Ottawa Tourism's Online booking engine, advertising effectiveness studies recognized as "best practices" at national conference
OTTAWA, October 28, 2010—Ottawa Tourism's online booking engine and advertising effectiveness studies were recognized as Best Practices at the Travel and Tourism Research Association – Canadian Chapter annual conference, held in Québec City October 14-15. Karen Squires, Executive Director of Marketing, and Beverley Carkner, Marketing Manager, represented the organization at the event.
"Our online booking engine is a key element of Ottawa Tourism's success in driving business to our hospitality sector," says Noel Buckley, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, "considering that all our advertising drives people to our website to book their visit now. And we know we've been successful at converting those customers thanks to the advertising effectiveness studies we've done."
Dr. Statia Elliott and Dr. Marion Joppe of the University of Guelph's School of Hospitality & Tourism Management outlined Ottawa Tourism's booking engine in a presentation called Motivations for Booking Packaged Travel Online. "When we studied the motivations of Canadian consumers who book e-packages, 'value of the offer' and 'ease of booking' were the most important factors," says Dr. Elliott. "An attractive offer made easy will motivate e-package sales. A best practice example of this is Ottawa Tourism's packages featuring the third night at 50 percent off. They not only present an appealing product offer, but most importantly, they communicate value. Ottawa Tourism's success in e-package sales is a credit to their ability to satisfy travellers' needs for attractive packages at an attractive price."
The booking engine was developed in conjunction with Meridian Reservations Systems of Niagara Falls, Ontario. It allows travellers to choose hotel-only arrangements, choose from established packages, or to customize their experiences with tours, cruises, festival passes, museum visits, spa treatments, dinners, casino activities and more.
Then conference attendees heard Richard Leigh-Bennett of Harris/Decima Research present Testing and Evaluating Advertising Effectiveness, the Ottawa Tourism Way.
This presentation illustrated the steps Ottawa Tourism takes to measure its advertising campaigns, including return on investment. Regular effectiveness tracking is done in the key markets of Toronto and Montréal to gauge whether consumers remember seeing Ottawa Tourism's advertisements and whether seeing them leads to a greater chance of future visitation.
In fact, 12 key performance indicators are tracked, as well as conversion rates, conversion revenues and the return on investment of advertising spending. The methodology has been developed and refined over the last 10 years by the Travel and Leisure research team at Harris/Decima.
With this research, Ottawa Tourism's marketing department gauges whether the ads are driving awareness and trip intentions in each market, its advertising agency gathers feedback on the brand image and messaging, and destination partners are able to determine whether their marketing dollars are driving visitation.
Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada's Capital Region.. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.
For information on Ottawa's festivals and events, restaurants, attractions, neighbourhoods, or to access Ottawa videos and images, visit www.ottawatourism.ca
Jantine Van Kregten
Director of Communications
Tel: 613-237-5150, ext. 116
October 28, 2010