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JUL-AUG 2016

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Page 10 of 67 11 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6 ISLANDS IN THE SUN CRUISES & TOURS, INC. ,+85-6?,=*- -9 -?,+ <9?8. ><3: 0<97 73+73 AT LAST! Sail with Your Group in 2017 - Before Cuba Changes! "!"!!" to tackle a new project. I went into it knowing I was going to give it my best shot to build the program and do a better job than anyone else." Not only had Grieve never planned group trips, she also hadn't traveled much. A boss who was unfamiliar with the program also complicated matters. "It was so new to my boss, too, because he had been given the re- sponsibility for this right before he gave it to me," said Grieve. "After my fi rst month, I knew as much as he knew. It was a little like the blind leading the blind." She fi rst gained real confi dence in her job during the Missouri Bank Travel Conference, which she attended because of Bella Vista's proximity to the Missouri border. She also soon found value in the Select Traveler Conference. " e conferences were very informative and gave me an opportunity to see what was available in travel," said Grieve. "Select Traveler shed a new light on the job, because it reached farther geographically than Missouri." M I X I N G I T U P When looking over the bank's past trips, Grieve noticed some- thing important. "It came to me that all of our trips have traditionally gone during the week, but the only people that can go during the week are retirees," said Grieve. "So I put together my fi rst nontraditional trip in May on a Satur- day night. It's designed for the person who can't go at other times." Experimentation paid off , since the tour attracted ages from 41 to 93, with about 50 percent of the participants still in the workforce. "I was surprised by that, because it tells me that those 40- and 50-year-olds want to be involved," said Grieve. "So I need to plan some trips that meet their needs as well." After sticking to trips within 500 miles at fi rst, Grieve has also begun testing how far her group will travel. She booked a four-day September tour to Clarksville, Tennessee, with other similar trips planned for the future. "It's my fi rst partnership with a tour company," said Grieve. "So far, it's been a very pleasant expe- rience. It already seems like it has been very well received. I have other larger trips planned. If they are successful trips, I will continue to expand." C R A F T I N G M E M O R I E S Recently, Grieve used the lowly penny to in- fuse more fun into a trip. She challenged her travelers to partner with their seatmate for a scavenger hunt that looked for items such as a penny with a particular date range. "We always play some unique games," said Grieve. "It's kind of fun, because it builds a little bit of camaraderie among the group." Grieve strives to make the trips ones that club members will remember. She started hand- ing out "brag books" after her tours with photos, passenger contact information and a chronicle of the trip's activities. "I started realizing it was the same few people on most of the trips," said Grieve. "When I start- ed asking around, I learned the bankers weren't that familiar with the travel club. Because I was new and unproven, I worked really hard to get the word out. I created a brag book travelers could tell their neighbors and friends about." e books serve as a memory tool for her customers. Many re- ported the books not only reminded them of the trip but also helped them stay in touch with people they met during tours. Soon, Grieve had a number of people call to say they had seen someone else's brag book and wanted to know more. "You off er travel programs to your customers for a reason," said Grieve. "You want them to remember your bank and talk highly about it. e only way you do that is if everyone knows about the program." • Be creative. Tailor events that will appeal to different segments of your market. • Pay attention to detail. Customers like knowing everything is taken care of, but they also like know- ing you won't miss a trick when it comes to assuring their good time, safety and comfort. • Make your customers part of the program. Let them know the importance of telling others about the fun they have. Let them make suggestions for improvement. T R A V E L tips

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