CALL US AT 1.866.756.2620

Category Archive: Travel

Susy Campbell

Five New Options for Your NCM 20 Group Meeting

planes

Your NCM 20 Group meeting is filled with serious discussions regarding financial data, best practices and action plans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax outside the meeting room.  Whether golfing or deep sea fishing is your passion—or just quiet time at a spa—outside activities are a unique opportunity to get to know your fellow group members.

Here are details on five of our favorite destination hotels. Take a look, and consider trying something new for your next 20 Group meeting.

Gleneagles Luxury Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland. When this luxury spa and golf resort opened in 1924, it was described as the Riviera in the Highlands.  It’s probably best known for golfing with its three championship golf courses, but golfing is just one of many activities offered at the hotel. Guests may enjoy such activities as horseback riding, shooting, archery, tennis, biking and fishing. Wildlife photography and off-road driving are a novel way to experience the stunning Scottish landscape. And, of course, you should check out their world-renowned luxury spa.

Le Germain, Québec City, Canada. Located in a century-old building, the hotel is situated in Québec’s Old City, which was declared a world heritage site in 1985. You’re just steps away from the city’s art galleries, charming boutiques, cafes and some of the best restaurants in North America. Make a plan to visit the Ramparts of Québec National Historic Site; Québec is the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico, and you can see stunning vistas from its walls. While you’re exploring the city, check out Old Port, a favorite spot for tourists and locals to relax. You’ll love the charm of Rue Saint-Paul with its art galleries, antique stores and sidewalk cafes—the perfect place to people watch!

The Pearl, Rosemary Beach, Florida. Situated on Florida’s panhandle Emerald Coast, The Pearl is an award-winning resort in the heart of the state’s trendiest beachfront towns. Guests can relax with a luxurious spa treatment while also enjoying full privileges at the St. Joe Club & Resorts, including their beach club, kids’ camp, tennis facilities, bike rentals, free canoe and kayak rentals and access to beach bonfire services. With cutting-edge perks, such as an interactive iPad app for concierge requests, free high-speed Wi-Fi and in-room AppleTV for streaming your favorite shows, it’s a great meeting location.

Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah.  This authentic mountain retreat overlooks historic Park City, Utah, and is the perfect home base while you enjoy visiting the Utah National Park, Sundance, Snowbird and Alta. The 220-room resort offers ski-in/ski-out access to one of American’s best ski resorts, snowboarding and other winter sports; year-round activities include hiking, mountain biking, golf, outdoor concerts and fly-fishing. You can even plan an expedition to explore the three nearby national parks! With the largest spa in Utah, five inspired dining options and even its own bowling alley, Montage Deer Valley is a wonderful 20 Group meeting option.

The Broadmoor, Colorado Spring, Co.  Located on the banks of the Cheyenne Lake, this historic resort offers something for everyone. The choices are endless.  You could start your morning with a horseback ride, followed by zip lining.  And the perfect way to unwind might be to soak in the outdoor hot tub or curl up fireside with a good book.  The Broadmoor offers golfing, Forbes Five-Star spa, tennis, swimming pools and acclaimed dining. You can also experience the thrill of going up Pikes Peak on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  If fishing is your thing, you may want to consider staying at the Fishing Camp where you would fly fish with professional guides.

Have you stayed at any of these locations? Tell us about it below. Discover how NCM Travel Solutions can simplify your 20 Group and vacation travel.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/five-new-options-for-your-ncm-20-group-meeting/

Susy Campbell

A Local’s Guide to New Orleans

Cafe_du_Monde_New_Orleans

Taking place in a famous party town, I know that many dealers are looking forward to a great January convention. But there’s so much more to the Big Easy than the French Quarter. I chatted up some NOLA locals to get the scoop on the best off-the-track sites you can visit on your trip.

