Look spiffy with Explore Minnesota vests!
For a more unified look in our booth at ABA we're ordering blue fleece vests. Don't feel obligated, but they're great for other trade functions also. In fact, we're opening up ordering to all industry colleagues. The vests are a light blue non-pilling fleece, breathe well for indoor and outdoor venues,have two zippered pockets, and feature an Explore Minnesota full color logo on the left breast. Cost is $32.00 through Monday, November 26. Orders are being taken by Denise Olsen at Eagan CVB. Check the size info below, then place order via email or phone: (651) 675-5542. You will be invoiced by EMT by November 30.
Click here for larger image and size chart
Seeking Group Travel Partners: Race down to Charlotte for ABA Marketplace 2013
We will again co-host a booth at America Bus Association Marketplace 2013, taking place January 5-9, 2013 in Charlotte. A kick-off meeting was held October 9, 2012 at Country Inn & Suites Chanhassen, with others joining on a conference call. Great ideas were generated in highlighting Minnesota attractions along the Mississippi River, and an overall water theme. Following are details of our efforts for another successful presence at the nation's largest gathering of group tour operators.
Consider being a part of Team Minnesota at the ABA Marketplace 2013Participation requires membership in ABA and Marketplace registration of $1,295, plus travel and hotel expenses. Most meals are included. To participate in the Minnesota booth is an additional $600 fee. A second option for those not attending who wish gain visibility as be booth co-sponsors costs $500. Contact Chris Van Meter to advise of your interest.
Two sponsorship levels are again offered at the same price as previous years. Entities that attend ABA and wish to be part of the Minnesota booth pay $600. We also offer a co-sponsor level to those who seek visibility but won't be onsite, at a cost of $500. Representation for both realms includes:
• a two-page presence in our materials distribution
• sponsor mention on communication to booth visitors.
• first crack at lead share from EMT, weeks before it is posted on our industry website.
• a complete contact list of tour operators attending ABA 2013, with notations of those who visited our booth
Each year we seek a themed giveaway for tour operators who stop by our booth. Our focus currently involves two items that travelers find useful: a drape clip and nightlight to make for better rest while on the road. On the curtain clip we’ll add “Peaceful Nights” and the logo and our URL: traveltrade.exploreminnesota.com. On the nightlight: “Northern Lights” and the logo and our URL: traveltrade.exploreminnesota.com. There will be a renewed effort to focus on distribution to tour operators, rather than fellow suppliers. photo of sample items
JOINT PROFILE: NAVIGATION LOG
We will again provide a single collateral piece for distribution, featuring two pages per sponsor, plus additional pages with state highlights, map and sample itinerary(ies). In conjunction with the booth theme this year, the piece will be called a navigation log - helping one plan great adventures in Minnesota. There was a unanimous interest at our kick-off meeting to again feature special offers as part of ones profile. Alternatively a co-sponsor could instead ground their profile by sharing a link to a water-themed attraction, or simply sharing an experience involving one of our rivers or lakes. In addition to the two-pages per sponsor, the profile includes a sponsor listing page with logos, itinerary tied to the theme and general state information to assist in group tour planning, including a useful map and distances from key markets to our state.
Here are several sample pages from the 2012 joint profile, known as the Wish Book (shopping theme). We hope to again tie into the theme image from the cover of the upcoming Group Tour & Travel Planner. Our logos on the inside cover could be listed as Minnesota Navigators, and the itinerary will follow the Great River Road. You will also find a handful of sponsors' two-page profiles, including legitimate special offers, examples of general promotion (that sound unique), a referral to an online redemption, or simply sharing a MN experience/pastime that is river/lake related.
By the November 26 deadline, please submit: updated contact info, new image if desired, and profile content. This deadline is quite urgent; we have little time to turn around the project for printing. You can always submit early!
OCT 9, 2012 kick-off meeting
NOV 26, 2012 text due from sponsors for profile
NOV 27, 2012 appointment request deadline (5:00 PM EST!)
