CTA Bulletin February 2017

Key note speaker Geoff Ramm (left) of Celebrity Service & OMG Marketing is pictured with Peter Stratton, MD of ICT, who presented the findings of the first ever Coach Tourism survey, CTA chair Denise Bridges, Deirdre Byrne of Failte Ireland who spoke about Ireland’s latest tourism proposition, Ireland’s Ancient East and Jon Weaver who welcomed delegates on behalf of Bournemouth Tourism.

Delegates attending the 2017 Coach Holiday Conference found themselves in the company of George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The two stars were centre stage in a memorable presentation by Geoff Ramm, the creator of ‘Celebrity Service’ and ‘OMG’ marketing.

In an hour long tour-de-force, delivered without notes, Geoff focused on the fact that although most companies say they “go the extra” mile when talking about customer service, the actual level of service delivery almost always falls short.

Geoff, the keynote speaker at the annual CTA Coach Holiday Conference, held at the Hilton Bournemouth, was speaking to more than 160 coach operators, industry suppliers and guests. He used the image of Messrs Clooney and Pitt, to ask the audience whether the level of service they offer would change if they knew that they or any other famous celebrity, were to walk into their office tomorrow? He made the point that there’s almost certainly a gap between your existing customer service, and what you could deliver if you put your mind to it.

Engaging directly with the audience, he asked. “Do your drivers welcome people aboard the coach with a smile? Have you looked at every single customer touch point to see how you can improve the experience?”

He explained there was a tendency for businesses to gloat when a competitor does something wrong. “Don’t gloat,” he said. “It’s a waste of your time and energy. See it as an opportunity to deliver an even better level of service yourself. And don’t spend too long looking at what your competitors are doing in the first place. Look at different industries. See how they handle customer service.”

This was an inspirational presentation delivered by a master of his message. An indication of just how strong those messages were was evident afterwards when, instead of heading straight to the breakout area for coffee, delegates queued to meet Geoff to hand over a business card in exchange for video examples of his own campaigns.

So what would you do if you knew that George Clooney and Brad Pitt were going to visit your business tomorrow?

Once you’re a coach traveller you’re hooked to stay a coach traveller – 92 per cent of existing coach travellers say they will continue to book coach tours over the next five years. Even people who have never been on a coach tour are keen to do so – from a poll of 5,870 – 43 per cent of all ages said they were likely to consider booking a coach holiday in the next 5 years.

Just two of the findings in the first ever nationwide CTA Coach Tourism Survey based on the views of more than 25,000 people, including 20 per cent who are non coach travellers. The survey was sent to their customers by more than 20 CTA coach tour operator members, while magazines such as Choice and Mature Times, Silver Travel Advisor also issued to their readers. In addition Visit Kent, Bournemouth Tourism and CalMac Ferries issued to their web users.

Further details were revealed by Peter Stratton, MD of ICT, when he spoke to delegates at the 2017 Coach Holiday Conference.

He said the response rate of around 6 per cent was significantly higher than the usual return for surveys of this kind, which were between 1 and 2 per cent. Around 65 per cent of recipients were aged 55 to 74, reflecting the core coach tourism market, while around 10 per cent were aged 45 to 54.

Eighty per cent had taken a coach holiday during the last five years, leaving 20 per cent who had not. Of those who hadn’t, the perception was positive in several areas, he said. They like coach tours for offering value for money, taking the hassle out of travel, being comfortable, sociable and safe. A significant minority even agree that coaches are a luxury form of travel.

The survey also reveals what is termed as the Net Promoter Score which evaluates perceptions among coach passengers. This came out at a creditable 27 – the same as hotels and various High Street brands – but it could be higher, said Peter. Interestingly those aged 45-64 gave a higher score of 31. But while there are a lot of ‘Promoters’ there are also a high number of ‘Passives’ – especially a lot of people in the mature age bracket – who just aren’t enthusiastic enough about the concept to recommend coach travel, yet they themselves love travelling by coach.

Summing up, Peter said it was important for operators to look at what they do and identifying ways to do it better. “We’re all familiar with the often negative view that coach holidays are for older people. What’s clear from the figures is that far from being a negative, it’s actually a positive. But what’s also clear is that with the growth in the number of older people, the market opportunities are there for the taking. The key benefits of coach holidays identified in this survey: good value; sociable; comfortable; safe; and less hassle than air travel, are likely to prove even more attractive. However, this new so-called baby boomer generation have higher expectations. To capture this new business, the product needs to improve.”

Note: A fuller report about the survey can be found in the new 2017 CTA Handbook. Links to the report will be provided to members later in February.

Speakers at the conference also included Jon Weaver, head of resort marketing and events at Bournemouth Tourism. He highlighted the town’s many attractions which continued to make it such a popular coach friendly destination, including its seven miles of sandy beaches, annual programme of events and festivals, and extensive gardens. He also highlighted Bournemouth’s neighbours; Poole Harbour, the Jurassic coast and the New Forest. “We have around 150 attractions on our doorstep,” he said. “From Easter, we’re also introducing new overnight beach lodges. If you’re looking for a destination that mixes the traditional with something new and exciting, come to Bournemouth.”

