Incredible as it may seem, summer is almost over. Many of you will soon be heading into your busiest corporate/meetings season; for others, “wave season” is just around the corner. Now is the time to rev up your sales efforts to peak performance. This issue of Check-in is full of ideas and opportunities that can help.
By participating in the CCRA Negotiated Rate Hotel Program, you can reach tens of thousands of professional travel agents. When you choose to participate with CCRA, not only are your rates distributed to all four GDS, your rates also become available to the thousands of independent travel agents registered to use our booking portal, CCRAtravel.com.
Did you know that travel agent bookings can be as much as $30.00 higher than the average rate booked through a brand website? This is a market that really delivers and CCRA puts you in touch with that market. Join the 2011 CCRA Hotel Negotiated Rate Program today. You can complete your rate submission using Nexus, Lanyon, BidStork or the CCRA RFP tool.
We urge you to supplement your travel agent marketing strategy by taking advantage of the numerous marketing opportunities that CCRA makes available. We have a variety of marketing programs and packages to get your name in front of these powerful decision makers. Read more about our new marketing opportunities available during the RFP process in the right-hand column.
The RFP deadline is September 7, 2010! What are you waiting for? Sign up today to get in front of our thousands of agents, and take advantage of these programs only available through CCRA’s RFP tool.
Read on to learn about CCRA’s return to NBTA. We cherish our relationships with our current partners, and know how important our time was at NBTA. If we didn’t get a chance to meet in Houston, or you have any questions about CCRA’s hotel program email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always enjoy partnering with new hotels, and finding new ways to bring you more heads in beds!
Enjoy this month’s issue!
Vice President and Managing Director
If you use e-mail for sales and marketing,
you're not going to like this article.
Written by: Bill Todd
Let's say your new neighbor moved in today next door. You want to quickly introduce yourself and make a good first impression; so you decide to take a dozen cookies over as a welcome gift. As you head out the door, you notice there are 176 people already in line at your neighbor's doorstep -- all holding a freshly-baked dozen cookies. Over the next several days, you frequently attempt to communicate with your new neighbor. You stop by in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Yet every time you stop by, there are always over 100 people in line at their doorstep.
Obviously, if you're going to make a good first impression, you should rethink the idea of dropping by with cookies. Your neighbor is simply overwhelmed by the number of people who wish to meet them. In fact, over the next several months, you'll notice that this problem never subsides and every day there are more and more people at their doorstep offering cookies.
As crazy as this may sound, it bears a strong resemblance to the e-mail scenario your prospects face each and every day. Regardless of how well written your messages are and how compelling your offer is, you're still only one of the 176 emails the average prospect receives each working day. In fact, 2.8 million e-mails are sent every second of the day. That means that every single day over 247 billion e-mails are transmitted; and, to make matters worse, most studies indicate that well over 80% of all e-mail is treated as spam and deleted without being opened.
The fact is that your prospect has less time in 2010 to see your e-mail because an additional 2.5 billion text messages are being transmitted every day. By the end of the year, the number of transmitted text messages is purported to increase by 107%.
Using e-mail as a prospecting tool may be affordable, but it is an extremely ineffective tactic. Let's be honest, we love e-mail because it's a heck of a lot easier than picking up the phone and calling a total stranger to seek an appointment. The hardest question we have to ask ourselves is, “Do I use e-mail because it's an effective tool, or do I like it because it is easier than making those calls that get you the appointment?”
After training, my clients achieve a sales appointment with 53.5% of the prospects they target, simply by using a straightforward combination of phone calls and creative direct mail. Compare that with the current email average that generates 1.5 sales per 1,000 emails. E-mail is a very useful tool, but mainly for following up with a client after a sales call or a phone conversation. The client now knows you and will not view your e-mail as unsolicited spam.
In 2010, e-mail alone gives a whole new meaning to the old phrase, “You’re One In a Million!"
Click here to listen to Bill's podcast on Power Prospecting.
Bill Todd is one of the travel industry’s most sought-after sales and marketing speakers and coaches. He is the co-author of the new book Speaking of Success which also features best-selling authors Stephen R. Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager) and Jack Canfield (The Secret and Chicken Soup for the Soul). Todd has served as vice president of sales and industry marketing for the 5000+ franchises and seven global brands of Choice Hotels International, and was vice president of sales and marketing for Marriott International’s Corporate Lodging Division. BTodd@BTodd.com | www.BTodd.com | 301.633.5856
CCRA Travel Solutions Hires Industry Veteran, Peter E. Pincus,
to Oversee New Global Network Division
Earlier this month CCRA Travel Solutions welcomed industry veteran, Peter E. Pincus, to serve as President of CCRA Travel Solutions’ new Global Network Division.
President and CEO Dic Marxen said, “We at CCRA have been planning to establish ourselves as a global player for some time, and we could think of no one better to oversee our new Global Network Division operations than Peter Pincus. Peter brings with him a wealth of experience in the consortia segment, and he will be essential in providing CCRA with key strategic initiatives that will generate significant growth for our company both in the U.S. and abroad.”
Mr. Pincus, CTC, has been a key player in the travel industry market for over 30 years, where he has held positions with prominent travel agencies including American Express as well as several consortia. Additionally, Peter founded and led Consultek, Inc., a travel management consulting company specializing in the Latin American market. Most recently, in his position with Marriott, Peter has been responsible for providing strategic counsel to the largest travel consortia, key retail travel agencies, and industry associations.
