Learn how DMOs can provide visitors with a seamless, commission-free booking engine experience that stays true to the destination and directly supports lodging partners.
Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) websites provide valuable information and inspiration for a global network of travelers, igniting their wanderlust and curiosity while sparking the urge to discover new cities, states, and regions, along with the local businesses, hotels and restaurants. After all, what better outlet to gain insights on the best new restaurants to try or most popular hotels to stay at, than one overseen by experts that live and breathe the destination day-in and day-out?
However, DMO websites are often times not utilized to their full potential — capping the experience at a “top of the funnel” level while fueling demand, but leaving the valuable, revenue-generating bookings to generic, commission-powered Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) with little stake in the destination itself (you know the ones… the same sites that funnel traffic away from your lodging page and feature cookie cutter insights into hotel properties with very little local expertise).
How can DMOs evolve their website beyond just a hub for inspiration and into a booking channel that directly impacts local community stakeholders and secures those valuable “heads in beds?” Enter Tempest’s strategic partner, Ripe — formerly RootRez — a lodging software provider whose customizable and intuitive booking engine enhances DMO websites and forms a deeper, more direct bond with a destination’s hotel stakeholders.
Helmed by a team of industry veterans, including former hoteliers, property managers and destination marketers, Ripe delivers improved service to travelers and drives economic impact to lodging partners — all at no added cost to those partners.
To achieve this, Ripe’s commission-free booking engine is seamlessly integrated into the DMO website experience and is customizable to adhere to a DMO’s brand, presenting the traveler with a consistent browsing and booking experience. Available lodging properties load in real time — complete with pricing and availability determined by user-inputted dates — complete with an interactive map that allows travelers to visualize precisely where they are staying and what top attractions are nearby.
The property listings within Ripe’s booking engine are also customizable, allowing DMOs to deliver a more accurate, informative and valuable overview of a particular hotel, resort or other accommodation. How far is it to walk to the beach? What’s the nearest coffee shop? What are the best restaurants nearby? Can I bring my dog? DMOs can answer all of these questions and more with insightful, customizable descriptions and amenity overviews — again capitalizing on local, irreplaceable destination expertise.
DMOs come in a variety of sizes with a wide variety of needs, goals and budgets. Ripe offers three flexible booking engine options that allow DMOs of any size to transform their website into a powerful booking platform. Three distinct pricing models ensure DMOs are presented with a booking engine option that addresses the unique needs and capabilities for them and their accommodation partners:
"Investing in RootRez on behalf of our accommodation stakeholders underlines our commitment to support the industry — especially the smaller owner/operator properties that have limited time and resources to promote and manage online inventories."
Blain Sepos, Executive Director, Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism
Armed with the knowledge that booking prices and availability for local lodging options is among the most valuable to travelers on DMO websites — second only to experiential, “things to do” guides — Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism in British Columbia, Canada, pursued options to house this information directly within their website ecosystem.
Utilizing Ripe’s Referral Model, Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism presents informative, streamlined booking information with up-to-date availability, routing interested travelers directly to the hotel’s website for more information and to complete the booking process. A step up from a simple lodging directory, this option has been hugely successful for the Parksville Qualicum Beach team, allowing them to present real-time rates and availability to visitors with no effort or commission costs to their accommodation stakeholders.
In 2022, Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism drove nearly 5,500 visits to the Ripe booking engine from partner detail pages and listings, resulting in a conversion rate of 68% for booking visits to official websites of their 28 participating lodging partners.
Destination Bryan — whose Tempest-developed website launched in the fall of 2021 and utilizes Ripe’s Commission Free Model — has seen similar success. The Destination Bryan team realized that DestinationBryan.com would be primarily an inspiration source for experiences in Bryan, Texas, but also wanted to ensure their community that they were capturing every room night that they could, without the commissions charged by OTAs.
The Commission Free option allows Destination Bryan to abbreviate the customer journey, empowering users to find and book their preferred lodging option within one streamlined system and without the need to jump to the hotel’s website. As a result, in 2022, Destination Bryan was responsible for over 130 direct bookings to their 18 lodging partners. The booking engine has also delivered a literal “return on investment” for Destination Bryan, who shared that the revenue generated within just one year far exceeded the initial investment into Ripe.
The results we’ve seen so far have motivated us to plan for a much more intensive push in the coming months and years, and we’re excited to see even greater success when we’re able to really utilize Ripe to its full potential.
The team’s ability to provide affiliate links to partners and group business planners allows Destination Bryan to track room night production beyond standard reports. The ability to integrate “value adds” within the booking engine, such as attraction or restaurant passes, improves upon the perceived value for the consumer and encourages travelers to engage with other local partners in the community while they enjoy their stay at the chosen hotel.
Interested in learning more about how Tempest websites and Ripe work collaboratively to deliver a more complete destination marketing experience online? Contact our team today or visit BookRipe.com for more information about their booking engine solutions.
Featured image: The Stella Hotel, Autograph Collection in Bryan, Texas. Courtesy of Destination Bryan.