August 2020
HCI Monthly News & Updates
Message from our Board Chair

August? Really? Summer has disappeared and school will be starting soon. As I mentioned last time, my family enjoyed a trip to a lake in Wisconsin. It was perfect. I have vacationed on a lake before, but this particular lake just knew what we needed. Peace. My husband is a school administrator, and as much fun as we had with our children, I think one of my favorite things about the whole trip was to see my husband disconnect from everything and relax. These last few months have been very stressful for those in the education field, weighing out what is going to work, listening to the opinions of parents, teachers, other school districts and of course the media on what their expectations of a typical school day should look like. No matter what they decide, it will be made with the most heartfelt cautions, and what will be best for our students. 

This is exactly what our HCI Preferred Tour Operators (PTOs) are going through right now. Listening to the bank club directors and partners around the US, other industry leaders and the media on what their expectation of a travel opportunity should look like moving forward. This is why I love our PTOs! They have our best interest at heart and want to see us succeed. Our HCI PTOs are a huge reason we are members of HCI. They give us the security that we will be taken care of, just as we take care of our bank customers. That trickle-down effect builds confidence back up and enables us to stay loyal. See below for more love for our PTOs from our very own board members!

As the country continues to find its way around this Covid-19 lifestyle, stay kind. Until you can walk in their shoes, the best thing you can do is help keep the laces tied.

Share the love and you will feel it too!!

Melanie Davis, CBCD
Farmers Savings Bank & Trust
Vinton, IA

3 Simple Questions

Take a quick and fun survey about what you've been up to during Covid-19.

Watch for results in the September newsletter.

Have a great day!
Collette’s Return to Travel
with Traveling Well Experience on Tour

As demand for travel has been steadily increasing, Collette is preparing to resume operations while keeping guests as safe and healthy as possible. On March 16, 2020, Collette stopped all travel for the first time in over 102 years. We immediately began working with medical experts and health organizations to focus on safety because our guests’ experience has always been – and always will be – our top priority. After much consultation with experts and collaboration with suppliers we believe it is time to see the world again and began with our July 3rd Spotlight on South Dakota tour.

In order to ensure our guest’s well-being and restore confidence in guests’ travel plans, we introduced our Traveling Well program, which implements a series of health and safety policies to safeguard guests and employees while on tour. During the South Dakota tour, we left up to 50% of seats empty to ensure social distancing, face coverings were provided, along with hand sanitizer, which was widely available throughout the tour experience.

However, Collette’s real strength lies in the tour manager and in-destination suppliers that are ready and equipped to assist guests if they exhibit any health issues. We have been working closely with vendors and all of our suppliers to ensure the highest level of cleanliness and compliance. Our tour managers are also equipped with additional face covers, gloves, sanitizers, and body temperature scanners.

“Busses, restaurants, hotels, museums – every place we went to on tour followed social distancing and cleaning protocols that we require to keep our guests safe,” says tour manager Beth Meredith.

Here is what a guest on tour had to say after the tour concluded:
“I recently joined Beth Meredith, tour manager, on the Collette South Dakota and the Bad Lands Tour. With fewer people on a large coach, we were able to socially distance ourselves, plus everyone wore face masks while on the coach and at various attractions. We felt comfortable and safe. Plus the driver sanitized the coach twice a day. The hotel where we stayed let us opt out of regular housekeeping to allow less contact. But we were able to request services whenever we wanted. Breakfast was ordered off the menu – no buffet. And tables in the dining room were spaced 6-feet apart. We were impressed with Collette’s strict adherence to the CDC guidelines. The driver, tour manager, and the videographer always wore their masks. If you had forgotten your mask, Beth had an extra one for you. Collette made our health a priority, I look forward to my next tour with Collette.”

Travelers are resilient, and we want to remain positive and be aspirational about what the future holds. Each guest that travels with us deserves a memorable and fulfilling travel experience. And we intend to continue to deliver on that promise. Your health, well-being, and enjoyment remain our top focus — just as they have been since we started in 1918. When you are ready to make your travel dreams a reality again, you can rest assured that your travel experience with Collette will be safe, healthy and unforgettable.

For more information on our Traveling Well protocols, plus frequently asked questions please visit Click Here

HCI Advisory Board Meeting

The Advisory Board met at the end of July to plan for the 2021 Peer Group conference.

Many great ideas were generated and we are excited to begin planning for our conference which will take place the week of February 22 -26, 2021. Mark these dates on your calendar now so you don't miss out on the one-of-a-kind educational sessions and fantastic networking opportunities.

Here is a summary of the Board Meeting:

Review of 2020 PG conference:
  • 9.5 out of 10 for Overall conference and Conference Value and a 9.3 for Educational content – our Highest score in history! 17 First time bankers!

