Expanded Offerings Bring More Business Opportunities Across the Entire State
Last year, U.S. Tours and Smoky Mountain Resorts married efforts and created TourSmokies.com.
According to Pete Smith at Smoky Mountains Resorts, “The birth was successful. The formative first year as a local receptive just flew by and today we are proud to announce that our little company has grown into Tour Tennessee.”
As a statewide receptive operator, Tour Tennessee will serve the group tour market with the products that Tour Smokies sold last year and will add many new itineraries that were already being sold on the U.S. Tours website.
A new site has been launched with group tour itineraries from the mountains to the Mississippi River, featuring the best of Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis.
Additionally, the firm’s inaugural Smoky Mountain Tour publication will be expanded to cover the entire state of Tennessee. “Leisure Group Travel will produce our custom Tennessee Tour Guide for promotion to their 30,000 magazine print and online subscribers, trade show distribution and social media outlets. In the inaugural Tour Smokies Guide, their editorial and distribution were a significant part of our success,” Bob Cline, president of U.S. Tours said.
“We’ve been talking about this since last winter,” Cline added. “The first year returns from Tour Smokies were a real surprise and we felt this was a natural expansion. We already have the production and operation staff in place, so with a few modest twists to our marketing, we’ve created a larger business without additional capital investment.”
Cline said, “I’m not much of a salesman myself but I do so enjoy watching them work. Pamela Huey and Pete Smith are all over this and Steve Ellis is like a gopher in soft dirt digging up new opportunities. They have just finished training on the Special Events and themed itineraries that U.S. Tours has loaded onto the Tour Tennessee webpage and are ready to start providing new products to old customers.”
A few of the new special events available are Blue Christmas, when U.S. Tours rents Graceland every December for a holiday tour; The National Quartet Convention (Spring & Fall) and Gaylord’s Country Christmas in Nashville.
There are also a number of innovative itineraries and themed tours visiting multiple cities such as “The Big Bang of Country Music,” “American Recording Studios,” “The History of Country Music,” “The Birth of Rock & Roll,” and “The MoJo Tour” that combines Memphis, New Orleans and several more locales.
According to Smith, “We did a few things with our marketing partners here in the mountains that worked well for all of us. We were able to share several initiatives that allowed all of us to focus our dollars and efforts toward the same projects – that focus not only yielded bigger results, it collectively reduced our costs.
“I hope we can bring these partnership concepts to our friends across the state and achieve some of the same success we had here in the Smokies. We were not aware of the Coronavirus when we started this and we had never heard of an economic shutdown, but now that we are in the middle, we think that partnership initiatives can help the entire state. We have to restart businesses and get our industry back to work. But we are also optimistically planning for growth. “
For more information on Tour Tennessee contact at TennTours.com. You can download the inaugural Smoky Mountain Tour Guide.
By Dave Bodle