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									Travel Services

Incentive Travel

Top salesperson in your company... best performance as a customer service
representative... need to launch a new idea... whatever... rewards and recognition are one
of the best ways to make a difference! Travel has always been a proven motivator. It
encourages people to become top performers and helps an organization achieve business
results. By bringing people together to celebrate success, productive and lasting business
relationships can be built – or so the Incentive Travel industry says.

The numbers of organizations that are willing to plan your incentive travel program,
make all the arrangements for 5 or 5,000 is a growing business, not only in Canada, but
around the world. Let’s look at several of the players here in Canada.

The Meeting & Travel Group, a division of Rogers Publishing Limited, is one of
Canada's larger companies in the development of magazines, directories and tradeshows
for corporate, association, government and independent planners of meetings,
conferences, special events, expositions and incentive programs.

They provide highly targeted products and services that are designed to enhance the
knowledge of qualified planning professionals from coast-to-coast and to promote this
vibrant industry.

They develop and organize innovative, complete turnkey marketing and communications
programs utilizing traditional and non-traditional products and services.


Another organization is Maritz Canada. As one of the larger players in the incentive
travel and meetings & conference management arena, their web site states they have
successfully hosted over 350 group travel programs involving 95,000 people within
Canada and around the world over the past three years. Their claim to fame is that they
deliver the ultimate in travel experiences through flawless execution and creative
program design.


So what does an Incentive Travel coordinator do for their clients? Actually, like any
service provider they are a “one stop shop” for companys that need incentives as a
motivator. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of what an Incentive Travel organization
can do:
Incentive Travel Components:

      Incentive Program Design
      Destination Recommendations
      Customized Excursions and Themed Events
      Air, Land and Cruise Negotiations
      Full Program Logistics Management
      Professional Travel Directors
      Program Communications, Teasers and Awards
      Travel Management Systems and Reporting
      Program Evaluation and Participant Surveys

Meetings & Conference Management Components:

      Full Service Meetings and Conference Management
      Enterprise-Wide Meetings Consolidation Strategies
      Logistical Support for In-House Corporate Planners
      Registration Services and On-Site Operations
      Travel Management Systems and Reporting
      Program Evaluation and Participant Surveys

This tourism sector has attracted a wide number of new entrants competing in various
niche markets. Virtually every major city has one or more smaller firms that specialize in
local incentive offerings. A good example is an Edmonton-based firm called The Great
Canadian Adventure Company. Their site is worth taking a look at to give you an idea of
how niche tourism marketing works.


As you can imagine, a group of 100+ individuals going on an incentive travel trip can
generate a lot of tourism jobs and spin-offs. Every provincial government travel office
has a dedicated department that can assist companies in planning incentive programs to
travel within the host province and their tourism partners.

As a learner, you may want to take a look at various incentive travel and promotion firms
in your local marketplace. As this approach to “motivation” becomes more important to
retain staff or reward the best staff, incentive travel will only grow exponentially.

Travel Agencies

Are you old enough to remember when there used to be a travel agency in every shopping
mall in the city where you live? Where have they all gone? Actually there are still many
of them in Canada, but they are quickly re-inventing themselves to adapt to the new
market economy.

Over the past 10 years there have been a number of consolidations, which meant that the
big got even bigger and the small became more niche-oriented in order to stay in
business. The increased use of the internet, streaming video, downloadable files and high
resolution photos of destinations, has negated the need for what was known as the
“general purpose travel agency”. Online bookings, toll free numbers, dealing direct with
airlines, and all the self-serve amenities have diminished the need for the Canadian public
to deal with travel agencies.

So how has the industry changed? The commission received from airlines, hotel chains,
rental cars, etc. has continued to drop. Minimum threshold sales targets, total number of
days booked, peak season pricing, etc. has made the industry become experts at going
after niche markets. Travel agencies now specialize in specific sports, seniors, Generation
X, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, Gay & Lesbian markets, cruises, religious trips, bird
watching in Ecuador, eco-travel to the Queen Charlotte Islands… you name it, there is an
agency that has become “the” specialist in that market.

