The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT)’s UK program includes forming marketing partnerships with key UK tour operators during the peak booking seasons of winter and spring.
To promote the region to the valuable UK travel market and ultimately increase sales for the upcoming season, ACAT has formed ten joint marketing partnerships in 2018 with UK tour operators, including: Abercrombie & Kent, Bridge & Wickers, Canadian Sky, First Class Holidays, Frontier Canada, The Independent Traveller, Thomas Cook, Titan Travel, Wexas, and Windows on the Wild. Each company currently has Atlantic Canada tourism product on offer for their clients, and have expressed interest in increasing sales to the region.
The overall program features a wide range of activities tailored to each operator’s clientele and preferred communication methods. Confirmed 2018 activities include representation at consumer travel shows, digital campaigns, website features, social marketing, e-newsletters and blogs, along with traditional direct mail and print ads in travel magazines and national newspapers. Activities showcase Atlantic Canada’s tourism offerings through compelling images, videos, and key selling points, encouraging potential travellers to contact the operator and book an Atlantic Canada holiday.
For the second consecutive year, ACAT will also partner with Destination Canada to form three additional marketing partnerships with UK operators Canadian Affair, Trailfinders, and The Internet Traveller. As a partner in the Destination Canada travel trade program, ACAT leverages significant marketing dollars of more than 100% from both the partner operators and Destination Canada. The DC travel trade program also includes full page advertisements in the UK trade publication Selling Canada, and participation at the upcoming Canada Specialist Program travel agent roadshows in England in June.
Success of the joint marketing program is closely monitored, with operators submitting year-end sales figures based on both ACAT-related activities and overall sales to the region. A comparison from the previous year is also provided to monitor trends and identify which companies and activities produce the highest return-on-investment.
Strategic marketing partnerships with US tour operators is also a key component of the ACAT’s US Travel Trade Program. In 2018, joint marketing partnerships were formed with Atlantic Tours, Globus, Road Scholar, Gate 1, Colette, ATI, and Anderson Vacations. Tactics include a solid mix of print, digital and social media tactics used to reach travel agents and consumers through the trade channel. Those tactics included direct mail pieces, digital ads, e-news distribution to travel agents and consumers, social media posts and search engine optimization.