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Dialing In on Mobile Marketing

simpleview Insider

This article begins a series on mobile that we'll continue in the coming months, updating stats and information from time to time as this fast-moving marketing channel continues to evolve.

Mobile Breakdown: Smartphones @ 19% Sales Worldwide
Industry analysts broadly divide today's mobile market into two categories: smartphones and everything else. According to recent research by Gartner, smartphones accounted for 19% of worldwide mobile device sales in Q2 2010, a 51% increase year over year.

Smartphone Chart

Competing Smartphone Operating Systems
Not long ago, a smartphone meant a built-in calendar, address book and to-do list. Today, these are entry-level features. "Smartphone" indicates a phone that can run third-party applications ("apps").

Like a PC, a smartphone has an operating system (OS). But unlike the world of PCs, Microsoft is a minor player in mobile. Instead, the most popular operating systems globally are (in order) Symbian (Nokia), Blackberry (Research in Motion), Android (Google) and iOS 4 (Apple).

The fastest-growing OS is Android, which recently shot to #1 in the United States. Unlike other top contenders, Android is the only OS not tied to a single manufacturer (e.g. iOS 4 only runs on iPhone).

The Difference between Mobile Sites and Mobile Apps
The difference between a mobile site and an app is a lot like the difference between web-based CRM and CRM that lives on your local server. Here's a quick look at key differences:

 Mobile Specs Final

What kind of mobile marketing do people do?
Mobiles sites are today's foundation in mobile marketing. SMS messaging is the next step up, but the channel includes self-tours, quick-response codes and more. Watch for more info on these options in a later post.

Want to learn more?
simpleview has launched more than 50 mobile sites, multidevice sites and apps specifically designed for DMOs.  If you'd like to learn more, contact your Account Manager. We can help you evaluate the market and determine the right strategy to meet your mobile marketing goals. 

 

 

posted on: Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010 by: CFRAN
last updated on: Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010 1:07 PM

simpleview's partnership with NAVTEQ offers free, turnkey access to one of the fastest-growing content channels: information for location-based services or LBS (we know you don't need another acronym, but this is one you need to understand).

In a nutshell, LBS goes hand in hand with GPS - global positioning systems popularized in devices by companies like Garmin and TomTom. The most popular LBS is turn-by-turn mapping, but LBS includes everything from localized weather info on your smartphone to tracking lost pets through microchips.

LBS for Destination Marketing
LBS will ultimately help DMOs in many ways beyond making it easier to get around. Imagine sending special offers by text message automatically when your marketing engine detects registered devices entering your region.

Already, navigation devices and smartphone apps use LBS to show users lists of nearby restaurants, attractions, museums, shopping and more. As the digital map system provider to Yahoo!, BMW, Motorola, Garmin, MapQuest and others, NAVTEQ currently provides LBS users with information more than 100 million times a day. That's where our NAVTEQ integration comes in.

LBS applications use a variety of data sources, but they aren't always accurate or complete. Our NAVTEQ integration makes your DMO the primary data source for all of your tourism assets and businesses throughout the NAVTEQ family of products, so that "show nearby restaurants" always pulls from your simpleview CRM or CMS database, not some other, possibly less accurate source.

Bottom line: LBS providers will find info for your destination somewhere. Their business model depends on it. The only question is will they get that data from you or someone else? This integration provides another touchpoint where your DMO stands alone as the authority on your destination.

Where GPS and LBS are Going
LBS already has traction in mobile navigation, but analysts expect it to expand dramatically within a few years. Expect GPS to be standard technology in all phones (not just smartphones), digital cameras, netbooks, e-readers (like Kindle), mp3 players and just about any other mobile electronic device.

Researchers behind the 2010 Global Consumer Telecommunications Survey expect the market to rise at a compounding annual growth rate of more than 50%, taking it beyond $13B by 2014 from less than $2B in 2009. The survey also forecasts that proximity-based search and advertising will be the fastest growing segment within LBS, reaching 780 million unique users and 15.6 billion click-throughs by 2014.

If you would like to learn more, please contact your Account Manager. 

 

posted on: Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010 by: CFRAN
last updated on: Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010 10:46 AM

