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BEST PRACTICES FOR THE STUDENT YOUTH TRAVEL INDUSTRY (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly) Presented to Hotels, Attractions, Restaurants, Transportation – Saturday, August 29 Destination Marketing Organizations - August 31 2009. Agenda. Identify goals Define “best practices”

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(The Good, The Bad, The Ugly)

Presented to Hotels, Attractions, Restaurants, Transportation – Saturday, August 29

Destination Marketing Organizations - August 31


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Identify goals

Define “best practices”

Make new friends and share success stories

Hear from the experts – The Actives

(The Good, The Bad, The Ugly)

Establish a SYTA Best Practices Draft

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  • To impart information relative to conducting successful business in the student youth travel sector

  • Spark one new idea for each of you to take away

  • Meet one additional person you did not know before you stepped in the room

  • 4) To create a “best practices” draft for SYTA

  • 5) Have Fun

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A Definition

“Best practices are methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as

benchmarks to strive for.”

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Student/Youth Tour Company Needs Destinations

  • Hotels

  • Attractions

  • Restaurants

  • Motorcoaches

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Student Tour Needs - DMOs

  • The ability to adapt facilities/services for student needs

  • Dedication to cater to the student/youth market ALL THE TIME

  • Be consistent

  • Patience; build program over time

  • Provide Active with tour itineraries

  • and new ideas

  • Send out leads/help source needed services/facilities (i.e. transportation)

  • Organize fam tours, site inspections

  • Dedicate resources for student youth sector

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Student Tour (grades K-12)

Highest Priorities - Hotels

  • Student friendly & helpful staff

  • Large number of concentrated double-double rooms

  • Affordability and direct billing

  • 1/20 comp ratio

  • Pre-arrival check-in

  • Ability to turn off phones

  • No bars in rooms

  • Motorcoach access and parking

  • Ability to turn off premium cable TV channels

  • Provision of rooming list before arrival

  • Adequate stairways/elevators for large groups

  • Breakfast with area large enough for entire group

  • Interior corridors

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Student Tour (grades K-12)

Lower Priorities - Hotels

  • Upscale appearance

  • No balconies or atriums

  • Sealed windows or windows with stoppers

  • Long straight corridors/hallways

  • Full American breakfast

  • Large sleeping rooms

  • Vanities outside the bathrooms

  • Indoor swimming pool

  • Large meeting space

  • Lounge on site

  • Onsite laundry facilities

  • No charge for baggage

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Hotel Good


  • Emailed room floor plan 3 days in advance

  • Hand –written note/welcome gift to teacher, escort, other

  • Extend pool hours

  • Hotel staff contact information

  • Extra copies of rooming lists for all group leaders

  • Pre-keyed rooms/packets

  • Meet and Greet upon arrival/daily

  • Made special arrangements for injured student

  • Adapting billing cycles to meet client needs

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Hotel Bad

  • No notice of hotel under construction

  • Solicited business then never returned inquiries made by operator

  • Didn’t staff restaurant properly – escort and client had to help serve

  • Promised no-smoking rooms but instead offered rooms with air-filtration machines in smoking rooms

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Hotel Ugly

  • Returned call 2 weeks after inquiry

  • Hotel sales staff made promise upon booking; no evidence in file upon arrival

  • 15 rooms, 3 floors – enough said!

  • Using outdated images/collateral

  • Promoted “outstanding beach” eroded – no concessions

  • Promising shuttle but didn’t make arrangements – still charged client

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Hotel Really Ugly

(then turned really good)

  • No notice of hotel under construction; sales manager gone

  • DOS helped find replacement hotel, more upscale AND unaffiliated with his hotel brand

  • CONVINCED OWNERS TO PAY DIFFERENCE and secured long time commitment for business

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Student Tour Needs- Attractions

  • Student/youth friendly and helpful staff

  • Large group capability

  • Easy check-in

  • Interactive activities connected to education

  • Good group management environment

  • Quality entertainment

  • Able to deal with large group communications issues

  • Educational components

  • Able to deal w/ short attention spans

  • Location near other major attractions

  • Group friendly briefing/meeting area

  • Multi-media/multi-sensory

  • Technology driven

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Attractions - GBU

  • Provide separate entrance to avoid public lines

  • Abundance of restrooms

  • Gift shops with abundance of fairly priced merchandise

  • Tour guide tuned into audience age level

  • 1 Comp per 10 students

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Student Tour Needs - Restaurants

  • Student/youth friendly & helpful staff

  • Quick turn-around (45-60 minutes)

  • Location/accessibility

  • Non-smoking group area

  • Minimum wait (10 minutes)

  • Variety of entrée choices at single location

  • Food courts; buffets

  • Atmosphere/novelty

  • Easy in/easy out motorcoach access

  • Serve quality food, proper portions

  • Sensitive to dietary/allergies; able to provide suitable substitutions

  • Provide value

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Restaurants - GBU

  • The Good

  • Allowed to pre-order or off the menu

  • Served after order, didn’t preset

  • Value priced

  • Color coded entrees

  • Comp’d driver and escort

  • The Bad

  • Overbooked restaurant

  • The Ugly

  • Corporate sent expired vouchers/not recognized by franchisee

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Restaurants – The Really Ugly

(but then turned very good)

  • Students left hungry; small portions

  • and poor service

  • TD ordered pizzas to avoid complaints

  • Restaurant DOS refunded meal price

  • AND paid for pizzas


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Student Tours Needs - Transportation

  • Student/youth friendly drivers

  • Experienced drivers

  • Driver cell phones/direct communication access

  • Strong safety record

  • Clean equipment

  • Competitively priced

  • Late model coaches

  • Amenities on board

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Transportation - GBU

  • The Good

  • Make up for cancellation or other or other portion of itinerary

  • The Bad

  • Mechanical failures/poor maintenance

  • The Ugly

  • Mechanical failure results in delay, excess driver time and unsafe conditions

  • Service quote request resulted in invoice for payment

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(Really Ugly)

  • 3 buses paid in full; 12 hours out, only 2 arrive

  • Company provided no help in securing 3rd

  • 2 buses arrived two hours late; old and non-professional drivers over hours

  • Had to replace two buses at arrival

  • Company kept full payment + booking fees

  • Kicked out of ABA in 2006 but still promote itself as member

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In General - GBU

  • Suppliers who go all the way

  • Keep in contact

  • Deliver on promises

  • Make the time to spend with client when on location

  • Don’t send client contact information to others unless approved by Active

  • Be timely in response or pass on to someone who can

  • Communicate with client when account person moves on or changes roles, infrastructure changes, etc.

  • Step up to the plate to resolve unexpected issues or mistakes

  • Don’t be rude


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