Promoting Visitation Through Strategic Partnerships
Travel trade activities are a key strategic component of the overall US marketing strategy. Tour operator joint marketing partnership activities are combined with training and educational programming and targeted promotional opportunities to round out a complete and integrated program. The goal of all activity is to raise awareness of Atlantic Canada’s tourism product and generate visitation and revenue for the region. An overall $10 return for every $1 invested is the target.
In 2015, strategic partnerships were developed with five key tour operator partners. Results are currently being tracked and all indications suggest final results, submitted in November of this year, will be positive. Each partnership opportunity is different and unique to the tour operator. In 2015, Atlantic Canada was promoted through the use of direct mail and email campaigns as well as social media, online advertising and training. Here are some samples of custom promotional pieces.
As 2015 winds down, ACTP’s planning for 2016 is gaining momentum. Plans are currently being developed for a robust travel trade program in the US which will continue to include tour operator partnerships and training for travel agents and sales staff.
UK Travel Trade Program Boosts Sales to the Region
The United Kingdom is Atlantic Canada’s most important overseas market in terms of visitation and revenue. UK consumers continue to consult travel agents and tour operators to research potential holiday destinations and make bookings. ACTP strengthens awareness of the region among key trade contacts through training programs, educational events and joint marketing campaigns.
Launched in late 2014, the Atlantic Canada Academy on the Online Travel Training (OTT) platform is a customized Atlantic Canada training program for UK travel agents. OTT has over 68,000 member agents globally and 42,000 active in the UK and Ireland. As of October, over 400 agents have successfully completed the Atlantic Canada Academy and a surge is expected in the months ahead as ACTP renews its marketing and incentive program for agents. ACTP also participates in Destination Canada’s Canada Specialist Program in the UK.
Educational activities aimed at UK travel trade take place throughout the year. ACTP recently participated in the Destination Canada’s CSP MegaFam, hosting travel agents from around the world, here to experience first-hand what the region can offer their clients. In March, ACTP will participate in the Canada Shared event in London, promoting select Canadian Signature Experiences to London trade and media. ACTP also attends two annual tradeshows to meet with UK operators, World Travel Market in London in November and Rendez-vous Canada, which rotates across Canada each spring.
One of ACTP’s most important travel trade activities is forming joint marketing partnerships with UK tour operators to boost Atlantic Canada sales to their customers. Marketing programs typically run during the key booking months of January to May, and include traditional and innovative activities. In 2015, ACTP formed thirteen marketing partnerships with top UK tour operators to support activities such as representation at consumer travel shows, digital campaigns, print ads in national newspapers, editorials in travel magazines, e-newsletters and direct mail campaigns.
During the 2012-2015 ACTP Agreement, the UK travel trade program generated sales of $8.5 million to Atlantic Canada and a return of twenty-nine dollars for every dollar invested.