• Andrew Collins

Should DMOs CRM?

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

In past years, CRM has become a more and more important area of focus for many businesses, both in B2B and B2C businesses. In the Tourism industry, we see CRM done well most notably in the hospitality and airlines industries, with campaigns going viral while being shared on social media.

But is this approach an effective one for DMOs, where CRM is a much more daunting task? Firstly, it is difficult to track exactly how many of these visitors actually have booked or are planning to take that holiday to our destination. Secondly, of those who do visit, how can we get useful insights and feedback into their favorite activities?

The last task is the most challenging part of customer management, to find ways to make sure that they not only share their experience with others through word of mouth, but even more importantly, that they want to return for yet another trip.. year and year again. Bottom line, is it worth it when you can’t effectively track spending and measure ROI?

A quick tally of the major official tourism sites reveal that this decision to manage “traveler relationships” is split quite evenly among the major DMOs. USA, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Thailand all allow their visitors to register and create a login while the UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, and Singapore sites are purely for browsing.

The span of functionalities across the country sites vary only slightly for users who are willing to impart their email information. There are functionalities for every step and phase of your travels. You can plan your trip itinerary in detail, subscribe to e-newsletters for the latest updates and events, receive deals and discounts for use during travel, and create your own blog content to share post-trip. The most unique feature among them is a prize platform – registered users on GoUSA are incentivized to interact with the content (like, share, comment), upload their own travel photos, and share on social media, earning them points that can be redeemed for participation in exciting campaigns and prizes ranging from passport covers to a 10-day trip to California.

So, what have we been able to achieve through CRM for our purposes? With just over 35k registered users on GoUSA (only a meager percentage of the site’s 800k+ monthly visitors), there are still strides to be made in recruitment efforts and user experience optimization.

However, with just the prize platform alone, we are making travel and sharing more fun for those contemplating a stateside visit. We can offer our media partnerships added value in promoting campaigns. We can gain additional qualitative insights into the types of content and activities people get excited about so we can make more targeted recommendations unique to the China market to our DMO partners. And ultimately, by making that connection with us, we hope that for Chinese travelers, it’s the start to the conversation that is their next great American adventure.

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