How this DMO made booking a vacation easier for its rural and small business partners
With Executive Director of Northeastern Ontario Tourism, Trevor Beard
Northeastern Ontario is a Destination Marketing Organization made up of 26 distinct communities and districts. It encompasses a massive area of land stretching all the way to Hudson’s Bay in the north and Manitoulin Island in the west. Visitors to the province come for fishing, hiking, cycling, vacation resorts, and all-season wilderness adventures. Located just north of Toronto and the GTA (pop. nearly 6 million people), Northeastern Ontario is the go-to destination for loads of urban dwellers looking to get out of dodge.
Now if only those visitors had an easy way to book their vacations…
A way to book that wasn’t via a big corporate site.
A way to book that was a bit friendlier to use and a bit more rewarding—both financially and in terms of metrics—for the DMO and its hundreds of partners.
And that’s where Booker enters the chat. (Or in Northeastern Ontario style, arrives by float plane full of provisions to enthusiastic cheers.)
How Booker solved this DMO’s problems
What were the main challenges faced by Northeastern Ontario? We chatted with Executive Director Trevor Beard to learn more.
- Our partners offer very specialized, custom services such as canoe and boat rentals, meal packages, housekeeping plans, and gear for fishing, ATVing, or snowmobiling. Before Booker, there was no way for our properties to offer these booking options through their sites. Potential visitors would have to call or email.
- Visitors looking to book with our partners get bounced from the partner website to a corporate booking engine. That booking engine takes a big cut. For big hotel chains that may not be an issue. For many of our smaller, seasonal operators, this can add up to a substantial amount of lost revenue. We were looking for a way to keep that revenue in our communities.
Booker solved both these issues for Northeastern Ontario.
The Quick 4 with Executive Director Trevor Beard, Northeastern Ontario
- Why are you offering Booker to your members?
Our organization is always looking for ways to offer value to our members. This was an easy way to do that. If this product can help increase bookings, which we hope it will, it's going to be a fantastic asset for our organization and our members.
- How will Booker help your DMO?
Booker allows us to offer members an easy, well-designed, way for travellers to book directly through their own websites. And it's tailored to our member's needs with custom booking options like canoe and boat rentals or meal packages. We believe it offers visitors a better, more streamlined experience (no more generic, outside booking engines required).
- What will your plan be for the funds that you collect?
We're going to be reinvesting in both marketing and destination development. The Seven—the vast, scenic region just north of the GTA and Muskoka—is a brand we're looking forward to launching in some very fun and creative ways in 2023. Stay tuned!
- Your vision for Northeastern Ontario?
Our region incorporates some of Ontario's most popular and fastest-growing tourism destinations in the province—with the help of Booker, we're looking forward to helping more visitors than ever discover what our amazing destination has to offer. Sun, beaches, cycling, hiking, art galleries, farm-to-table cuisine—we can't wait to share the magic with you all!