Industry Insider - June 2009

simpleview Insider
Listings that Work Listings are the heart of a DMO site. For visitors, they’re the top resource on where to stay, where to eat and what to do. For your industry partners, they’re a vital connection to incoming travel and tourism dollars. It’s a given that listings should be searchable, presented in a consistent, viewer-friendly format with error-free copy and a friendly but professional voice. That’s baseline. Your job is to take your listings to a new standard, delivering more value for “customers” on all sides of the equation. Are your site’s listings up to the task? If not, adopt these 3 best practices to get on track. 1. Deliver Insider Information Nobody knows your destination like you. Make sure your listings reflect that expertise. Listings should offer all the basic (and exhaustive) information a travel researcher could find on any site: for hotels, room information, amenities, pet policies, etc.; for restaurants, menus, hours of operation, price ranges. But that’s just a starting point. Is there an appetizer that’s a must-have among locals? Does a venue do 80s karaoke on Tuesday nights? Does the continental breakfast include tofu scramble for vegans? If you don’t have insider information, get it from your industry partners. Anything you can do to make your site a unique resource puts you ahead of the competition. 2. Embrace Video Broadband penetration has passed the tipping point, not only in private residences, but also in cafes and town plazas and on web-ready phones everywhere. At the same time, YouTube and its wake of multimedia providers has created a web video standard that anyone can achieve at minimal cost. Enhance your listings with virtual tours, spoken testimonials, messages from management and more. Aim for recreating the experience a visitor would have: interview an enthusiastic waitress with the buzz of happy hour in the background, capture 120 seconds at the resort water slide on Saturday afternoon. Embed the content on your site, then extend its reach by posting to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other leading social media sites. 3. Location, Location, Location Not every business is blessed with the ideal location, but visitors want and need to know where something is and, more importantly, what’s nearby. What’s within walking distance? How far to the nearest subway stop? What attractions and shopping venues are nearby? Provide this information liberally. Written text is a simple way to start. Mapping integration offers greater value. Tie mapping to itinerary builders and you’ve hit the tourism sweet spot. Meeting in Your Own Backyard It’s natural that people want to travel to an annual meeting or special event. Who doesn’t like an excuse to get out of town and experience something new? But in an economy where saving money is top of mind for many organizations, DMOs have a greater chance of convincing meeting planners to set up events close to home. Use this “3R” strategy for drawing meetings revenue from organizations with a local presence. Relationship Business of any kind is built on relationship. If you don’t already have deep relationships with local planners, create them. Set up a series of lunches, take them to a ball game or another fun event. When you’re on a first-name basis, shoptalk comes naturally. Revelation DMOs offer FAM trips all the time, but local meeting planners are already familiar with your destination. Your job is to make them see what’s unfamiliar about their own back yard—an unFAM trip! Plan events and activities that let local planners see sides of your destination they’ve been missing—unique venues, activities and qualities that even local residents may overlook. Rationale Give meeting planners the tools they need to sell their proposed destinations to committees and managers. In today’s economy, numbers speak louder than words: provide cost-benefit analyses focused on airfare, leverage with local partners, economic impact, etc. Provide examples of other organizations that have opted for hometown meetings, especially those that have garnered positive press for the choice. Outmaneuver the Naycation Some of the media declared 2008 the year of the “staycation” and 2009 the year of the “naycation,” as in “Take a vacation? Nay, not I!” There’s no question that dampened vacation plans will affect local economies, but DMOs can help mitigate losses with focused initiatives. 1. Rev Up for Rebound When travel fell off after 9/11, it came back quickly. Experts predict a slower rebound from the current economic downturn, but travel and tourism will rebound as pent-up demand pushes through and families and corporations take advantage of belt-tightening in 2009. Start planning now—and marketing for—how you’ll capture tourism dollars in 2010. 2. Secure Savings The travel industry has traditionally resisted marketing that creates the perception that a destination is “on sale” for fear of devaluing the brand. The fact is, savings figure more prominently in the value equation today than at any time in recent history. Travelers want deals—and good ones. Work with industry partners to create meaningful savings and packages for visitors, then communicate them prominently in your marketing campaigns and materials. 3. Dive into Drive In the leisure travel market, families who have foregone a major vacation may still be looking for last-minute getaways as budget allows. It’s not too late to package and present your destination’s seasonal strengths for nearby customers. Once you’ve productized for the drive market, reach out to a focused group of potential visitors with email and social media campaigns that lend themselves to rapid evolution and late-breaking offers. Optimizing for Recession Did you know that for roughly every 50 people who search “vacation,” someone searches “cheap vacation”? That single phrase gets more than 670,000 searches a month on Google alone. What are you doing to draw value-minded travelers to your website and industry partner listings? Our SEO experts can help you adapt your site and marketing to capture the growing segment of budget-conscious travelers without compromising core content. Contact us for more information. Get Ready for simpleview CRM 3.0 It’s been two years since the release of simpleview CRM 2.5. In April, simpleview CEO Ryan George introduced CRM 3.0 to attendees at the CVB Summit 2009, highlighting some of the system’s best new features, including graphic dashboards, a redesigned architecture for faster performance and improved projection tools for getting beyond rearview mirror sales reporting. Watch for more information soon on scheduled rollouts for simpleview CRM clients! View Newsletter
 

posted on: Thursday, Jun 11, 2009
last updated on: Thursday, Jul 23, 2009 10:34 PM

