Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2016

Select Traveler

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Page 40 of 77 39 S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 N U R T U R E L O YA LT Y Instead of simply hitting up alumni to donate money, Van- derbilt University uses a more roundabout way of encouraging generosity: travel. Cary Allyn, director of the Vanderbilt Travel Program, knows that developing loyalty to their organization through travel will convince members to donate far more quick- ly than a cold call. "Loyalty is why they are traveling with us instead of a travel agent," said Allyn. "It doesn't matter the age of the people on the trip. Everyone has a common bond: an affi nity to Vander- bilt. ey are together talking about their college experiences and their favorite professors." To foster this loyalty, Allyn strives to keep her trips as Van- derbilt focused as possible. She will often plan outings with oth- er alumni or students living abroad for a fun way for passengers to reconnect with the college during the trip. To strengthen ties to the university before the trip, Allyn answers calls from travelers rather than sending them to the tour operators. e one-on-one connection with the university is a large part of why the travel program continues. Personalized gifts also help build loyal- ty, especially when the items relate to both the trip and the company, such as walking sticks with Vanderbilt's logo for a trip to Alaska. e affi nity built from these trips can be what stops someone from switching banks or what prompts alumni members to reach into their pockets. M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T S Some loyalty programs use travel not only to attract new members and keep old ones, but also to promote their organiza- tions' mission statements. For example, many alumni associations were created not just to raise money for the college but also to further educate alumni. at is why many alumni trips include accompanying professors or educational components. Chambers of commerce also often use travel programs to further their missions, such as the Shawnee Chamber of Com- merce (COC) in Kansas. Part of the cham- ber's purpose involves enhancing the com- munity through dynamic leadership. "Giving people the opportunity to travel helps them under- stand the world, which in turn helps them become better lead- ers," said Marlene Shirley, executive assistant at the Shawnee COC. Webb Brown, CEO and president of the Montana COC, doesn't use his chamber's travel program solely as a reward or a fundraiser. Instead, Brown seeks to promote international trade through the tours, as well as raise funds. "If people are traveling internationally, they start thinking, 'Well, I could do business internationally, too,'" said Brown. "We learned early on not to sell it as a business trip. Don't give people that idea." By mixing business and pleasure, the travel program both serves the chamber's mission statement to encourage interna- tional travel to Montana and boosts member support for the organization as a whole.

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