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Conventional Wisdom
Phoenix flies high with effective travel, hospitality, and convention business marketing.
For the rest of the August 2006 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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More than 13 million people visit the Phoenix area each year, contributing more than $6 billion to the local economy. Tourism in the Phoenix area also accounts for approximately 235,000 jobs. In addition to tourists, Phoenix also boasts a booming convention business, with more than 50 conventions and more than 100,000 convention delegates each year. The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit organization that markets Phoenix and surrounding communities as a year-round convention and visitor destination, was looking for a way to more quickly get information to potential visitors and conventioneers. The feeling was that with a better-targeted email campaign, those figures could improve. For several years if someone called, wrote, or emailed requesting information, the Bureau would mail out one or more 24- to 128-page guides, detailing all businesses, hotels, and convention information of Bureau members. There were a couple of drawbacks to this customer response method--mailing costs were high and mailings could take as long as eight weeks to be delivered. By that time, the trip was typically over, or the desire to travel to Phoenix had passed, meaning lost revenue opportunities. "Sometimes people make their travel plans only a few days in advance, so we needed a way to get them the desired information more immediately," says Kimberly DeVault, publications and interactive media manager for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. Potential customers could have gone to the Bureau's visitors' Web site, but it was difficult to find specific tourism packages: The site had numerous links to information, some of which might not interest some visitors. There were no brochures available via email nor was there an easy way for a potential visitor to pull together information he might desire for a trip like information on golf courses, dining and hotels, sightseeing, and rental cars. Seeking to quickly deliver information to interested tourists, keep their interest piqued, and impress them with responsive service, the Bureau presented the dilemma to its media buyer, Mighty Interactive, an Internet marketing agency in Tempe. "Our Web site is very large, so we asked [Mighty Interactive] for a way to help people better navigate it to get the information they wanted," DeVault says. "Someone interested in a golf vacation might have no interest in conference facilities. Someone attending a conference might not be interested in some of the other [Web-site] information."
Mighty Interactive developed the Dynamic Content E-Brochure, which the Bureau started using in the summer of 2005. The e-brochure uses ExactTarget's dynamic content module. Site visitors can select from among eight categories of interest (dining, golf, or spas, for example), and a customized email brochure containing information about their areas of interest is assembled on the fly and delivered to their inbox within approximately 15 seconds. The e-brochures have been a hit with both tourists and Convention & Visitors Bureau management. Seventy percent of those who receive the e-brochure click on one link or more requesting additional information, which DeVault cites as an important metric. Additionally, the click-through rate averages 57.8 percent. Click conversion rate (clicks among openers) averages 78.5 percent. ExactTarget's tracking capability allows the Bureau to track which links are viewed, which will enable it to make educated decisions about updating or adding content, DeVault says. In the future the Bureau may reduce the number of printed visitors' guides that it produces, which would be another significant cost savings (each guide costs about $10 to produce and ship). Using the e-brochure application, vacationers, conventioneers, and others visiting the Phoenix area can request customized information to be delivered via email. DeVault says this allows them "to get the information they need without the need to sift through the entire Web site." The Payoff By using Mighty Interactive's Dynamic Content E-Brochure, the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau has:
  • increased customer response rates from 16--18 percent to 51 percent;
  • grown its email address base by nearly 300 percent; and
  • achieved a click conversion rate (clicks among openers) of 78.5 percent.
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