A Bite of a Hershey Bar or a Little Liquor Works Better than an Info Kit
The Challenge: Knowing when to send that follow-up e-mail or make that follow-up call after spending 10 or 20 minutes with tour operators who visit your booth during IPW and who have little recall of how to associate your name with a product, or differentiate you from the scores of other business cards they’re taking back with them to their home country and home office.
This challenge was among a series questions tossed about by some 80 tour and travel industry professionals during a roundtable brainstorming session at NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West in Los Angeles. Specifically, participants were asked to discuss the question: “What has been your most successful follow-up tactic with receptive tour operators after industry trade shows such as IPW and the RTO Summit series?
The Response—Don’t Do it Right Away: Defining what was the consensus opinion among the group, Jake Steinman, CEO of NAJ, which publishes the Inbound Report, said “Unless they’re asking you for something, it’s a mistake to follow up right away … You’re actually better off waiting for a month.”
One of those who agreed, Elizabeth Leighton, director of sales at the New Orleans School of Cooking, said that, generally, e-mails sent afterwards are not answered and that she, as well as others use LinkedIn for follow-ups. Also, she noted, Louisiana attractions share a Facebook page that they use for alerting operators to referrals, ideas and industry information.
Pepe Avila, director of tourism development for Visit Anaheim, noted that his organization also relies on the social media to follow-up and keep in regular contact with operators.
The most attention-grabbing tactic discussed was that used by Julie Payne, group tour consultant, Hershey’s Chocolate World, home to both free and ticketed attractions in the Pennsylvania city made famous by its chocolate products. Brandishing a giant Hershey chocolate bar, she explained that, in addition to distributing some of the tasty morsels at trade shows, she sends them to key operators as follow-up reminders.
In discussing the tactic with the Inbound Report, Payne explained that Hershey is one of the most instantly recognized brands in the world (perhaps the key is to figure out a way to make contact with the operator just as he or she is eating it) and serves as a most welcome reminder of whomever is associated with it.
Number two in the attention-grabbing category was the same tactic—different product—used by Harry Wade, tourism marketing manager at Duty Free Americas. Rather than chocolate bars, Wade distributes shot-sized bottles of premium whiskeys and liqueurs. No recipient forgets who Harry Wade is.