Haunted History Tours                  

Dabble in New Orleans’ occult past. Haunted History Tours offers a variety of fun late-night activities to scare and delight you. One popular option is the Vampire Tour, which starts nightly in front of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. They also have a Voodoo Tour and Tour of the New Orleans Cemetery.

boarding pass banner

Fine Dining                    

The foodie opportunities in New Orleans are endless! You may want to try the 2015 restaurant of the year, Sac-A-Lait. The menu changes frequently, but each presents Sac-A-Lait’s modern take on traditional Louisiana cuisine. You may want to start with alligator and move onto snapper or the best Gulf fish at the moment. But—no matter where you dine—be sure to check out amazing regional beer options.

The Laura Plantation       

Explore NOLA’s rich and complicated past with a tour of the Laura Plantation. Spend an afternoon at the antebellum home and grounds while historians share the story of Laura Lacoul, a Creole woman who grew up on the plantation, using her memoir to illustrate lives of the plantation’s women, slaves and children.

Garden District Walking Tour     

Hop on the trolley to visit NOLA’s beautiful Garden District. A fantastic alternative to the bacchanal revelry of the French Quarter, the district is home to many luxurious antebellum houses. Plan a walking tour to see the private properties, including the Payne-Strachan house where Jefferson Davis died. Make time to visit Lafayette Cemetery, one of the areas fabled “cities of the dead.” Once you have your fill of the sites, pick up lunch and a few souvenirs on Magazine Street: Sucré is a staff favorite for pastries and macarons.

New Orleans Beignets                      

So, this isn’t exactly a secret, but my contacts confirm that Café du Monde really is the beignet mecca of New Orleans! They have a number of locations, but the French Market café on Decatur offers a sprawling outdoor patio that lets you relax while enjoying a café au lait, a plate of sugary beignets and some of the best people-watching in the city. It’s open 24 hours, so go late if you’re feeling adventurous!

Going to New Orleans in January? Why not fly for free! Enter NCM’s contest and win two free roundtrip tickets to New Orleans.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/a-locals-guide-to-new-orleans/

Susy Campbell

Five Must-See Places in Kansas City

Each year our Institute hosts hundreds of students for training at our Kansas City office. The Travel Solutions team and I thought you’d like a list of things to do in the “City of Fountains” during your evenings. So, ignore some of that homework and hit the town with these five KC favorites!

1.  Country Club Plaza               

With its Seville-inspired beauty, the Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s crown jewel. The shopping district offers spectacular fountains—and, for a city renowned for them, that’s saying a lot!—and a stunning light display during the holiday season.  But it offers more than just shopping: The Plaza (as we call it) has delicious restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Just a few minutes away from the hotels we typically book for NCMi courses, and it is an excellent choice for an evening out. One warning, though, storefronts close by 7 p.m. most evenings, except for Thursday nights when shopping goes strong until 9 p.m.

2. Power & Light District

Just a few minutes North of NCM’s headquarters is the Power & Light District. While the Plaza focuses on upscale dining and shopping, P&L is about partying! Anchored by the Sprint Center, which hosts concerts year round, you can also enjoy exceptional nightclubs and fantastic sports bars. A favorite spot is the Alamo Drafthouse, which shows movies in an 18-years-or-older environment that bans cell phones and has in-seat food and beverage service.

3. Hollywood Casino at the Speedway

If playing slots are what you like, then the Hollywood Casino at the Speedway offers over 2,000 slots and several traditional table games. It overlooks the iconic Kansas Speedway, and if you plan your trip at the right, you can join 100,000 geared up NASCAR fans at the Sprint Cup Series. And be sure to come hungry. Hollywood Casino has five restaurants including Final Cut Steakhouse that serves steak and seafood.

You’ll need a car to get there from NCM. So, let us know if you want to go, and our team can make the arrangements.

4. Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District 

Little Richard, Fats Domino and others have sung about “Coming to Kansas City” since 1952. Why? Because during the Jazz Age, Kansas City was known as the “Paris of the Plains,” and its nightclubs and speakeasies left an indelible mark on American Jazz. (Just ask Charlie Parker!)

The Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District celebrates KC’s rich Jazz heritage. Explore this uniquely American music form at the American Jazz Museum. Discover the fascinating history African-Americans in baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And, aficionados only, stay up late—really late—for an early morning jam session at the Mutual Musicians Foundation where KC’s current jazz and blues artists play after their Friday and Saturday night sets. (Definitely worth extending your trip for. Trust us.)

5. Liberty Memorial

The only National World War I Museum and Memorial in our country, the Liberty Memorial was built in 1919 after a group raised $2.4 million (the equivalent of $34 million today) to honor the men and women who had served in “the war to end war.” In 1921, all the supreme Allied commanders dedicated the site, the last time the five gathered. Needless to write, if you’re a history buff you don’t want to miss this award-winning museum which houses one of the largest collection of WWI artifacts in the world!

The WWI museum is closed on Mondays, but is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. So, if you want to visit this national treasure, I recommend you come in for class a little early or stay an extra day in KC. And, if you’re staying, don’t forget to visit our lovely Union Station and its interactive science center and planetarium!

Whether you’re coming to KC for training, need help getting to an NCM 20 Group meeting or want to take a well-deserved vacation, let NCM Travel Solutions do the planning for you! Get your free travel quote.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-must-see-places-in-kansas-city/

Joe Basil

Musclecar Dream Engine Comes True in Modern Technology

LT1This column is typically reserved for “next practice” tips for better retail automotive management, but today we’re paying homage to the source of our passion for this industry — the allure of the automobile and all it signifies. It stole our hearts and captured our imagination with dreams of speed, power and freedom on the open road. For me, the passion was sparked by the Chevrolet musclecars of the 1960s and 70s.

For all you other musclecar motorheads who used to have hair with a color other than gray, the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray LT1 engine is a motorhead’s dream come true. It’s got all of the technology you dreamed of in the day but had no idea how to bring it to mechanical life. Just go back to the 60s and early 70s, when you were 18 and building that small block drag car. Yeah, when you pulled up to the Sunoco gas pump and cranked the octane lever to 110+; when the gas filler was behind the tail light on a fin or behind the license plate; when you burned a full tank of premium on a Friday or Saturday night street racing with your hottie.

That’s when you spent hours and hours talking to the guys at the track, trying to get the latest tricks from the speed shop and spending lots of bucks building that small block to put out every bit of horsepower you can squeeze out of it. You remember, putting in that highlift cam, swapping out the stock intake for an Edelbrock high-rise topped off with an 1100+(or larger) CFM Holley. Pulling off the heads and putting on the double bump angle plug 2.02’s. And since you switched the rear end gears and you threw out the stock distributor you had to replace it with an HEI mechanical advance and had the advance curve tweaked. Oh and don’t forget those “Hooker Headers” and a couple of Cherry Bombs just for effect.

And then when it came to race day, on the track or on the street, you checked the temperature to see if you were going to swap out those jets on the Holly, reset the base advance, and maybe adjust up those rocker arms to change the cam timing. All of those little tweaks you did under the hood with tools are now being done by computers in milliseconds without ever touching a wrench.

Back in the day, I was a musclecar motorhead and even with gray in my temples, I guess I still am.   That’s why I’m so excited about a very special event coming up later this month in Tonawanda, New York.  Where the heck is Tonawanda, New York?Tonawanda is a suburb of Buffalo and it happens to be the home of the GM powertrain plant where the 2014 C7 LT1 Corvette Stingray engine is built.

The C7 LT1 has it all. Let’s start with 450 hp out of 6.2 L. By the way, that’s 378 cu in. No need to make any adjustments anymore since we now have computer-controlled direct injection, variable valve timing with 2.13 intake valves, and computer-controlled ignition timing. By the way, remember using “plastiguage” to check your bearing clearances? Now the clearances are measured in microns. A micron? Yeah, a micron; that’s one millionth of a meter.

