Select Traveler

NOV-DEC 2016

Select Traveler

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 44 of 79

Courtesy Visit Salt Lake 45 W W W . T A P I N T O T R A V E L . C O M The most popular of these trips are offered as Guaranteed Departures — trips that are guaranteed to run regardless of how many or how few people book them. Customers and group leaders never have to worry that one of these trips will be cancelled due to low interest. But the TAP catalog also includes other scheduled tours, as well as opportunities for group leaders to work with TAP partners to build cus- tomized experiences for their groups. "Custom tours are now the fastest-growing segment of our tour depar- tures," said TAP executive director Stefanie Gorder. "And every day there is fresh product being loaded onto by one of our tour operators, so there is always new product there. It is constantly changing." AN EXPANDING REACH Much of TAP's growth in recent years is due to a number of forward- looking marketing efforts. The organization debuted a new website recently and has been using the site not only to sell trips but also to inspire travelers with editorial content. "We have a brand-new blog available on our home page, and it's great content," Gorder said. "Right now it's all about the holiday season. We've also done articles on things like Kit Carson's Old West and the history of some old towns in the Western states. We have done articles on patriotic tours and student travel. Because it's not just the senior market — we're now reaching out to millennial travelers and student travelers too." TAP has also found success in its webinar series, TAP Tuesday. Held each Tuesday at two o'clock, these informative online sessions feature TAP partners providing in-depth information about specific destinations that they sell, giving travel planners valuable resources for tour research. Each session is recorded and made available in an online archive, so visitors can get the information even if they aren't able to attend on a Tuesday afternoon. "We're not only focusing on great new tour products, but we're also providing educational tidbits," Gorder said. "So once a month they address how travel planners can make more money, enhance their marketing or move into additional markets. These educational components are there to help viewers grow their business." Another effort to help travel planners is the TAP Tour Wrap. This technology tool allows group leaders, travel agents and independent tour operators to display TAP's online catalog of trips to their customers through their own websites, without redirecting them to TAP's home page. "This year, anyone who is connected to The Group Travel Leader can have a complimentary TAP Wrap," Gorder said. "Anyone who calls and says they read about it in this magazine will get a free wrap if they have an active website." BET TING ON TAP TAP is also reaching out to travel planners by inviting them to get a behind-the-scenes look at the organization and its unique benefits. Formally known as the Buyer's Education Tour — but more frequently called BET on TAP — this program is available to qualified group travel leaders and tour operators. "It allows travel professionals to join us at our exclu- sive June event, TAP Dance," Gorder said. "Buyers of travel or potential partners can come in and see how we operate by attending a portion of our annual conference and then going on the local familiarization tours after the conference ends. "We tested the concept this year, and it worked out really well. It will be approved travel professionals, and there will be a screening process. They can meet with TAP partners and our Preferred Professional Travel Providers [PPTPs] and see what it's like on the inside of TAP. They can talk to people about putting together exclusive, custom trips or even about becoming a TAP partner." The BET on TAP program will make a good oppor- tunity for professional tour operators who are interested in becoming members of the partnership to learn more about how it works. Gorder also said that TAP hopes to grow its membership ranks in the coming year, and that a number of new tour companies are already in the application process. "We want to continue to find new partners that fill holes of destinations and services that aren't currently in our portfolio," she said. "We expect 2017 to be a year of real growth." Courtesy NPS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Select Traveler - NOV-DEC 2016