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JAN-FEB 2017

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46 J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 G O O D D A Y T R I P S C A N W hen Mary Beth Kurasek of Busey Bank started digging around, she realized that a plethora of incredible destinations lay within easy driving distance of Champaign, Illinois. Previously, her bank had only booked longer trips. But once she saw the fall foliage tours, baseball games and other enticing festivals that lay within a short drive, she began embracing the group day trip. ough exotic destinations immediately attract attention, there is normally a signifi cant portion of loyalty program mem- bers who don't want to expend the time or money involved in a long international trip. Engaging a wider net of travelers with day trips develops more loyalty to your organization, as well as a stronger comfort level with the group. Someone who loved a day trip to a Chicago Cubs game is much more likely to fi nd the money and time to go on a longer trip than someone with no previous group travel experience. For day trips to be successful in encouraging engagement and recruiting travelers for longer trips, they must be impressive. ese tips can help you plan an exciting day trip. T H E T H R E E - H O U R R U L E Generally, a day trip's destination is no farther than three hours away. Any farther requires a rest stop, which adds more time onto the trip and starts to feel like you are spending more time riding than at the destination. Contact your local or state convention and visitors bureau to discover what travel possibilities exist within a three-hour radius of your town. ese tourism offi cials will often know of attractions and group experiences previously unknown to you. While deciding where to go, also experiment with what day of the week to attract diff erent age groups. When Carolyn Grieve with Arvest Bank Benton County in Arkansas looked over her past trips, she noticed all the bank's trips fell during the week. " e only people that can go during the week are retirees," said Grieve. "So I put together my fi rst nontraditional trip on a Saturday night. It's designed for the person who can't go at other times." anks to her eff orts, the travel club started attracting peo- ple 41 to 93 years old, with about 50 percent of the participants still in the workforce. Trying day trips at various times can surprise you with who shows up. T H I N K V I P Instead of simply taking the group to a nearby city's museum, make the tour more tempting with a behind-the-scenes tour or an experiential activity. If the focus lies on an experience that only groups can access, it makes a place that may seem everyday to a local suddenly worth traveling for. For example, sell your trip to the Indianapolis Art Museum with an Evergreen Wreath Workshop or a Ladies Night Out tour that combines both an impressive museum with an event they won't want to miss. Local tourism offi cials can help you construct a themed tour or experiential activities that give your trip more interest than if you planned everything yourself. Susie Cleckner of Mechanics Bank in Mansfi eld, Ohio, always tries to choose day trip themes she knows her travelers will sign up for, such as a wine tour of Gene- va on the Lake or a nostalgic musical theater trip to cen- tral Ohio. If not a themed trip, she relies on an- other popular day-trip angle: events. Watching the Cleve- land Indians play while enjoying club seating and dinner remains one of her club's favorite out- ings. Day trips often revolve around sporting events or festivals. ese types of events appeal to travelers who want to avoid the lo- gistics of parking in a crowd, acquiring tickets and other hassles present at cer- tain events. BY ELIZA MYERS marketing Y O U R P R O G R A M

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