Xanterra Has Monumental Marketing Success With RedPoint Global
"I like to say we're the largest hospitality company you've never heard of," says Andrew Heltzel, director of marketing and CRM at Xanterra Parks and Resorts. The outfit manages a selection of properties associated with vacation spots across the United States; these spots include national landmarks such as Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore, and its varied properties consist of a variety of cruise lines, bike and walking tours, swimming pools, restaurants, and many others. In total, Xanterra owns or manages 34 hotels as well as eight million acres of land, and at its peak season, it employs 8,000 staff members to serve more than 20 million customers annually.
Unsurprisingly, those customers tend to generate large amounts of data. But unfortunately not all of it is being collected in the same fashion, or stored in a central location. "We've got six call centers across the world of Xanterra, and we book vacation and travel through six different environments," Heltzel says, illustrating the level of complexity involved.
Since one of Xanterra's major goals is to target customers in a more personalized way, it understood that each of its properties needed access to more complete customer profiles—no small task considering the more than 100 disparate sources of data. Consolidating the data to the point where it could be used for marketing purposes would be an undertaking.
While some of Xanterra's businesses had sophisticated methods for creating email campaigns—the most advanced one in use was ExactTarget's marketing platform—many of them still relied on a homegrown email delivery option, which offered little capability beyond sending mass emails. "It was about as basic and bare-bones as you could possibly imagine," Heltzel says. The company needed a tool that would allow it to send more relevant messages.
"When we looked at our business needs and the CRM vendor landscape, RedPoint Global very quickly rose to the top," Heltzel says. Combining data management features with marketing tools, RedPoint's solution enabled Xanterra to keep its current IT infrastructure intact and avoid making costly and time-intensive changes to existing reservation platforms, both key selling points.
To get the system up and running, Xanterra summoned its senior IT members and marketers to join forces with RedPoint's data analysts. Together, they determined what data would be required by each of Xanterra's many businesses in order to build more personalized marketing campaigns. "We ended up with a data feed design that would work across the disparate reservation platforms," Heltzel says.
With data flowing freely among its various business units, Xanterra was able to glean immediate insights about its guests and prospects. For instance, one of the company's tour branches would be able to learn the preferences, history, and tendencies of someone who has stayed at one of the company's resorts.
"Having everyone on the same platform allowed the company to run tests and learn what is working and what isn't," Heltzel says. "Each of our brands can share their findings, [which allows us to get] smarter and better as we move forward."
During its first year with RedPoint, Xanterra leveraged the newly organized and sharable data to segment customers into seven distinct personas for marketing purposes. As a result, the company has taken huge strides with its holiday messaging campaigns; 24 months after the initial deployment, the company has seen a 91 percent year-over-year increase in revenue and a 103 percent year-over-year increase in transactions during these campaigns, Heltzel says.
Heltzel points to several of the company's business units to demonstrate the impact of its new email campaigns. The Grand Canyon Railway operations went from an average of 13 cents generated per email to 39 cents, a 200 percent increase. And Furnace Creek Resort’s improvement has been even more dramatic—an average of 8 cents generated per email to 73 cents, or an 839 percent improvement.
By implementing RedPoint Global's data management and marketing solution to consolidate its data, Xanterra has seen:
- seven customer segments identified;
- an 839 percent jump in revenue generated per email for Furnace Creek Resort;
- a 200 percent jump in revenue generated per email for Grand Canyon Railway; and
- a 91 percent year-over-year revenue jump during holiday messaging campaigns.