Welcome back to our special two-part series from the ABA Marketplace Roadshow edition! In this week’s episode, we continue our exploration of the positive energy and optimism that pervades this year’s event. We discuss a range of topics, from the importance of collaboration in creating unforgettable experiences for visitors to the growing trend of slow travel and the benefits of spending more time in a single destination. So join us as we continue to explore the future of tour and travel in this exciting and dynamic industry.
In this episode, you’ll hear from:
- Jacob Servais – Hall of Fame and Stadium Tour Sales Executive at Green Bay Packers
- Juan Pablo Suarez – Travel Trade Manager Ottawa Tourism
- Julie Dautrich – Tourism Sales Manager at Discover Lancaster
- Keith Snode – Lead Navigator (COO) at Group Travel Odyssey & Chief Operating Officer (COO) Kaleidoscope Adventures
- Stacy Thornton – Senior Manager, Tourism Sales Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Tina Mt. Pleasant – Director of Travel Trade Sales at Destination Niagara USA
Golden Nuggets from the American Bus Association’s Annual Marketplace
The American Bus Association marketplace roadshow is an annual event that brings together tour and travel professionals from across the United States and worldwide. The event is designed to provide a unique forum for networking, education, and collaboration, with a focus on the latest trends and best practices in the industry. During the marketplace, attendees have the opportunity to meet with representatives from a wide range of travel-related companies and participate in educational seminars, learn about new products and services, and build relationships with others in the field. Whether you’re a seasoned industry veteran or just starting out in the world of tour and travel, the ABA marketplace roadshow is the perfect place to connect, learn, and grow.
Jacob Servais – Hall of Fame and Stadium Tour Sales Executive at Green Bay Packers
Jacob talks about looking toward the future of the travel industry and some of the factors he is keeping a close eye on, particularly in the motorcoach and tourism sector. One of the biggest challenges that has arisen is the fluctuating gas prices. This has affected school groups, rec groups, and senior centers who rely heavily on transportation. However, partnerships and collaborations are helping to alleviate this issue. For instance, the Green Bay Packers Foundation provides a transportation grant for school groups, which not only assists in getting students to Lambeau but also supports bus companies.
Juan Pablo Suarez – Travel Trade Manager Ottawa Tourism
Juan Pablo discusses how the group travel industry is evolving and facing many challenges due to the impact of the pandemic. He shares that one of the noticeable changes is that people are looking to truly experience a destination rather than just seeing it. This means that travelers are looking for a more immersive experience and are embracing the trend of slow travel. Instead of rushing through multiple destinations in a short period of time, travelers are looking to spend more time in a few select places. This trend benefits destinations, as visitors can stay longer and explore more attractions, leading to a better overall experience.
Julie Dautrich – Tourism Sales Manager at Discover Lancaster
According to Julie, the word energizing perfectly describes the ABA Marketplace Roadshow because it has brought a new level of excitement and enthusiasm to the travel industry. The event is an excellent platform for tourism professionals to network and connect with potential clients. The sheer number of appointments and meetings, coupled with the energy and passion of attendees, creates a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere. The energy and enthusiasm at the ABA marketplace are infectious, making it an event everyone in the travel industry should attend.
Keith Snode – Lead Navigator (COO) at Group Travel Odyssey & Chief Operating Officer (COO) Kaleidoscope Adventures
The changes in the group travel industry are significant, and Keith shares why it’s so fascinating to see how things are evolving. One of the biggest changes is in how people are buying group travel experiences. Keith discusses how pre-formed groups used to work with a single group leader, and the focus was on the group as a whole rather than on the individual travelers and how COVID-19 has changed that, so now there is a unique touchpoint with each individual traveler. We dive into how the integration of technology into group travel has revolutionized the way business is done and why it’s exciting to see how these changes will shape the industry.
Stacy Thornton – Senior Manager, Tourism Sales Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Stacy shares with me why she is so excited about what’s on the horizon for her organization, Meet Boston. She discusses how their new brand captures the city’s spirit and why she can’t wait to see how that will translate into their marketing and outreach efforts. Stacy also shares what she’s most looking forward to, including reclaiming some sense of normalcy and being able to travel freely again, explore new destinations, and meet new people.
Tina Mt. Pleasant – Director of Travel Trade Sales at Destination Niagara USA
It’s heartwarming to hear about the family-like atmosphere at ABA Marketplace. The strong relationships they have built over the years make attendees feel like they are part of a close-knit family. Tina shares how the amazing conversations that happen at the event can bring people together and create such a warm and welcoming environment. It’s clear that this feeling of camaraderie is a unique aspect of ABA Marketplace Roadshow and one that keeps people coming back year after year. It’s a testament to the power of community and how important it is to feel connected to others, especially in the travel industry.
A Positive Future
Our guests highlight how technology is rapidly transforming the sector and the exciting opportunities this presents for innovative tour and travel companies. Plus, we hear firsthand about the product development initiatives that are creating new and exciting experiences in some of the world’s most iconic destinations. As a fun way to wrap things up, I also asked each of our guests to sum up their experience of the ABA Marketplace Roadshow in just one word – listen in to hear their inspiring responses, which include words like energizing, essential, and family.
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