July 2018

Message from our Board Chair 

This is the time of year when we remember the hard work of our founding fathers and the sacrifices of those who serve to protect the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.  In May, we honored those who died doing so, and we never want to take this freedom for granted.  Even more recently, our country celebrated Independence Day.

Here's a brief history lesson for you.  The original thirteen colonies of America legally separated from Great Britain when the Continental Congress voted to approve the resolution of independence on July 2, 1776.  It took another two days to amend and approve the verbiage of the Declaration of Independence, the statement explaining this decision, and the formal document was signed on July 4, 1776.

John Adams was one of the founding fathers and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He wrote to his wife Abigail of his excitement about the event:

" The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

What vision and foresight the founding fathers had!  Even then they knew that Americans would be having fireworks, picnics and parades all around the country to celebrate Independence Day nearly 250 years later.  

Happy Birthday, America!!

Val Kelsey, CBCD  

Tip of the month

Being a club director means making decisions....lots of them.  Some decisions are made easier by knowing what your customers prefer.  Have you ever wondered what your customers want to do or where they want to travel with the bank club?  How do you find out what destinations and type of travel to offer?  Ask them!!  HCI has a travel survey all ready for you to use.

As an HCI member you have access to this survey, but you'll need to log in to view it.  This survey is also available in a Word doc which can be modified. Find it and all of our Best Practices documents on the member-only page of the HCI website.

Take advantage of this resource, and ease the burden of guessing what your customers want!

This survey, as well as all of our Best Practices documents, is only accessible to our members.  Not a current member? Renew your membership or apply for a new membership today.  Contact Tina at 952-835-6543.

HCI Fall Forum Training

Here are the details that you have been waiting for.

Location:    Holiday InnDubuque, Iowa
Date:          Friday, November 2, 2018
Time:          9 am to 4:30 pm
Subjects:    Difficult Conversations and First Aid Training
Cost:          $ 95

Morning Session
Learn to handle that tough customer that you dread seeing walk into the bank. Practice new skills during the morning workshop.

Afternoon Session
Learn how to respond to a variety of emergency situations while on tour or at home.  You will learn First Aid, CPR, AED skills and more.

Lunch is included in the cost, as well as your training materials. The HCI rate for accommodations is just $79 per night.

Make plans now to attend and pencil it in on your calendar.

Online registration will open August 1. Watch your email for more information and a link to registration materials.

Save the date on your calendar so you don't miss it.

Member Spotlight: Lois Dunbar
Prairie State Bank
Springfield, IL 

Lois Dunbar got a taste of international living when her husband took a position in Nairobi, Kenya years ago. The three years that she lived in East Africa whetted her appetite for travel. She has been able to give her members amazing travel experiences for the past 10 years as the club director of Prairie State Bank. The bank has multiple branches and there are leaders in five regions. Lois oversees the activities of these regions, several of which offer Card Clubs, and recently they have started doing craft activities to engage their members. When it comes to travel, Lois gets a kick out of surprising her club members with great experiences at places they've never heard of through her Mystery Tours.

The train is a fun and easy way to travel and allows them to avoid traffic jams on their frequent trips to Chicago. They have been able to take in the myriad sights that the Windy City has to offer on multiple tours. They have taken two recent trips to the theatre; they were able to see Hamilton the first time, and then they went to the Lyric Opera to see Jesus Christ Superstar. Last year they toured Chinatown and Greektown. This fall they will tour a Polish neighborhood and Wrigley Field.

As well as a variety of day trips, the Voyagers are looking forward to the end of July, when they will visit Iceland with Mayflower Cruises and Tours. In October, they will also be cruising on the American Queen with Islands in the Sun.

As a long-time member, Lois has been particularly pleased with the education that HCI provides. The training on reporting to management has been invaluable when faced with having to justify your club's existence. The Best Practices are extremely helpful in a variety of situations. Also, she says, "You can do a lot of traveling without knowing what you should do, but it sure makes it a lot better for your customers when you've been able to learn about the realities of certain destinations from your peers. Knowing ahead of time allows you to avoid problems."   Peer Group provides all of this and more. "Peer Group is always fun," she says, "but it is great to be with people who know what you're doing" - unlike her colleagues at the bank who just think she's traveling all the time! "Peer Group is a time to rejuvenate, revitalize, get new ideas, and learn what other people are doing - what works and what hasn't worked. The conversations with other directors has been the idea source for some of my best trips."
PTO Profile: Ozarks' Kirkland Tour & Travel


Sheila Smith, club director at Heartland Bank in Geneva, Nebraska asked Ozarks' Kirkwood to help her bring her group to Branson recently.  She had this to say about them: 

"My experience with Ozarks' Kirkwood has been nothing short of exceptional.  As the director of a travel club, I am always looking for businesses that offer standardized tours, as well as customizable packages.  Ozarks' Kirkwood has exceeded my expectations every single time.  Their tours offer an enjoyable experience for my club and an unparalleled level of convenience for me.  Their staff meet us at our hotel to assist with the check-in process and give us concise, easy to read information for our tour.  If you are traveling their way, call Ozark's Kirkwood!"

Ozarks' Kirkwood Tour & Travel has been booking Branson tours and vacation packages to the Ozarks - and most specifically to Branson -  for almost 40 years.  As a family owned and operated organization with roots in the Ozarks, we have a serious commitment to our customers and our community.  Our entire staff is trained to assist with all of your travel requirements - whether it be a "standard" motor coach tour, special interest outing, performance group, educational experience or simply a pass through - allowing us to take care of the details so you can concentrate on your members.  While many things have changed in the travel industry and in the Ozarks since opening our doors, our goals have remained the same:  to make your trip pleasant, carefree and cost efficient.  Our user-friendly policies and procedures along with a solid foundation make it easy for you to do business with us!  Whatever your needs, we will meet and exceed your expectations!
We are here to save you time and money.  The pricing of your tour is always based on the exchange value of goods and services.  It's our job to do the research, know the ins and outs of the properties and how they fit with your group.  We know the properties that we book and are able to offer you the quality level that you expect for your travelers and the reputation of your bank.  We can accommodate budget trips, extravagant lodging and anything in between.  Our tours are all customized to fit the needs of you and your travelers.  There are no cookie cutter itineraries, as we take the time to discuss options for lodging, meals and entertainment with you. 
Obviously, we have Branson itineraries available, but as shared at the recent Peer Group in Branson, we can also take care of the entire state of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma as part of the "Ozarks Region."  We believe that Branson is very much a worthwhile destination for your travelers; let us help you plan a new and exciting package for this fun and beautiful region.
All of our customers are important to us - no one is just a number.  HCI and their bank members are unique in the aspect that I can greatly respect their ethical business practices, and I have the ability to get to know club directors face to face.  Training sessions on understanding the importance of how suppliers and travel clubs can work together with open communication in order to make successful trips are not offered in any other organization that I have belonged to.
Angie Greeno is the co-owner of Ozarks' Kirkwood Tour & Travel and has attended Peer Group for the past three years.  When asked about her experience, she said, " While I have only attended a few Peer Groups, I can honestly say that I love the events.  It's a great mix of fun events, one-on-one conversations and open floor discussions.

"In my twenty-four years in the business, it's eye opening to see an organization that urges members to discuss every aspect of the business.  I have learned so much these last years about what club directors have to go through on a daily basis and why they have a tougher job than the standard tour planner."

Visit their website www.ozarkskirkwood.com or call 417-335-4668 to book your tour today!
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