Tourism expert and former president of the National Tour Association (NTA), Dorothy Maitland, is starting her third year of recreation vehicle travel marketing seminars at state conferences on tourism and travel industry professional meetings.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Maitland’s seminars on marketing to RV travelers introduce “the tools needed to increase tourism-related income by tapping into this rapidly growing travel segment.” Maitland is currently partnering with the RVIA to offer this nationwide outreach.
Maitland contends that travel professionals looking for ways to improve revenue should market to RVers. “RVers are like diamonds in your backyard,” she says.
Since 2005, Maitland has addressed 35 state governor’s conferences including California, New York, Virginia, Arizona and Colorado, and leading travel industry associations such as the American Society of Travel Agents. In 2007, she is slated to speak at several other states, including Louisiana, Iowa and Minnesota.
RVIA said that a growing number of state travel officials and businesses have taken concrete actions to improve services since Maitland began touring. These include:
• Iowa began offering free WiFi at visitor centers after learning how RVers often search for travel information and local products online when traveling.
• Colorado obtained digital pictures from Go RVing for use on the Colorado.com website.
• Montana is developing a reservation system for RV campgrounds throughout the state.
• Nine states have adopted the “RV Friendly” sign initiative, where a special logo is placed on state highway signs alerting travelers to businesses that cater to RVers.
In addition to her activities with NTA, the largest group travel association in North America, Maitland is an avid RVer with 27 years of experience in the tourism industry.
She has served on the U.S. Tour and Travel Administration’s Advisory Board and was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Conference on Tour and Travel. She has also served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.
“RVs have become one of the fastest growing segments of the tour and travel industry,” said Maitland. “There are an estimated 30 million RVers in the U.S. I want travel businesses and communities to know how to reach this affluent segment and bring in new tourism dollars.”