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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

BankTravel 101 — Selling to younger customers

An Attractive Image
A tour operator once described Christina Detrick from Tulsa Oklahoma as a “wildly successful bank director.” Now retired from her bank and conducting private tours, Detrick is successful not only because she promotes the advantages of group travel but also because she genuinely believes in pampering travelers with the best service and extraordinary travel opportunities.

“It was the way to travel years ago and will continue to be the way to travel in the future,” she said. “But indeed, times have changed. Boomers and younger travelers love all the same things group travel is known for, but leaders can’t take the same approach. For example, preview parties might need to be wine-and-cheese get-togethers. After-hours events for working people have to be available. You have to have an image that is attractive to younger people — and your in-house events and travels around the world have to genuinely reflect that image.

“Traveling with friends, not having to pull out your wallet often when on the road, never having to lift a piece of luggage, having someone else make all the air and hotel reservations — those are the reasons why people have always loved group travel. But today, those travel itineraries should not look the same as they did years ago.”

Butler’s itineraries do look different than the ones bank directors might remember from decades ago.

“I remember a 27-year-old remarking after our Hawaiian adventure, ‘I’m ready to go on another trip — this was great,’” Butler said.

“This is the kind of response I expect after younger people have traveled with people who represent a wide range of ages. Not only did he enjoy all the perks of group travel, but he enjoyed the company. People of all ages are fun — we had an 83-year-old woman complete all 13 zip lines above the rain forest in Costa Rica, and she was the first person in and the last person out when we snorkeled off of a catamaran.”

Butler said while he enjoys traveling on his own, those journeys have made him appreciate the advantages of group travel.

“In bank travel, we are surrounded by good friends,” he said. “It’s the best way to experience new adventures.”