Going Global: Increasing Your Share of International Visitors With the sagging dollar and struggling economy, many foreign visitors are seeing the United States as an affordable vacation option. Last year there were 47 million international tourists that traveled to the US, spending over $131 billion. How do you increase your destination’s share of this audience without breaking the bank? Consider these quick website enhancements: 1) Multiple Languages—Not only will this make it easier for potential visitors to learn about your destination, it will also help to increase your SEO. For example, if you have a French language page, when someone searches for “American Beach Destinations” in French, your website is more likely to rank high in their search engine. Most destinations are not offering--let alone optimizing--their websites in other languages, making it a ripe opportunity. Which languages should you consider? Spanish should be a standard second language to accommodate the many visitors coming from Mexico, Spain, Columbia, Venezuela and other Spanish speaking countries. Research also shows an uptick in visitor travel from France, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, and Germany. 2) Currency Tool—Make it easy for international visitors to plan and budget for their trip with a currency conversion tool. Besides the convenience factor, such a tool has the potential to increase word of mouth buzz and increase loyalty to your website. 3) Videos—Many destinations have videos highlighting their area and its features, but few have them in multiple languages. If your video currently has a voice over, it would be fairly economical to change or add another voice over in a second language or implement captioning otherwise. 4) Travel Provider Integration Tool—These tools, such as Travelocity, can give potential visitors a quick way to check the prices and availability of your destination. 5) Offer “American-Culture” Packages—Many tourists come to the US seeking to learn about our culture and heritage. Why not put together an “All-American” or “American-Culture” package? This will not only lure potential travelers but spotlight your partners as well. Conventions: Budget Proof? Recession Proof? Many experts and CVB officials say that conventions today are a mixed bag and it’s too early to predict the economy’s effect on them. For example, San Francisco had 841,000 rooms already booked in January for 2009 convention-goers. That figure is down from the 992,000 rooms in 2008, but up significantly from 2007 numbers. At the same time, public perception and media attention plays a part in areas like Las Vegas, where the numbers are declining more rapidly due to public backlash for businesses spending lavishly during this tough economic climate. What does this all mean for destination marketers that rely on the infusion of spending from convention-goers? Continue to position your offerings as value-driven. Proactively offer counsel to planners to help them control costs and expand value. Create team building elements or extra excitement that will keep attendees buzzing and the value of such future conventions evident. As long as conventions provide value to convention-goers and business, people will continue to attend. Thinking Differently: Promotions that Pop in a Down Economy The same packages and promotions that you once thought of as ‘tried and true’ are now ‘out of touch.’ It’s time to think differently. What are some of your area’s features that are attractive to today’s cost conscious travelers? Nature: No matter where you are, you surely have outdoor landscape that can be promoted. Whether it is mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches or National Forests, getting out into nature is either very inexpensive or free for travelers. Look into putting together marketing efforts or packages that center around these fairly inexpensive outdoor activities. Public Attractions: Zoos, museums, public parks, and historical attractions are examples of publicly funded places that can provide a day’s worth of activity for a small price. Combine a few of these in a budget-friendly package with some dining options and you’re well on your way. Vice: Liquor and tobacco sales rise actually rise in a down economy. Do you have a district or street filled with pubs and other late night stops? Now is the time to put a little more focus on it. Economical: Shopping, dining and dressing economically is THE hot thing right now, and for good reason. People are looking to cut back on where they dine out, what they wear and what they buy. Feature your local outlet malls, your more budget-friendly restaurants and other stores that are a little easier on the wallet. Promote Green: Travelers are showing a propensity to spend their green on green. A survey by the Hartman Group shows that 75% of consumers consider environmental aspects in deciding what to buy and about one-third are willing to pay more for those benefits. Do you have green focused initiatives, tours or packages? If not, now is a fantastic time to consider them. To Blog or not to Blog: That is the Question Nearly one-third of U.S. leisure travelers who used a DMO website in the last year have turned to travel related blogs for information and reviews. What does this mean to your marketing efforts? To start, a travel blog is a unique, personal narrative of a person’s adventures and experiences in relation to a certain destination. They are powerful because they offer honest opinions and insight from “regular people.” Blogs can also lead to increased web traffic and SEO benefits. While the openness and real insight is what attracts people to blogs, they are also the attributes that blog-detractors point to. Yes, blogs are subjective and you will find critiques of you or your partners that may not be favorable. Rather than a cause for alarm, these communications should be looked at as valuable feedback and a line of open communication. Further, the negative comments and posts are almost always heavily outweighed by positive experiences. When considering adding a travel blog, evaluate: • Who will maintain, update and monitor the blog? • What will be the blog policy—will we allow all posts and comments and if not, what are the grounds for removal? • Are we prepared to deal with questions we may receive from partners or other stakeholders who may be the target of harsh critique? Travel blogs that are properly maintained can be a great asset to a destination’s website, but addressing the above questions and consulting experts familiar with the blogosphere can give you a better idea of policies, direction and useful functions. Social Media: The Two Key Elements **A comprehensive look at the topic of social media will be provided in simpleview’s next whitepaper, scheduled for release to coincide with the simpleview CVB Summit, held April 26-29th in Tucson, Ariz. The whitepaper will be available for download at simpelviewinc.com. Whether you are overwhelmed, confused, or energized by “social media,” one thing is for certain: it’s here to stay. Of the 19 million online US leisure travelers who use DMO and CVB websites, two-thirds are already engaging in some sort of social media activity. Increase your destination’s visibility with social media by taking into account: 1) Strategy: Should we use Twitter, Facebook or include podcasts on the website? Don’t just sign up and create usernames for the latest application. Instead, look at your targeted demographics and choose social media outlets that are the best fit. For example, the average user age of Twitter is older than you may expect with 41% falling into the 18-34 age range, 31% falling into the 35-49 age range and only one percent falling from the 12-17 range. In contrast, myspace.com has 29% of users who are 12-17. The next step is determining who will be charged with creating and maintaining your social media efforts. Who or what department in your organization has the bandwidth to handle such duties? Is it more prudent to hire an outside source to handle your social media activities? 2) Diligence: Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind with social media is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Really, it is exactly the same as business networking in the offline world except with more outlets and people to touch. However, once the ball gets rolling, it can snowball. One example of this is Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation’s (GPTMC) blog promotion, in which it sponsored “First Fridays” art crawl. At the events they started on-site blogging for participants. While early response was low, after a few months it has surpassed 1,000 postings and has forty regular community contributors. From this effort they were able to host a two-day conference called “Blog Philadelphia,” which has led to people both in Philadelphia and around the globe to continuously blog and broadcast about the area. View Newsletter
 

posted on: Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009
last updated on: Friday, May 17, 2013 10:58 AM

