Mixing it Up
When looking over the bank’s past trips, Grieve noticed something important.
“It came to me that all of our trips have traditionally gone during the week, but the only people that can go during the week are retirees,” said Grieve. “So I put together my first nontraditional trip in May on a Saturday night. It’s designed for the person who can’t go at other times.”
Experimentation paid off, since the tour attracted ages from 41 to 93, with about 50 percent of the participants still in the workforce.
“I was surprised by that, because it tells me that those 40- and 50-year-olds want to be involved,” said Grieve. “So I need to plan some trips that meet their needs as well.”
After sticking to trips within 500 miles at first, Grieve has also begun testing how far her group will travel. She booked a four-day September tour to Clarksville, Tennessee, with other similar trips planned for the future.
“It’s my first partnership with a tour company,” said Grieve. “So far, it’s been a very pleasant experience. It already seems like it has been very well received. I have other larger trips planned. If they are successful trips, I will continue to expand.”
Recently, Grieve used the lowly penny to infuse more fun into a trip. She challenged her travelers to partner with their seatmate for a scavenger hunt that looked for items such as a penny with a particular date range.
“We always play some unique games,” said Grieve. “It’s kind of fun, because it builds a little bit of camaraderie among the group.”
Grieve strives to make the trips ones that club members will remember. She started handing out “brag books” after her tours with photos, passenger contact information and a chronicle of the trip’s activities.
“I started realizing it was the same few people on most of the trips,” said Grieve. “When I started asking around, I learned the bankers weren’t that familiar with the travel club. Because I was new and unproven, I worked really hard to get the word out. I created a brag book travelers could tell their neighbors and friends about.”
The books serve as a memory tool for her customers. Many reported the books not only reminded them of the trip but also helped them stay in touch with people they met during tours.
Soon, Grieve had a number of people call to say they had seen someone else’s brag book and wanted to know more.
“You offer travel programs to your customers for a reason,” said Grieve. “You want them to remember your bank and talk highly about it. The only way you do that is if everyone knows about the program.”
• Be creative. Tailor events that will appeal to different segments of your market.
• Pay attention to detail. Customers like knowing everything is taken care of, but they also like knowing you won’t miss a trick when it comes to assuring their good time, safety and comfort.
• Make your customers part of the program. Let them know the importance of telling others about the fun they have. Let them make suggestions for improvement.