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Destination Central Reservation Services - The DMO Conversion Challenge
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Destination Central Reservation Services - The DMO Conversion Challenge

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Destinations Marketing Organizations will find that a Central Reservations service is the most effective way to manage a destinations fulfillment and conversions processes – taking the demand that …

Destinations Marketing Organizations will find that a Central Reservations service is the most effective way to manage a destinations fulfillment and conversions processes – taking the demand that they generate and turning it into a trackable, measurable sale in the form of a reservation. A Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) is typically charged with taking tax and/or membership revenues and marketing a destination to create tourism demand. However, they often find that creating a measurable and track-able conversions process quite a bit more difficult because of the separation of tourism stakeholders (suppliers) and the DMO directly. An effective Central Reservations service can bridge the gap between the DMO and the tourism supply and help the DMO to solve the conversions challenge.

A Central Reservations service can provide a DMO with a powerful tool to help:
1) Convert more visitors.
2) Target and Segment customers.
3) Reinforce the brand.
4) Become more effective marketers.
5) Increase tourism related revenues.
6) Decrease overhead and administrative costs.
7) More effectively serve their tourism stakeholders.
8) Better serve potential visitors.

Learn more about the types of Central Reservations services and how Gateway Reservations can help solve your Destination Central Reservations needs.

For more info, contact Kory Samson, Director of Sales and Marketing, by email at kory@gatewayreservations.com or by phone at 800.828.4228 ext. 305.

