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Packaging Travel on the Web: A Case Study of Ottawa Tourism Statia Elliot & Packaging Travel on the Web: A Case Study of Ottawa Tourism Statia Elliot & Marion Joppe School of Hospitality & Tourism Management University of Guelph

Abstract The advancement of Central Reservation Systems (CRSs) has provided Destination Marketing Organizations with Abstract The advancement of Central Reservation Systems (CRSs) has provided Destination Marketing Organizations with sophisticated tools to operate effectively in today’s e-tourism environment. A growing segment of e. Tourism sales is travel packages. To assess the effectiveness of net packaging and to identify strategic opportunities provided by data collected through the process of package sales, the Ottawa Tourism CRS system and data warehouse is explored. Trends indicate the growth in net versus phone bookings, and package versus regular bookings. These are positive trends given that packages represent longer stays and higher expenditures, aligning with strategic directions of the destination.

DMO Evolution • Technological advancements have moved DMOs from marketing to distribution, selling, and DMO Evolution • Technological advancements have moved DMOs from marketing to distribution, selling, and revenue generating • This study assesses Ottawa Tourism’s successful adoption of a CRS with advanced packaging capabilities • Two years of booking data, (April 2008 to March 2010) comprising over 13, 000 bookings worth $4. 3 million were mined to evaluate packaging effectiveness

80% of North Americans are Online • Mid 90’s researchers indentify online potential for 80% of North Americans are Online • Mid 90’s researchers indentify online potential for DMSs to integrate products, distribute, engage visitors and generate data (Pollock, 1995, Sheldon, 1997) • Yet only a few offer the promised benefits (Buhalis, 2003) • UNWTO and ETC urge DMOs to make all products bookable online (eg. Visit Britian)

Who is Ottawa Tourism? • Ottawa Tourism is a multi-faceted DMO, investing in e. Who is Ottawa Tourism? • Ottawa Tourism is a multi-faceted DMO, investing in e. Tourism since the late 90 s • Online bookings were introduced in 2003, enabling potential travelers to book their trips directly through an individual hotel and pay online • In 2006 Ottawa Tourism adopted a new reservation system: called Meridian Reservation Systems • Meridian’s destination-driven packaging engine has enabled Ottawa Tourism to create, manage, promote and sell dynamic packages to a range of target audiences

Ottawa Tourism Report by Type of Booking (Apr’ 08 - Mar’ 10) Ottawa Tourism Report by Type of Booking (Apr’ 08 - Mar’ 10)

Ottawa Tourism Report by Nights & Amount Booked (Apr’ 08 - Mar’ 10) Ottawa Tourism Report by Nights & Amount Booked (Apr’ 08 - Mar’ 10)

 • While accommodation only bookings still outnumber package bookings (60% and 40%, respectively), • While accommodation only bookings still outnumber package bookings (60% and 40%, respectively), results indicate that packages continue to gain a sizable share of bookings • Most impressively, in terms of performance, packages represent longer stays (2. 6 nights versus 2. 2 nights) and higher expenditure amounts per booking ($337 versus $305) than regular accommodation only bookings • These increases represent a 20% longer stay and an 11% greater expenditure for booked packages

Packages increase Value • Packages present great opportunity for increased revenue, adding value for Packages increase Value • Packages present great opportunity for increased revenue, adding value for the consumer • Since the implementation of the Meridian System, Ottawa Tourism has seen a significant return on their initial investment, and all signs point towards a continuation of the growth in online bookings

 Family Discovery Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price Family Discovery Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price from participating hotels. Target: leisure family segment Features: family admission to Ottawa museums, galleries, and attractions +146 Growth in 2009/10 Total Amount of Bookings $372, 891 Percentage of 68% bookings made Online Growth of Online Bookings 130%

Rendez-Vous for Two • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half Rendez-Vous for Two • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price, with admission to world class cultural institutions • Target: Couples • Features: Spas, dinner and tickets to Ottawa cultural institutions +266 Growth in 2009/10 Total Amount of $127, 660 Bookings Percentage of bookings made Online 66% Growth of Online Bookings 250%

Fall Urban Adventure • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half Fall Urban Adventure • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price • Target: outdoor adventurers • Features: Aboriginal attractions, animal farms, whitewater rafting, steam trains and Capital cruises +185% Growth in 2009/10 Total Amount of Bookings $15, 269 Percentage of bookings made Online 60% Growth of Online 180% Bookings

Tulip Celebration Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price from Tulip Celebration Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price from participating hotels with admission to Ottawa's tulip festival Target: domestic leisure Features: family admission to Ottawa tulip festival, galleries, and attractions +8 Growth in 2009/10 Total Amount of Bookings $73, 188 Percentage of bookings made Online 67% Growth of Online Bookings 10%

Urban Adventure • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price Urban Adventure • Package: a two-night getaway with 3 rd night at half price from participating hotels, and admission to a variety of cultural attractions. • Target: general leisure market • Features: admissions to museums, galleries, and assorted attractions +57% Growth in 2009/10 Total Amount of Bookings $17, 057 Percentage of bookings made Online 67% Growth of Online 127% Bookings