TORONTO — Brand USA’s outreach to the travel trade for 2018 will include more MegaFams, open to 60 – 100 travel agents per fam and now with nine airline partners on board, as well as more co-op marketing programs, says Karly Melo, Brand USA’s new Regional Director for Canada.
Speaking at yesterday’s Discover America Canada Committee AGM at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto, Melo said Brand USA will also push ahead with its USA Discovery Program for the trade, offering specialist badges and perks including MegaFam opportunities to travel agents who complete the USA Discovery Program’s online destination training courses at USADiscoveryProgram.com.
Brand USA also launched a new travel trade microsite in January, at VisitTheUSA.com/TravelTrade, with trade resources and sales tools including free videos from Brand USA’s YouTube channel for travel agency and tour operator marketing initiatives.
“We want to work with the trade to let them know we are here to answer questions and promote product,” said Melo. “We want to set you up for success any way we can.”
Canada is the number one market for inbound visitation to the United States. In a January 2017 interview with Travelweek, Tom Garzilli, Brand USA’s Chief Marketing Officer, said Brand USA will maintain its marketing efforts in the Canadian market in 2018 and beyond, with initiatives including the appointment of Melo to the Regional Director, Canada post.
The latest Brand USA statistics show that Canada has dropped to 11th spot when it comes to travel spend in the U.S., for an annual total of US$46 million. Some 88% of Canadians travelling to the U.S. are repeat visitors.
While spend is down, “Canadians are still travelling to the U.S. more than any other international destination,” says Melo.
In addition to MegaFams, online training and co-op marketing, Brand USA is also doing a blitz of sales calls to the Canadian travel trade and taking part in trade shows and conferences.
A complete audit of bookable / sellable product to the U.S. from the Canadian market is currently underway, says Melo.
Meanwhile Brand USA’s ‘America’s Musical Journey’ movie from MacGillivray Freeman Films and narrated by Morgan Freeman just had its world premiere at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum yesterday and at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History today. The film rolls out to theatres globally today as well, including several in Canada.
Brand USA’s first film project, the 45-minute ‘National Parks Adventure’, has been seen by 7 million people, says Melo. It’s now on Netflix.
Last week Brand USA launched GoUSA TV, a first-of-its kind connected TV network, featuring created, curated and licensed video content “to inspire, invite and welcome travellers to visit the USA”. The service is now available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon. Partnering with Brand USA with a spot on GoUSA TV “is a chance to get your product in front of viewers at home as they’re watching TV online,” says Melo.
Yesterday’s Discover America Canada Committee AGM also included some quick-hit Canadian market travel stats from Raina Williams, Senior Account Executive for Expedia – Canada.
Comparing Canadian travellers with their American counterparts, Williams says Canadians don’t take as many annual trips as Americans (2.8 vs. 4.4), but when Canadians do travel, they travel for longer, at 8.7 days compared to 6.7 days for Americans.
Not surprisingly Canadians are far more likely to travel outside their own country (59% versus 18% for Americans). The study also showed that 68% of Canadian travellers say they may be looking for help or inspiration when it comes to making travel plans and bookings, and 54% said they’re typically deciding between two or more destinations.
There was a strong turnout for yesterday’s Discover America Canada Committee AGM and the event included voting for four new board members: Cynthia Farrill, Visit Florida – Canada; Denise Graham, Experience Kissimmee / VoX International; Annika Klint, KAI / Colorado Tourism Office; and Susan Webb, VoX International.
Membership was at 50 for 2017, a net loss of 3 from 2016. Upcoming events include IPW 2018, taking place May 19 – 23 in Denver, and the Discover America Canada Day Oct. 1, 2018 at Toronto’s Arcadian Court venue. Registration packages will be going out in early March.