One of the most exciting educational and professionally rewarding opportunities of the year is under way. The Sikeston-Miner Convention and Visitors Bureau is attending the American Bus Association Marketplace in New York which runs through Jan. 22.
Prior to the Marketplace, buyers and sellers get online and enter their information. For the past several months we have been busy researching these motor coach and tour operator buyers' data to find out where they are located, where they travel to, which routes they take, how far they are from us and how many times a year they travel.
Those originating their trips right around eight hours from Sikeston and Miner and traveling the corridors of Interstate-55 and Interstate-57 are our main target customers. These coaches will need over-night lodging and we will tell them how we can accommodate them with over 700 hotel rooms and 50 restaurants.
Some of these companies make as many as 75 trips per year to and from their destinations. Lots of them are on their way to Branson, and because we are right on their way we want to get them to stop here to overnight. Most will book up to 40 rooms per stop so that results in big business for our hotels.
Through ABA's Website, we requested appointments with the various companies. ABA's computer scheduling system matches appointment requests and schedules nearly 100 percent of all mutually requested appointments and 90 percent of all buyer requested appointments. This gives us quality one-on-one meetings to discuss the possibilities of making Sikeston-Miner their overnight stop and to create business relationships with travel industry sellers.
Already on tap are meetings with companies from Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and even Ontario, Canada.
Also Marketplace offers educational seminars featuring professional speakers on today's most relevant topics including operations, marketing, sales and personal development. There is a Learning Center to find out more about buyer companies and their operations
And finally, not only will we get to visit with the owners and operators during the sessions, but also at several social events.
The week promises to be a great opportunity to tell even more people about the hospitality awaiting them in Southeast Missouri.