Boost Reveues with Added Consumer Insights Databases, like the human brain, are rarely performing to their full capacity. Adding intelligence to your consumer database by appending profile information is a surefire way to increase effectiveness. Not only will the extra information give you greater insight for variable fulfillment opportunities, it also enables you to shape product and content offerings accordingly. Other benefits include: • Optimized return on investment • Improved response rates • Reduced fulfillment and resource costs • Increased access to information • Enhanced snapshots of database information • Cleansed data • Targeted marketing materials and messages So what exactly does “appending information” mean? Basically, when a visitor comes to your website or if a person is added to your database, there are technologies and processes that allow for greater gathering of lifestyle and behavior information. The type of information that can be gathered varies, but can include specific indicators like age, estimated income, dwelling type, presence of children, education and marital status. With such information, you can create send more relevant messages and materials to your existing database of inquiries. Imagine sending a specific offer regarding family entertainment options to a consumer that you know has young children or high-end restaurant recommendations to a more affluent visitor. Plus, you can take these efforts further by targeting marketing efforts to households that have similar profiles to your most frequent inquiry clusters. Adding intelligence through data appending will not only save you money, but will make the money you spend more effective. That’s why in today’s economy, adding intelligence to your database is something that all destination marketing organizations should consider. Partnering for Success: Answers from David DuBois Have you heard about or considered formulating official marketing partnerships with other destinations? If you haven’t, these partnerships are entered into by multiple destination marketing organizations to help best utilize resources while cross promoting and selling. We delved into one of these partnerships by sitting down with David DuBois, CMP, CAE, President and CEO, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, who has formulated such a partnership. II: Industry Insider, DD: David Dubois II: Who is your partnership with? DD: Our three-city partnership, called 3 City Express, is an agreement between the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association and the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. The arrangement is unique to the meetings and convention industry and was developed with one common goal in mind -- to increase citywide convention bookings and meetings for all three partner cities. II: In general, how does the partnership work? DD: Each city contributed one sales representative to the partnership, and these three members work as a united sales team cross selling and marketing all three destinations. They work with clients across all business segments and communicate the outstanding attributes of all three destinations. If one city isn’t a good fit for a group, the sales staff will continue to push the other two destinations. Ann Garvey, CMP, works with organizations in the Eastern U.S., Robin O’Connor represents each of the three cities in the Central U.S., and Julie Gorman works with our clients in the Western U.S. II: What is the ‘theory’ behind your unique 3 City Express Partnership? DD: The partnership is based on a national hotel model that encourages groups to sign multi-year contracts at properties located around the country, often with an incentive for doing so. II: What are the benefits of partnering? DD: By joining forces and sharing three salespeople, the partner cities have the ability to be more competitive by offering possible discounts for booking Baltimore, Fort Worth and Sacramento in a multi-year deal. II: What is an example of how this type of partnership can make a success? DD: Recently a contact of mine told me that his organization was looking for an East Coast destination to host a meeting. I suggested that he look at Baltimore, part of our three city partnership. The result is that the show liked what they saw in Baltimore including their convention center, hotel package and airport accessibility. This past fall, that particular show signed an agreement to have their meeting, which will bring in over 3,000 attendees, in Baltimore for five years starting in 2010. II: For those interested, where should they start? What should they look for in potential partners? DD: Each of our three cities offers the clients a uniquely exciting city experience combined with similar convention packages. These are major reasons why this sales partnership is so appealing. Cities interested in forming an arrangement like 3 City Express should look for other cities that complement their own meetings and convention package but are not necessarily direct competitors. Smart Search Engine Strategies in a Down Economy With no immediate end in sight for our struggling economy, it may be time to reevaluate your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. SEO, in layman’s terms, is where your website ends up on a search engine results page when your key terms are searched by a user. For example, when someone searches Google for “great family vacation value” does your site rise to the top of the results or are you buried beneath a list of competitors? Studies show that up to 90% of website traffic comes from SEO. Add to this the tremendous percentage of people researching destinations online, and it becomes quite obvious why SEO is so important. In light of heavy competition from other websites that may list your destination’s name or its amenities, how do you improve your search engine results? Are there quick tips to boost my SEO? While quick tips and “to-dos” will only get you so far, there are three quick rules-of-thumb to help boost your SEO. 1) The most important element in increasing your SEO is your content. DMOs must publish quality content on their website—often--to keep the website “alive" to the search engine spiders. 2) One frequently overlooked and vital SEO element is the use of reciprocal links. Your website should be linked from your partners’ websites and vice versa. Think not in terms of just quantity, but also quality. An outsourced or professional SEO firm may have a useful member/partner link report that shows how many members or partners currently link to your website. 