Photos by Carrie Koelker
AMANA COLONIES, Iowa — The Iowa Group Travel Association invited Mac Lacy, publisher of Bank Travel Management magazine, to give a presentation on bank travel programs at its May 1 membership meeting in Amana, a revered cultural destination a few miles south of Cedar Rapids. More than 85 Iowa travel industry members attended the session held in Amana’s Iowa Artist Theatre Company.
Lacy asked two Iowa bankers, Carla Meierotto of Lee County Bank and Trust in Fort Madison and Deb Connor of Community First Bank in Keosauqua, to serve as a panel for the discussion. Topics included the BankTravel research being conducted by Kent State University, the role of travel in community banks and how Iowa destinations can best promote themselves to the bank market.
“Mac, Deb and Carla did an exceptional job for our group,” said meeting organizer Carrie Koelker, executive director of the Eastern Iowa Tourism Association. “The feedback we got afterward was very favorable. Our members learned a lot about how we can market our communities to these banks.”
“Bringing actual bank directors provided invaluable hands-on expertise for the session, in my opinion,” said Lacy. “It was great of Carla’s and Deb’s banks to allow them to spend a day doing this for us. Their views were invaluable on how a bank travel program creates customer loyalty, how they are reaching out to younger customers to regenerate their programs and how they find and publicize new destinations.”
“I would definitely recommend this type of session to any group out there that is interested in more bank business,” said Koelker. “Mac provided the facts and statistics, and the bank directors provided all the practical information on their programs needed to be successful in this market.”