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Faith Travel 101 — Supplier assistance goes a long way

St. Louis

You’ve made a decision that you want to take your religious group to St. Louis for a summer tour. Now what?

Going to any location, especially one as big as St. Louis, may seem a little daunting when you think of the lengthy lists of possible attractions and restaurants your church group might enjoy. Fortunately, there are experts on almost any destination you can think of just a phone call or email away at the local convention and visitors bureau or tourism office.

In St. Louis alone, groups could visit a zoo, art museum, science center, botanical garden, cathedral, ancient Indian mounds, the famous Gateway Arch and many other attractions. A local tourism organization can help you wade through all the “must sees” to find the itinerary that is right for your group.

Since the destination will benefit from your motorcoach full of tourists, the local tourism organization will normally go out of its way to make sure you have all you need to plan and promote your group trip.

Printed materials and more

Other than providing basic information about a location, tourism organizations can also send an array of materials to help group leaders incite enthusiasm for the upcoming trip. Brochures, visitors’ guides, posters, digital artwork, videos and more can be sent as far as a year before a departure date.

Group leaders often will put on destination videos at hosted luncheons or on an unrelated motorcoach trip to give potential visitors a visual preview of the place. Bookmarks are often easy mailing gift to deliver the information of a scheduled trip posted on the bookmark.

Tourism offices can also help with any advertising needs to garner interest in a planned vacation. Custom brochures with copy and quality photos can be printed by the tourism office that only leaves you with the job of distributing them.

Using a tour operator for your church group can also benefit, since the representative can often make a travel presentation to potential travelers. For example, on a PowerPoint presentation to a group signed up to go to Scotland, a tour operator could also show a short preview of another upcoming trip to Switzerland you also planned to promote.

Trips to international destinations that might not have easily contacted English-speaking tourism organizations can also benefit from the personal attention tour operators can give. Professional presentations can inspire excitement with expert knowledge of the destination, inviting photos and plenty of information for the church members to take home.