Resorts can benefit greatly from partnerships with tourism associations and DMOs—but be sure to find the right fit before collaborating.
Timeshare properties looking to get more out of their marketing initiatives may want to consider coordinating their efforts with tourism associations and DMOs. These groups can provide a powerful platform to resorts looking to expand their reach. At other times, it may make more sense to work independently, depending on the market and the potential ROI. Resorts considering joining forces should do their homework before pursuing collaboration.
The first step is seeing whether or not a resort has the rental inventory to make the investment profitable. “Some destinations are heavily saturated with inventory, making it difficult to stand out,” says Renee Wagner, director of marketing at Grand Pacific Resorts. “Those markets also tend to be highly desirable and easy to sell. So if you already have a substantial database to market to, then the visibility and reach that a DMO offers does not make business sense as you can move your rentals through your primary channels.”
There are other facts to consider as well. Before making an investment, pay attention to how the tourism association or DMO plans to provide leads and consider what the value of those opportunities may be; find out what type of reporting they offer to help track ROI (some provide only reach and frequency); and ask how they merchandize properties. If a tourism association or DMO offers an online listing, but it’s in alphabetical order, partnership might not be worthwhile for resorts that appear at the bottom of the list. Or it may provide an opening to negotiate rates.
At other times, an online listing can be notably valuable. One of the properties that Grand Pacific Resorts manages, Mountain Retreat Resort, in Arnold, California, has a membership with the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, which includes a listing at GoCalaveras.com. The management company noticed that the website was sending a significant amount of web traffic to Mountain Retreat Resort, so the property reached out to see if there was an opportunity to expand the partnership.
“We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this DMO uses a content-marketing strategy to drive Internet leads,” says Jennifer Langdon, general manager of Mountain Retreat Resort. “Our marketing department is already producing lifestyle videos and blogs for social media, so it’s a natural fit to repurpose that content.”
Resorts that decide to collaborate should keep an eye on the numbers and start small. Grand Pacific Resorts plans to measure the performance of these newly expanded marketing initiatives. Depending on the results, the company will follow the same path for other destinations.
Photo credit: Mountain Retreat Resort