Shop America Alliance Celebrates 15 Years Marketing Shopping as the No. 1 Tourism Activity in North America
Shop America Alliance, the 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.
“It is amazing to see what an exciting and extensive organization Shop America Alliance has grown to become since we launched the Shop America Summit in Napa, California fifteen years ago,” says co-founder and President Rosemary McCormick. “We started with a single mission, to promote shopping as the #1 tourism activity. It has been rewarding to see the economic value of shopping tourism now recognized by the travel and tourism industry. We are fortunate to have such a strong and supportive group of members in our organization and in particular our Executive Advisory Committee. We continually advocate for the power of partnerships and have been rewarded with an exceptional line-up of active members and all-star industry partners.”
Shop America Alliance members include the most successful major shopping centers such as South Coast Plaza, the Forum Shops, Mall of America, Galleria Dallas, NorthPark Center, Santa Monica Place, Tysons Corner, Fashion Show, Grand Canal Shoppes, Cherry Creek, Westfield San Francisco Centre, Hollywood & Highland, City Creek Center, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Macerich centers, The Florida Mall, Mall at Millenia, Carousel Center/Destiny USA, plus leading outlet centers including Premium Outlets®, Fashion Outlets, Craig Outlets, Northwest Outlets, Legends Outlets, Horizon Outlets, Assembly Row, Vero Beach and Outlet Marketing Alliance, retailers including Macy’s, Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger, shopping destinations, states and cities, including California, Florida, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York City, New Orleans, Bloomington MN, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas and Forth Worth, the Museum Store Association representing 1,300 museum stores, TaxFree Shopping Texas, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, and Historic Shopping & Dining East Coast and many more.
Expanding into the cultural and heritage tourism arena in 2005, Shop America Alliance envisioned and then co-produced the US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Summit with the US Department of Commerce/OTTI in Washington, DC and co-founded the US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council (USCHT) in 2007. The strong correlation between shopping, dining and cultural & heritage tourism, as indicated by several research studies, led to more innovative collaborations including the ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism which incorporated the former Shop America Tourism Conference into a larger event in 2011. Recently, Shop America president Rosemary McCormick’s book “Marketing Cultural & Heritage Tourism” was published by the Museum Store Association providing tools for increased effectiveness and developing partnerships.
Functioning as a tour operator as well as a travel trade organization, Shop America Tours developed and markets more than 200 Shop America Tours and The Cultural Traveler Tours in over 40 destinations throughout the United States. More than 50,000 of these tour packages have been sold to date. SAA promotes 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, Australia 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 shopping tourism is generated through partnerships. With the Shop America VIP/AAA Show Your Card & Save program, SAA reaches 51 million AAA members, featuring 75 Shop America partners providing discounts and incentives.
A new partnership program with America Express was launched in 2011. This “American Express & Shop America Savings” program engages thousands of American Express cardmembers. In 2012, SAA will expand package sales via new partnerships including AmEx Brazil.
Shop America continues to grow its extensive network of partners to expand its marketing efforts including American Express, US Travel Association, World Travel & Tourism Council, International Council of Shopping Centers, Destination & Travel Foundation/DMAI, National Tour Association, Visit USA UK and Visit USA Australia Committees, Mandala Research, Brand USA and US Department of Commerce/OTTI.
SAA maintains a strong working partnership with top online travel agents and tour operators worldwide. Those partners include Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Gray Line, Tourico Holidays, Allied Pro, Mark Travel, Hotelbeds, Viator and more.
Shop America also publishes the Shop America Magazine which is distributed with AAA/CAA, Essentially America UK, Essentially America/Swishy in Mexico and Latin America and co-publishes The Cultural Traveler guide. Beginning in 2012, both magazines will be printed and distributed together each spring, resulting in expanded distribution at major travel trade events. All Pow Wow delegates receive copies.
Along with 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 held in February in Costa Mesa, California at the legendary South Coast Plaza.
Always on the search for new and innovative programs to promote shopping travel, at the 2012 Pow Wow, Shop America Alliance will preview its new “Shop America Tours 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.
Shop America has been very active in travel and tourism leadership. McCormick currently serves on the Destination & Travel Foundation Board and recently served a four-year term on the US Travel Association Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Sheila Armstrong, who serves as SAA’s PR Director and US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council Executive Director, also serves on the US Travel Association Board of Directors, the Brand USA Marketing Advisory Committee and recently served on the US Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Committee. Both SAA and USCHT serve on the board of Women In Travel & Tourism International (witti).
“As we celebrate 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 Alliance members and our partners in helping us to achieve so much. With their continued support, we have the potential to expand our success beyond what we can only imagine today.”
Shop America Alliance is the travel trade organization representing hundreds of the premier shopping tourism destinations, retailers, shopping centers, museum stores and outlets in North America. Founded in 1998, Shop America Alliance co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards and The Cultural Traveler guide, publishes Shop America Magazine and markets more than 200 shopping tours in 40 cities. For more information, visit shopamericatours.com or call 707-224-3795.
Shop America Alliance Executive Advisory Committee 2012
Chris Szalay, Aria
Ann Ackerman, AWE Talisman
Kathy Anderson, AZ Travel Marketing
Bonnie Carlson, Bloomington MN CVB
Rose Hapanowich, Carousel Center/Destiny USA
Pat Lee, Cherry Creek Center
Carolyn Feimster, CJF Marketing International
Petty Ziglin, Craig Realty Group
Susan Houck/Connie Dyer, General Growth Properties
Gina Slechta, Horizon Group Properties
Art Jimenez, Las Vegas CVA/Shop Las Vegas
Denise Thevenot, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping
Kate Cavaliere Birchler, Macerich
Kristen Esposito, Macy’s
Doug Killian, Mall of America
Laura Mandala, Mandala Research
Beverly Barsook, Museum Store Association
Jean Guinup, Premium Outlets®
Werner Escher, South Coast Plaza
Carolyn Petty, TaxFree Shopping Texas
Sheila Armstrong, U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council
Karin Fish, Visit California
Nancy Hahn Bono, Visit Orlando