Underlining his message, Bournemouth Tourism organised two fam trips ahead of the Conference. Around 20 delegates headed off to Beaulieu and the National Motor Museum, led by Brian Way of Bournemouth-based Wayahead Travel, who was an excellent tour guide on the journey. At Beaulieu, Mandy Lane, Sales and Business Development Manager, welcomed the group (pictured above) with a typical Beaulieu meet and greet, long with lunch. A second fam trip saw another 20 delegates make the short walk from the Hilton to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum on Bournemouth’s East Cliff.

For further information and help in running tours to Bournemouth contact their groups department. Sheena.Leaman@Bournemouth.gov.uk or Melissa.Atkins@bournemouth.gov.uk

Deirdre Byrne from one of the Conference sponsors, Failte Ireland (pronounced follcha) brought delegates up to date on the country’s latest tourism initiative, ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’. With an imaginative strapline ‘wonder through time’, this addition to Ireland’s well established ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ initiative on the west coast aims to reduce the capacity pinch at some of Ireland’s tourism hotspots. “Ireland’s Ancient East offers iconic experiences and hidden gems,” said Deirdre. “We have 10 story-led itineraries for tour planners to look at and tailor to their own requirements.”

For further information and help about running tours to Ireland and Ireland’s Ancient East, contact Cormac O’Suilleabhain at Tourism Ireland CO’Suilleabhain@tourismireland.com

More than 30 prizes including hotel stays, theatre tickets, entrance to attractions and day trips were donated by members for the Conference dinner raffle which raises £1,000 for the CTA’s chosen charity somethingtolookforwardto.org. The star prize of a short break to Disneyland Paris, including P&O Ferries crossing, was won by Dick Wood of South Devon Railway.
The CTA would like to thank the speakers and sponsors without whose support the event could not be such a success. In particular our thanks go to Tourism Ireland, Bournemouth Tourism and Plum Publishing, the Hilton Bournemouth for hosting the event and especially all members who had to make long journeys to Bournemouth from as far as Scotland, northern England and Wales, Jersey and France.

The annual Coach Tourism Association Handbook was published in time for the Coach Conference and will be sent to members (together with 2017 membership certificates) over the next week. At 80 pages its editorial and content again underlines the sheer size and diversity of the UK’s coach tourism industry as well as the many benefits of CTA membership. As usual there are listings for all 300 members, making it an invaluable resource for all.

Editorial is led by a full report into the findings of the 2017 CTA Coach Tourism survey. There is also a feature from Barry Cooper, a journalist with the Nottingham Post, who writes about why going by coach can be appealing to young people. There are also special features on 2017 anniversaries and events, as well as London theatre.

With a print run of 3,000 it is not just being sent to members, but also the press and literally anyone connected with the coach tourism industry. It has again been published on behalf of the CTA by Plum Publishing.

We were delighted to welcome VisitScotland as a CTA Partner in 2016 and they continue to be Partners in 2017 along with five other companies. They are Channel Islands ferry operator Condor Ferries, Scottish Islands ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne, DFDS Seaways, the North Sea and cross Channel ferry company, founding Partner and insurance provider, Towergate Chapman Stevens, and made, the tourism marketing, representation and PR company for the UK’s theatres and shows.

With membership fees accounting for more than 70 per cent of income, CTA Partners provide an important source of revenue and help ensure the organisation can continue to promote coach tourism. For example the CTA Coach Tourism Market Research project would not have been possible without their additional funding.

The CTA will be supporting the major trade event of the year, the British Tourism and Travel Show, being held at the NEC on Wednesday and Thursday, 22 and 23 March. We will be among more than 250 exhibitors who include leading attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs. We look forward to meeting members there – our stand no is G74. If you have yet to get a ticket for the show, go to www.tourismshow.co.uk. You can also enjoy being part of the 2017 National Coach Tourism Awards taking place on Wednesday evening 22 March being held at the National Motorcycle Museum, near to the NEC. Visit www.britishcoachawards.co.uk for details.
VisitScotland invites you to join them at their premier business to business travel trade event, VisitScotland expo 2017, to be held at the SECC, Glasgow on the 26 and 27 April. The combination of pre scheduled appointments and trade show will help inspire visitors about contracting and selling Scottish products while meeting the key suppliers from the industry. Visitors will be able to connect directly with a number of Scottish tourism vendors, including accommodation providers, visitor attractions, incoming tour operators and Destination Management Companies.

