As a first-time Marketplace delegate, you are about to experience an educational and professionally rewarding week.

Fasten your seat belts for a week filled with unsurpassed business opportunities, informative educational seminars, exciting social events, and an overall experience that will change forever the way you view the tour and travel industry personally, professionally and as a representative of your company.


Marketplace Passport

This page is a record of all of your individualized Marketplace registration information.
• Contact Information
• Event Information
• Marketplace Website
• Update Profiles
• Research Databases
• Request Appointment
• Message Center
• Add/Cancel List
• Appointment Schedule

First step in your first experience at Marketplace is to let us know who you are. Make certain that your Marketplace Passport has you marked as a first-time delegate.  You find the link for the Passport on the left-hand menu and use your delegate number and password (found on your registration confirmation) to access.

Marketplace Website

For up to date information, bookmark Find Profile sheet guidelines and samples, Marketplace Delegate Packet, FAQs and more.

Marketplace Delegate Packet

A packet designed to answer your questions regarding Marketplace 2013 including tips and industry glossary.  Click here for your copy.

Planning Your Marketplace Week

A list of tips and strategies for making the most of your week at Marketplace.  Click here for your copy.

Profile Samples

Your On-site Profile Sheet is your calling card at Marketplace.  Profile sheets and business cards are the only collateral allowed on the Business Floor for distribution during appointments.

Delegate Checklists

Simple checklists to help you make the most of your Marketplace experience.

STAR Tales

The official electronic newsletter for STAR delegates. STAR delegates will receive 3 STAR Tale newsletters before Marketplace. Topics will include: appointment research, profile sheets, checklists, etc.

STAR Tales #4

STAR Tales #3

STAR Tales #2

STAR Tales #1

STAR Calls

Each STAR delegate will receive a phone call or email from a member of the Orientation Center Subcommittee. This is your opportunity to ask questions, gather information, and make a connection before you get to Marketplace.

Insider Information - Terms, Acronyms and Other Necessities

Many industries have their own language, which can make it difficult for the novice to communicate, let alone understand.

If you’re in a sales position, efficient communication is the key to your success. Stars need to learn and understand the key terms and sensitivities in your business world, and you’ll increase your performance potential. 

These terms are printable as part of the Marketplace delegate packet.  Click here for your copy.


Group Leaders:  Traditionally, a member of a club or organization who is responsible for the travel activities of the group.  These responsibilities can include tour selection, collecting payment from members, and acting as liaison between the group and the tour operator.  Usually, the group leader accompanies the tour and acts as an escort.  Group leaders are not employees of the tour operator, and usually are not empowered to act legally on their behalf.  This distinction is sometimes difficult to discern as many group leaders now have their own business cards, and make their own reservations directly with receptive operators or other tour suppliers.
NOTE:  Group leaders may appear to be travel industry professional, but do not have a travel business, an office, appointments etc.  Tour suppliers who deal directly with group leaders are advised to thoroughly familiarize themselves with any new or unknown group leaders, especially in fiscal matters.

Tour Operator:  These are professional, licensed companies who package tours for groups that may include transportation, lodging, meals, attractions, shows and other opportunities.  Tour Operators will package for groups that are traveling from their immediate area to any destination in the USA or abroad.

You will encounter Motorcoach Operators.  A Motorcoach Operator is one who leases motorcoaches to a group for the purpose of transporting them from point A to point B.  A Motorcoach Operator can also handle retail tours that their company puts together or charters.

Two other people you need to know about that work with the Operator:

Tour Planners:  The person who actually plans (or packages) a tour. 

Escort:  The on-board representative (and usually a paid employee) of the Operator.  An escort ensures the passenger’s welfare and satisfaction, makes arrangements and payments for tour features, and handles other pertinent duties while the tour is in progress.  Usually, the escort does not act as a local guide, and often has only a general knowledge of a tour destination.  The escort may or may not be authorized to order additional services (expenses) beyond contract specifications.

