Events and Education
Industry Meetings and Events
We regularly gather industry colleagues for information exchange or educational forums and attend regional or area meetings focused on group tour business. Each fall is a meeting for interaction and training. Watch here for specific upcoming events.
Special Group Tour Meeting: Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 10:00 a.m.
On November 7, 2013 we will be hosting a special group tour meeting in Maple Grove. Our guest speaker is Mark Hoffman, current chair of the National Tour Association. NTA is a key organization in the tour operator arena, both in North America and now globally also. Mark is a true fan of Minnesota, having brought customers here before in search of Lake Wobegon and touring the New Ulm and Austin areas. He once even flew the SPAMettes out to an event in Sacramento.
Mark will cover material helpful to front line and sales staff (hotels, restaurants and attractions) for providing ideal customer service in the group arena. Besides updates and trends and things that are partially my opinions, his presentation will feature a section with solid take-away for those in attendance. All are welcome to the free event. We especially encourage our Minnesota tour operators and tour leaders to join us as well. Be sure to pass the word.
Our meeting will be 10 – 11:30 am at the Holiday Inn Maple Grove, located just off Hemlock Lane, adjacent to the I94/694 interchange. Afterwards we'll head over for a no-host lunch and chance to experience one of the state's newest attractions, Whirlyball. Imagine playing lacrosse while in a bumper car, and trying to hit the basketball hoop. Are you up to the challenge?
Transportation between the Holiday Inn Maple Grove and Whirlyball is provided courtesy of Lorenz Bus Service, and will showcase the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in between. All should wrap up by 2 pm. Thanks to Minneapolis Northwest CVB for arrangements and hosting of this meeting.
Come hear Mark, find out more about the many statewide group marketing opportunities, enjoy some networking, lunch and try out a new attraction. Send Chris Van Meter an RSVP and for final details.
Group Tour Sales Lab: November 13-14, 2013
If you seek to master group tour sales, plan to attend the Sales Lab, November 13-14, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. It is a unique Industry workshop for group sales managers at DMOs, lodging and attractions.
Dynamically led by Joe Veneto, a 25-year industry veteran, The Sales Lab will provide participants with a strategic sales process that will drive group sales activities on an annual, monthly and daily basis. The process has been implemented by several destination marketing organizations and attractions to drive sales, marketing and promotional activities to the various Group Travel market segments. It has transformed their selling process and significantly fast-tracked results.
Benefits of the Lab include:
- Learn and implement a sales process that drives sales activities and results year round.
- Discover the cycles of the group travel market segments to be in the market at the right time and convert more sales.
- Acquire selling skills and techniques to navigate the sales process with any economic buyer.
- Gain comprehensive knowledge of group market segments and customer channels.
- Practice selling skills using actual group scenarios to improve performance, effectiveness and conversion.
The Lab includes:
- Proven sales methodology to convert more business
- Two full days of sales presentations and hands-on activities
- Road map into the cycles of group travel market segments
- 4 meals; 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Network and learn alongside a small group of Industry colleagues. Glean from shared experiences and apply to achieve and expand your group sales goals. Cost is less than $1,000 plus airfare and hotel. More details are here. Contact Joe Veneto with any questions.
- - - Past Events - - -
Tour Operator Appreciation Luncheon and Group Tour Meeting:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
We have received confirmation that MNDoT Commissioner Charlie Zelle will be addressing our group. Of course, he may be more familiar to you for his leadership at the regional motorcoach enterprise, Jefferson Lines.
The Travel Trade unit will host the annual Tour Operator Appreciation Luncheon on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Join us as we wrap up our summer at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. The luncheon is a means to recognize our state's tour and receptive operators and motorcoach operators for their efforts to promote travel to and within our state. Trade show participants will have the opportunity to thank these invitees personally and generate interest for future group travel.
This event includes a two hour trade show featuring Minnesota tourism partners, followed by the luncheon honoring tour operators from around the state. Afterwards we will conduct a group tour meeting, including market overview and information to aid in planning your 2014 budgets for group marketing efforts.
|9:00- 10:00 am||trade show setup|
|10:00 am - 12:00 noon||trade show and refreshments|
|12:00 noon - 1:30 pm||Tour Operator Appreciation Luncheon|
|2:00 - 3:30 pm||group tour meeting|
Our space needs for the event grew beyond expectations last year, forcing us to distribute the trade show into multiple areas. This year all tables will be located in the same function room.
Cost: Trade show participation for our industry partners is $100, including space at a display table and luncheon for one person. If you wish to occupy the entire table, cost is $200. Should you desire to share your table with someone specific, please include that designation on the registration form. Participation in the trade show and luncheon is complimentary for our invited tour operators.
Afternoon Group Tour Meeting: Attendance at the group tour meeting is complimentary. Even if you choose not to participate in the trade show and luncheon, we hope you will join us in the afternoon session. It's a perfect venue to get caught up on EMT group tour efforts, plan your budget for 2013 and network with others seeking to increase group tour activity in Minnesota.
Accommodations: For those wishing to overnight before or after event, the Country Inn & Suites Chanhassen is offering special rates to attendees: $79 for a standard double queen room and $89 for a one-bedroom king suite. If you wish to stay over the weekend prior, rates are slightly higher. Tax is additional, and you can book your room by calling the property directly at 952-937-2424, requesting a room from the Explore Minnesota Luncheon block. The Country Inn & Suites Chanhassen is an award-winning property within the brand, and is the official hotel of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Registration: To reserve your table at the trade show and attend the luncheon, complete the registration form and send in your payment. Contact Chris Van Meter with any questions. Space is limited to 50 display tables; sign up quickly to ensure your participation!
Group Tour Education Program
Explore Minnesota Tourism's travel trade unit is establishing an online group tour training program. This effort allows individuals throughout the state to find out the basics of the group and packaged travel market.
The first component consists of the module: Group Tour Training Basics, a three-page outline of players and practices, terms and trends to assist in catering to the needs of group travel. It is meant as a tool to share with staff who interact with group business. CVBs may find it useful to share with properties, restaurants and attractions seeking involvement.
Future expansion of the training program is likely to include: -glossary of industry terms -itinerary development -restaurant specifics -hotel specifics -involvement in familiarization tours ("fams").
Previous Industry Events and Meetings
Group Travel Supplier Summit: Get the Scoop on Groups
15 webinar sessions: October 30 - November 15, 2012
Are you hoping to hone your group business? Trying to improve your position in the market, or simply get in the game? Consider participating in the 2012 Supplier Summit webinar series sponsored by GroupTravelSupplier.com. Back for a second year, the 15 one-hour sessions are priced at $199, including a $50 discount through August 31. Topics include the value of the group travel market, e-mail marketing to groups, and attracting both the boomer and student markets. Click here for more information.