DEC 6, 2012 final prep meeting: assemble operator bag items. complete proofing of sponsor text
DEC 6, 2012 appointment schedules available, manual scheduling begins (Noon EST)
DEC 11, 2012 profile goes to printer, ship operator bag items
DEC 14, 2012 manual scheduling ends (Noon EST)
DEC 19, 2012 all items for pallet shipment due at EMT offices
DEC 27, 2012 pallet shipment to ABA
JAN 4-5, 2013 booth set-up in Charlotte
JAN 6-9, 2013 four days of SPAM grilling, lefse making and wild rice salad serving
JAN 6 Networking Recption (Noon - 5:30 PM)
JAN 7 DMO appointments (9:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
JAN 8-9 Lodging/Attractions/Associates appointments (9:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
ABA Marketplace Schedule
TRAVEL LOGISTICS status: 29OCT2012
Air: Nonstop service by Delta and USAirways, connect service by AirTran, American, United. $385 roundtrip
Hotel: Current options for the entire week are the Omni and Holiday Inn. Many of the MN delegation are staying at the Hyatt House, with others at the Omni/elsewhere. Be sure to use code TIS13 when booking from the hotel block.
SAY HOWDY AT ABA MARKETPLACE 2012
Representatives from across Minnesota again jointly promoted our state at the nation's largest gathering of group tour operators, the American Bus Association Marketplace. We fed the masses iconic Minnesota snacks and spread the word about our great destinations and attractions in the state at next year's Marketplace, held in Grapevine, TX near DFW Airport, January 6-10, 2012. Details of the planning process are outlined below.
Our booth will dovetail that of EMT's 2012 Group and Packaged Travel Planner. This year's theme will be shopping in Minnesota. Thus our "playbook" will this year become a "wish book" or catalog, playing up not only Mall of America's 20th anniversary, but our advantage of tax-free shopping and unique products and retailers around the state as a basis for weaving together itineraries and attractions. Rather than our décor of years past, we plan to scale back and reflect specifically our booth sponsors and related shopping motif.
Each year we seek a themed giveaway for tour operators who stop by our booth. We are evaluating several unique reusable shopping bag options, one that is practical yet draws attention among the buyer delegates. A $2 unit cost is viable, with an anticipated order of 600 or more. Though we had discussed not doing an advance item for distribution in the operators' registration bags, it is recognized that the opportunity is included in our $5,000 sponsorship fee, and we should take advantage of the chance to get the word out. The piece will again incorporate a response card element for prize drawings.
We will again have two pages per sponsor, plus additional pages with state highlights, map and sample itinerary(ies). Rather than a recipe this year, the notion was presented to allow an area for each sponsor to highlight a "deal", a special offer – we all know shoppers love bargains!
- Dec 1 – Sponsors' content for Wish Book
- Dec 12 – follow up meeting, final text review
- Dec 13 – all appointment requests due
- Dec 23 – all items for booth due at EMT
- Dec 27 – assembly of operator registration card packets
- Dec 29 – shipment of booth items
- Jan 5 – setup of booth begins
- Jan 6 – booth setup completion at noon
- Jan 7-10 – booth operation each day
- Jan 7 – Product Pavilion Day
- Jan 8 – DMO appointments
- Jan 9-10 – attractions/lodging/restaurant appointments
ABA 2011 Marketplace: We LOVEd Philadelphia
Team Minnesota again hosted hundreds of tour operators and fellow suppliers through four days with its Minnesota-themed booth on the Marketplace floor at American Bus Association, held Jan 8-12, 2010 in Philadelphia.
The booth provides a key means to get more time with tour operators during the busy event, and helps secure more tour itineraries to our state from across the U.S. and Canada.
For the fifth year SPAM was served up, enticing many to stop by on the way to and from their appointments. Other items served were lefse, courtesy of the Fargo-Moorhead CVB, wild rice salad and a 25 lb. Pearson Nut Roll. The SPAM was again generously provided by Austin's SPAM Museum with a variety of flavors. Black Pepper seemed to have been the biggest hit, available only online or at the museum. 20 DMOs, hotels and attractions from around the state were among the sponsors of this year's booth.
ABA 2010: A Capitol Event Behind Us!
The 2010 Marketplace was the fourth and strongest presence yet for Team Minnesota. And what a team presence, with 20 of us pulling together to represent the state's great group tour experiences. Our booth boasted the look of the Wild, Timberwolves, Twins and Vikings, who found victory against the Cowboys during Product Pavilion Day on the Marketplace floor. We scrimmaged throughout the week offering lefse, wild rice soup and grilling up 120 cans of SPAM over four days. And not just regular SPAM; we changed the game frequently with bacon, cheddar, hot n' spicy, turkey and other varieties available at the SPAM Museum, a popular group tour stop in Austin.
The strategy worked, providing more interaction with tour operators to get more groups into the end zone known as M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A. We even handed over our "playbook" with our organizations' highlights, contact info and game day recipes, and a sports towel to wave along the way. The visits exhausted our supplies (and our teammates) who came home with the feel of victory.