CVB Linking Mobile App, Website and Data Base
The Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) program that will eventually plug its database, website and mobile app into the same platform.
“It’s very competitive out there, so we need to be extremely relevant to visitors,” CVB President and CEO Caleb Miles said. “In tourism, we’re selling a perishable commodity. Every unfilled hotel room or tee time is lost revenue. The clock is always ticking.”
The mobile app was launched last month. A new website is scheduled to debut later this month, and Miles hopes to have the CRM program in place sometime this summer.
“There’s so many moving parts to this stuff, and we’ve got some learning curves to go through, but everything will be linked in the end,” he said. “It will be a huge game-changer because we’ll have the keys with this. By that I mean we’ll have access to the platform and be able to update it instantaneously.
“Now, we’re operating more like a traditional business.”
The stakes are high because Moore County annually draws more than 1 million visitors, and they spend about $350 million.
Fortunately, the North Carolina lodging industry rebounded last year to almost reach pre-recession levels in several indicators. And Moore County fared better than the state as a whole because its average daily room (ADR) rate was up 5 percent in 2011, compared with a statewide average of about 4 percent.
“The numbers are all trending the right way, but the momentum we have is still fairly fragile,” Miles said.
Which is one of the main reasons the CVB has already launched a mobile app — visitpinehurstnc — that can be downloaded for free.
“The goal is to do a better job of servicing visitors and try to get them to spend an extra day in Moore County,” Miles said. “If we can get one in 10 visitors to do that through the app, then it’s a home run for us.”
The CVB is partnering with the county’s 43 hotels on a promotion in which guests are given a business card about the mobile app when they check in.
“You can have a cool app, but it’s got to be marketed correctly,” Miles said. “We’re educating the hotels right now. We have to empower those folks and close the technology gaps.”
The app contains more than 600 points of interest in Moore County under nine icons: accommodations, dining, golf, family fun, shopping, things to do, events, deals and “now read this.”
The CVB has also released its 2012 official visitors guide and will eventually distribute about 60,000 copies. New cable television ads will target drive markets such as Greensboro.
“We’re trying areas that are just far enough away that the golfers need to stay overnight,” said Claire Phillips, director of marketing for the CVB. “Overnight guests spend two to three times more money per day than day-trippers.”
Miles added that overnight guests account for 40 percent of annual visitors, but hotel revenue represents less than a third of annual visitor expenditures.
“We need to keep improving our working relationship with the hospitality industry,” he said. “We also want to improve our overall effectiveness and efficiency. Most of our competitors’ budgets are two to three times larger than ours, but we feel this new CRM platform levels the playing field to a certain degree.
“It puts everyone in the same boat.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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