Peer Group 2021:
  • Keep the date – week of February 22-26 – DEFINITE
  • Be prepared for 3 Options:
  1. Normal conference but with less expensive options for Partners
  2. Shorter conference less expensive for everyone
  3. Virtual conference
  • If a physical conference, it would be in the Midwest to keep costs down and avoid flying for many delegates
  • New conference theme: On the Road Again – Creating New Paths Together

Testimonial Videos:
  • We are asking our bankers to send us Testimonial Videos about the positive experiences they have had with our PTOs during Covid in order to make it clear to all bankers how valuable the PTO relationship is to them.

  • We will add online learning via webinars to our existing program.

  • Some new features in the monthly newsletters to make them even more engaging

Task Forces for 2020-21:
  • Travel: Marketing our Clubs on Social Media
  • Banking: Promoting Travel Today
·    Virtual touring – How to use Zoom
·   New ways to explore home – Be a tourist in your own area (Localhood)
·   PTO travel
  • Veterans: Navigating the HCI Website

The Board of Advisors has put together one of the most exciting education programs of any year. It all begins with the Task Forces, and I would like to invite you to contact Tina and offer to serve on one of these Task Forces. We meet by conference call just one hour each month in September, October, November, December and January in advance of the February Peer Group conference. It is an important opportunity to get to know your colleagues - bankers, partners and PTOs - better and to help HCI succeed with programs the Board feels are critical to the success of all of us in this industry.
~Ted Nelson, Executive Director
PTOs, the message below is included in the Club Director version of the newsletter. If you would like to reach out to any of your customers to encourage them to send in a video, please feel free to do so.

Love using HCI's Preferred Tour Operators?
Send us your video testimonials

It's easier than you think.

  1. Record a short message on your phone.
  2. Send the file to using

Whenever you have a chance, please record your own personal testimonials about your experience using our Heritage Clubs PTOs during Covid. Tell us an experience you had with a PTO that helped you manage the Covid travel problems.We are trying to separate our PTOs from the rest of the tour operator world by showing how well they have responded to everything including cash refunds where requested.

We want to use these stories in our Peer Group marketing and to encourage your fellow and new directors to book their tours with our incredible PTO members.

  • Please provide testimonials of your experience using the PTOs during Covid. Be as detailed as possible and feel free to incorporate humor and sentiment! Everyone loves to laugh and feel a tug on their heart strings 😊

  • Feel free to give a shout out to HCI for providing amazing resources which include our 8 PTOs.

  • Don’t pay attention to the length of your video. Take your time and share your experience to the best of your ability, in your own words and cadence. 

  • In addition to your detailed testimonial(s), please provide some “quick-bites”. Things we hear often such as, “I can’t imagine NOT using a PTO” or “Heritage Clubs is a family”. These can be easily incorporated into videos and promotions later on.

  • Make sure that you have good lighting - you want to be facing the light source - and be aware of any background noise that could be distracting or make it difficult to hear your voice.

  • When recording yourself, make sure you are taking the video horizontally.

 For assistance, contact Ezra Wood by email or call 417-379-4709.  

Happy Thoughts

It was such an encouraging moment to see Mary Ann Gelven and her group of 41 from Legends Bank (Linn, MO) at the theater yesterday. This was the first bank club that I have had the opportunity to greet since the pandemic began. She and her group showed up early, prepared with masks, and filled with enthusiasm and excitement for travel. This was a grandparents and grandchildren day-trip (3 hour drive), and it was obvious that every one of them had enjoyed this Wednesday adventure.

My colleague and I had the pleasure of picking up Chick-fil-A catering for Mary Ann while they were enjoying our NOAH production, and handing out the boxed meals as they boarded the bus to head home. It really did my heart good.

I went home feeling very hopeful for all of my bank travel family.

Ezra Wood
Sight & Sound Theaters
Branson, Missouri

A Word of Encouragement

On March 27th, I wrote a memo to all our members regarding what was happening with the Coronavirus and how it was impacting every one of us. At that time, we were very uncertain what the rest of 2020 would look like, and we are still uncertain. What I said then, still applies now 4-1/2 months later:

The HCI family is.... a family. As a family, we care about all of our members and their families and their customers. We know that the professionals we meet and get to know at Peer Group conference, in our offices and online care about each other and want each other to succeed and to be safe.
When Bankers, Partners and PTOs do business together, we do it with respect, care and understanding that the future for all of us includes each other.

And now as we look forward to 2021 and the return of travel, we have created a conference theme that is sounding familiar:

The word "together" has never felt so important. Our families, our friends, our business acquaintances and the friends we have not yet met all around the world need to all be thinking of each other, embracing the need to protect our world community and
band together for the benefit of us all.

Ted Nelson
HCI Executive Director