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Consultant Recommendations for Marketing Dominica - AXSES Destination Marketing

Consultant Recommendations for Marketing Dominica - AXSES Destination Marketing

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Seminar bookingsdominica-final report Seminar bookingsdominica-final report Document Transcript

  • knowledge engineering Dominica e-Commerce Seminar TOURISM SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME/SFA 2006/PE April 27 – April 30 Consultants Report Submitted by AXSES SCI Submitted to Discover Dominica Authority May 4th 2010 AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering 1. Seminar Overview Marketing Dominica – Providing Individual Hotels with Technology – Creating the Dominica direct travel shopping platform. The seminar was well attended with 50 participants on day one and 30 or more who stayed right through to the end. Feedback has been very positive. We are aware that we lacked individual terminals for each property so the tactile learning was not optimal. Attention was made to using real live examples throughout the seminar and involving users in setting up solutions specific to their properties. The Consultants spent over a week each in preparing their individual presentations and in research, group discussions and planning. Much time was spent in anticipating the diverse users’ requirement and in making the seminar relevant, practical and very useful. Months were spent in developing content and in creating a working marketing platform for Dominica. The seminar delivered on its objective and in addition put in place a working model giving tools and training to all participants. Over 24 hours were set aside for one-on-one meetings with participants and team members. Stated objective: To assist hoteliers:  In communicating their packaging ideas to prospective clients in e-format. There was some resistance to using e-commerce; some said they preferred the old ways of barter and personal involvement. Consultants were able to demonstrate by way of example the benefits and necessity to move forward. In all cases the consultants emphasised that it is the traveller’s choice to use the best technology and that the systems proposed did not eliminate choice or the opportunity for personal interaction with the traveller using emails etc  To convey to property owners the economics and gains of effective marketing. Consultants shared research showing how travellers book more when given the right tools. Cases studies showing the different approaches were given. AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering  To provide a background in small business entrepreneurship and lay foundations in mathematical and organizational development. All participants are provided with the tools needed and are trained in their use. The industry Travel Platform is established where hotels are given marketing access via the BookingsDominica e-commerce and marketing portal which is to be closely linked with the DDA website and marketing. Attendees and DDA are trained in managing their content for best impact.  To learn and understand the importance of e-approaches in marketing and build participant’s technological skills enabling them to handle the basic day to day needs of the current online trends. Many examples were given on all major aspects of the current technology and trends. The seminar was comprehensive in its coverage and at the same time aimed at the right level of understanding. Consultants felt that the message was very clear to all. 2. Deliverables Booking Engine Each participant will have a Booking Engine to install on their websites. Consultants have provided training on the engine and have trained DDA who will be the first level of support. The Consultants provided the necessary widgets which participants will give to their webmasters for installation. All participants have been given personal usernames and passwords for access to their online content. Direct Marketing With the contribution of DDA every certified tourism operator will be advertised and linked on the directory pages of the BookingsDominica Portal. Immediate Quotes and Shopping is available for all approved properties with valid rates. The DDA has also made it possible for all participants to be represented and directly bookable on this Portal. e-commerce direct travel shopping platform AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering The Consultants (AXSES) contributed the direct marketing portal and travel shopping platform for the entire tourism industry. This platform was pre-populated with rates and content on the themes and offerings of all participating resorts. The Properties are provided with Booking Engine tools that power this shopping/booking platform, supplying up to date rates and content to all channels and all pages, i.e. as suppliers change their content the portal will also change. Themes Marketing The platform is designed for niche marketing using holiday themes that can be promoted via Search Engine Optimization and where images and content are made to match with the target needs and expectation. This is an Extra Feature which suppliers may subscribe to. The Consultants provided all DDA Certified properties with the two complimentary themes. Packages Marketing The platform has been customised for Dominica to allow travellers to dynamically create their own packages by adding activities of choice. A module that allows resorts to create pre-packaged holidays is also available. This is an optional module for which suppliers may subscribe. Specials Marketing The platform will also distribute individual resorts specials and content to a host of other websites including mobile platforms, social media, other portals and direct to subscribers who may be travellers and resellers. This is an optional module for which suppliers may subscribe. Distribution and channel management The platform is able to manage numerous channels such as Facebook where rates, rooms, photos and content can be added directly by a resort using their familiar booking engine. This is an optional module for which suppliers may subscribe. AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering Reduced Rates The consultants have significantly reduced rates of all optional modules given the small size of suppliers and the constraints on the market for Dominica. The seminar agenda was as follows: Day 3 One-on-one meetings with the team. The entire seminar is available on line at http://www.slideshare.net/irclay/seminar-bookings-dominica AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering 3. