Student Performing Groups Prove Profitable Niche
by Judy Jacobs /

Selling travel to student performing groups – bands, orchestras and drill teams – has proved to be a profitable—and Internet-proof—niche for a Texas agency owner.

“It’s a good niche market for an agency to get into because it’s going to always be there,” said Charles Moore, president and CEO of All World Travel in Allen, Tex.

“The Internet can’t take it away from you. There’s no way to get 500 reservations for 500 people on the Internet.”

Moore began providing travel for these groups 10 years ago when he hired Craig Logan, the retiring Allen High School Band director, and his wife, Pat, who was in charge of the school’s drill team.

The niche now accounts for 25% of his agency’s total business. The Logans organize 20 to 25 trips a year, most of them for high schools and some for junior colleges and middle and elementary schools. They deal only with schools in Texas.

Near and far
The Logans have taken groups to perform in festivals and parades around the nation and as far away as Ireland where many have performed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.

All World Travel also draws on three or four retired band and drill team directors to join the groups.

“The major festivals are what drive the travel, however, and most of the ones that these schools go to are in San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth and the Houston/Galveston areas,” Moore said.

Many groups also go to Orlando for competitions and festivals and to perform at Disneyworld and Universal Studios.

Branson, Mo. is another popular destination where groups do pre-show performances at some of the theaters.

Providing direction
The Logans’ job includes advising groups on where to travel.

“When a director comes to us we have a 50-50 chance that they know what festival or competition they want to participate in,” Moore said.

“Sometimes they call us and we work through a plan of action for what would be a good festival in the area that the group wants to go to from the list we keep.

“If someone calls, for example, and says they want their choir in St. Louis, we check our schedule to see if anything is going on that will fit their schedule.”

The challenges
One of the biggest challenges is getting air space. “We carried 525 people – members of a high school orchestra, band and drill team – to Ireland in 2004,” Moore said.

For Logan, the challenge is communicating, especially about the costs.

“A lot of the directors who haven’t traveled a lot don’t understand that you can’t go to some far off places for $150,” he said.

“It’s a real education process with the directors so they understand that and we understand what they want.”

Instruments are not a problem. The students are usually limited to one bag and can ship their instrument as the second piece of luggage, or if it’s small, carry it onboard.

All World Travel promotes the tours in a variety of ways.

Marketing to student groups
The agency does mass mailings and email blasts to high school band, orchestra and drill team directors.

The Logans attend the three main teachers conferences in Texas that deal with their market.

They set up booths at the trade shows for various events including the Texas Dance Educators Association, which attracts 500 teachers and the Texas Music Teachers Association, which draws 10,000 to 12,000 delegates.

They begin selling at the start of the year although most trips are sold in the spring.

“When we go to the conference in January 2014, we’ll start selling trips for 2015,” Logan said.

It’s a good niche market for an agency to get into because it’s going to always be there. The Internet can’t take it away from you.

Charles Moore, All World Travel