Operators deal with different types of groups, including:

Retail Groups:  A group that consists of individuals that have booked from advertisements in newspapers, television or radio commercials, or direct mail pieces.  The seats are sold on an individual basis, directly by the Operator.  This group does not have a group leader, but will usually have an Escort from the Operator.  (Also called Public Groups, Catalog Groups and Scheduled Groups)

Charter Groups:  Any group that books an entire motorcoach for their group only.  This is the opposite of a Retail Group.  Charter Groups will sometimes book a motorcoach from an Operator, then do their own itinerary, and book directly with each stop.

Pre-formed Groups:  A group that consists of members from the same organization or club such as AARP, a church group or a bank group. (Also called Custom Groups and Affininity Groups)

Line Run:  Specific, predetermined regular-route bus service between cities provided by Operator.

Receptive Operator:  This is also a professional, licensed operator that package tours for groups that may include transportation, lodging, meals, guides, attractions, shows, and other opportunities.  The biggest difference is that most Receptive service a geographic region, and handle incoming (or inbound) tours, where Operators handle outbound tours from their home area to another area.  Operators frequently utilize Receptive because they are cost effective and provide a “one call does it all” contact (saving time for the Operator).  There are some Receptive that cover only one small area, but others are regional or national in scope.

Guide:  A professional person hired by either the Operator or the Receptive to conduct a narrated tour of a specific area or attraction.  Some locations require that guides be licensed (Gettysburg, PA, for example).  Sometimes referred to as a “Step-on Guide.”

Supplier: A supplier (or Associate in some organizations) is a business that provides meals, lodging, attractions, shopping, or other tour components.


Like any other industry, this industry has it’s own terminology.  Some of it comes from the travel industry as a whole, and some has been created here.

Here are some examples of terms you will encounter:

Hub & Spoke Touring:  A tour that utilizes a central destination (the hub), and supplements the itinerary with day excursions (the spokes) to other nearby areas.  This type of itinerary works very well in areas where sightseeing and activities are highly concentrated within a reasonable driving distance.

Intermodal Tour:  A tour itinerary utilizing two or more modes of transportation (such as motorcoach, airlines, rail or passenger vessel).  For example, a tour that departs by motorcoach, and returns by air.

Series Tour:  Multiple departure dates of a set tour (most often offered at retail).

And, of course there are plenty of acronyms you’ll need to know here are a few :

  • ABA- American Bus Association
  • ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act
  • BBB-Better Business Bureau
  • CTIS-Certified Travel Industry Specialist
  • CVA-Convention & Visitors Association
  • CVB-Convention & Business Bureau
  • OTD-Office of Tourism Development
  • RSA-Receptive Service Association
  • SMERF-School, Municipal, Education, Religious & Fraternal Groups

At Marketplace

Orientation Center Ambassador Sessions:

The Orientation Center offers personalized counseling sessions performed by subcommittee members and/or Marketplace volunteers. In a friendly member-to-member format, new attendees learn about Marketplace practices, Marketplace procedures, expectations and activities from industry veterans.

Orientation Center Floor Tours:
Sponsored by Gaston County Travel & Tourism

STAR delegates also have the opportunity to tour the Marketplace floor before their appointment session and to broaden their ABA and industry insight in specially designed STAR workshops. Throughout the week, subcommittee members also serve as Marketplace mentors aiding and guiding STAR delegates.

"7-Minutes to Success" Workshop

Whether you are a first-time STAR delegate or a Marketplace veteran, this workshop will help you prepare for an exciting and valuable Marketplace week.  Marketplace leaders willingly share their expertise and insights and help you discover the “ins and outs” of Marketplace.  Discover the secrets to preparing yourself for the Marketplace business floor and ABA’s uniquely different Marketplace.  No sign up is required, so don’t miss this dynamic session!

Post- Marketplace

STAR Tales #4 :

You will receive a final newsletter with tips regarding Marketplace follow up and how to make the most of your investment at Marketplace.