“I am delighted to join CCRA in this new endeavor,” added Pincus. “Globalization is not just a catch phrase; it is the direction the world has taken, and CCRA is just the type of forward looking company poised to take advantage of the opportunities that globalization offers the travel industry. I look forward to spearheading the new CCRA Global Network Division, and joining the CCRA team.”
Summarized Marxen, “Over the past two years, as many travel companies have consolidated, even failed, CCRA has experienced real growth. Our after-hours call center is now the largest in the US, our hotel program and advertising revenues are trending upward. International expansion is the next logical step for our company. We are in the final stages of formalizing this new initiative, and we look forward to unveiling the details to our industry in the coming months.”
About CCRA Travel Solutions
CCRA Travel Solutions is a leading travel industry consortium providing business related solutions for the professional travel agent and industry supplier. CCRA provides a viable alternative for agencies, which do not have access to the GDS, through CCRATravel.com.
CCRAtravel.com is a unique hotel booking portal that offers agents real-time availability for up to five different rate categories on a single search at over 160,000 hotels worldwide. Agents can choose the best option for each client from GDS rates, Promotional rates, Internet rates, Net rates and the new 15% Enhanced Commission rate category. An additional feature allows agents to set their own commission by adding their own mark-up to Net rates.
CCRA also reconciles and pays commissions on a weekly basis for transactions made through CCRAtravel.com. Agents who book net and enhanced commission rates are paid within 10 days of booking. Commissions due on consumed transactions are paid within 10 days of receipt of those commissions by CCRA Travel solutions.
For more information on CCRA Travel Solutions, visit www.CCRA.com.
Earlier this month CCRA traveled to Houston, TX, to attend this year’s NBTA International Convention & Exposition. This event welcomed the who's who of the business travel industry including suppliers and travel managers from around the world. Over 400 suppliers exhibited their products and services, and 5,500 travel experts attended. NBTA attendees learned the latest trends in technology and business travel.
New, cutting edge products were showcased to facilitate the business of travel and attendees gained valuable insights into the industry from world renowned speakers, including Condoleezza Rice, Sir Richard Branson and Lance Armstrong. The convention also connected leaders in the travel industry with one another.
During our time there, CCRA met with key accounts to strategize on how to help these suppliers further penetrate the CCRA travel agency channel.
We also identified several new products and services to bring to our hotel partners. We introduced CCRx, our new sales report tool; as well as “Better than the Best” and “CCRA Exclusive” – two free programs available to all our participating hotel partners in 2011. We’re proud to bring hoteliers these new programs to help improve bookings, and provide the best reporting tools available.
Conference attendees learned NBTA will be swapping the word “National” in their name for “Global,” becoming GBTA, as they expand their chapters and educational seminars internationally.
Finally, the First Business Travel Innovation Award was awarded to Worldmate for their business travel software for mobile apps.
Check it out: http://www2.nbta.org/usa/pressreleases/Pages/rls081010b.aspx
For more information on the NBTA convention take a look at the program: http://www2.nbta.org/convention/2010/EZineRegBrochure/index.html
Tourism Cares, the travel industry charity dedicated to preserving the travel experience for future generations, is proud to award an $8,500 grant in conjunction with Travel South USA and The Group Travel Leader to the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail in Birmingham, Alabama.
Funds were raised during the 2010 Travel South Showcase by selling “Tourism Cares” wristbands on site and online at www.tourismcares.org. Sales were matched dollar for dollar by both Tourism Cares and Travel South USA. The Group Travel Leader, a travel trade publication based in Lexington, KY pledged to match the initial $500 in sales.
“We are thrilled to present money to the Birmingham Civil Rights Trail in partnership with Tourism Cares,” shared Lee Sentell, Alabama Tourism Director and Chairman, Travel South USA. “Our two organizations have worked together on three previous projects in New Orleans, LA., (twice) and Biloxi, MS to provide funding and manpower to restore and preserve important tourism areas. By combining our efforts during the 27th Annual Travel South we help preserve stories from of an important time in our region’s history.”
The Birmingham Civil Rights Trail documents the events of the Civil Rights movement in Alabama in the 1960’s. Signs and displays at various sites of historic significance around the city share the story of how events in Birmingham changed a segregated nation. The trail tells the stories of the past, but has a focus on showing how Americans came together around an idea that completely changed American history.
“When Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares, approached me about being involved in this effort in Birmingham, I liked the idea from the start,” said Mac Lacy, Publisher and President, The Group Travel Leader. “Birmingham is a city that has distinguished itself in its efforts to promote its civil rights heritage and The Group Travel Leader, Inc. has very strong relationships there. To do this in tandem with Travel South USA was especially meaningful as we have a longstanding partnership there as well. It was a privilege to be included in this effort to promote this significant trail.”
Tourism Cares is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity that benefits society by preserving the travel experience for future generations by giving grants to cultural, historic, and natural sites worldwide: by awarding academic, professional development, and service-learning scholarships to students of travel , tourism, and hospitality; and by organizing volunteer restoration events at tourism-related sites in need of care and rejuvenation. For additional information on Tourism Cares, please visit www.tourismcares.org.
Travel South USA is America’s oldest and largest regional travel promotion organization, formed in 1965 by resolution presented at the Southern Governor’s Conference. As the Official Destination Regional Marketing Organization for the South, its mission is to promote, foster and encourage travel to and within the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, visit www.TravelSouthUSA.com for consumer information and for travel industry information, www.TravelSouthUSA.org.
The Group Travel Leader Inc is a national publishing and communications company based in Lexington, Kentucky that addresses niche travel industry markets. For more information, visit www.grouptravelleader.com.