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My money's on destination marketers


playing a useful but not a predominant role, due to the cost of sale increase


OPEN FRONTIERS LTD Oliver Wigdahl, managing director


W


hile we see the benefit of driving footfall


to an area, we see destination marketing as more of a market- ing initiative. It’s not actually a distribution channel, although it could be if the destina- tion marketing company is also providing a third-party distribution capability through some form of portal. Dealing with other ticketing suppliers


OLIVER WIGDAHL


would depend on the technology. It’s going to be easier for the exchange of data to take place if both providers use up to date technology and processes. But, you’re un- likely to be dealing with another competitor directly, but instead a third-party provider of the destination marketing mechanism. The London Pass is a good example of this, where the technology provider, Scotcomms, creates the customer account and the technology for validating that account, and for decrementing value. Activity operators, all using their own ticketing suppliers, are just agreeing to accept that card as a form of payment, and agreeing to validate at the point of sale. The biggest challenge for us, as a ticketing supplier, is the real-time connectiv-


www.attractionshandbook.com


ity with the multi-ticket/pass operator. Our booking and ticketing system works across all sales channels in real-time. It’s therefore in our interest to be able to perform the account validation, and decrement card value as a real-time web-service. This then allows us to treat the multi-ticket/pass as another form of payment (like a credit card) where we process the transaction on the spot with certainty of collecting the value for our client. Unfortunately destina- tion marketers vary enormously in their technical credentials – many are unable to provide real-time web-services. Inevitably, the challenges come when


you roll out such an initiative across all sales channels. If the online portal model is used as the method of distribution, rather than pre-paid stored value, then it’s an easier task as we just need to provide a booking link from within the portal provid- ers’ website to our client’s ecommerce booking apparatus, which we already provide for them. For the operator, direct sell is typically


the most rewarding in terms of yield, but destination marketing by third parties is expensive as the middle-man has to be paid. However, they’ll take on some of the marketing burden and increase your visitor reach. Don’t forget the hidden costs of sys- tems integration and training. My money’s on destination marketers playing a useful but not predominant role, due to the cost of sale increase.


Attractions Handbook 2011-2012 75


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