Hotel Online  Special Report


 Grand Geneva Resort Boosts
Direct Mail Response by 300%


April 19, 2005 - The Grand Geneva ResortSM, located in beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, operates a full service destination resort complete with exceptional golf, spa and dining experiences. As a destination with a full range of seasons, the characteristics and interests of its guests vary year round.

The resort asked Incite Response, a direct marketing agency specializing in highly personalized programs, to develop a monthly direct marketing campaign to provide incentives to past guests, inviting them to return. Incite Response quickly implemented its self-managing, turnkey direct mail program called Boomerang.

Boomerang is a mailing strategy and process developed by Incite Response to increase response to direct mail, resulting in a direct increase in repeat guest rates. In the case of Grand Geneva, the strategy was to send a unique offer to past guests on the anniversary of their last booking date. To lift response even further, each postcard displayed an image relevant to the past guest’s last experience and cleverly integrated the guest’s name throughout the card to enhance the personal nature of the offer. If a previous guest played golf, a golf photo appeared on the card, if the guest used the spa, a spa photo was displayed, and so on. 

By mailing to past guests on the anniversary of their last booking date, the average size of each mailing was reduced. Smaller, more targeted, mailings generate higher response rates. Each month, approximately 1,500 past guests were identified and received an offer.

The Marketing Database

The Grand Geneva Resort utilized the services of the IDT Group to extract their guest history from various platforms at the resort. IDT has built an effective marketing database that provides the ability to segment and target past guests in a way no property management system can.

In addition to expanding the uses of the property data, the IDT system gives an expanded menu of valuable information in which to make marketing and sales decisions.

“Having a clean, usable resource for direct marketing is extremely valuable,” according to David Metze, president of Incite Response. “IDT does an exceptionally good job when it comes to unlocking the potential of guest history. We take it to the next logical step, creating revenue from it.”

Passive Tracking

The IDT Group built a very sophisticated marketing database for The Grand Geneva Resort, giving Incite Response the opportunity to append individual recipient household records with vital information about the campaign they received. Incite monitored those households for bookings and stays, providing a clear picture of the dollars that each recipient spent at the resort. This is called “passive tracking” since it requires no active participation on the part of reservations or other hotel staff.

One of the best traits of passive tracking is the ability to see what was booked and when. When the reservations staff successfully up-sells or redirects callers into need periods, it can create a tracking problem in the property management system. This does not affect passive tracking.

Call Tracking

Shortly after the start of the Boomerang program, the resort added Incite Response’s new Call Tracking System. This greatly enhanced the resort’s ability to see how the strategy was working. 

The online call tracking system assigns a unique toll free number to each campaign. The resort was able to look at the number of calls being generated by the postcards and listen to online recordings of the calls.

The added benefit was the ability to easily track the response rate and the conversion rate. The number of calls was compared to the bookings, and when conversion rates were unsatisfactory, the calls were reviewed for training opportunities in reservations.

The Results

The program, now in its eighth month has generated a net response rate of 4% earning Grand Geneva 14 times expenses in gross revenues. 

About Incite Response
Incite Response produces and manages specialized direct marketing strategies and campaigns with exceptional results. We accomplish this by analyzing and planning the entire marketing process, from initial strategy through creative execution to detailed scrutiny of results. We provide the people, skills, systems, management and support you need to generate targeted, successful, sustainable direct mail and e-mail campaigns. We offer a complete selection of tracking capabilities to see if your efforts are meeting expectations.

About IDT
IDT Hospitality Group is the leading provider of customer intelligence and data integration services to the hospitality industry. For more than a decade we have helped hospitality marketers reach a deeper understanding of their guests, differentiate them, and better measure the returns on marketing investments. 

About the Grand Geneva ResortSM
Grand Geneva ResortSM is a premier Wisconsin resort with sophisticated accommodations, creative culinary options and award-winning service, set in beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. From skiing to golf, horseback riding to deluxe spa packages the Grand Geneva Resort offers a variety of experiences unique to each change of the seasons. The Grand Geneva Resort is also the meeting place of choice for companies throughout the Midwest and beyond that has been honored with the Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings magazine. Grand Geneva presents 50,000 square feet of outstanding function space able to accommodate from 10 to 1,500 guests in style.


John W. Clevenger
Vice President, Director of Sales
The IDT Group 
9 Cinnamon Teal Lane
Novato, CA 94949-6694

Also See: The Strategic Approach to True GUEST KNOWLEDGE / Harry W. Rivkin & John W. Clevenger / April 2005
Ultra-Luxury Segment Stays Strong in $525 Billion Travel Industry; Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Consolidates Global Guest History to Target 10% Increase in Repeat Business from World’s Traveling Elite / September 2003
World’s Top Destination Health Resort Consolidates Guest Data to Develop Unique Services for Discriminating ‘Happy’ People / September 2003

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