3) The third element to increasing SEO is to implement an updated and relevant blog. With a blog, like with the rest of the website, the content is key. So what are good topics for your blog? It should focus on the destination, of course, and include things that stand out and are current or upcoming; perhaps a new restaurant or art gallery showing? Another great blog strategy is to parlay a current event with something of interest in the blogosphere. For example, today “green” and “eco-friendly” are hot topics, so highlighting a restaurant or hotel going green will take your blog to new heights. As to whether your blog should be generated in-house or by a professional partner, it again comes down to time, resources and knowhow as blogging, while simple on the surface, can have great positive impact on your SEO if done right. Should I hire professionals to increase SEO? In the DMO marketplace, the question to outsource to professionals or handle in house really depends on a few factors. The number one factor is the size and competitiveness of the destination to rank for its own branded terms. The more people in the mix the harder it will be to rank, especially just using in-house methods and tactics. Other factors are obviously budget and the size of the website. The larger a website is, the more time, money and resources will have to be devoted to increasing its SEO. Sunny.org Launches Dynamic, User-Friendly Site Embracing Emerging Technology and Trends While long regarded as one of the best websites in the industry, the previous version of Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (GFLCVB) sunny.org had, as all websites do, become outdated in both user interface and technology. With the last major overhaul taking place in 2006, GFLCVB decided it was time for a change. How did they know? Taking great pride in their website, GFLCVB cited many factors as contributing to the decision to redesign their website including new technologies, industry trends, and branding/marketing strategies. Further, as their website is their number one marketing tool, the timing was right for a new site given the availability of new and updated systems, applications and user interface technologies. In general, many DMOs completely redesign their website every two to three years, although in some cases a “facelift”-- minor design and functional modifications--are implemented every one to two years. In creating sunny.org, there were many built-in elements that will maximize its convenience and effectiveness. Here are some tips for any destination website, all of which were incorporated into sunny.org: • Must be visually appealing • Conveys the experience and incites the feelings, desired or associated, with a destination or its current marketing plans • Easy to use and navigate • Information is organized logically and is easy to find • Provide tools for, at minimum, three major audiences; potential visitors, meeting planners and media • Appropriately uses other DMO specific tools like a listing application, calendar of events, information request forms, reservations integration, itinerary building tools and interactive mapping • Leverage dynamic Web 2.0 features like blogs, video and webcams • Create a content development strategy and copy platform to produce fresh, timely, compelling and relevant content that speaks to your core audiences How exactly did sunny.org achieve some of the above? Many of the greatest features of the new sunny.org website are immediately apparent in its appearance. The home page’s animation of the area’s skyline provides the user with a sense of the lifestyle that can be found in Fort Lauderdale. Further inspection reveals animated bubbles that float up from the “sea floor.” These bubbles are interactive (a simple click will make them burst) and are generated randomly and dynamically. The latest in programming technology creates each bubble as its own unique interactive element of the site, making each visit to sunny.org a new experience. And for those who can’t make it to Greater Fort Lauderdale in person, four webcams provide a live look at Fort Lauderdale’s beaches: http://www.sunny.org/webcam/. Further, the site leverages five content templates and five listing templates, including the “meeting hotels search” feature which allows for quick comparison of the information that meeting planners require: http://www.sunny.org/meetings/hotels/search/. Sunny.org also included a mapping solution that automatically plots each business’ location on a Google map. As aesthetically unique as sunny.org may be, the tools behind the site are equally impressive. The administrators of Sunny.org now have the ability to quickly and easily create new pages and sections of the website that can pull in dynamic database-driven content such as industry partner listings, events, forms, and multimedia. Administrators can also designate the title and accompanying images, editorial content, and links for those areas. The result of all these tools is a nearly countless number of page configurations – each of which having the appearance of a custom-designed page. Sunny.org is truly a next generation website, and they are again on the forefront of technology and design solutions. Are We There Yet? The Importance of Mapping Interactive mapping, the feature that allows an individual to find or plot destinations like restaurants, bars or points of interest (POIs), is an incredibly useful tool. In fact, mapping solutions like Mapquest receive nearly 41 million visitors per month. Yet at the same time, it is one of the most frequently overlooked features on a destination’s website. Current numbers show that just 20% of current simpleview customers are using an interactive mapping solution. What benefits will you experience from using interactive mapping solutions? First, they allow you to maximize your partnerships by enabling links from your CMS and CRM tools to send visitors to your database of attractions, restaurants, resorts and events. Using your tools, you can find which locations visitors are searching for, and can either put more emphasis on such locations, like greater visibility on your website, or show the value you are providing to locations by showing them mapping reports. Of course, mapping integration also is a great convenience for both business and leisure travelers in your destination. Further, some companies like Navteq aggregate POI information from localized sources, including CVBs, and package that information so they can broadcast it to a larger audience through other sites, mobile platforms and in-car navigation systems. This benefits you because such syndication helps to spread your messages to sites and devices that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. As for aesthetics, there are a variety of looks and feels you can give your mapping solution, depending on which service you use and how you choose to implement it. There are turnkey solutions with embedded multi-category maps, thumbnail images, and “map it” links. You can also package or modify maps in a number of ways, including creating category specific maps, map itineraries and calendar items, and you can also provide maps inside listing detail screens complete with driving directions. Depending on your solution, you can also have access to their tools. For example, if you implement a Google Maps solution, you will have access all of their services and applications like Street View. While mapping solutions vary based on provider and budget, it’s another important tool to enhance the user experience and demonstrate value to your partners. View Newsletter
 