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    • 1. Kory SamsonGateway Reservations
    • 2.  Destination Management Organizations (DMO’s) are charged marketing the destination to create tourism demand. ◦ Unique attractions, scenic beauty and an effective marketing strategy generate demand for our Southwestern Destinations. The challenge that many DMO’s face is how to effectively convert that demand into tangible, measurable results. Another challenge is that once they convert, how do we know what worked and what did not?
    • 3.  Converting demand is where many DMO’s don’t have the resources or tools to track their own effectiveness. ◦ Historically, many DMO models market and then utilize a call to action which simply provides a laundry list of tourism suppliers (e.g. website, travel planner, etc.). ◦ This process gives up all control over the customer experience and ability to track the conversion process. Many DMO’s utilize online booking engines – a software solution that taps into a destinations supplier availability to offer booking online. ◦ OBE’s have become a service standard in the tourism industry. ◦ However, a stand-alone OBE may be insufficient to manage a DMO’s volume, conversion, and reporting needs. One of the most effective conversion tools for a DMO is a comprehensive central reservations service.
    • 4.  Central Reservations (CenRes) is a comprehensive travel planning and reservations service. ◦ Provides a single call to action for a DMO’s marketing efforts to increase conversions during planning stages and increase awareness of the destinations offerings. ◦ Provides real-time access to rates, amenities and availability of destination offerings. Provides a 24/7 online booking engine. ◦ Allows guests to compare options, convert at any time during their planning process, and also automatically cross sells visitors by offering activity and package options. Provides a professionally staffed call center. ◦ In 2011, more than 62% of revenues were generated through the call center. Many people still want to talk to a real person. ◦ Call center services, on average, convert more than 45% higher revenues per itinerary. ◦ Quote and booking follow-ups with an emphasis on sales and closing.
    • 5.  Create the ability to fulfill unique “packages” utilizing any participating supplier. ◦ Packages provide a unique way to segment and target destination offerings to new markets. Provides measurable performance and conversion data. ◦ On-demand, comprehensive performance reporting to provide valuable marketing tracking, research, and data. Other services can include: ◦ Group services, equipment rentals, ground and air transportation, lift tickets, car/limo/shuttle rentals, spa products, event tickets, dining and more.
    • 6.  While there are a variety of software and service providers, a CenRes is generally managed in one of 2 ways: ◦ DMO Managed ◦ Privately Managed Each provides unique benefits and challenges. Things to Consider: ◦ Budget Impacts –  Not only the initial purchase of a solution, but the ongoing costs of managing a service (staffing, phone systems, support, supplier management, etc.) ◦ Fulfillment –  How will payments be managed /dispersed and who will manage product fulfillment, etc.? ◦ Cost / Fees –  Free to all suppliers or pay-to-play? ◦ Supply Management –  How do suppliers manage their rates, availability, etc?
    • 7. 1) DMO Managed: ◦ The primary benefit to a DMO:  Inclusive - Easiest way to include all suppliers and tourism stakeholders. ◦ The primary challenge to a DMO:  Cost - Most DMO’s operate on relatively tight budgets which are primarily dedicated to marketing the destination.  Managing a CenRes requires significant administrative costs of time and money – all of which cut into a budgets marketing allocation.
    • 8. 2) Privately Managed: ◦ The primary benefits to a DMO:  Cost - These are paid for by managing company and will be provided at little or no cost.  Management – The management of the system, fulfillment, reporting, etc. is managed externally. ◦ The challenges to a DMO:  Including all tourism stakeholders – a privately managed CenRes service is typically pay-to-play.  This means that, inevitably, some suppliers will not participate.
    • 9. 1) Provides a Conversion Tool: a) Gives a DMO a tool to convert destination marketing efforts - taking the demand it generates and converting that into measurable sales. b) Converts visitors during their planning stages. c) Provides convenient “One-Stop-Shop” to streamline booking for potential visitors. d) Creates a single call to action for marketing efforts. e) CenRes can provide itinerary quotes by email so guests can review, share, and call or click to book when ready.  All quotes and bookings are followed up on regularly to increase conversion and maintain top of mind positioning.
    • 10. 2) Provides a Segmentation Tool: a) Allows the DMO to target and segment its marketing efforts with unique package offerings (e.g. Stay and Play packages, etc.). • In CO, over 1.85 Million vacation packages were booked in 2008 – up over 200% from the year 2000 which was at approx. 830K* • In 2011, an average of over 65% of all bookings were in packages. b) CenRes can customize and build packages on- demand to suit the DMO’s marketing efforts quickly and easily. c) CenRes creates unified package offerings for the community.  Creates consistency when compared to individual, supplier based packages which are hard for visitors to find and inconsistent in offerings. *Source: Longwoods Colorado Travel Year 2008 Final Report
    • 11. 3) Helps a destination to position its brand and add to the accessibility of its offerings. a) Packages can help to reinforce the brand in the mind of the visitor and relative to its competition.  For example, if branding a destination as a family friendly destination, a CenRes can build a package utilizing family friendly options and use that as a call to action in marketing.  Creating more experiential vacations also helps guests to make the most of their vacation while reinforcing the brand image. b) Qualify guests’ needs and to fit the customers expectations and budget, making the destination more accessible.  Providing neutral recommendations based on needs and real- time comparisons of rates, availability and amenities. c) The customer has seamless access to lodging and activity options in a single place.
    • 12. 4) Helps to increase marketing effectiveness: a) Providing comprehensive marketing reporting  Standardized periodic reporting as well as customizable on- demand reporting on performance indicators such as:  ADR (Average Daily Rate).  Call volume vs. Internet booking volume.  Marketing sources – incoming phone calls are tracked providing valuable information about marketing effectiveness.  Revenue comparisons, avg. order revenue, avg. length of stay, top geographical markets, sales by zip code and much more. b) Enrich and enhance DMO’s Customer Database and fulfillment requests.  Guests can opt-in or out of marketing communications at the time of sale.  Guests can also easily request DMO travel planners.
    • 13. 5) Can help to increase tourism related revenues: a) Software tools and call center agents are able to “up and cross sell” the destinations offerings.  This keeps the guest in the destination longer, resulting in more lodging tax, sales tax and supplier revenues for the community.  A private CenRes is a sales driven business, so the focus is on increasing conversions and maximizing every sale. b) By up and cross selling, CenRes is able to:  Increase the average length of stay.  Increase the average $$ spending per stay.  Increase the frequency of return to the destination.
    • 14. 6) Help to decrease overhead & increase marketing spending: a) A private CenRes can be a free solution for a DMO.  This allows the DMO to maximize its budget allocations to activities that generate demand. b) CenRes facilitates guest requests for information and increases sales conversion.  This minimizes administrative time, overhead, and other expenses by lightening the DMO’s call volume and requests for information from visitors. c) CenRes facilitates all processes.  The DMO doesn’t have to manage updating supplier availability or any of the fulfillment processes for reservations or packages.
    • 15. 7) CenRes provides an effective tool for suppliers to incrementally manage yields and increase revenues. a) Incremental growth complements existing sales efforts.  A Supplier’s marketing dollar should be spent to drive direct and repeat sales. CenRes supplements that with new incremental business. b) Suppliers maintain complete control of their participation and how their product is presented to the customer including: Availability Rates Policies Photos Product Minimum Stay, Advanced Descriptions Booking and more… c) Levels the playing field for suppliers – Participating suppliers are represented randomly, neutrally and fairly which allows those with smaller marketing budgets to be represented along with larger, more well known options. d) CenRes can also help add to a suppliers product mix with the opportunity to offer their own exclusive private packages and online booking solutions.
    • 16. 8) CenRes provides guests with a comprehensive planning and booking tool. a) Call center is staffed with Colorado local professionals that provide unbiased and neutral information. b) Customers simply enter their preferred travel dates/preferences and they are given real-time comparisons and availability based on the inventory that suppliers have provided. c) CenRes can also uniquely facilitate group bookings easily for the supplier and group coordinator.  Great value for wedding, family reunion and sporting event planners that want to coordinate lodging and activity blocks but allow members to pay separately.
    • 17. Fees and Commissions: CenRes works on referral commissions from the supplier, the direct beneficiary of our services. ◦ We have utilized this model for more than 25 years because it makes us a vested partner in our suppliers success and allows them to only pay for services when we produce measurable results for them. $75 Annual Listing Fee. 15% commission on all stand-alone bookings. 20% on all package bookings. ◦ From this, a 5% discount is passed on to customer (e.g. on a $100 room night, the supplier nets $80 and the guest pays $95). All reservations are 100% pre-collected and suppliers are sent a check 14 days prior to the guests arrival. ◦ The commission includes all costs of collection (e.g. credit card processing).
    • 18. Call or email me with any questions: Kory Samson Sales and Marketing Coordinator Kory@GatewayReservations.com 800.828.4228 ext. 305

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