by Stephen Ekstrom | President & Founder of Fire Starter Brands LLC
Welcome to the tour & travel industry. Since you've decided to become a members of one or more of the trade associations, you should be looking for ways to make the most of your membership. Here are a few helpful tips.
Subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter(s) and stay up to date on news, events, member spotlights and more! Encourage staff and colleagues to sign up as well — typically, these benefits are extend to all members of your organization!
Set up a google alert for industry news related to the association and/or its members. Be the first to congratulate a client or prospect when their name was mentioned in a local paper or online article.
Share your News
Most trade associations are hungry for member news, content and information to share in their email blasts, print publications and web articles. Take some initiative and share your news with association staff. Some may run your press release, others may ask if you'd like to contribute an article or host a discussion for other members.
Upon joining or renewal, pick up the phone and talk with the member services representatives. Make an effort to seek out association leadership and introduce yourself to the individual members of the board. If the board holds open meetings, attend one to demonstrate your passion, initiative and follow up.
Join the Online Conversation
Most travel industry associations are active on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. If you have accounts on any or all of these platforms be sure to “Like” “Follow” and “Join” them. Several will engage with their members via social media and it’s just another great way to showcase your business and get to know your community.
Don’t Know Where to Start
Network, meet other members and find out first hand from association staff the opportunities that are available to you as a member. If they're available, sign up for a new member orientation or ask for a mentor in your area who can help show you the ropes.
Make Your Mark at Their Events
Most of these associations have annual trade shows and a few summit type programs throughout the year. GO! While you're there, be more than a wallflower, mingle, network, introduce yourself & work the room. Collect business cards and create opportunities for you to follow up with new contacts after the event.
Exclusive Savings and Benefits
As a member of the come associations you have exclusive access to a wide range of services and benefits to help you improve your bottom line. From group health/dental insurance to gas savings, complimentary admission to attractions, print, shipping or other services, these groups work to support your business in a variety of ways. Ask association staff members for a list of member-to-member benefits.
Mine the database.
Our team spends roughly 600 hours each year making sure we've collected the right data on tour operators, DMO's and suppliers from the industry databases. Use them to your benefit. Find the operators in your area, the ones who offer product similar to yours & work the lists.
Apply for Recognition
Most trade associations offer awards that recognize companies that make significant contributions to the industry. Apply for these, learn what you need to do to win them and stay current on industry trends.
It's been said countless times that you'll get from any membership only what you're willing to put into it. Make the effort, make it worth your while.
To learn more about how your organization can benefit from Fire Starter Brands' longstanding involvement in travel industry associations, request a complimentary consultation today.