posted on: Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009
last updated on: Thursday, Jul 23, 2009 10:35 PM

Selling and Marketing Your Destination in a Down Economy A recently released Travel Industry Association (TIA) report confirms what we already suspected; travel is down and the decline through 2009 is expected to continue with a projected 1.3% drop in leisure travelers and a 2.9% drop in business travelers. PKF Hospitality Research is forecasting a 7.8% drop in U.S. hotel RevPAR for 2009. With the downturn, you have to work harder to attract visitors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. How can you better sell and market your destination in a down economy? A few strategies to look into are: 1. Build Value: To attract visitors to your destination, you and your partners need to be the one giving them the most bang for their buck. It isn’t just about cutting costs, but stretching the dollars they DO spend to the maximum. Put together packages from multiple partners that target specific audiences like families, sports fans, foodies and couples. For example, if you have a great dining scene, put together dining packages that give visitors access to preferred reservations, valet parking and discount dining. 2. Maximize CRM Solutions: How do you know what kind of promotions to develop? Today’s best-of-breed CRMs provide a variety of functions, but one of the most important is their ability to allow you to mine your comprehensive demographic information. In a down economy, targeting your prospects and customers with laser focus is crucial. By using your CRM to mine data, you can design smart marketing initiatives like e-mail promotions, micro sites and landing pages catering to the specific preferences, lifestyles or business interests of high value prospects. 3. Focus Regionally: Airline ticket prices, surcharges and fuel prices have forced both meetings and conventions and individual travelers to look at options closer to home. Research high value prospects that are within 300-500 miles of your destination. Reach out to these targets and tout not only your destination’s best features, but your close proximity. Pairing a regional focus along with valuable offerings makes for a combination that is hard for many people to resist. We Can’t Go on Meeting Like This In destinations across the nation, business meetings, and the number of people attending them, are decreasing. While many big business and association conferences are still taking place, they are often scaled back versions and many companies are restricting their employees’ travel budgets. Smaller businesses and associations that are really feeling the pinch of the economy are canceling their meetings outright. But, there are a number of associations that are still actively seeking meeting venues. Find opportunities in the medical, military, religious and biotechnology industries, which seem to be best weathering this economic storm. In order to attract these businesses: 1. Position and Commit Yourself: In order to be supremely effective, commit yourself to an industry or two that you really want to target. First, determine what are realistic targets. For example, if you have an army base or strong military history, go after military meetings. Jacksonville, Florida and its Visit Jacksonville organization realized its healthcare prowess and launched a medical tourism campaign designed to brand Jacksonville as “America’s Health Center.” Not only did they establish a place on the web and create appropriate marketing materials, they highlighted their destination’s relevant features to high value prospects. 2. Tout Your Relevance: If you are going after, for example, medical meetings, be sure to compile all the reasons why your destination is ideal. Highlight your hospitals, doctors and facilities as well as locations, laboratories, research centers and universities that would appeal other medical industry professionals. Do some research to see if there is anything unique or groundbreaking in the medical field that is happening in your destination. 3. Build Value: Creating value in today’s world is essential. Meeting planners are faced with shrinking budgets and are looking to do more with less. Pair up with partners who are also looking to increase business and create promotions, packages and offerings that help to create value specifically for meeting planners. How to Get the Most Out of Your Online Advertising Dollar According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, online advertising surged 15.8% to become an $11.5 billion market in the U.S. in the first half of 2008. Why? Because of the staggering amount of people online. An estimate from internetworldstats.com says that usage of the Internet has grown 305% since 2000 and that currently 1.4 billion people are using the Internet worldwide. While you undoubtedly have an online presence, you may be looking to implement or expand online advertising yourself. So how can you be sure that you are getting the most out of your online advertising dollar? 1. Vertical Networking: Today’s market segments are fragmented and can be hard to reach. One way to circumvent this is to join a vertical ad network focused on your industry. These ad networks will take your power of dollar and combine it with others to make a splash where you may not be able to otherwise. 2. Know and Monitor Your Metrics: With online advertising, we get better metrics than any other form of advertising, but what do they mean? There are so many alphabet soups like PPC, CPM, PPL, and PPS that it is hard to account for them all. Is there one metric that you should focus on primarily? Unfortunately not, because it should be aligned to the goals of that specific advertising campaign. In one instance you may be looking to create all new prospect leads, while in others you are seeking return visits from existing customers or driving downloads of a particular ‘passport savings’ promotion. Ensure the metric you choose is aligned with the goal you are setting out to accomplish, and continually gauge the status of your results and tweak the campaign accordingly. 3. Be Ready to Engage and React: If you know your metrics, you will be able to see if a campaign is or isn’t working, and perhaps deduce what is going wrong. Either way, you have to be ready to react to advertising campaigns that aren’t working or that are losing steam. The best way to ensure consistent and effective advertising campaigns the first time around is to make them engaging. An online user who is engaged with your advertisement or promotion is more likely to further research and engage with your destination as a whole. Creating a Yearlong Promotional Calendar When it comes to promotions, one surefire way to guarantee failure is by not properly planning. Creating a yearlong promotional calendar will allow you to not only properly plan promotions and the events that may be associated with them, but also the marketing strategy and materials to drive their success. 1. Dates: Pick out the dates of seasonal, destination specific, holiday and other important events. Does your area have an annual professional golf tournament? Wine festival? Are you known for breathtaking scenery during the change of seasons? Is there a natural time of year when people seek your destination for skiing or poolside vacations? Look first for naturally occurring events in your area and put these events on the calendar. Now, start thinking about the tougher seasons, where visits are down to your area. Can you identify opportunities to offer your area as a destination to travelers with a special promotion? Mark these opportunities on the calendar as well. Finally, what about meeting planners and incentive travel? Balance your leisure travel promotions with ones directed to meeting planners to ensure a healthier mix and determine when that outreach should occur. 2. Overall Budget: After you have all of your events listed in calendar format, assess your budget to determine how much is in your entire promotions pot. 3. Scope of Promotion: With your events and budget in front of you, you can come to the most important step: determining how large and how much effort and money you can and want to focus on each promotion. Strike a balance between promoting your destination’s larger promotions and events while still having some leftover dollars to keep a continuous presence in the market during smaller holidays or shoulder seasons. 4. Timing/Planning: With your dates, scope and budget in mind, now it is time to put down on paper how far ahead you will have to plan your promotion to make it effective. Are you buying advertising? If so, how far out do you need to get them material? If you are implementing a unique online promotion for the first time, be sure to look far ahead so that your online marketing and design company has time to create and design the promotion you want to implement. Of course if you are having an event, there is a host of planning to go into that alone. In the last \ we talked about the value of recycling promotions to make the marketing process easier and build on the momentum. The next time you sit down to create the calendar, you can review what went well last year, and what can be improved upon or altered. Yes, a promotion can be daunting, but if you have everything written down on your calendar (you also have to refer to it!) a year in advance, you will be better able to prepare, plan and execute your promotions. This will lead to more fluid promotions, more publicity opportunities and greater success. Say What? Jacksonville Is the Talk of the Town with Jax-Libs Promotion Breaking through the clutter to grab your customers’ attention is increasingly difficult. Not only can truly unique promotions drive and engage people with your website (and destination), but they are a great opportunity for national media attention, awards and overall industry recognition. One recent promotion, Visit Jacksonville’s “Jax-Libs,” promotion achieved all of that and more. Jax-Libs, a form of the popular Mad-Libs game featuring Jacksonville themes like "A Day at the Beach" and "Relaxing by the Ocean," was launched as part of Visit Jacksonville’s “Escape to Jacksonville” tourism initiative. People who played the game were signed up for a monthly Jacksonville vacation prize package. During its four month run, the game’s success was tremendous. It received coverage in numerous local and regional media outlets and most importantly drove 40% of the visitjacksonville.com traffic. That’s right; 40 percent of the entire website traffic came as a result of the Jax-Libs promotion. As each person who played the game needed to sign up with an e-mail address and other information, Visit Jacksonville also exponentially increased their marketing database and specifically their e-mail marketing list. They’ll be reaping the rewards of this promotion for years to come. Proliferating Preferences--The What, How and Why In the recent DMAI Futures Study, one of the eight super-trends noted for the industry is “Proliferating Preferences.” The notion is that travel customers will respond most favorably to combinations of travel products and packages that are suited to their individual preferences. With such a variety of prospect interests and influencing factors, how do DMOs capture this vital information and create tailor-made communications? Today’s best-of-breed CRM solutions are one of the foundational pieces to address this challenge. Business intelligence gleaned from capturing, appending and enhancing data, associated with careful ‘cluster’ analysis, enables DMOs to create laser-targeted messages and content. Further developing these promotional concepts and supporting content allows DMOs to effectively capture a prospect’s attention by providing them with enticing and relevant offers. For example, you can start by creating a distribution list that targets leisure travelers interested in golf that make $200,000+/ year, live within 250 miles of your destination, and have the propensity to travel in the Spring or Fall.With such specific filtering capabilities at your fingertips, you can develop cooperative golf packages that bundle higher-end golf and accommodations that target drive markets in the Spring and Fall--ideal offerings which speaks directly to their preferences and individual lifestyles. Industry Insider Extra: simpleview President Rich Reasons in DMNews DMNews, a direct marketing publication, asked simpleview President Rich Reasons to give insight into how DMOs can use CRM applications effectively. Read the article. View Newsletter
 

