Sweet Home Alabama

Learn the Inbound Travel Steps to Success

The Alabama Tourism Department in coordination with DMOs throughout the state are bringing IITA’s Inbound Insider: Steps to Success™ program to the Alabama travel and tourism industry. International markets are returning to the U.S. and visitors are wanting more authentic experiences beyond the traditional gateway destinations. Alabama can deliver those experiences with a coordinated effort throughout the state.

International tourism is very different than working with domestic markets, and there are specific, proven methods for developing bookable product and growing the state’s share of inbound visitors.

The Steps to Success™ program is a series of three education and training sessions that helps destinations and tourism suppliers successfully build international travel business by working with the travel trade. The program is provided by the International Inbound Travel Association (IITA), the leading travel association for inbound operators, DMOs, and suppliers involved in growing international travel to the U.S.

Steps to Success™ provides the knowledge and tools for working with U.S.-based Inbound Operators, who are your gateway to the international markets because they have vast networks of international clients eager to sell the USA. Inbound Operators are B2B businesses selling U.S. travel services and products to international buyers, i.e. tour operators, travel agents and meetings/events buyers.

You’ll be able to develop and implement strategies tailored for your business and, ultimately, increase ROI and market share from key international travel trade partners for year over year growth when you need it.

DMO partners throughout the state will host their constituents for each session. Register for each session below and see the correlating information for what you’ll learn in each session.

Step 1 – October 10, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Step 2 – November 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Step 3 – December 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Birmingham: Vulcan Park and Museum (Electra Room). 1701 Valley View Drive Birmingham

Colbert County: Ritz Theatre. 111 W 3rd St, Sheffield

Gulf Shores: Orange Beach Welcome Center, 23685 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach

Huntsville: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. 225 Church Street, Huntsville

Mobile:  Mobile, Conference Room – 1 South Water Street, Mobile

Montgomery: Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, 600 South Court Street, Suite 216, Montgomery

Tuscaloosa: Visit Tuscaloosa Conference Room. 1900 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Time: 9:30AM – 12:30 PM (CT)

STEP 1: Introduction to Inbound Travel Trade

What You Learn:

Build your understanding of the global network of distributors that make up the international travel trade. Learn the who, what, where, why, and how to work effective with the international travel trade, expanding your business’s reach and visibility to new source markets increasing your customer base. Walk away with set guidelines and resources to enhance your ability to work effectively and efficiently with B2B inbound operators such as:

  • Understand the value of working with the international inbound market and how to harness them as a powerful partner to grow your business
  • Learn step-by-step insights on how to prepare for this market including developing sellable products, services and operational resources that follow the protocols of working with the travel trade
  • Gain a strategic understanding of the travel trade distribution channel and how to position it to your benefit
  • Discover fundamental marketing strategies you can use to promote your products and service via the varied distribution channels of the travel trade

Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Time:10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (CT)

STEP 2: Resource Development 

What You Learn :

How to position your products to fit the needs of the travel trade to form B2B partnerships. Develop an understanding of the pricing and resource conventions required to make your products appear attractive to this market, ensuring you gain immediate traction and equitable partnerships.

      • Dive deeper into the various levels of the travel trade and their unique characteristics to begin to shape your inbound tourism development strategy
      • See how to build a dynamic “business profile” that addresses requirements of a 3rd party seller of travel products and gets traction to sell your business more easily
        • Learn what buzz words and influencing points to include in your key documents that will gain the interest of the travel trade
        • Review samples, tips and tricks and take your next step to create your own necessary & useful resources
      • Develop a competitive pricing structure while maintaining industry rate integrity
        • Understand the importance of maintaining rate integrity to build long lasting relationships
        • Obtain repeat business by following the travel trade model and learn how to incorporate rate systems in your business


Date: Monday, December 11, 2023
Time: 10:00AM – 1:00 PM (CT)

STEP 3: Product and Operational Strategy

What You Learn:

How to effectively develop strategies and systems that not only maximize opportunities for your business but allow international travel trade partners to easily access and sell your product. Walk away with a foundation that will help you develop strategies to build future and repeat base business, and fill off-peak need periods, for consistent year-round volume from the international market.

      • Position your products/services to be sold in advance to maximize sales and marketing efforts
      • Develop operational support documents
      • Ensure you have the product, systems, and operational support in place to accommodate travel trade business effortlessly
      • Learn more about working with the travel trade from a product and policies standpoint
      • How to set up specific operational practices, internal policies, and systems per category of supplier

Steps to Success  provides a comprehensive review of inbound travel to the US.  If you are considering entering this market or expand your participation, IITA provides a great place to begin.  

Leslie Womack, Director of Sales, Mayflower Park Hotel

IITA’s Steps to Success will prepare you to take advantage of pent-up demand from coveted international markets which are certain to rebound in 2022 and beyond. Give your destination, hotels, attractions and more the tools to grow their share of international visitation in a post-COVID world.

Malcolm Smith, IPW General Manager, U.S. Travel Association

IITA provides resources for DMOs and suppliers that are invaluable and are not replicated anywhere else within the industry. The Inbound Insider Steps to Success program … provided to hotels, attractions and restaurants in my destination has been a game-changer for these establishments, giving them the tools and knowledge to gain market share of inbound international visitors.

Kelly M. Defebo, CMP, Director of Sales, Visit Sarasota County

IITA’ Steps to Success program has helped to inform our industry about this complicated and important business, how it works and how they can generate additional international business. 

Dave Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan

What are the Benefits of Working with the Travel Trade?

Why Should You Attend?

All businesses can benefit from working with inbound operators, see why your business should attend!