When implementing Destination Dashboards for a DMO, one of the questions we get asked more than any other is, "What dashboard metrics are other DMOs using?" or "What should we display for our department?"

After working with several organizations and building hundreds of dashboards, we have developed a framework which can help answer some of these questions. Every DMO is different and has different business priorities, so the outlines we are sharing in this post are not hard rules that must be followed, rather, they are guidelines for showing basic performance.

Some dashboards show fewer items, while others can be built out to provide detailed insights into the operation of a department or unit. These solutions are what we have found as best practices for a general audience or board of directors. This configuration can also be used for internal stakeholders, but should be likely modified to provide additional details, including individual break-downs, for sales managers and coordinators.


The Basic Convention/Meeting Sales Dashboard

Dashboards are meant to provide an overview of the data you have collected to show the performance of your team. Sales teams tend to already have the most focused metrics within a DMO. However, how you choose to display this information can also help to tell a compelling story.


What are the key numbers that show success?

The first question we ask when working with a sales team is, "If you only could choose three numbers to show how successful you have been as a group, what would those numbers be?" This is often a harder question than it seems on the surface. Are you going to choose contracted rooms? Pick-up? Conversion rate? Lost rooms? Lost leads? Number of leads generated? Number of bookings? Cancellations? There are many choices, but the key question is, when you wipe away all of the analysis, what is the bottom line?
The measurements that are considered your key metrics should be displayed at the top of your dashboard. These are the numbers you should never lose sight of when making changes and trying new techniques. In the question above, we asked for three numbers, but you might find that three is too few and you need more. This is okay, as long as each metric has a critical meaning to your group.

Each of these metrics should also have an icon which allows the user, who might not be looking at these statistics every day, to quickly identify what the number represents. These icons should be unique for each metric shown so as not to confuse the audience. If you use the same icon for different metrics, the audience could draw the incorrect conclusion that the numbers are from the same source or reporting on the same thing. Below is an example of these key metrics in action.


In this case, we have added drill downs to nearly all of the metrics shown in the event the numbers inspire questions about what makes up these statistics. We will talk more about drill downs later.

Your key metrics should be located at the top of your dashboard. The most important real estate of any dashboard or webpage is the top left. Audiences will always start looking at the dashboard at the top left side and start to scan across and down.

Directly below your key metrics should be a breakdown of the most important numbers. For DMO purposes, we recommend looking at your bookings. We suggest looking at the contracted rooms of your bookings rather than the number of bookings alone. By showing your bookings on a cumulative year-over-year scale, and year-over-year by month, you can show quickly how you are doing in comparison to previous years, while also showing which months have been good or not-so-good at a glance. Other numbers that we consider basic and important are the year-over-year number of bookings and show attendees.


Though the bookings help to tell us what business we have secured, we also need to know how much possible tentative business we have in the pipeline and if that tentative business is increasing. This is more important to the managers of the department, but good information to include on a standard dashboard. Below is an example of lead information.


These first sections of the dashboard focus tightly on production, but it can also be useful to look at the business that was not won. By reviewing lost business, and if that lost business is causing a significant impact or is growing/shrinking, you can gain valuable insights. For example, if the board is trying to determine why bookings are decreasing, and your lost business for the same period is increasing with the primary reason of hotel rates being too high, then you have good information to answer that question.

Lost business is a general dashlet we always recommend because it allows you to quickly see if there are problems that have political solutions where the board or audience can influence a change.

Another useful dashlet to show is your definite business by arrival date-the amount of rooms the DMO directly influenced or filled on a yearly/monthly basis. These should be reported into the future so board members can see what has already been booked or potentially booked into the future based on your sales efforts.


Depending on your situation, this might be all you need for a basic sales dashboard. However, you might also want to add ITYFTY (in the year, for the year) information to show how much business has been booked and is arriving in the same year. This can help to show hoteliers how much business your team was able to pull in that didn't exist prior to this year.

Lastly, some DMOs like to report on the productivity of each sales manager on a basic sales dashboard. We are not in favor of adding this to a general audience dashboard; however, in some cases it might be needed. Below is an example of how that would look.



About notes and drill downs

Notes should be used throughout your dashboard to explain what the user is seeing in anticipation of potential questions. Writing the answer in a brief note can help to cover these issues without stopping the meeting.

Drill downs can also be used to provide detailed information about the displayed data. Drill downs should be used only when the data will provide context and should not be added to every metric presented. Drill downs can muddy the waters if used incorrectly or too frequently, often providing more detail than is necessary to make a proper decision. Drill downs, however, can be very useful if you wanted to show a breakdown of market segment for definite leads, as an example, because it could help to focus a policy discussion about how to prioritize resources.

There are many other metrics which might be important, such as FAM ROI, phone calls made, and so on, but these basic metrics will help to paint a picture of the overall health of your meetings/convention sales department.


The Basic SEO/Website Marketing Dashboard

Just like the sales dashboard, the most important space on the SEO/website marketing dashboard is the area on the top left. This is where you should make sure to gather your most important, bottom-line statistics and display them. These should have associated icons that alert the audience to the nature of the metrics being shown. Key metrics should always include total number of sessions and can include things like mobile device sessions, organic sessions, and performance statistics. Below is an example of some key metrics.



Limit the amount of numbers shown. The key metrics area should be limited to only those statistics that are critical to group performance. If too many measures are displayed, the audience will no longer be able to determine which measures are the most important. "If everything is important, then nothing is." ~Patrick Lencioni, New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant and founder and president of The Table Group.

There are thousands of statistics which can be pulled from platforms monitoring website performance, so this process can be very difficult. Details to keep in mind during this process are that the audience is not looking at this type of data daily and only needs to be shown the basics. The advanced statistics should be reserved for special cases where explanations are needed.

We recommend showing traffic, both total site traffic and organic traffic, in a year-over-year format, followed by site performance metrics such as average session duration, bounce rate, and number of pages per visit. For the site performance, if goals or averages are available, we recommend showing these on graphs.


These statistics provide a good baseline for discussion. Below performance, information about the number of sessions by source or primary landing pages can be shown. At this point on the dashboard, there are hundreds of different options and it is easy to build a dashboard that would force a user to scroll through many different graphs. The best advice we can offer is, don't add too much.

By limiting the data shown to only a handful of graphics, you are isolating the areas you think are important. If there are campaigns in specific metro areas, you might want to include a media market demographic pie chart. If there are landing pages performing really well due to new content, you might want to include a landing page chart. Each of these choices should be adjusted based on the action you want the board or audience to take.



Other Dashboards

We only covered two basic dashboards in this post. However, we do have examples of other dashboards upon request. A few of the additional groups we have templates for are media/PR, services, and partner services. If you are interested in seeing some of these examples, or seeing a demo of the destination dashboard tool, feel free to reach out to the Business Intelligence team at Simpleview or your Account Manager.