posted on: Monday, Jan 5, 2009
last updated on: Thursday, Jul 23, 2009 10:36 PM

How Smart Marketing Can Give Destinations an Edge in a Tough Economy By Richard Reasons President, simpleview, Inc. Article originally published in DMNews, December 3rd 2008 A recently released Travel Industry Association (TIA) report confirms what we already suspected; travel is down and the decline through 2009 is expected to continue with a projected 1.3% drop in leisure travelers and a 2.9% drop in business travelers. With the downturn, destination marketing organizations (DMOs aka Convention and Visitors Bureaus or CVBs) are working harder to attract visitors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. At the same time, they are tasked with cutting costs, increasing productivity and improving marketing effectiveness. One effective strategy is the intelligent use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and the deployment of highly-targeted marketing initiatives and promotions. DMOs, like other marketers, want to gather and store comprehensive demographic data in their CRM applications so they can target prospective customers who demonstrate a high propensity to visit their destination. Sophisticated CRM applications built specifically for the destination marketing industry allow DMOs to create distribution lists targeting, for example, leisure travelers, interested in golf, who earn a household income of $200,000+/ year, live within 200 miles of their destination, and prefer spring or fall travel. With such specific filtering systems at their fingertips, destinations can design smart marketing initiatives like e-mail promotions, micro sites and landing pages catering to the specific preferences, lifestyles or business interests of high value prospects. In addition to attracting leisure travelers, DMOs are also tasked with securing large organizations, associations and groups looking for meeting, convention, sports and incentive travel destinations. Advanced industry-specific CRM software can allow destinations to monitor partner hotels’ room availability or even booked business. This information is instrumental in identifying the right business opportunities that fit the profile of a destination and in crafting convincing RFP responses. At the same time, it also allows DMOs to proactively reach out to meeting planners who have had experience with the destination in the past in order to influence their selection process for meetings in the future. While CRM software gives destinations an easy way to store and organize information to attract visitors and track meeting sales opportunities, destinations also rely on CRM software to manage other DMO–specific tasks and responsibilities like tracking media and public relations exposure, managing FAM trips, inventory and collateral management, or storing their multimedia resource library. All of these features help a destination further promote itself through media outreach and by creating dynamic web 2.0 features to lure prospective visitors by showcasing the best features a destination has to offer. To prosper or just stay afloat in today’s economy, DMOs must become more market savvy and utilize their data and business intelligence to identify and maximize their marketing initiatives. The creative implementation of CRM-based marketing efforts can also stretch a budget when “doing more with less” has become the norm. The destinations that are succeeding, and even making headway, are using destination-specific CRM platforms that allow them to integrate CRM-based marketing initiatives as a routine and integral part of their promotional research and marketing mix.
 

