New York City has long been the hub of receptive tour operator activity in the USA, as the city has been the principal gateway for overseas travel to the USA. As large as its reach is, the community is a tightly knit one, with most of its staff located in mid-town Manhattan. Following are some notes on what we picked up during our recent visits there with receptive tour operators as part of our 2015 Listening Tour on the U.S. East Coast.
At TeamAmerica, in our conversation with Veronique Hubert, chief operating officer and co-owner, we learned:
- Hubert had baby this year (June 4) and is engaged to an industry colleague at GTA.
- Overall sales for the company are up 30 or 40 percent, due to diversification beyond Italy and France, TeamAmerica’s base markets.
- The company has spread out into Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia—and now has someone selling to the Chinese market.
- Staff have attended 25 shows this year—all over the world, which drove sales increases
- It has focused on reducing costs through IT, and has opened up an IT office in Bangladesh
At New World Travel, we spoke with Peter Dorner, president, who told us:
- There was a small wave of group cancellations from Germany at beginning of the year.
- Incentive requests have decreased.
- Uschi Brunner left after 15 years to become business development manager for CI Events, a corporate events management company with operations in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong.
- Overall sales have not been affected this year but they are cautious about next year.
- 30 percent of the company’s business is now from outside Germany.
- Business has slowed considerably but they are continuing to grow.
- Operators were at first a little stunned by the decline of the Euro vs. the U.S. dollar; they now understand it’s the new normal and are creating programs that have kept prices the same. They’ve making up the difference by reducing tour costs by downgrading hotels or having fewer days.
During our visit to AlliedTPro, we met with Mark Morello, CEO, who told us:
- They will be moving on November 2 in to the GTA offices across from Penn Station after its lease expired. The company plans to remain until GTA’s lease expires in 18 months at which time the two units plan to find new space for both companies.
- September is the beginning of quotation season for groups and AlliedTPro has been swamped with requests for 2016. So much so they are seeking to add another person to groups.
- AlliedTPro’s two-and-a-half-year-old brite spokes division of experiential tours has met with great success for its sports programs and many of the products concepts has been well received by MICE operators looking for new incentive ideas.