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JUL-AUG 2017

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Page 10 of 67 11 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 Islands in the Sun Cruises & Tours, Inc. 800-278-7786 Ha w a ii our '2-for-14' Comp poliCy ask about "She thought I had the personality for it because she knew I loved people and I loved adventure," said McCown. "I traveled a few trips with her, and then she decided to start her own business shortly after. at's how I got pushed into it." McCown and Hughey still work together, as the RH Factor helps craft the Heritage Club's itineraries. "Melinda's great," said McCown. "We've been friends since I started traveling with her. We're still the best of friends. I know I can trust her. She's not going to decide anything without me finalizing it." Leaning on a trustworthy travel planning partner allows McCown to oversee the club while also accomplishing her numerous other tasks. On any given day, McCown might work on the bank's Student Advisor Board, hosted events and community relations. She also spends every spare second with her new grandson. "It's crazy busy," said McCown. "I tell people I don't know if I could have nothing to do all the time. I'm so used to being busy. If I sit down, I'll go to sleep." U P WA R D M O M E N T U M Since the Heritage Club began in 1987, the group has attracted 2,800 members, all aged 50 or older. ough the club has remained popular over time, its growth has reached new heights recently. "I think sometimes bank travel clubs may fall into a lull period and stop growing," said McCown. "Ours went through that, but we have re- ally started building our Heritage Club over the last few years. We have some great travelers going on trips with us numerous times a year." McCown believes that some of the growth comes from the First Na- tional Bank of Pulaski's new offerings, such as rewards accounts and mobile banking. e other reason McCown credits for the club's jump in members is attracting the attention of some boomer travelers, who typically prefer traveling on their own. "I think a lot of the baby boomers are beginning to want to travel with us," said McCown. "We've got a foot in the door with a group of boomers that would rather us put the trip together and all they have to do is step on the coach and relax. ey leave the rest to us. at is really what is building our club now." Word of mouth from these new boomer travel- ers spreads quickly to draw even more members. McCown also discovered that allowing noncus- tomers on the trip pays off, since they inevitably sign up for an account after a successful group trip. C O N S TA N T D I S C O V E R Y Finding bucket-list destinations to tempt your travelers can prove easy at first. However, con- tinuously offering dynamic trips over the years becomes more difficult as the group checks off the obvious places. "As long as I have been with the club, we've just about been there and done that or are going back again," said McCown. "ere are places not really big on the map right now, but that's great for us because that gives us off-the-beaten-path desti- nations. You want to give them something they haven't thought about." McCown attends several travel conferences, in- cluding the Select Traveler Conference, to continue to learn about emerging destinations that range from day trips to international vacations. Whatever the destination, McCown strives to bring a sense of fun to each outing. It served her well on a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2013 when the government shut down during the trip. "Who would think that in all the years that people have been going to the Grand Canyon that it would be shut down? You can panic, or you can go with plan B. It turned out fabulous. We thought it was our worst nightmare, but it ended up a great adventure." • Don't rely on cookie-cutter trips. Always customize, research and don't be afraid to go off the beaten path. • Make sure travelers get more than their money's worth. Always throw in a surprise or two. • Always have a plan B. Creativity is king. T R A V E L tips

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