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TAP Dance steps lively in Shreveport

Courtesy Travel Alliance Partners

SHREVEPORT, La. — Thirty-one Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) tour operator companies hosted 200 destination representatives for the seventh annual TAP Dance in Shreveport, June 4-8, where annual activities included the TAP University session, sales appointments, hospitality and networking.

“TAP is all about equality and allowing everyone to come to the table to assist in developing business by focusing on what works for tour operators and our PPTPs (Preferred Professional Travel Providers),” said executive director Stefanie Gorder. “As we grow, we adjust to economic times and listen to what makes sense in the market.”

Tour operator delegates were able to meet with all the suppliers in attendance by way of TAP’s unique “pod” system, where four or five destinations from a region meet together with a tour operator for 25 minutes to discuss travel itineraries.

In video interviews conducted onsite, Gorder and current TAP chairman Sandi Pufahl each hit key points.

“One of our premises is guaranteed departures,” said Pufahl. “When I put my customers on one of our members’ tours, I know they’re going to be taken care of. We really have each others’ backs.

“We all came into this thinking it was a sales opportunity,” she said. “We’ve all learned that the bigger opportunity is buying. Our ability to collectively buy and offer great tours is a real benefit to each of us.”

“We’re rolling out a new website in August,” said Gorder. “The domain remains www.guaranteed, and our partners are excited about our new approach.
“SpecTAPular in Virginia Beach has sold out — 75 full coaches — and we’ve added another departure for 2013. It’s exciting.

“Shreveport CTB raised the bar for future host communities,” said Gorder. “I want to personally thank Erica Howard, Kelly Wells, Kathy Melancon and Dianna Douglas for their role in ensuring that TAP Dance 2012 was a success. And a special thanks goes to Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino’s JoDee Minter as well.”

The Group Travel Leader Inc hosted the hospitality suite during the business appointments.

“TAP represents a very established group of travel companies that have joined forces to offer consumers a guaranteed departure approach,” said Kelly Tyner, director of sales and marketing. “The destinations in attendance are really locked in on this, and we’re privileged to be able to host and interact with them for three days.”

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.