Your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is the heart of your destination marketing organization’s activities. This database is your lifeblood, filled with your leads: local businesses (stakeholders), meeting planners, and leisure travelers. For Destination Travel Network (DTN), your stakeholders are the key to the success of your program.

Your CRM database is a living thing that requires tender loving care. In fact, email marketing databases decay by about 22.5% every year due to changes in employment, business closures, and unqualified leads. And that bad data can cost you money from missed sales opportunities and inflated marketing costs.

We’re breaking down what CRM fields DTN uses to find the right stakeholders to introduce to the paid digital content program offered on your website. When you take the time to update your data, streamline processes, and follow simple guidelines, we’ll both have better data.

Email Address

The email is our calling card as this communication opens the door! When our representative calls, they have a communication point to reference, and hopefully, the receiver recalls the opportunity and takes the call.

To effectively break the ice, a valid email address is vital. Obviously, without an accurate email address or any email address, our initial outreach never reaches an inbox. Our attempts to warm up a lead are thwarted.

First Name and Last Name

Personalization is key to open rates and engagement in email marketing—actually any form of marketing. From writing letters to sending emails, the proper use of fields for names can make or break your efforts, and ours.

Most CRMs provide a field for First Name and Last Name. This allows flexibility on name use: first name only or last name only salutations to using both on an address label. You probably guessed where I’m going. To be effective, data has to be entered correctly!

DTN uses the First Name merge field to address our email communications to your stakeholders. To work properly, just the first name should be added in the First Name column. But don’t stop there, consider this:

  • Using all caps is never a good idea here (actually that’s not a good idea in any of your data entry). Not only is all caps considered shouting in electronic communications, in an email message where traditional upper and lower case text is used, all capitalized first names or company names jar the reader at best and make the message appear like spam at worst.
  • If there isn’t a particular person but a ‘title’ that receives the email messages, just use the whole thing as the first name. Otherwise, think about this: if General Manager is the contact and say General is entered as the First Name and Manager is the Last Name, personalized emails using the first name will only go out to ‘Hi General’… awkward.
  • And make sure the Last Name isn’t entered into the First Name. My name is Stacey Gregory… I’ve received a few ‘Hi Gregory,’ salutations in my day. And as I’m sure you can guess, I wasn’t amused by the oversight.

Account Name

DTN uses the account name (company name) to add an additional layer of personalization to your stakeholders’ messages. The use of their business name catches the eye and helps connect the reader to the message. So the Company Name field should include only that—the business name—and it should be in upper and lower case text. Leave off any “coming soon” or “under new management” phrases inside this field so when we reach out to your local business, the merge field only pulls the company name. And this is good for you! You don’t want your labels and letters including extra marketing phrases.


Email automation and segmentation is growing in marketing because it’s effective. Popular ways to segment communications include geographic location, industry and job function. Here at DTN, we review titles and look for Business Owners, General Managers, Director of Sales, etc. and choose those contacts to send our messages. We do not reach out to desk clerks or housekeepers who have no interest in our decision making for digital marketing. So the better information we have here, the more we know we are reaching the right people with the right messages.


Segmentation again! DTN tailors messages to specific businesses for better engagement. The types of categories or industries commonly used for DMO’s are lodging, dining, things to do, shopping and transportation. Subcategories can come in handy for specific locations that are popular for weddings or wine tasting for instance.

Primary Phone Number

No brainer, we need correct phone numbers to talk to your stakeholders. During personal phone consultations, our representatives are sharing not only the opportunity to get more exposure using your website but they are educating stakeholders about the power of the DMO. Without this phone number, we can’t reach your members or partners, and neither can you!

Contact Type

This is imperative for our search. We are narrowing down the thousands of business contacts you have in your database for all of your various needs, looking for Primary contacts. This way we don’t hit every single contact for a particular business and email people who do not have any decision making ability or even know anything about digital advertising.

Extranet Parent

This is necessary for larger businesses that may be under an umbrella corporation or business yet working under different names. Think of your marketing agencies or hotel conglomerates that represent multiple individual businesses. With this information, our representatives can contact the right person once for multiple campaign opportunities.


The website address is also important. Our associates research the businesses prior to their calls to learn more about them, and the URL is what is most often used to link to from the paid digital content.

Whether you use the Simpleview CRM or your own software, developing a standard for entries will help your marketing efforts and ours. We all win with the right data!

While the data entry fields are one thing, how DTN gets the information is another. If you have a Simpleview CRM, our marketing professionals can pull the reports from your CRM and you don’t have to do anything (besides keep your data updated and beautifully standardized)!

If you use other CRM software or rely on spreadsheets, please keep these things in mind for a clean and easy import:

  • The best format is .csv format.
  • Refrain from fancy formatting, which can corrupt the import.
  • Remove formulas, colored cells, frozen cells, multiple sheets, and text effects. These will also cause the import errors.
  • Do not combine contacts and email addresses on a single row. The only way we can properly import every contact is for each business contact to have its own dedicated line in your spreadsheet.
  • Do not add notes within fields. If you have to use notes like “coming soon,” add that to the title field since that isn’t used for personalization.
  • Include all of the fields above so there is a complete record for DTN to upload to track sales efforts for your stakeholders.

Let’s recap—your CRM database is the lifeblood of your marketing efforts, and ours. All of your hard work developing and creating your database will be for naught if your communications and ours aren’t making the way to the right people. So let’s keep that CRM healthy, and your stakeholders happy, by making sure all of our carefully crafted campaigns go to the right people through the most effective channels.

Destination Travel Network is a division of Simpleview and the premier paid content publisher partnering exclusively with destination marketing organizations. To learn more about how DTN contact Paul Franke at or call 412-254-9002, and visit the DTN website at