Travel Alberta came to the Ramada in Drumheller on Wednesday, February 24 during their tour of the province, to make business owners aware of the marketing potential Travel Alberta can provide to businesses in the tourism industry.
Travel Alberta is the tourism marketing agency of the Government of Alberta, its mission is to manage the investment of Tourism Levy revenues effectively and efficiently in tourism marketing programs and services.
The agency re-invests the revenue into developing the tourism industry within Alberta, which represents a big share of the market and also markets Alberta to the rest of the world.
About 15 business owners came to hear Travel Alberta’s update and learn about the tools available to improve their revenue.
Shelley Grollmuss, regional executive director of Travel Alberta explained “We need to sell Canada first, then Alberta and finally your product”.
Recently, they have entered into discussions with China to be able to market the area there and are hopeful to sign a contract soon.
Recent news in the flight industry is also opening doors to Alberta as a destination, Air Canada is starting a flight from Tokyo to Calgary, three times a week, while Korean Airlines is starting a summer charter.
They also have a partnership with Dutch airline KLM which has opened a route from Amsterdam, giving them access to the whole of Europe.
During 2010, they are also concentrating their efforts on the British Columbia market, so far achieving $50 million in unpaid media as a result of their efforts for coverage during the Olympics and managing to retain their brand advertising via the Vancouver to Whistler daily shuttle train until October 2010. They advised they would invest in a $2 million advertising campaign in BC too this year.
While they are busy tapping into the international market and other provinces and developing a strong brand, they offer schemes and tools for local businesses to help them better market themselves and achieve higher revenue, often at no cost to the business.
One of such offerings is their cooperative marketing, which is not only a financial help they provide to industry consortium, they will also advise and assist every step of the project.
To be considered, the consortia group needs to be a group of at least three partners, with a project which goal is to increase tourism marketing for the region.
The consortia needs to fund half of the investment required and submit a business plan for consideration.
If successful, Travel Alberta will provide up to the second half together with all the expertize available, even at business planning stage.
“Canadian Badlands” is the result of such consortia with eight business members.
It is also worth noting that members are not required to invest an equal share, so smaller businesses can also benefit from joining a larger consortia.
Another of their tools designed to help any tourism businesses tap in the current trend of perceived value is a “holiday card”, advertised to consumers as the source for “Alberta’s Best Holiday Value”.
After a simple and free registration, consumers receive a holiday card which gives them access to all the special deals on offer.
As a business owner, there is a choice of two holiday card offers to advertise: providing a minimum 10 per cent saving on your best offer for a particular product or service, or a last minute special which gives the consumer a 25 per cent discount.
Travel Alberta advertises all special offers via monthly newsletters sent to all their cardholders, recording a higher than average open and click-through rates.
They are also promoting this product via newspaper advertisements as well as online, radio and TV advertising.
Travel Alberta has issued 175,000 holiday cards so far and business owner Zeke Wolf, owner of the Inn at Heartwood uses the scheme and told inSide Drumheller “from our point of view, it gives us an avenue to put a special offer forward to a group of people who we know are out there, looking for specials.
This initiative does an excellent job for all of us, for everyone in the tourism business and for the people that travel, I just think that what they are doing is a very good thing. We should all benefit and take advantage, it’s there for us.”
Having had a lot of dealings with Travel Alberta, Wolf said, “I find them very very helpful, eager to help...they want to help! They have the right mentality, they have goverment money to spend and they want to spend it, and they will help you in any way they can, whether it’s for advice or assistance. This is a way to get the tourism levy we collect back.”
Travel Alberta offers many other tools such as a speaker series, workshops, consumer shows all targeted at enhancing businesses marketing potential.
They also provide consumers access to a tourism database, called Tourism Information System (TIS) where you can list your product, event etc for free as well update the information yourself.
Wolf concluded: “Anything Travel Alberta do, you need to go and partake, because it’s free and it’s valuable.”