CRM in Convention Sales – Where Does Your DMO Stand?

December 23, 2014

Over the past decade, customer relationship management (CRM) systems have been credited with helping companies gather business intelligence about its best prospects, increasing the efficiency of the sales process and augmenting the conversion of new business.

In September 2014, the International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA) surveyed its members around the world to specifically explore how DMOs are currently managing the massive amounts of data they encounter on a daily basis in order to effect sales. ICCA hops to spark a discussion about CRM in order to improve CRM systems for use in convention sales.

Based on the survey’s findings, 35.4% of DMOs are using a customized program created specifically for their organization. While it’s perhaps not a surprise that many organizations are creating a custom platform – it does showcase the challenge this industry faces. Around the world, there is a great deal of time and energy being spent on creating a system that works effectively.



Key Takeaways:

  • The most common reasons for using the CRM system included managing lead intelligence (58.3%) and building stronger customer relationship due to access to insights (52.1%)
  • While no CRM system emerged as ideal, ICCA members did feel relatively confident in their CRM system’s ability to help with contact management, lead/bid management and account management.

For those actively using a CRM system:

  • Nearly 60% indicated that system integrates with email distribution platforms
  • Nearly 40% indicated that the system integrates with a website/mobile site
  • Nearly 30% indicated that the system integrates with event registration systems and dashboards that help track results.

Additional Strengths of CRMs system included:

  • Overall Functionality of Database (search capabilities; record maintenance; staff access.
  • Access to Historical Information – understanding both contact history as well as the history of where business had traveled over the years
  • Overall Ability to Track Leads

However it also became clear that there are significant challenges:

  • Many indicated that the CRM was NOT integrated well with other systems
  • They can be cumbersome to add new information/change existing information – which discouraged interactivity with the system
  • Systems – particularly customized systems – are quickly outdated  as technology advances at rapid fire

Agree with this litmus test?  If not, we’d love to hear why.

Written by Karyl Leigh Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes is managing partner of DCI’s Tourism Practice. Since joining the firm in 1998, Karyl Leigh has led destination strategy and created marketing communication programs for destinations on every continent except Antarctica.

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