How Alabama Beaches Utilized Data to Outperform Competitive Destinations

With a rapid increase in growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism was in need of a way to understand guest demand and communicate travel trends to their partners. With an unprecedented demand for short-term rentals, they aimed to help rental providers plan for the surge in visitors. As travel normalized after the pandemic, they found an ongoing need to optimize their marketing efforts to continue to drive strong results for their industry partners, staying ahead of competing destinations. 

In order to understand the complete view of tourism, they needed a way to see performance from both short-term rentals and hotels. Their goal was to find the best strategy to market their destination, provide actionable and forward-looking insights to their partners, and ensure that visitors had a safe, enjoyable stay.

CHALLENGES

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism faced several challenges in managing and growing demand, including:

  • An extensive list of units and hotel rooms to analyze 
  • An unpredictable demand pattern
  • The need for hotel and vacation rental data combined

With nearly 15,000 short-term rental units in addition to approximately 3,000 hotel rooms in the region, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism had an extensive list to support. They needed streamlined methods of communication and strategic marketing efforts to best promote tourism. With demand becoming unpredictable, they also needed an easy way for everyone across the organization to be able to access data for booking windows, occupancy average daily rates, and top feeder markets. These requirements extended across both hotels and vacation rentals, so it was imperative to be able to capture insights for both.

SOLUTION

To gain the full picture of demand, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism turned to DestinationData to:

  • Integrate hotel data for streamlined reporting
  • Dig deeper into feeder markets
  • Support stakeholders with in-depth data analysis

The Alabama beaches added hotel data powered by Amadeus Hospitality to their DestinationData dashboard. In addition to the short-term rental insights they had been utilizing for years with DestinationData, they gained access to hotel data for a more complete picture of the destination as a whole. With the integration of both vacation rental and hotel data, they have been able to cancel other data platforms now and view all the reporting they need in one place. 

The sales and marketing teams were able to dig into feeder market data and booking sources in order to inform their strategies. By understanding where guests are coming from, they gained the ability to prioritize those locations in their targeting. 

“The forward-looking information is extremely helpful for us to be more efficient with our marketing dollars. It helps us see when our down periods will be & how far out people are booking from different feeder markets.”

In addition to internal use, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism was able to support stakeholders by sharing in-depth reports. Team members created a scalable process where every two weeks, stakeholders received information on where occupancy landed and what they could expect in the next 30 days to help them plan upcoming staffing, and more. This allowed for improved efficiency and more helpful communication with partners. 

“There isn’t a week that goes by that somebody isn't asking me, “what’s occupancy?” Whether it be an industry partner, with a local business, or an accommodations partner. So every two weeks we share a report that shows what our actual occupancy was and a 30-day outlook for forward-looking. And now that we've added in hotel data, we'll have live real time forward-looking data for hotels too. It just gives us a much better picture of the destination as a whole”

RESULTS

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism saw great success in their ability to adapt their marketing strategy as trends have shifted post-pandemic. As demand began to normalize, they streamlined processes that have increased their value and created an engaged audience of repeat visitors to call upon during times of decreased demand. Not only has Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism improved internal operations and stakeholder relationships, but they have come out ahead of competing destinations in 2023. 

Customer
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Location
Gulf Shores, AL
Industry
Destination Marketing Organization
Properties
18,000

With a rapid increase in growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism was in need of a way to understand guest demand and communicate travel trends to their partners. With an unprecedented demand for short-term rentals, they aimed to help rental providers plan for the surge in visitors. As travel normalized after the pandemic, they found an ongoing need to optimize their marketing efforts to continue to drive strong results for their industry partners, staying ahead of competing destinations. 

In order to understand the complete view of tourism, they needed a way to see performance from both short-term rentals and hotels. Their goal was to find the best strategy to market their destination, provide actionable and forward-looking insights to their partners, and ensure that visitors had a safe, enjoyable stay.

CHALLENGES

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism faced several challenges in managing and growing demand, including:

  • An extensive list of units and hotel rooms to analyze 
  • An unpredictable demand pattern
  • The need for hotel and vacation rental data combined

With nearly 15,000 short-term rental units in addition to approximately 3,000 hotel rooms in the region, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism had an extensive list to support. They needed streamlined methods of communication and strategic marketing efforts to best promote tourism. With demand becoming unpredictable, they also needed an easy way for everyone across the organization to be able to access data for booking windows, occupancy average daily rates, and top feeder markets. These requirements extended across both hotels and vacation rentals, so it was imperative to be able to capture insights for both.

SOLUTION

To gain the full picture of demand, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism turned to DestinationData to:

  • Integrate hotel data for streamlined reporting
  • Dig deeper into feeder markets
  • Support stakeholders with in-depth data analysis

The Alabama beaches added hotel data powered by Amadeus Hospitality to their DestinationData dashboard. In addition to the short-term rental insights they had been utilizing for years with DestinationData, they gained access to hotel data for a more complete picture of the destination as a whole. With the integration of both vacation rental and hotel data, they have been able to cancel other data platforms now and view all the reporting they need in one place. 

The sales and marketing teams were able to dig into feeder market data and booking sources in order to inform their strategies. By understanding where guests are coming from, they gained the ability to prioritize those locations in their targeting. 

“The forward-looking information is extremely helpful for us to be more efficient with our marketing dollars. It helps us see when our down periods will be & how far out people are booking from different feeder markets.”

In addition to internal use, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism was able to support stakeholders by sharing in-depth reports. Team members created a scalable process where every two weeks, stakeholders received information on where occupancy landed and what they could expect in the next 30 days to help them plan upcoming staffing, and more. This allowed for improved efficiency and more helpful communication with partners. 

“There isn’t a week that goes by that somebody isn't asking me, “what’s occupancy?” Whether it be an industry partner, with a local business, or an accommodations partner. So every two weeks we share a report that shows what our actual occupancy was and a 30-day outlook for forward-looking. And now that we've added in hotel data, we'll have live real time forward-looking data for hotels too. It just gives us a much better picture of the destination as a whole”

RESULTS

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism saw great success in their ability to adapt their marketing strategy as trends have shifted post-pandemic. As demand began to normalize, they streamlined processes that have increased their value and created an engaged audience of repeat visitors to call upon during times of decreased demand. Not only has Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism improved internal operations and stakeholder relationships, but they have come out ahead of competing destinations in 2023.