cta spring networking 2024 blenheim palace (8)

The Coach Tourism Association’s (CTA) Spring Networking event in Oxford attracted nearly 120 coach tour operators, wholesalers and industry suppliers for a weekend of business development. Held between 18 and 20 May, the event’s fam trips and Supplier Showcase generated new trips and tours, while the seminar programme advised on marketing technology, and the zero-emissions coach transition.

From a base at the newly extended Holiday Inn Oxford, fam trips were led by Blue Badge Guide Roger Bailey, travelling with Johnsons Coaches, and took in guided tours of Oxford Castle & Prison, and The Bodleian Library, as well as Blenheim Palace. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, at Blenheim guests were greeted by ‘Winstan’, impersonator of Britain’s wartime leader, ahead of a guided tour of the grounds in stunning weather. This was followed by a self-guided tour of Blenheim’s biggest-ever exhibition, Icons of British Fashion.

“Fam trips are an important part of CTA events, showing at first-hand what a coach tour customer will experience, and enabling operators to uncover behind the scenes details, from accessibility through to group dining,” says CTA’s Chair, Robert Shaw. “This weekend’s fam trips were particularly useful to help operators and wholesalers develop product, along with the Supplier Showcase. We’ve learnt that a number of deals were made as a result.”

The event’s Supplier Showcase attracted hoteliers, attractions, destinations, insurance providers, and ferry operators, who engaged in business discussion with attending coach operators and wholesalers.

CTA Spring Networking also staged a business seminar session. Zemo Partnership’s Dan Hayes gave an update on the zero-emission transition, explaining what coach tourism attractions, destinations, and hotel providers can do to prepare for the end of non-ZE coaches. Marketing artificial intelligence expert, Manu Kastia, from Digital Dialog, also explained how AI can help travel trade businesses, from generating marketing content, through to streamlining sales administration.

“Feedback on the seminars was extremely positive, with delegates learning practical guidance to help improve business operations for the coach tourism market of today and in future,” says Robert Shaw.

Event entertainment was provided by new CTA member, Tyrolean Evening Folk Show from Innsbruck, giving a traditional Tyrolean performance featuring music and dance with a comedic and theatrical twist.

CTA Spring Networking also included a presentation from the charity Something To Look Forward To, that provides free gifts and experiences for people financially affected by cancer. CTA has a long history with the charity having helped to connect it to many donors from member companies.

The CTA’s next event, CTA Winter Networking, is taking place in Blackpool on 24-25 November, with booking available soon at www.coachtourismassociation.co.uk. And there is also a members’ gathering organised for the opening morning of World Travel Market on Tue 5 November. To find out more about joining the CTA, visit here.

Stay Up To Date

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign up for our regular newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on our latest news and offers.
Footer CTA - Newsletter