The Mansfield/Richland County Convention & Visitors Bureau joined more than 200 representatives from attractions, museums, hotels, and visitors bureaus from throughout the Midwest at Heartland Travel Showcase in Toledo, Ohio, March 7-9. Heartland Travel Showcase is the Midwest’s largest motorcoach marketplace and features the region’s top destinations and attractions for group tours. As a direct result of their participation, Heartland attendees have booked approximately $85,182 per business over the last three years
Joining forces with other states and provinces attracts more tour operators and offers selling opportunities difficult to develop without a collective effort. States and provinces represented at this year’s marketplace at the SeaGate Convention Centre included Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada.
Tourism representatives met one-on-one with tour operators who book packaged travel. The tour operators are looking for itinerary ideas that they can incorporate into future motorcoach tours they offer to their clients.
“Heartland Travel is a great opportunity to create new contacts and build upon those relationships with tour operators we’ve worked with over the years”, stated Jodie Snavely, Group Tour/Media Director. In addition to many of Richland County’s local treasures promoted to tour operators, group tours of The Shawshank Trail were also pitched to operators this year.” concluded Snavely.
According to a recent study by the American Bus Association, groups traveling by bus spent $13.6 billion 2012, and another study says that number is likely to grow. Ninety-two percent of tour operators reported having more customers in 2013, said U.S. Tour Operators Association in a study released in December. When a motorcoach rolls into town, it generates revenue for restaurants, hotels, museums, attractions, shops, and more. A recent study by Group Tour Magazine says one motorcoach generates at least 23 hotel rooms booked, 46 tickets sold, and 46 meals served.
Heartland Travel Showcase will be held Feb. 20-22, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. For more information, please contact Janet Johnson, Heartland Travel Showcase Manager and Ohio Travel Association Deputy Director, at 1-800-896-4682.