Here at Green Light Group Tours we’ve seen bands with 300 members get only 45 people to sign up for their end of the year trip. Conversely, we’ve seen bands with 30 members somehow get 80 passengers to sign up. Weird, right?
At first we were stumped by these wide-ranging amounts of interest from band-to-band until it became clear: It’s all about how the band director presents the trip opportunity to their members.
We all want the most passengers possible to go on your trip, so here are some best practices of how you should promote it.
Put yourself in your students’ shoes. What destination would they want to visit? For example, Orlando and its theme parks have nation-wide popularity and familiarity that many students find irresistible. Hence why bands travel there so often, and in such big numbers.
We’re not saying you have to go to Disney World every year, but seek destinations that have that same type of gravity: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, or Hawaii, for example. If you’re trying to get the most students interested in your trip, pick a destination that is interesting to them.
Though your students’ feelings are critical to consider, we do not recommend putting the destination to a vote. Voting means that a portion of your band will lose and it could discourage them from being interested in the trip all together. Instead we recommend talking with your preferred tour operator company and bouncing destination ideas off of them while gaining their professional insight and feedback. Then the choice is yours. As the band director, you’re already aware this band is not a democracy.
When promoting a trip, never say things like:
“I’m not sure if we’ll get enough students to sign up for the trip this year.”
“We may have an end of the year trip… but it depends.”
Even if those things are true, we repeat, you should never say them to your members. If you’re in a position to be talking about the trip at all, the core of your messaging should be:
“We’re going, and it’s going to be incredible!”
You must project confidence that the trip will happen if you want anyone to commit to it. Without a feeling of certainty that there will be a trip, students and their families are not likely to invest in it.
Subtle Reminders Matter
Subtle tactics can also make a huge impact on promoting your trip. We’ve seen some directors decorate their band hall for that year’s destination. Think: Mickey ears and Harry Potter for Orlando. Movie lights, popcorn, and the Hollywood sign for LA. Some directors will even program a concert themed around their chosen destination. These subtle, persistent reminders do wonders to legitimize the trip and keep it at the forefront of your students’ minds throughout the year.
Enthusiasm Matters (Throw. A. Party.)
If you take nothing from this article, let it be this: The best way to get students to go on your trip is by hosting a massive trip meeting. Invite every member and their family to attend. Make it a rock show-like atmosphere where you are the star. Why are you the star? Because you’ll be delivering the best news of all-time: your band is going to (INSERT YOUR DESTINATION HERE)!!!!
Shout it. Chant it. Sing it. Clap your hands and pump your fists. Run around the room high-fiving every single person. Blast music and start a dance party while streamers fall from the ceiling. Some of this may be impractical but you get the point. Your enthusiasm will become their enthusiasm. Before you know it, excitement will be at a fever-pitch and students will be climbing over each other to sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Meet The Trip Meeting GOAT:
Ken Sieloff is a former fine arts director and Green Light Group Tour leader. In addition, he is the certifiable GOAT at hyping group trips. He was so good at it in fact, WE INTERVIEWED HIM ABOUT IT.
His legend was born when he promoted a group trip to Branson, Missouri in the middle of 2020 while his school was under COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the challenging circumstances, he got a bus full of students so excited about going, that they made the necessary commitments and became one of the first groups in the country to take a group trip in 2021 after nation-wide shutdowns the year prior. The trip itself wound up being so successful, we also made a VIDEO ABOUT THAT TOO.
Cool Story. But What If I’m Not A Hype Person?
We get it, not every band director has the personality to do the hype thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Our best practice? Green Light Group Tours supplies each of our group leaders with a TRIP VIDEO. These videos are detailed, yet succinct summaries of every element of the trip. From transportation, to hotels, to meals, and activities- it covers it all. Best of all, visualizing the experience generates tons of enthusiasm! All the band director needs to do is assemble the band, hit the play button, and the video will do the rest. That way, any band director (with any type of personality) can still deliver enthusiasm on command.
Put It In Action!
Now that the new school year is upon us, it’s time to put these best practices to work.
- Choose your destination wisely when planning the trip
- Project confidence when promoting the trip
- Host a trip meeting and blow the roof off the joint with enthusiasm
- Use videos to visualize the irresistible experience AND positive impact the trip will deliver for your members.
The moral of the story is: the participation of your students in the end of year trip ultimately depends on you and how you promote the experience. Trust us, seeing the joy in your students and their parents after the trip makes it all worth it.
It’s not too late to plan a trip for 2024! Consider these three or a multitude of other destinations to excite and enrich your performance groups in the upcoming year. Either way, Green Light loves to see groups traveling, performing, and reaching their goals, and we’re happy to assist in that process however possible.
Green Light Group Tours is providing this FREE download of tried-and-true tips and suggestions for creating the best travel experience ever! Instant download available HERE. Ready to request a quote for your next band trip? You can do that HERE.