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Follow up is essential. Participants will forget the material and not implement features that are essential to success without reminders and coaxing. Suppliers must be encouraged to participate to the fullest extent. DDA is to provide emails of all participants. AXSES will email reminders and instructions. 2. Dominica Marketing. Participants are not likely to greatly expand their marketing and advertising budgets. Where possible the DDA should market the destination and the holiday themes represented by members. 3. Web Design. Participants were given special examples of the power of good web design and exposed to key criteria for web design and SEO. We feel that while this is vital many will not have the budget. DDA may consider working with the webmasters to offer this service. 4. Dominica Branding. The Brand of Dominica as the Nature Island of the Caribbean is very strong but it is not pervasive (best kept secret) and it is not immediate. Nature is a soft and indirect market niche. We feel that the DDA should expand the Brand and focus on a marketable product or products related to Nature. Just as the Brand “Natures Way” supplies health products the Nature Island can focus on clear, sustainable and growing tourism products like Health and Wellness (H&W). 5. Dominica Target Marketing. Health and Wellness is a good fit for Dominica. Many of the suppliers are already offering retreats, health and diet, yoga, sulphur baths, natural springs, local herbs, local fruits, natural foods, fitness programs and healthy holidays. There are many natural, human and physical resources. Writer and “Everyday Personal Development” enthusiast, Christophe Joseph, and others like him, have a wealth of knowledgeable on foods and nutrition. The Carib People are actively using herbs and natural plants for heath and healing. There is good knowledge of alternative health by elders and by many of the tourism operators in Dominica. The environment, the services, the culture and the resources available in Dominica all support this niche. 6. Going Global. Reaching a global market for the target selected will require a different marketing strategy. Both Dominica.dm and BookingsDominica.com are not the optimal vehicles to support this initiative. By their nature they are Dominica initiatives which do well in topping the search engines for terms that are Dominica-based. They are an important part of the strategy but a global portal dedicated to this emerging marketing AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing
  • knowledge engineering niche is required and we recommend that DDA commission this undertaking, prominently extolling Dominica in the context of a global site. For example, BookingsDominica.com is ranked on top of page 1 in Google searches for “dominica travel planning”. The Pages that determin this are Dominica-travel-planning.cfm and Dominica-travel-guides.cfm. These pages cannot be positioned as Travel Planning. A completely different strategy is required for global positioning. 7. Geo-targets. We have observed that the BookingsDominica site is disproportionately viewed by Californians. This needs further validating, but it may mean that there is a lifestyle match. If this is so then California should be a geo-target. Clever geo-target marketing is generally lower cost and very effective. Trade shows, travel agent fam. trips, travel agent calls and distribution of brochures to health clubs and such in California can be effective. Radio and TV spots showing Dominica as the words largest natural Spa could catch fire. 8. Industry buy-in. Niche marketing of this sort must be industry wide and coupled with going green eco initiatives on an island wide scale. We suggest that each tourism operator adopt a H&W theme and do its own part in promoting in concert with the wider DDA initiative. 9. Dominica Tourism Development. Dominica must strive to protect the nature of its Niche market. It should resist the urge to open doors to the typical mass market travel options. We believe that a very high quality brand such as Four Seasons could be persuaded to consider a very focused small scale villa hotel development for Dominica. DDA might like to approach developers with this idea. We might have contacts that can help. 10. Collateral. Dominica has good printed material in the form of Travel Guides and Product Description. What is missing is the Dominica story. The Consultants have created a mock-up of a Dominica Magazine that can fill the gap. The prototype can be expanded to cover the Dominica niche market. Articles by Dominica authors like Chris Joseph, Paul Crask and other may be included. A personal story (not a historic account) of the Carib people and their nature-driven healthy lifestyles should be featured. We recommend that the publication be Print on Demand (POD) aimed at short runs and easily customized for geo-targeting and niche marketing. This concept and the draft POD was warmly received at the seminar. For the concept of POD http://TravelersInsights.com – for prototype of Dominica POD see http://axses.com/travelersinsights/dominica.html AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc. P.O. Box 16-B, Baslen House, Kingston Terrace, St.Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 429-2653 Fax: (246) 436 5704 E-mail: info@axses.net Knowledge Engineering, Web Communications & Marketing