So how would like to see these engines being built? On August 23rd and 24th the General Motors plant in Tonawanda is having an open house. So what? It’s an engine plant, you might say; well, there’s history that goes with this plant and the Chevrolet musclecar engines it produced. When they look under the hood of 60s and 70s musclecars, collectors always look for a little rectangular sticker on the valve cover that reads “Produced by Chevrolet Tonawanda.” Not only is the Chevrolet Tonawanda engine plant noted for producing 60s and 70s musclecar engines and big block marine performance engines, it holds the world record for the most number of engines produced in one day — 8,832 (in 1988).

The plant is celebrating its 75thanniversary and is having an open house and classic car show on August 23rd and 24th. You get a full tour of the plant and the actual crews that build the engines will be explaining and showing you how they do it. I was in this plant quite often in the 1970s when we had a Chevy store close by and serviced the plant cars. I went on the tour a couple of years ago and what a drastic contrast!

It’s a great opportunity to fly into one of Buffalo’s  private aviation strips, bring your off shore boat and do some “street” racing on the Niagara River or Lake Erie, or just cruise your favorite musclecar ride to the car show. Last but not least,don’t forget to visit Frank and Teresa’s Anchor Bar (where chicken wings started) for some wings and “beef on weck.”

For details just go to GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine 75th Anniversary on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/75thanniversary) or give me a call and let’s wax nostalgic about the days of our shared musclecar mania!

Formerly of the Basil Automotive Group, Joe Basil is a 20 Group Moderator for NCM Associates.  NCM has many GM nameplate 20 Groups including Buick, GMC and Chevrolet dealer groups. For information, call 877.803.3631 or to reach Joe directly, email jbasil@ncm20.com.

Master-Your-Destiny

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/musclecar-dream-engine-comes-true-in-modern-technology/

Russell Grant

How to Motivate Your Customers: It’s a Gift

travel-incentivesAs I travel the country speaking to dealers, there are several questions that have come up consistently in the 20 years I have been in this business.

One of them is: “Why do I need to give something away to get people into my dealership, especially if they’re already my customers? I don’t want a bunch of gift seekers at my dealership.”

While there are a number of reasons why gifts are a strategic part of a successful marketing campaign, I want to share with you the three most important:

  1. Law of Reciprocation. We all know that if we do something for somebody they will feel obligated to do something in return. This doesn’t mean someone will buy a car out of obligation, but it does mean if you get that customer to your showroom they may take a test drive—or be more generous with the time they give you at the dealership.
  2. Motivation. Just because someone is interested in purchasing a vehicle doesn’t mean they’re coming to your dealership any time soon. By offering them a gift, it motivates your customer to take action now. This way, your marketing gives customers a reason to respond when you want them to, which is often much earlier than they would have without your offer.
  3. Proven Results. At J&L Marketing, we have been tracking marketing results for 22 years and the results are overwhelmingly stronger for campaigns that use a gift versus those that do not. Also, dealerships that highlight their gift in marketing materials receive a better response rate and experience the high quality traffic they’re looking for. The best approach is to make your offer first and then motivate the customer to take action with a gift.

Be Strategic With Your Offers

Premiums/Gifts should have a higher perceived value than their actual cost. However, be careful. They should not be a gimmick.

Trip incentives are a great way to motivate the customer with something they may not be willing to give themselves. This fits the description of high perceived value. Would you be willing to visit a dealership for a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl? Most people would if they were also in the market for a vehicle. The best part is you can insure the cost of this once-in-a-lifetime trip so that your dealership only pays a fraction of the cost and can guarantee there will be a person who wins—if they show up at the dealership with the winning number.

Maximize Your Incentives

Utilize microsites and give your customers a gift if they RSVP for an appointment. Wouldn’t it be worth the $500 to gather valuable information from customers on the RSVP microsite; information you can use to help sell vehicles before your promotion even starts? Plus, that same information can be used for your future campaigns.

So don’t worry about gift seekers. If your campaign is done properly and creatively, a gift is a strong tool that will motivate customers and drive high quality traffic directly to your dealership.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/07/how-to-motivate-your-customer/