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Challenge: To communicate effectively with our membership in a two way dialogue of the SGTP resources and have them utilize them to better understand the government travel marketplace. And to assist in creating developing increased sales for their organization in his $20 billion annual spend by arena.
Issue: New members are continuously joining SGTP on a year round basis. And though we would like all to be successful immediately with positive results we are aware of the lengthy process, time commitment and expense that need to be invested to increase revenue and or awareness within this market. One of the first items of business we advise potential members is that this is not going to be quick, easy and it will take a strong continued effort on your part.
The typical supplier scenario that we currently experience is a vendor would like to join SGTP and attend the next conference as an exhibitor. I explain the process of membership, conference registration, and costs. Though they seem relatively inexpensive I point out once again there is a dedication that they will have to commit to if they are seriously considering this marketplace.
For those that are new we recommend they consider participating in the SGTP Certification Program “CGTP” the Certified Government Travel Professional. It is a great introduction to the process and the systems in place for those that are new to this market and for those that do have experience they have found it invaluable as it helps join all the pieces together.
Keeping in mind that many of us know but do not necessarily touch all phases of the reservation process because of our specialization in a particular portion of this business such as lodging, car rental or airline. This is with exception to the government travel planner and the travel agencies which must know all the information and be able to assemble as well understand the entire process and particulars about the traveler’s trip.
SGTP has various members can take advantage of and they are as follows:
- Human Capital – SGTP’s staff of employees, volunteers, mentors, committee participants are all willing to discuss and listen to our membership. New members should take advantage of them and utilize them when and where possible. The leadership, committee members and their contact information are all listed within the SGTP website under Leadership at www.sgtp.org.
- The SGTP Member Profile – Located within the SGTP website this is a self updating area that members are responsible for completing and updating information on themselves as well as the products or services your company offers. SGTP’s website also allows you to load photos of your product and tag with descriptions so that potential clients can review. There are no additional fees to utilize the photos within your profile.
- CGTP – Certified Government Travel Professional Program by SGTP from $395 per member cost. Nowhere can you find a certified educational program (online) that offers so much for so little. As stated before for those serious about government travel CGTP should be on your list of requirements for educational development.
- SGTP Members Only Access Database – SGTP maintains a large database of key government travel industry contacts for Government, Suppliers, and others. You can query the program to expedite a rapid search which can identify items such as travel agency list of all agencies servicing government accounts, government contacts by name, agency, or location, supplier contacts and information by name of representative, brand name, parent company name or by supplier type. Detail included within this are Name of SGTP Member Representative if applicable, Organization or Company Name, Address, Phone, Fax, Email and more.
- Resource Library with just about every acronym to travel as well as government travel. If the government has created it and you are not certain as to its definition then access sgtp.org and look up online. Also within this portion of the site we provide you the URL’s or links to just about every government travel site to help assist you in locating specific information.
- State Travel Management Resource Site – SGTP works closely with the State Travel Managers throughout the country so you can take advantage of State Travel opportunities. State and municipal travel in excess of $4billion annually in travel spend.
- RFP Posting – SGTP aggregates RFP’s from the various states and specific lodging, car rental and other travel service opportunities for bid that are not part of the Federal Government. For those you can subscribe to FedBizOpps directly. However often we do see specific opportunities that we feel may benefit a member and forward those on as well to their attention.
Conclusion – There are numerous resources, distribution points, and opportunities to obtain your share of the government spend. These include participation in lodging programs such as FedRooms, Navy Elite, and Omega Government Hotels. Working with government appointed travel agencies on the TSS schedule, or State appointed travel agencies, Websites for aggregation of RFPs such as FedBizOpps. Building a sales plan with current and potential agencies and clients but non which will come quickly or easy without significant time and a tolerance for doing business with the government.
To be successful you need to create a plan and include some of the following suggestions in addition to your own ideas and process.
- Join SGTP Membership and learn to navigate the SGTP website
- Update your contact information, product services or deliveries and create a clear and concise profile so others will understand what you are selling and delivering to the marketplace.
- Utilize SGTP resources for database management, sales planning, email marketing campaigns, fax programs, where applicable, newsletters and communicate in a consistent manner so that once customers understand when and how you communicate to them they will be looking for fresh ideas and solutions to meet their needs.
- Take the CGTP certification program from SGTP
- Participate in conferences for the length of the event and not just two hours in and out on the day of the tradeshow.
- Consider recruiting an intern from the hospitality program at a college or university near you to assist you with research and task them to assist you in building your program while you are multi tasking on other required projects.
By: Rick Singer