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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Bank Directors talk travel for 2013 and 2014

Photo by Brian Jewell

Bank groups have been busy traveling in 2013 and are looking for another big travel year in 2014, based on interviews we conducted with four prominent travel directors across the country. Both domestic and international travels have been robust and will continue to be so, based on these directors’ comments.

“We took 40 on the American Queen earlier this year, including quite a few boomer-aged travelers,” said Valerie Drouin, who manages the Laconia Savings Bank’s Prestige Plus program in New Hampshire. “We customized it and spent four days on the ship and added several days touring. We did three days in New Orleans and also got off in Natchez and at Oak Alley. We did side trips to Tupelo and Memphis.”

Drouin said she is planning trips that appeal to boomers now, and that meant spending additional time in New Orleans and Memphis, where her younger crowd could enjoy the local lifestyles. And she said every one of her 2014 trips is already sold out.

“I just had a preview party for our Western National Parks program next September,” she said. “I had 100 people show up, and 92 of them booked that day. I’m taking two full coaches. It’s a 12-day trip, and the boomers are ready to go see their country now. We’re doing that one with Collette Vacations. I’ve also sold out our trip to the Baltics with Collette and Celebrity Cruises. And Italy will sell out, too.”

Deborah Vandenberg is a manager for the PrimeBank programs in Le Mars, Sioux City and Sioux Center, Iowa, and she’s excited about the turnout she’s gotten for their trip to Cuba in March.

“Four of us in northwest Iowa have gotten together on this trip, and we’ll take 15 to 20. I can’t wait because my high school Spanish teacher and one of my college Spanish instructors were both Cuban exiles. My professor was a former mayor of Havana. I really want to go myself. I’m going to do an in-depth review of my Spanish before we leave.

“These are my adventurous travelers,” she said. “One of my women travelers was kidding me that she was going to go illegally if we hadn’t gone, and I have a gentleman in his 80s who can’t wait to go. We’re going with Collette Vacations.”

Esther Scott of Hinsdale Bank and Trust in Illinois sent 28 of her travelers to Tanzania in June.

“I know they had a great time because we had a reunion with them when they returned. We had a tour director from the Brookfield Zoo who knew everything about the wildlife. It was a very educational trip. They were in the Serengeti and went on a safari every day in open-top vans.”