Shop America Alliance, a travel trade organization dedicated to promoting shopping, dining and cultural travel as the top tourism activities, is celebrating its 15th Anniversary as the leader in marketing shopping and dining tourism. Founded in 1998, Shop America (SAA) is a member focused organization offering ongoing travel and tourism marketing support to its members’ with programs that provide measurable ROI. The programs include developing partnerships, packaged tours development and sales, publishing, communications, research, public relations, meetings and events.
“Little did we realize what an exciting and extensive organization Shop America Alliance would become when we launched it 15 years ago at the first Shop America Alliance Conference in Napa, California,” says co-founder and President Rosemary McCormick. “I am so proud of all that we have accomplished and even more proud that the economic value of marketing shopping to our visitors has been recognized by the travel and tourism industry.”
“We are fortunate to have such a strong and supportive group of members in our organization,” continues McCormick” Our members include major shopping centers such as South Coast Plaza, the Forum Shops, Mall of America and North Park Center, outlet centers including Premium Outlets and Macerich, retailers including Macy’s, Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger, shopping destinations, states and cities, including California, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York and Florida, the Museum Store Association representing 1,500 museum stores, TaxFree Shopping Texas, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, and Historic Shopping & Dining East Coast.”
SAA provides over 200 Shop America Tours and The Cultural Traveler Tours in over 40 locations throughout the United States. In 2011, more than 4000 Shop America Tours Packages were sold. SAA supports the sale of these packages in a number of ways including on line at its website, ShopAmericaTours.com, and representation of SAA members at travel industry events worldwide including the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, South America and Germany.
Shop America Tours delivers valuable online exposure for its members to the 90% of all travelers who plan and shop for travel online. Further marketing of these packages is generated through partnerships. With the SAA/AAA Show Your Card & Save program, SAA reaches 50 million AAA members, featuring 75 Shop America partners.
A new partnership program with America Express was launched in 2011. This “American Express & Shop America Savings” program attracted 50,000 visitors to ShopAmericaTours.com from April through December 2011. In 2012, SAA will expand package sales via new partnerships including AmEx Brazil. Shop America continues to grow its extensive number of partners to support its marketing efforts. Among those that are currently partnering with SAA are American Express, US Travel Association, World Travel & Tourism Council, International Council of Shopping Centers, the Destination & Travel Foundation Board, National Tour Association, Visit USA UK and Visit USA Australia Committees, National Tour Association and Mandala Research.
SAA maintains a strong working partnership with over 40 top online travel agents and tour operators worldwide. Those partners include Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Gray Line, Tourico, Allied Pro, Mark Travel and others.
Shop America also publishes the Shop America Magazine which is distributed with AAA, Essentially America UK, Essentially America/Swishy in Mexico and Latin America and co-publishes The Cultural Traveler guide. Beginning in 2013, both magazines will be printed and distributed together each spring, resulting in a circulation of 120,000 per issue including major travel trade shows. (All Pow Wow delegates receive copies.)
Along with its sister organization, the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council, Shop America co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Culture Tourism. The conference is targeted to executive level leaders involved in marketing these top three leading activity sectors. The SASI-ONE Awards (SASI=Shop America Salutes Innovation) for outstanding marketing achievement is awarded at this conference. The 2013 ONE Travel Conference will be in February in Costa Mesa, California.
Ever on the search for new and innovative programs to promote shopping travel, at the 2012 Pow Wow, Shop America Alliance is launching the new “Shop America Club” . This club is targeting consumers worldwide who shop and travel. It will provide a one-stop resource to reward and delight shoppers and travelers with discounts, deals, gifts, experiences, information, ideas and incentives. It will also provide an enhanced consumer communications channel for Shop America members and partners and engage consumers in dialogue with periodic surveys and Q&A to generate buzz and provide PR opportunities.
Partnering with America Express, the Shop America Club will promote and sell American Express Gift Cards and Pre-Paid Travel Cards. “As we begin our 15th year, we are looking forward to continuing to grow, innovate and nurture our partnerships,” said McCormick. “We sincerely appreciate the support of our Shop America members and our partners in helping us achieve so much. With their continued support, we have the potential to expand our success beyond what we can only imagine today.”