posted on: Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008
last updated on: Thursday, Jul 23, 2009 5:57 PM

Industry Insider - October 2008

simpleview Insider
Pooling Resources: Doing More with Less Working harmoniously with your partners creates not only goodwill, but synergies in promotion and results. Consider dine-arounds as a classic example of pooling resources. Not only are you providing added visibility to the businesses involved, you are actively engaging with them as a partner in the promotion and the resulting success. Consumers embrace the variety of options, which makes it broadly appealing and impactful. It’s truly a win-win situation. Now, extend that thinking to seasonal promotions. Can you, for example, pool your efforts with other non-competitive destinations? Imagine the power of a targeted e-mail marketing campaign that leverages the databases and profile information from multiple DMOs, specifically honing in on hot prospects that are seeking summer getaways. It’s a mutually advantageous effort, where the whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts. Case in Point: The Tucson CVB has created an attractions passport that entitles the visitor to 2-for-1 admissions and other offers, with a total savings of up to $400. They are not only working closely with their community stakeholders boosting their relevance; they are providing real value to travelers. The Internet: The Great Equalizer The Internet truly levels the playing field for DMOs; whether you’re a mega-convention destination or a boutique leisure market, leveraging search engine strategies and optimizing your online spending will help capture a significant share of web traffic and influence travel research and decision-making. With the proliferation of competing information portals aimed at travel consumers and meeting planners, DMOs must move quickly and aggressively to position their websites as the first-stop and most reliable information source for destination information and planning resources.More and more hotels, attractions, consumer travel sites, travel publications, travel review sites, and other specialized interests are diverting visitor attention away from DMO sites. How can a DMO compete?Aggressive search marketing and corresponding content development strategies will help you cut through the clutter and strategically position your destination in the major search engines that could be responsible for 50%-75% of your current site traffic. It’s hard to manage what you haven’t measured. While you are increasing your search and online marketing efforts, ensure that you incorporate the proper analytics and reporting tools to better understand and quantify your success. Thirty percent of destination marketing CEOs indicated in a DMAI survey that they do not analyze traffic statistics for their sites, which means they don’t have clear insights into where their website visitors originated, what resources they use, and more importantly, where and why they left the website. The same concepts hold true for online media buying. There are proven and methodical ways to test your messages and conversion rates so that you can continually fine tune and optimize your online marketing efforts. Measurement spans not only visits, but also requested visitors guides, completed RFPs or other indicators that you deem are appropriate to measure ROI. Abandon the ‘spray and pray’ mentality in favor of proven techniques and measurable campaigns that will let you understand the economic impact you are having on the communities you serve.It is time to start tracking meaningful metrics that are a true measure of your success. Leveraging and Recycling Promotions There’s the old adage, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Many DMOs are reusing or recycling promotions year-over-year and adding new punch to an already successful campaign.This concept is well suited for campaigns that tie into a recurring seasonal theme, special event or holiday.As an example, the Scottsdale CVB runs the highly successful “Take Pity on Me” campaign each year.The weather-triggered campaign encourages consumers to submit photos and videos of their weather-related woes.A dedicated micro site displays contestants ‘suffering in the worst winter weather imaginable.’ The first year the contestants submitted photos; this past year, a new submission category was added that featured a more dynamic Web 2.0 element: video entries.By leveraging the momentum of the original promotion and making a small tweak from the previous year, the campaign now requires less programming work by the CVB and still drives significant returns through the collection of qualified database entries.In addition to their consumer marketing success, the “Take Pity on Me” campaign also garnered a significant amount of press coverage--an added benefit to a cleverly merchandised promotion. Green is the New Black With the intensifying focus on preserving the earth’s resources for future generations, the travel industry is under scrutiny to do their part. One area where today’s DMOs can be ‘seen as green,’ while simultaneously realizing great efficiencies, is in online fulfillment.For example, when the Carlsbad CVB website re-launched, their visitor guide inquiries nearly tripled, creating significant financial burdens associated with printing, fulfillment and postage.The CVB created an online version of the visitors guide tied to a form that asked the prospect whether they wanted a printed version mailed to them or alternatively, to download it immediately. Prospects wanting the ‘instant gratification’ and the immediacy of the information resulted in a reduction of the overall number of visitor guides shipped by one third. These tools and fulfillment methods are quickly replacing traditional media, printed guides and maps, resulting in not only eco-friendly practices, but also tremendous cost savings. A conservative estimate for fulfilling a visitor’s guide is $1.75 per piece; multiply that by 100,000 and the resulting cost savings of $175,000 could be applied to cutting-edge technologies and interactive marketing campaigns that will help DMOs build business, generate leads for their stakeholders, and generate economic impact to the communities they serve. View Newsletter
 

posted on: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008
last updated on: Friday, May 17, 2013 11:06 AM

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