You can register your interest to attend on the VisitScotland expo website and you will then be contacted later to confirm your status. Once approved, you will be able to manage your diary of appointments with exhibitors in advance of the show. For qualified buyers VisitScotland is offering accommodation in Glasgow on the 25 and 26 April , including a ticket to the Network Buyers Evening, as well as the one day post expo fam trip on 28 April,  which includes a whistle stop tour of Ayrshire as well as a visit to the award-winning New Lanark Visitor Centre. Register today at www.visitscotlandexpo.com

CTA Partner Condor Ferries is offering four separate fully escorted fam trips for 2017. The trips are FOC and open to anyone working in the group travel industry and who are considering or are currently running tours or day trips to Guernsey or Jersey from Poole.

These days are the perfect way to experience the product, look at the attractions and venues in St Peter Port, Guernsey and see firsthand what there is on offer to  your clients, view our well stocked onboard Duty Free Shop, meet the team in the ports and on the Condor Liberation.

The four dates are 3 May, 20 June, 2 August and 13 September. Sailing times for the fam trips are: Poole to Guernsey 09.15, arriving St Peter Port at 12.15; Depart Guernsey 16.25 to arrive Poole 19.25. For further information contact Graham Hopcraft Graham.hopcraft@condorferries.co.uk

• 2017 CTA AGM event, Jurys Inn Oxford, 21-22 May

• 2017 CTA Summer BBQ, Best Western Burn Hall Hotel near York 30 July

• 2017 CTA Christmas social, 26 November: Venue tbc

Photos from the 2017 Coach Holiday Conference

Lisa Weaver Woburn Abbey, Roger Bull, Taurus Holidays, Harold Burke, UK Holiday Group and Gillian Kretschmar of Motts Travel/Crusader Holidays.

As always Kent was well represented at the Conference. Pictured from left are Olivia Horner from Chatham Historic Dockyard, Therese Heslop, Canterbury Cathedral, Emma Dadds, Thanet Tourism and Steff Harlow, Leeds Castle.

Sergio Cicalo, Encore, Natalie Browne, made, Carol Scott and Heather Egerton of City Cruises.

Louise Fitzpatrick Marriott with Kristy Elsmere of Woods Travel and CTA Chair Denise Bridges of Albatross Travel.

Liz Young, National Trust for Scotland, Amy Dobson and Caroline Stanton (right) Bacardi Homes and Lorna Adam, Cairngorm Mountain.

Melanie Cox (left) and Alistair Scott of Epsom Coaches with Pauline Black, Classic Britain and Carol Ogden, David Ogden Travel.

Barry Cobb, Johnsons Coaches, Margaret Devoy, Destinations Specialists, Chris Evans, Travtel and Stuart Duddy, DFDS.

Joining Susan (left) and Robert Andrew (centre) and Clair Muir (right) of Andrews of Tideswell are Hilton’s Chantel Fribbons and Martin Slater of Greatdays.

Andrew Stevens of Chandlers Coach Travel, Steve Scott of Ashley & Newey, Martin Laver of White’s Hotels Ireland and Ginny Hill of Norman Allen.

Lisa Weaver of Woburn Abbey, Rosalind Fulwood Thomas, Shakespeare’s Globe, Ian Marsh ICT, Rachel Sadler, Woburn Safari Park and Gillian Kretschmar of Motts Travel/Crusader Holidays.

Tracy Bayliss Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, Diane Brown, Johnson Bros Tours, Caroline Hadfield, Modern Hotel Jersey.

Steve Lee, Anderson Travel, Steve Browne, Towergate Chapman Stevens and Jane Cambridge, Richard V Wallis.

Peter Stratton ICT, Deirdre Byrne Failte Ireland and Cormac O’Suilleabhain, Tourism Ireland.

Bobby Szente and Luke Reilly, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Adele Godden, Hospitality Line, Ollie Burton, BBC Tours.

Alison Lamb and Alfie White of Liverpool FC with Vanessa Almond, Royal Collection Trust.

Paula Ward and Jane Richardson of Hilton Worldwide with Dave Parry, Parrys International.

Ginny Hill of Norman Allen with Mai and Chris Dudley, Dudley’s Coaches.

Rebecca Harris of Continuum Attractions with Kristina and Carole Hand of Rover European.

Huw Davies and Alan Clough of Edwards Coaches.

Stuart Duddy, DFDS and Mandy Keating, Diamond Holidays.

Melissa Atkins and Nick Collins of sponsors Bournemouth Tourism.

Suzie Gildon of Merlin Entertainments with Ann Wilson of Historic Royal Palaces.

Gavin Davis of Groups Direct with Natalie Browne of made Tourism Marketing.

Planet Hollywood’s Tony Lincoln with Simon Warwick of Groups Direct.

Alan Lloyd, QHotels/Thwaites Hotels with Kristy Elsmere, Woods Travel.

Robert Jones of Silver Star/Jones Holidays and Ashley Booth of Ashley & Newey.

Graham Hopcraft, Condor Ferries with Paul Heustice of Disneyland Paris.