Case Study - Wicomico County Tourism

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SITUATION
Wicomico County Tourism partnered with Meetingmax in January, 2012. Prior to this the CVB was informally tracking events through pen, paper, and post-event surveys. Given the CVB’s funding model, it identified a need to improve tracking of hotel reservations. The organization was looking for a tool which would effectively and efficiently demonstrate room night pickup for their events, while reducing staff time allocated to managing the process.

SOLUTION
Wicomico began using Meetingmax’s housing software to manage its events, specifically its sporting events. One key event is a national girl’s fast-pitch softball tournament which brings over 20,000 visitors to the County including 400 teams comprised of over 6,000 athletes.  Hosting an event of this scale meant the CVB needed a way to effectively process the many teams and their hotel rooms. It has accomplished this by using Meetingmax’s sub-block management features.  

  • Sub-block Setup: within Meetingmax, organizations can create as many sub-blocks as required to support their events. For this tournament the Wicomico CVB managed 222 sub-blocks. Once setup, teams could easily manage their sub-block online through a link generated by Meetingmax. This customized link was quickly distributed to all team members via email, where each family input their personal information. This allowed for members of the team to easily access the block with individual payment information rather than one card having to reserve the entire block.
  • Sub-block Deadlines: to ensure that hotel inventory was not tied up, the Wicomico CVB granted teams 14 days to access their sub-block and add team member information, otherwise the inventory was released back into the main block.
  • Proactive Communication: this small step was instrumental in helping the Wicomico CVB manage room inventory. Information advising guests how to reserve sub-blocks was posted on the event website and sent via email from the CVB immediately following registration. Following this, the CVB contacted each team to see if they would like to take advantage of the complimentary service.

RESULTS
Year over year the Wicomico CVB has seen significant increases in their capture rate (the percentage of people using the Meetingmax system to book hotel rooms) as opposed to booking around the block.  For the recent 2014 softball tournament they saw a 22% increase in people using the Meetingmax system. The success of this event has helped to propel their reputation with other event organizers. Coming from a system of pen and paper the bureau is thrilled to be able to accurately demonstrate increases in room pickup and they appreciate the ability for both themselves, and their hotels, to be able to verify room pickup in real-time. Each year their capture rate continues to increase and the bureau expects it to keep rising.

ABOUT WICOMICO COUNTY TOURISM
Wicomico County’s convention and visitors bureau (CVB), Wicomico County Tourism, has one primary goal: to bring events to the County that will generate revenue for local business owners and hotels. As it doesn’t receive local tax dollars, the organization relies entirely on funding from the County's hotel room tax. Wicomico County Tourism's success is measured by the number of hotel room nights that are booked and the overall economic impact generated as a result of their efforts to attract visitors. These room nights represent business conventions, trade shows, sporting events, special events and conferences, many of which are run through the Meetingmax housing software. 

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Tags: Wicomico County Tourism, Team, sports, Wicomico, housing, Sub-blocks, CVB, Case Study, Fast-pitch Softball, DMO

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