March 16, 2020     Diane Linn

Motivating Members of Your Group to Register for Your Tour


Editors Note: Diane and Thom Linn are part of the Encore Tours Ambassador (ETA) program — a group of distinguished musicians with a wealth of knowledge on recruiting, building cohesive ensembles, and leveraging the transformative power of performance touring.

These ETA’s are passionate about discussing their past touring experience, educating the next generation of group leaders, and helping other directors come together to share in the universal language of music.

We have been touring with Encore Tours for nearly two decades, and over this time, we have developed several motivational ideas for generating registration for our Encore international performance tours. We frequently receive questions from other directors about which strategies have been the most successful, and we are glad to share our favorite suggestions. 

Before getting started, we would like to provide some background about our ensemble — the Community Chorus of Detroit (CCD), and detail how we structure our touring group, so that you have a context for adapting these tips for your ensemble. 

CCD Profile:

Our chorus enrollment runs between 80 and 100 singers, and we are diverse in every way.  However, regarding tour registration, our income diversity is most relevant. Our ensemble ranges from low-income students and adults to people with substantial income; although most of our members fall somewhere in the middle.  Over the years, we have grown our tour registration to ~70+ participants, and we expect to grow this number still larger in the future.  Not all of our choristers go on tour, for a variety of reasons, but we do our best to be sure that obstacles are not financial.

Tour Participants: 

In addition to our choristers, we always open our tours to companions and friends of the chorus, as well as non-CCD singers. The price of the tour is the same for everyone – singer, companion, or friend.  Having companions makes the tour more enjoyable for our singers, while opening the tour to non-singing friends of the CCD and non-CCD singers helps to increase enrollment. This gives us the opportunity to offer more fellowships to those choristers in need of assistance, with the free trips provided by our paid-enrollment-to-free-trip ratio.  Encore allows us to use partial (i.e. fractional amounts) of free trips so that we can assist as many singers as possible.  Some ensembles do not allow non-performers to participate in their tours, but we have found that inclusiveness in this way is a real plus, and we include non-CCD singers by having several “Touring Choir” rehearsals on the two weekends prior to our departure.

Encore’s Raffle Fundraiser: 

For anybody who’s unfamiliar with the full suite of Group Leader benefits, all group’s traveling internationally receive Encore’s Fabulous Fundraiser—a long weekend in Paris or London that includes hotel and airfare for two.  The important part here, though, is that ensembles may use all the money raised from the raffle in whatever way they wish for their tour.  We allow raffle-ticket sellers to keep all the money from the tickets they sell, and some of our singers have raised as much as $2,000–2,500 in sales!  We typically sell our raffle tickets for $15 each or 5 for $50, and we run our raffle for four weeks.

Learn how the Linn’s have maximized the benefits of Encore’s Fabulous Fundraiser, and find out how you can utilize this unique offering for your next performance tour.

Second, we follow a general, but flexible, timetable to motivate people to register for our tour.  The table below shows the typical timeline for communicating our message to group members as we approach important registration and departure deadlines.

17-19 monthsPlan the tour itinerary in conjunction with your Encore Program Manager.
16 monthsRoll out the tour itinerary to the chorus* and explain that “it’s important to sign up now, so that we have a threshold to secure the viability of the tour.”
10-15 monthsProvide enthusiastic weekly messages, encouraging registration, and restate the message above.
11-12 monthsHost a one-afternoon visit immediately following a rehearsal from your Encore Program Manager to present a power point and Q&A about your tour.  This is a great boost to generating excitement about your tour!
7-9 monthsContinue with weekly messages, and – ideally (in our experience), you will be starting to fill one bus (~55 passengers, depending upon the country and available buses), with registered participants.  Now you can say, “We are close to being full, so be sure to sign up now!”
6-7 monthsHave your fundraising raffle for the long-weekend-in-Europe prize! “Only registered tour participants may sell raffle tickets, so sign up now to raise a substantial portion of your fee!”
5-6 monthsAs soon as you fill one bus, talk with your Encore Program Manager about having a second bus. Now you can say, “We’ve been so fortunate with enthusiastic registration for the tour that we will have a second bus!  Consequently, we can extend registration until [insert date].”  Note: This is only advisable if you are continuing to get registrations, as there is a non-viable threshold range for adding a second bus, when it is not economically feasible (usually ~10–15 more people after you fill your first bus), so you need to be confident that you can get to the next minimum level.  However, most registrations come in pairs (a singer plus a companion), so this isn’t as hard as it sounds.  Work closely with your Program Manager on this decision before making an announcement to this effect.
4-5 monthsIt’s time to announce that your conductor “may need to balance parts, and registration will be closing soon, so it’s important to register now if you plan to go!”
3-4 months Close registration.  You did it!

*In addition to reaching out to our CCD choristers, we also promote the tour (for non-CCD singers and friends of the CCD) on Facebook, our Vertical Response “Friends of the CCD” email list, and with personal emails periodically throughout the entire time of registration for the tour.

We hope these notes are useful to you.  Please feel free to contact us if we can be of help as you plan for your tour—a life-changing musical experience! 

From the Community Chorus of Detroit, by
Diane Linn, Executive Director and Board President
Thomas Linn, Finance Director and Legal Consultant

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