Consolidate Multiple Guest Databases, Strengthen
Repeat Business with Cost-effective
Expert Email Solution
Myrtle Beach Operator Rides Resort and Condo Boom, Internet
Email Marketing Trend to Power 65% Repeat Business
|August 2, 2005 - Myrtle Beach South Carolina is the East Coastís top
beach and golf vacation mecca and the most popular drive-to destination
in North America. Legend has it that ĎThe Beachí grew from a sleepy vacation
hideaway to its current status as an internationally known tourist sensation
after one chilly season when golfers at nearby Pinehurst were snowed out
and needed a place to play within driving distance. They came, and kept
Through it all, MBNís resort enterprise has earned an astonishing 65 percent repeat business, a testament to the power of the Brittain family philosophy and its marketing savvy.
"My father always taught us to keep guest satisfaction as the companyís key focus," said Matthew Brittain, Clayís son and current MBN president. "And, of course, a high level of repeat business means our guests like what we offer. Our never-ending challenge is to maintain a close relationship with our guests in a way that makes them comfortable and keeps them coming back Ė and to do it without breaking the budget. Thatís where ZMail comes in."
"Actionable" guest information drives repeat business
ZMailtmis a hosted enterprise-wide email solution developed by ZDirect that uses expert system principles to collect and integrate guest data from MBNís separate databases and convert it into actionable information for intelligent marketing communications and guest services. For Myrtle Beach National Company, it began with an ongoing challenge of gathering guest information from the many computer systems installed at its resorts and golf courses. Now ZMailís suite of tools is streamlining MBNís entire electronic marketing effort.
"Our resort property management systems did not communicate with MBNís direct-mail companyís database. We had valuable guest information and marketing data scattered in different directions and this made it very difficult to use when we wanted to launch a marketing campaign," said Brittain. "ZMail merged all our separate resort and golf club guest information together into a single, intelligent database that lets us quickly and easily communicate to guests based on their specific interests. Now our golfers or theater-goers only receive promotions that target their favorite activities. We send out fewer opt-in emails but they are more effective because they spotlight exactly what our guests have already told us they liked to do."
What seems simple on the surface is backed up by ZMailís robust, patent-pending
profiling processes for collecting and analyzing psychographic data.
Once ZMail builds its comprehensive database, it uses the information to
create dynamic content for each email campaign.
Using ZMail's Customer Communication Management Solution, Myrtle Beach National first sends reserved guests a confirmation, then a pre-arrival email with information that allows the property to market its amenities and restaurants, cross market other MBN businesses, and promote activities in the Myrtle Beach area that are relevant to the guest. After their stay, guests automatically receive a post-departure Ďthank youí email with an online survey providing an opportunity to rate their stay. These sequenced emails allow MBN to develop a positive relationship online with their guests and further build MBNís guest information database, as well as email brand value (EBV). To leverage every subsequent guest-communication touch point, MBN uses ZMailís intelligent database system to insert fresh questions asking visitors if they liked additional activities such as water sports or childrenís programs. The resulting information is the foundation for an automated email marketing process that employs guestsí own self-described preferences for effective email marketing campaigns that fill rooms.
"In the past, specific guest information like this cost a lot to obtain and was complicated to use, if you could get it at all," said Brittain. "But ZMail gathers this extremely valuable guest preference information in a way that seems just like a normal part of the communication process with our guests, and then ZMail puts it to work for MBN."
Guest data + Internet marketing = Booked rooms for MBN
One of Myrtle Beach Nationalís top marketing objectives is driving guests to the Internet. "Itís difficult to find the right words to describe how much the Internet has changed the way we book rooms," said Matthew Brittain. "The Internet influences every marketing decision we make and is fast surpassing the telephone as a source of reservations. For MBN the question is not whether to move marketing dollars to electronic strategies, itís how much to move."
With traditional direct-mail print marketing every date change, every amenity update, every extra page adds significant dollars. With ZMailís help, the Internet is providing companies like MBN all the marketing flexibility and targeted effectiveness they need for much less money. "For one monthly fee we can mount multiple email campaigns, and with ZMail technology every campaign can be customized and relevant to the guest based on their buying habits so there is the greatest chance for them to respond to the email. MBNís marketing team constantly works their creative juices to uncover new methods for driving traffic to the web site. And ZMail has become a powerful ally."
One way MBN uses ZMail to help fill inventory holes is by sending highly targeted email messages to guests three to six weeks prior to their visit offering special rates if they extend their reservation a few days before or after arrival. MBN also helps fill unused inventory by sending promotions to previous guests, with messages catered to specific vacation preferences guests have previously described. Golfers are offered a special package that includes a room and a couple rounds of play on their favorite course. Families may get a package offer that includes the supervised childrenís Buccaneer Club program. ZMailís advanced intelligent database technology filters the emails to include only the appropriate guests. Further, the property management system interface and unique ZMail protocols screen out guests who have an existing reservation from the outbound email list.
"ZMail gives us a wealth of valuable information about our customers that yields more effective marketing and bottom line results," said Brittain. "It is an invaluable tool for improving our guest experience and the right use of technology to continue my fatherís commitment to personalized service and guest satisfaction."
About the Myrtle Beach National Company
|Also See:||PMS Vendor Gains Edge with ZDirect Expert Email Solution / June 2005|