

Corporate entrepreneurship is needed (article by Hemant Chandran)

Article summary:
Stereotypically, big corporate organisations don’t  encourage entrepreneurism but this attitude is changing says Hemant Chandran

Article author: Hemant Chandran

Article link:

Here are my some of my favorite gems of wisdom and insight from the article:

* An intrapreneur is a person who takes the entrepreneurial initiative within an organisation.

* Such behaviour can be a competitive advantage and sometimes a key differentiator between firms.

* While it is challenging for large dinosaur-like organisations to keep the intrapreneurial flavour in the organisation, it is imperative for them to infuse new talent.

* Entrepreneurial firms not only do themselves a favour by employing such self-motivated and performing talents, but they also contribute to society since the challenges contestants bring to bear on their work and the productive labour it yields spur economic growth.

* Companies need to identify the entrepreneurial middle manager and hone their innovative skills to keep them engaged with the company.

* Identifying and fostering appropriate talents is equally essential. But it is creating the right environment for budding intrapreneurs that is the most important step in the process.

* It involves taking calculated and imaginative risks, and even then success is not guaranteed. Companies need to continually assess the environment in order to keep the creative juices flowing.
Get all of this right, and the organisation will certainly reap the creative benefits.

* Entrepreneurship and innovation are the only ways for business to survive meaningfully in this fiercely competitive environment.

* With more start-ups than ever, all buzzing and determined to succeed, companies need to reform their internal outlook and engender a creative, flexible intrapreneurial attitude. It’s only then that the real results can be seen.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Grand Opening of 2 New Attractions in Buena Park, CA: Titanic and Bodies

The press release below is a special one to me.  My father, Jim Wright, served as General Manager of Movieland Wax Museum (Buena Park, CA) in the early 1980s.  As you'll see in the article below, two new attractions are opening today (Aug 1, 2013) inside the former Movieland Wax Museum.  I attended the VIP event last night, courtesy of Buena Park CVB and Premier Exhibitions.  The two exhibits and attractions of Titanic and Bodies was just awesome! And it was definitely a memorable experience to be walking inside the same hallways of Movieland Wax Museum.....just as I did 30 years ago! - Kevin J. Wright

The following information was released by Premier Exhibitions, Inc.

The City of Buena Park has leased the historic Movieland Wax Museum site on Beach Boulevard to Premier Exhibitions, Inc. About 40,000 square feet of the property will be used to display their extraordinary Exhibitions, Bodies… The Exhibition and Titanic The Experience.

“This is a great day for Buena Park,” stated Mayor Elizabeth Swift. “This amazing new attraction will significantly increase visitors to our entertainment area, create dozens of jobs, and generate revenue into our local economy.” Both Exhibits are scheduled to open Summer 2013.

“As the industry leader in museum quality Exhibitions, Premier Exhibitions is thrilled to partner with the City of Buena Park bringing our blockbuster Titanic and Bodies Exhibitions to this expanding tourist market,” said Samuel S. Weiser, CEO and President of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. “Over 40 million visitors around the world have experienced our Titanic and Bodies exhibits, and we are confident that our transformation of the former Movieland Wax Museum site on Beach Boulevard will improve the diversity and quality of the entertainment options available to Buena Park visitors. We believe this endeavor is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long and successful relationship between Premier and the city of Buena Park.”

About the Exhibitions
Titanic The Experience is an unprecedented opportunity to travel back in time and experience the wonder and tragedy of the world’s most famous ocean-liner, Titanic. Visitors are guided through the interactive Exhibition by trained actors in period costume that will portray Titanic notables such as Captain Smith and Margaret Brown. The Exhibition will feature authentic artifacts that have been recovered from the wreck site of Titanic, 2.5 miles beneath the ocean surface. These amazing objects, once thought to be lost forever, along with authentic recreations of some of the most famous rooms on board Titanic, will offer visitors an educational, emotional and poignant look at this iconic Ship and its passengers.

Bodies…The Exhibition offers an intimate and informative view into the human body. Using an innovative preservation process, the Exhibition allows visitors to see the human body’s inner beauty in educational and awe-inspiring ways. The Exhibition will feature over 200 actual human bodies and specimens meticulously dissected and respectfully displayed, offering an unprecedented and wholly unique view into the amazing body

Visit Buena Park
With thrilling attractions, interactive dining experiences, and plenty of shopping options, Buena Park offers fun on just about every corner. A vacation hot spot, the lively city of Buena Park is located just five miles west of Disneyland and home to world famous entertainment – including the nation’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, Soak City USA, Pirates Dinner Adventure, and Medieval Times. Come and experience for yourself why Buena Park attracts millions of visitors each year. With its warm weather, family-friendly environment and world famous attractions, you don’t have to look for it because fun finds you in Buena Park. For more information please contact Visit Buena Park at 800-541-3953 or VisitBuenaPark.com.

California Welcome Center
The California Welcome Center –Orange County offers personal, concierge-style service to all visitors, including free travel brochures, maps and directions, computer and internet access, hotel reservations, and discounted attraction tickets including LA Go Cards. The center is open 7 days a week 9 am to 5 pm at 6601 Beach Boulevard in Buena Park. Call 800-541-3953 or VisitBuenaPark.com.