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Re-posted from Group Tour Magazine published September 3, 2020. Read the article on their site here: https://grouptourmagazine.com/mars-provides-buying-power-for-partners/
Kate Scopetti is the first to tell you that her cell phone is one item that is essential to her while traveling. As president of Mid-Atlantic Receptive Service (or MARS for short), Scopetti is constantly working and on the road traveling; her phone is her lifeline to her staff back in Stephens City, Virginia. Kate took a moment out of her busy schedule to share how partnering with MARS affords tour operators the luxury of receiving great rates and flexible contract terms that, very likely, could not be achieved on their own.
Q: How does MARS differ from other tour operators?
A: MARS functions exactly like a tour operator with one significant difference: our clients are other tour operators. Through our partnerships, we offer wholesale rates with substantial savings, due to our large volume buying power. The tours we create are operated by us from start to finish for our partners. We handle all of the tour details: reservations, contracting, payments confirming etc. MARS takes on the labor expense, so our partners realize additional significant savings. Also, we operate completely ‘White Label’ meaning our tours are marketed under our clients’ names. We help with marketing campaigns by producing flyers for tours that can be customized with the client’s logo and contact information. Our staff functions as their staff – including our 24-hour on-call phone service.
Q: Are there specific niche markets you serve?
A: We pride ourselves on creating uniquely themed programs and events for all kinds of niche markets. MARS works with tour operators and travel planners on new product development and research. Focus tours include African American, Faith-Based, Wine and Culinary, and many of the special event tours we create. In addition, MARS is a family of consumer brands which includes: Go Student Tours, Go Sports Tours, and SoccerTours.net who work with schools, clubs, and pre-formed organizations.
Q: What are you most proud of about your organization?
A: MARS doesn’t play favorites. We have some very small businesses, maybe two or three people, for whom we create tours. Their value and importance are just as critical as any others.
We focus on the success of each tour with our ultimate goal being repeat and delighted customers for our partners. It’s that ‘Combine & Conquer: Power of Partnership’ mentality which really elevates all of us to a position we couldn’t obtain alone. Our partners understand that our entire business model is predicated on THEM being successful. If they don’t do well and make money, WE don’t do well or make money. We need them and they need us. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.
Q: What is your favorite travel app?
A: Any app for pictures! I’m always on the road doing product development, exploring new regions, and I’m always taking pictures with my phone. These days there are apps out there completely free that can create truly amazing photos and collages.
Q: What is the one cuisine you are most excited to try when traveling?
A: I’m an adventurous person so I’m always excited to try whatever cuisine a particular region is famous for. Sampling the local fresh foods and immersing myself in the culture is what I truly enjoy when traveling.
Q: Final thought, name 3 words that describe why we should travel.
A: Enrich, enlighten, entertain.