Over the last few months during the COVID-19 shutdown, there have been a lot of questions that have come up with our CRM analyst team regarding how to work within the system to engage stakeholders. We recently hosted a webinar to share more detailed information about some of the most commonly asked questions, so be sure to catch that recording and slides if you’re interested.

Working with partners who’d like a refund on their dues

Many destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are finding that amid the shutdown and with businesses needing to close their doors, many are interested in getting a refund of dues. Fortunately, the CRM makes this a fairly straight-forward process. As with anything related to money, make sure you are talking with your accountant before setting anything up, as they can help you make sure you go with the right process, and keep it consistent. There are basically three pathways that you can select for this type of transaction—you can either do a refund, cover dues with a write-off, or add a credit on invoice items. If you need help on this after watching the webinar, please feel free to reach out to your Analyst.

Changing dues for partners next year, and beyond

Typically, the dues revaluation tool within the Simpleview CRM is used to regularly increase dues (for example, due to inflation, new benefits, etc.) however the tool can also be used to decrease dues. This would be helpful for a DMO that is interested in lessening this financial burden for partners or to entice them to stick around if financial hardship has become a consideration. Fortunately, it’s a fairly simple process to get this set up.

Dealing with staff and partner turnover

Lastly, an unfortunate reality of this crisis is that many partners have shuttered, and some DMOs have lost team members to furloughs or lay-offs. The biggest thing is to remember to use the “inactive” filter for any team members that are no longer with the company, which will remove their access to the Extranet portal. You can always reactivate the contact later. Another good best practice is to add a contact tag for "COVID- furloughed" so that you can retain a list for easy future updating.

Beyond these admittedly less rosy features of the CRM, we’ve seen some great ways that DMOs are engaging partners using the technology and their websites, and we wanted to also highlight a few ways you can do so:

  • Share website page traffic for COVID-19 landing pages or other key web traffic information. Visit South Walton has been sending these super informative, data-packed partner communications that provide excellent value to their partners.
  • Create a section for your website targeted to partners. Athens, Georgia has done a great job with this, linking off to helpful Facebook group communities and always dating each new update so people know what is current. Visit Milwaukee also has a super clean, informative microsite that links to crowdsourcing pages.
  • Offer signage resources. Visit Phoenix has an area of their partners microsite that allows partners to download “open for business/take-out” designs that can be printed out. Super helpful!

As always, feel free to connect with your CRM analyst if you have questions at all as you look to implement any of these changes.