So how do the travel agents stay current and knowledgeable with the marketplace? What
and where is going to be the next “it” spot for Canadians to visit? Just like all other
industries, there are publications, trade shows, and sponsored opportunities for them to
stay abreast of what the consumer will be looking for. A well known monthly industry
magazine is called Canadian Traveller. This is the destination sales resource for travel
professionals and their URL is:

You can download the most recent issue or your Learning Resources Centre may well
subscribe to this excellent monthly journal.

Another method for travel agency professionals is to attend one of the many travel trade
shows that occur across Canada. Perhaps one of the longest running and largest firms
hosting these travel trade shows is Addison Travel Marketing. Their private trade shows
run in all of the major markets in Canada, and offer the industry an opportunity to meet
each other, as well as discuss and source information about agents and suppliers. Take a
look at their site and note when the next show is in your area. This past year over 6,400
travel agent professionals have attended these shows to enhance their tourism knowledge.


So when should you use a travel agency? With more and more Canadians experiencing
what is known as “time poverty”, the use of a professional travel agency makes sense.
Let them do all the work, research, booking information and reservations, etc. for you,
often at no cost to you as a consumer. In certain areas such as ocean cruises, there is a
strong likelihood that a cruise specialist can find a better offering than you can on your
own. Want to find a unique travel package to Ulan Bator and Outer Mongolia with an
extended stay in Heilongjiang Province in Northern China? Perhaps you should use
people who know the region and have been there. Or can at least do the thorough
research on this area for you.

However, when it comes to something as simple as booking an airline ticket from
Toronto to Vancouver, more and more Canadians are going online and doing their own
tickets, car rentals, and hotel accommodations.

It really is up to the individual and all about choices. You have options and opportunities
to make up your own decisions.


Going to Google and entering “Tour Packages + Canada” results in 29,100,000 hits and
takes all of .54 seconds. Can that be correct? Well... actually it is! You name it and there
is a tour that you can take. No matter what your tastes, obscure interests, weird hobby, or
sense of adventure, there is a tour you can take somewhere in Canada or around the

Bus tours for seniors to Nashville or the chartering of an old decommissioned Russian
warship to spend three weeks going across the Canadian Artic and working with
oceanographers conducting research work – these are just a couple of examples of the
variety of tours available today. You name it and there is a tour out there for you and
your friends or like-minded individuals.

Tours are one of the growing trends in tourism. Witness the number of tours available
and the myriad of destinations being offered. Why the interest nowadays? Well, there is a
strong sense of collectivism - a sense of belonging in the world we live and work in. The
idea of a travelling with a group that possesses similar age and interest characteristics
appeals to many Canadians. Whether they travel throughout Canada or take a boat tour
through the Greek Isles, tours are here to stay.

Take a look at this URL below. Why would you want to go to all the effort to try to plan
out something as extensive as these tour packages? Consider the challenges of booking a
hotel during the high season in some of these countries. How would you go about getting
tickets to go to one of the concerts lined up on some of these tours? Again, it is about
making and taking choices in a busy world.


The tour market has again differentiated itself by having niche opportunities. Want to get
away from the city and get back to your agricultural roots? Here is an organization that
takes all the worry out of it:

A number of years ago, Greyhound Bus Lines used to have a marketing slogan which
rings truer now than ever: “Take the bus and leave the driving to us”. Watch for even
more tours being offered to tempt the travel interests of Canadians. Richard Branson of
Virgin Group is even willing to take you on a space travel tour within a few years.


As you continue your studies in Tourism, follow this growing trend. We have come a
long way from the days when in 1872, Phileas Fogg, an English gentleman, bet 20,000
pounds that he could travel around the world in 80 days.

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