When you combine hotel booking data with the power to track visitors through the doors of local businesses, you get a winning campaign strategy. This idea was the basis for Ottawa Tourism’s Experience Ottawa campaign that launched in the summer of 2021.
The goal of the campaign was to drive room night bookings and stays from July 5 – October 11. During this period of time, the organization also hoped to track the economic impact of those visitors to restaurants and attractions in the destination. The campaign was made possible by grant dollars secured by Ottawa Tourism and technology partnerships with RootRez and Bandwango.
“As the pandemic has severely impacted our industry and visitation numbers, we needed a campaign that would ‘make a splash’ by providing meaningful value to the traveler and be attention-grabbing enough to stand out from our competitors. The Ottawa Experience Pass offered visitors who booked a two-or-more night stay at participating hotels up to $200 in Ottawa activities.
Additionally, one of the main goals of this campaign was to benefit our tourism members. We accomplished this objective by incorporating a wide array of tourism businesses, from hotels and restaurants to museums and attractions. This inclusive campaign was very well-received by our members since more industry partners were able to see direct benefit from the incentive. Working with many partners along with changing covid restrictions presented its own set of challenges. While the perceived value was high, the consumer experience was not always seamless.
In the end, planning and executing a high-value, member-inclusive offer was successful as we were able to support our hoteliers, as well as other local tourism businesses during a turbulent time for our industry.” -Ottawa Tourism
When combined, Bandwango and RootRez become a valuable tool for destinations hoping to incentivize potential visitors to book a hotel room via a DMO website. To differentiate this hotel booking from the competition and stimulate travel, RootRez offers an added bonus for those who book.
In the case of the Experience Ottawa campaign, when a visitor booked a 2 or more night stay in Ottawa through the RootRez platform, they received extra value in the form of a Bandwango passport that included $200 in travel funds. This passport could be used at more than 35 locations throughout the city. Access to the passport was limited to those who booked their hotels through the RootRez platform.
“We believe it’s important to answer “why book here?” when considering conversion success on a DMO website. Ottawa directly answered by bundling this enticing Bandwango passport with each hotel reservation. The incredible conversion rate and over 4,500 room nights booked in just three months speak for themselves. Ottawa stimulated travel that would not have occurred otherwise, providing clear and measurable economic impact for their hotel partners and community at large.” -Jason Linder, CEO at RootRez
These digital passports allowed visitors to redeem their travel funds in $50 credits at locations pre-selected by Ottawa Tourism. Passports included locations like Holtz Spa, the Canadian War Museum, Beckta Dining & Wine, Fairouz Cafe and the National Gallery of Canada.
“Ottawa Tourism always brings new and interesting use cases to the table. Here at Bandwango, the goal of our technology is to deliver value to visitors and track them through the doors of local businesses. Working together with RootRez has given us an opportunity to redefine the way DMOs think about hotel packaging, and the Experience Ottawa case study proves that visitors want the seamless experience our two platforms offer.” -Mo Parikh, CEO at Bandwango
When the campaign wrapped on October 11, 2021, Ottawa Tourism had delivered more than 4,650 room nights. Additionally, more than 2,000 distributions for the Ottawa Experience Pass had been tracked through the Bandwango platform. While in market, those passes had accounted for 5,551 redemptions at merchant locations.
ROOM NIGHTS DELIVERED
Success shows in the data tracked and attributed to Ottawa Tourism’s innovative campaign, but some of the most powerful information captured during this initiative has proven to be what each organization learned about consumer needs along the way.
For instance, when it became clear that travelers needed additional support to navigate the use of their reservations, RootRez added a customer service call center to their operation to provide assistance to those who needed it.
Additional resources were also allocated when translations from French to English were not seamlessly integrated throughout the booking process.
Lastly, Bandwango and RootRez worked together to manually pass information between the systems when a coding error occurred early on in the campaign.
“With innovation comes growth and learning, and Ottawa Tourism’s attention to detail and drive to prove out the new model for hotel packaging was an essential component of success. The goal of this campaign was to drive room nights between July 5th and October 11th, 2021. The total of 4,670 room nights we collected generated significant results for the 69 participating hotel partners.” -Ottawa Tourism