In partnership with Destination British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan Tourism works with Travel trade to build destination awareness in our top markets. Efforts are focused on attracting new business to the region and to increase overnight stays with existing key accounts. Efforts target key accounts that bring tour groups and FIT travellers in region. Howard Grieve, Travel Trade and Media Specialist helps with research, travel planning, new product bulletins, sample itineraries, destination information, stakeholder contacts, and travel trade familiarization trips.
National and Provincial Partnerships
TOTA partners with Destination BC and Destination Canada on trade initiatives in primary markets, both domestic and international. TOTA also works with Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and Aboriginal Tourism BC, to promote travel to our destination.
TOTA works with our regional partners Tourism Valemount, Tourism Wells Gray, Tourism Sun Peaks, Tourism Kamloops, Explore Gold Country, Tourism Merritt, Shuswap Tourism, Tourism Vernon, SilverStar Resort, Tourism Kelowna, Big White Resort, Travel Penticton, Destination Osoyoos, Similkameen, and Boundary regions to share story ideas, new product announcements, and hosting Travel Trade in region. In addition to our Advisory Committee, TOTA also works directly with many stakeholders, private PR firms and industry associations. MOU agreements are in place for the cross-promotion of routes into the Thompson Okanagan including Tourism Jasper, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, and the North Central Washington Economic Development District.
Marketplaces and Events
TOTA currently attends the following Travel Trade Marketplaces and events:
- Destination Canada — Rendezvous Canada — annual, domestic and international travel businesses
- Destination BC — Canada’s West Marketplace — annual, domestic and international travel businesses
- Destination BC — Exlplore BC —bi-annual, domestic travel business (representing international business)
- CITAP (Canadian Inbound Travel Association Pacific Asia) — annual Winter Event and Summer Golf Tournament
TOTA is a long-standing member of CITAP (Canadian Inbound Travel Association Pacific Asia).
Export-ready Product and Transportation Updates
TOTA regularly advises the travel trade of new export-ready product, transportation changes and renovations and upgrades to existing export-ready product. E-blasts are sent out on a quarterly basis to a large list of travel trade representatives. Also, new product bulletins are prepared for distribution during attendance at Rendezvous Canada, Canada’s West Marketplace, and Explore BC. Content from the bulletins is also presented on the travel trade website.
Hosting Travel Trade in Region
TOTA works closely with Destination BC and Destination Canada to host travel trade familiarization fams in region. Select key Receptive Tour Operator accounts are regularly invited into the region for short but comprehensive inspections of new product and to raise awareness of product not currently included in most itineraries. Focus is also put on building travel into different sub-regions in shoulder and low seasons. Travel Trade itineraries are planned in partnership with TOTA by Destination BC and are also driven by stakeholders requesting travel trade at their business. Logistics and arrangements are managed by TOTA in partnership with sub-regional partners who best represent their respective destinations.
Destination Information Support
TOTA provides support for Travel Trade by providing a wide range of services. When contact is made through Destination BC or directly with TOTA, requests for destination information are sent directly to tour operators and travel agencies. When approved by Travel Trade in advance, TOTA will notify stakeholders when they have been asked to provide more information on their products or services. TOTA produces a Travel Trade map, an online publication ‘Our Story’ which showcases the signature experiences within the region, and an online travel trade planner. The call to action from marketplace appointments will be to direct Travel Trade to the online planner and/or to respond through TOTA’s CRM system. TOTA can provide images and b-roll through the online travel trade planner or if contacted directly. TOTA maintains an online image library to which access can be requested and permission is provided with a direct link.
Travel Trade Communications
Thompson Okanagan Tourism maintains a CRM system that manages the communications and tracking of Travel Trade accounts. Each time a member of the travel trade is newly engaged with TOTA, they have an account set up in the CRM system which contains basic contact information along with as much insight as possible on their tour itineraries and business in general. Following attendance at a trade marketplace and event, trade accounts are updated to reflect the discussions during appointments and to update contact information. This system is also used to target travel trade with regular communications including TOTA new product bulletins.
For assistance on Travel Trade requests and further information on TOTA Travel Media Relations, please contact:
Howard Grieve, Travel Trade and Media Specialist