Author Archives: Colleen Bowes

US Tour Operator Reservation Staff and Travel Agent Training is Underway

Tour operator partnerships are combined with targeted promotional opportunities and face to face and online educational programming to round out an integrated US travel trade program.

Ken Erickson, representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Seattle

Ken Erickson, representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Seattle

Beginning in February 2018, our focus has been on product and destination awareness. Last month we worked with Anderson Vacations, one of our seven strategic partnerships, to promote Atlantic Canadian itineraries to their top performing travel agents in Portland, Seattle, Chicago and Boston.

During each event, an Atlantic Canada representative had the opportunity to meet with travel agents during a mini trade show, deliver a dedicated, high energy presentation highlighting our region and stimulate bookings through an incentive offered by Anderson Vacations to each travel agent in attendance.

Molly Aylward representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Boston

Molly Aylward representing Atlantic Canada, Anderson Vacations Travel Agent Event in Boston

We will continue to build on these efforts by conducting additional training with our remaining tour operator partners: Globus Family of Brands, American Tours International, Gate 1 Travel, Collette, Road Scholar and Atlantic Tours.

ACAT Forms Strategic Partnerships to Boost Visitation

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.

Windows on the Wild Digital Ad January 2018

Windows on the Wild Digital Ad January 2018

Titan Travel Atlantic Canada Direct Mailer January 2018

Titan Travel Atlantic Canada Direct Mailer January 2018

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.

2018 Globus E-Newsletter

2018 Globus E-Newsletter

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.

Understanding the Behaviour of Our US Customers

In January 2018, the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) launched an innovative direct to consumer advertising campaign in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US. The focus is on differentiating each of the four Atlantic Provinces from other travel destinations and using the best media to reach our targeted potential traveller at the most appropriate time.

We identify our best prospects through the use of sophisticated market segmentation research. This reach was conducted by a highly skilled company, Environics Analytics. Environics Analytics specialize in helping destinations understand the behaviour of their customers and prospects. Their industry-leading PRIZM5 segmentation system analyzes customers and identifies the most profitable segments based on demographics, lifestyles and social values.

US TargetsThis information has allowed ACAT to identify and target three best performing, custom lifestyle segments.

Those segments are Older Authentic Experiencers, Younger Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers.

Cultural Explorer, Internet, Mobile & Social Media Highlights

Cultural Explorer, Internet, Mobile & Social Media Highlights

Personas for each of the segments identify their demographic profile, geographic distribution, media habits and more. To learn more about targeting these US segments, visit our research page.

Canada Shared February 27 and 28, 2018

ACAT will partner with Destination Canada in the upcoming Canada Shared event at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, London, England. Canada Shared is a biennial event, connecting up to 32 Canadian Signature Experiences (CSEs) with UK tour operators and UK trade media, plus German, Dutch and French trade contacts. The event will take place February 27 and 28, 2018, and will include several small events over two days:

  • Panel discussion to enhance knowledge among CSEs of working directly with UK trade and increasing business.
  • Speed networking in a pre-scheduled tradeshow format with top UK tour operators.
  • British Annual Canada Travel Awards (BACTAs), which recognizes excellence among UK travel writers and tour operators in promoting Canada.
  • New for 2018, a consumer event in partnership with Wanderlust magazine which will see 120 of their readers descend on Canada House to meet the CSE’s and provincial representatives. UK tour operators will also be on hand to help convert bookings.

Confirmed CSEs from Atlantic Canada:

Anna-Marie Weir, Roads to Sea, New Brunswick chats with UK tour operator  Liz Lunnon, Discover the World at the 2016 Canada Shared in London, England.

Anna-Marie Weir, Roads to Sea, New Brunswick chats with UK tour operator
Liz Lunnon, Discover the World at the 2016 Canada Shared in London, England.

About the CSE Program:
Destination Canada’s Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) are a collection of once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences found only in Canada.

Experiences are the new currency that differentiates tourism businesses and destinations around the world. They are expanding the ways travellers can engage with people, places and cultures. Highlighting some of the country’s most innovative products for international visitors, CSEs show the world what Canada’s tourism brand is all about.

Program Highlights:

  • The CSE collection helps eligible tourism businesses promote their product internationally.
  • The program makes it easier for the travel trade industry to sell more of Canada. Media can leverage the collection to find a rich array of story ideas and resources to share with their audiences.
  • There are currently over 200 Canadian Signature Experiences, representative of all provinces and territories, in the collection.

ACAT’s New York City Media Appointments

The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism’s (ACAT) annual media relations plan concentrates efforts on the regular distribution of news releases, in-market media events, desk-side media appointments, media outreach and media trips to the region. Redpoint, ACAT’s current in-market media relations firm, leads activities on behalf of the marketing initiative. Through their leadership, we are building awareness for the authenticity and distinctiveness of Atlantic Canada vacations and inspiring US media to produce thoughtful full-length feature stories in print publications, online travel sites and social media platforms.

In February 2018, media relations professionals from each of the four Atlantic Provinces will travel to New York City and join forces with the Redpoint team to execute a highly concentrated set of relationship building media appointments.

The appointments are a mix of desk-side meetings with editors of key publications and highly focused discussions with freelance journalist. The schedule of meetings will include publications such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Sherman’s Travel.

During the appointments each provinces will have the opportunity to make an authentic and meaningful connection with media, to set themselves and their province apart from other destinations, to convey with energy and excitement their innovative story ideas for 2018, to gain feedback and to establish and build a relationship.

The culmination of all media relations efforts is to increase visitation and revenue for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Katherine Henry with the World’s Largest Lobster in the "Lobster Capital of the World" Shediac, NB.

Katherine Henry with the World’s Largest Lobster in the “Lobster Capital of the World” Shediac, NB.

Gina Dolecki and Rick Stanley of Ocean Quest. Fresh scallops for dinner during the Taste Beneath The Sea adventure in NL.

Gina Dolecki and Rick Stanley of Ocean Quest. Fresh scallops for dinner during the Taste Beneath The Sea adventure in NL.

Katherine Henry, Chris Miranda and Gina Dolecki are happy to have bubbly and bacon jam at Domaine de Grand Pré in Grand Pré, NS.

Katherine Henry, Chris Miranda and Gina Dolecki are happy to have bubbly and bacon jam at Domaine de Grand Pré in Grand Pré, NS.

Vickie Feldman de Falco meeting ALL the locals thanks to Tranquility Cove Adventures in Georgetown, PEI.

Vickie Feldman de Falco meeting ALL the locals thanks to Tranquility Cove Adventures in Georgetown, PEI.

ACAT’S UK Media Event

The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) hosted an Atlantic Canada media event at Sea Containers in London, England on Tuesday, January 30. The annual event provides an opportunity for Atlantic Canada representatives to network with UK media, present 2018 story ideas for general coverage, and generate interest in press trips for the year ahead.

The Brighter Group, ACAT’s in-market media relations firm, invited key journalists from a range of publications including national and regional newspapers, consumer magazines, key trade titles, travel websites and blogs.

2018 UK Media Event

2018 UK Media Event

2018 UK Media Event

2018 UK Media Event

The annual event is an important activity within ACAT’s media relations plan, which also includes press releases, media visits, in-markets events in partnership with Destination Canada, and more. The program generates awareness of Atlantic Canada’s tourism product and delivers valuable third-party endorsement of the region.