European roundtable to focus on Web

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NEW YORK -- The 2001 series of the European Roundtable & Supermarts will focus on joint Web marketing strategies, including linking to participating agency sites for the first time from the VisitEurope.com site of the European Travel Commission, event organizers said.

From VisitEurope, prospective travelers can link to tourist board Web sites for the 30 nations that are members of the European Travel Commission, and may also search for an agency referral of European Roundtable & Supermart participants by ZIP code.

In addition to phone, address and e-mail contact information, which is listed free for one year on the VisitEurope site, agencies attending Supermart also will have the option to link prospective travelers to their own Web site for $50 per year.

"The big difference is that we're promoting the site much more heavily this year and next year," said Neil Martin, chairman of Donald N. Martin & Co., here, which is the organizer of the road show and finds commercial partners and provides editorial content for VisitEurope.com.

The European destination portal will be promoted through a major public-relations drive and through TV spots on CBS-network stations in major markets.

Donald N. Martin & Co. said the planned TV promotions are expected to push unique monthly visitors to VisitEurope to more than 300,000 by next spring.

"In the past, the overall point we tried to make was to remind agents of just how profitable Europe still is, especially when airline commissions were dropping," Martin said.

"Now we're telling them that we're giving them real marketing assistance, by putting them on the VisitEurope Web site and promoting the site much more heavily."

Moderator Gerry Kelly, an expert on agency-Internet applications, will provide tips and answer questions at the Roundtable & Supermarts.

Kelly is a former chief of marketing for Avis Europe in the U.S. and currently does travel agent and customer service representative training programs for IATA.

Agent turnout for the European Roundtable & Supermarts ran from 150 to 200 per show last year, and suppliers averaged from 25 to 30 per evening.

The 25-city European Roundtable & Supermarts roadshow begins Jan. 16 in Denver, winding around the country through March 1, when it ends in Cleveland. Some 5,000 agents are expected to attend.

For information, call Stefani Dana at Donald N. Martin & Co., (212) 218-1200; fax: (212) 218-1205, or e-mail: [email protected].

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