Whether a potential vacationer's preferences incline toward birdieing the 18th hole on the Links Course or doing a bit of birding by watching pelicans fly by the golf course that abuts the Atlantic Ocean, Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, S.C., wants to make sure that experience happens. So in April, the vacation spot owned by Englewood, Colo.-based Destination Hotels & Resorts began an electronic customer relationship management campaign called "5757 Palm."
5757 Palm—Wild Dunes' physical address—is the e-mail and Web site arm of its multichannel campaign, dubbed "Stay More, Save More." WDR Marketing Director Andressa Chapman says the multichannel campaign involved direct mail that led recipients to personalized landing pages, search engine marketing, print advertising, and other third-party utilization and public relations. Still, she says, the eCRM program was the main change in this year's drive to increase room bookings and revenue during the peak spring and summer seasons, yielding a 3,714 percent return on investment in two months—800 percent higher than the 2008 figure of 2,900 percent ROI.
Chapman says to deploy the eCRM program, WDR used Cyclone, the analytics and marketing automation tool from Phoenix-based AIR Marketing, to accomplish its goals of increasing revenue through room bookings (including group stays), upping guest ancillary spending and increasing membership in the Wild Dunes Email Club. But, most importantly, Wild Dunes wanted to increase repeat guest capture and differentiate itself "in a market dominated by special offers."
Here's how Wild Dunes did it:
Target Marketing: What were WDR's goals for 5757 Palm?
Andressa Chapman: ... Whenever we were looking at our business goals and objectives for 2009, we knew that it was going to be a challenging year in terms of generating room nights and revenue. … We knew that we were going to need to create some sort of promotion, whether a discount or a value-added, and really go to market with that. We also knew that our competition was going to be doing the same. So … we put a challenge to our advertising agency ... and our agency came back to us with the idea to create an eCRM program ... And for us, we do eCRM through promotional e-mails and we do eCRM through our event-triggered e-mails, or e-confirmation or prearrival e-mails. They pull in dynamic content, these e-mail templates. ... We worked together [with vendors] to develop clusters based on past guest information and information through our Web site. And we developed these templates, such that information and images are being pulled in dynamically based on what that person has told us they want to hear from us on.