The tour and travel industry professionals who turned out for Connect Travel’s recent RTO Summit in New York City became part of the program in a type of crowdsourcing exercise, thanks to Sally Davis Berry, tourism consultant and author who made a presentation on how to make the best use of the time one has in the business appointments where success sometimes turns on what happens in a few seconds.
She turned the exercise over, in part, to the Summit delegates who were there to hear her discuss “Getting the Most out of 7-10-15 or 20-Minute Appointments.” Everyone seemed familiar with such meetings, with the 7-minute appointments being a well-known staple of NTA’s Travel Exchange; the 10-minute appointment period a standard for Connect Travel’s RTO Summit Series; and 20-minutes serving as a staple for IPW, which takes place in a few weeks (June 1-5) in Anaheim, California.
In order to get input from the delegates who attended, Davis-Berry asked each delegate to fill out the comment cards that had been placed at the tables in the RTO Summit conference room, and share with her their advice—in as few words as possible—on how to make the most of the 7-, 10- or 20-minute appointment.
She tallied and transcribed the scores of advice bytes written down by delegates and has shared them with INBOUND. We reviewed the scores of advice bytes and, from them, prepared the following sampler—just in time for those readers who will be going to IPW in Anaheim in several weeks for all those 20-minute business appointments with international tour operators and wholesale buyers from throughout the world.
Advice for 20-Minute Sessions
“Build some rapport outside of actual business. Showcase not only the individual destination, but regional offerings as well. Use a map to start the conversation.”—Hannah Oliver, tour and travel sales manager, Visit Loudon
“I always start by asking about their company’s needs and information about them so it frames the conversation.”—Sarah Winters, leisure sales director, North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association
“Always give an introduction/overview of organization and roles and what services we offer. Always ask for their needs and how we can help them. Most people know Las Vegas but not the full scope of services we can offer them.”—Katja Spitz, international market manager, Las Vegas CVA
“Be prepared to suggest how my region can be added to an itinerary with other regions in the state. Tours from farther away go to multiple regions and states.”—Tillie Youngs, sales manager,1000 Islands International Tourism Council
“Always prepare a ‘what’s new’ presentation. Keep personal information that I collect on my clients in Simpleview [software] so I can make notes before the appointment to have and discuss during our meeting.”—Leslie Straughan, senior account executive, New Orleans and Company
“You have time to ‘ease’ into the appointment a bit. Let the person sit comfortably, greet them warmly and start with a bit of small talk.”—Melissa Rose, group sales manager, Corning Museum of Glass
Advice for 10-Minute Appointments
“Ask about what they do and what they love about it. Lead them to talk about their passion.”—François Deslandres, go-to-market-manager, Bus.com Montreal
“Ask them what they currently offer in my destination and determine the need. Then respond with how my business can fulfill that need.”—Kieron Weidne0r, owner and adventure travel expert at First Nature Treks & Tours
“Try and think of every possible question a tour operator will ask ahead of time. That way, you don’t get caught off-guard AND you may even impress them!”—Bethany Lunden, social media & public relations strategist, BB&G Advertising, representing Rockland County Tourism
“I make sure my handouts always have a map of the US/State/Region – never assume people know.”—Josh Sanders, vice president of sales & tourism development, Oregon’s Tualatin Valley
“Ask them an interested question: ‘What are you looking to expand/offer?’ “—Bob Navarro, president and CEO of the I & M Canal Heritage Corridor CVB
“Research previous notes to have a start-up conversation that is relevant, and create a connection. Have a map to show your location.”—Vickie Evans, global tourism & partner sales at The Henry Ford
Tips for 7-Minute Appointments
“Do your homework-research the businesses you are meeting with and know what tours they are currently operating in your area.”—Laurel Bennett, vice president of tourism sales, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
“Do research prior to appointments so I know what to talk about before sitting down, so we don’t waste any time (7 minutes goes really fast!”—Kalynne Defever, tourism specialist, Detroit Metro CVB
“For a seven-minute appointment I typically will show a video that highlights our top attractions and experiences. Better than images.”—Greg Edevane, director of global development, Countryside of Philadelphia
“Most want to know what’s “new.” I give bullet points on my fact sheet along with quick highlights of the new attractions. Then FOLLOW UP!”—Heather Colache, tourism account director, Meet AC, Atlantic City Convention & Group Sales
“Show routes that connect my state’s cities with those in other states in a sample brochure. Southern USA Road trips.”—Grey Brennan, deputy director, Alabama Tourism Department.
“Since our destination is so close to NYC and many operators are bused there, I immediately leverage Rockland’s proximity to the city. If they don’t know the area, they’re surprised and excited to visit.”—Chris Goodman, account executive, BB&G Advertising, representing Rockland County Tourism
To access the complete list of tips and advice from tour and travel industry pros, and for other helpful information, contact Sally Davis Berry via www.SallyDavisBerry.com.