Simpleview: Changing the Game for Travel Destinations Worldwide
Simpleview helps convention and visitors bureaus (the industry term is “destination marketing organizations” or “DMOs”) by providing technologies and services for everything from convention sales to tourism marketing and day-to-day operations.
Simpleview is a full-service interactive agency and software development shop, dedicated to empowering destinations with the tools that they need to drive economic impact to their communities through leisure, business, and group travel. They provide a complete range of CRM and content management products and services, plus design, campaign management, search marketing, and revenue generation services, but most importantly, they provide industry expertise to help customers achieve their goals. The team at Simpleview is led by Ryan George, CEO.
On the product side, their primary offerings are an advanced system for customer relationship management (CRM), forecasting and reporting, and a content management system (CMS) for websites, media libraries and collateral. On the production and services side, they build dynamic websites, including sites for mobile web, and provide search engine optimization, design, and content services. In simple terms, Simpleview builds complex websites and software for the web.
Simpleview has offices in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and California, which serve almost 400 destinations on five continents. They have a strong presence in the U.S. and Canada and began expanding further into the international arena in 2011, helping countries streamline their technology. Currently, they serve DMOs in Norway, Dubai, Guam, and South Africa, just to name a few.
In 2002, Simpleview created the first web-based sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system built specifically for destination marketing organizations (DMOs). This product has become the most widely used database management system in the destination marketing industry. Simpleview was also the first company to fully integrate CRM software with the Content Management System (CMS) tailored to customers in the destination marketing industry. These two cloud-based software packages dynamically flow information and content to the company’s website to facilitate a positive end-user experience.
Simpleview CMS is not just changing the game for content management systems in the destination marketing industry; it is changing the game for website builders universally. Simpleview CMS is now competing with major content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, offering unparalleled features including side-by-side real-time page previewing, drag and drop layout functionality, previews across multiple devices and more. Not only that, the responsive CMS integrates seamlessly with the CRM system. Many of these features are nonexistent in competitor content management systems, or are limited to or reliant upon independent add-ons to accomplish the same results. CMS is taking DMOs by storm, with hundreds of sites complete or in production nationally and internationally.
Destination Dashboards – There are a number of robust analytic products out there creating a tremendous amount of data. They are barely comprehensible, and expensive to boot. With Destination Dashboards, just about anything with an API can feed into the platform, including Simpleview CRM, CMS, Google Analytics, social media, and more. Aimed at destination marketing organizations and their executives, the product provides a high-level overview by establishing the need-to-know data, saving the time and the excess white noise that comes from digging through unnecessary data. Destination Dashboards hosts hundreds of styles of graphs and is a responsive solution. Not only that, it comes at a fraction of the cost of competing products.
Destination Arena – Destination Arena was the first initiative of its kind in the destination marketing industry. The concept was simple: if you agree to share your data, which helps contribute to the industry benchmark, you then have access to the platform itself, allowing you to compare your organization against those of similar size and region. This initiative is free to this day.
DMOs play vital roles in domestic and global economies, yet the industry is under threat on many fronts: reduced domestic travel, shrinking budgets and increased competition from for-profit companies outside the industry. To survive, DMOs need to work cooperatively, and much of CEO Ryan George’s focus lies in finding new ways for DMOs to share information, leverage co-operative marketing and develop new forms of revenue.
The Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau (Texas) was dissatisfied with their previous customer relationship management (CRM) system provider. The CRM system was difficult to understand and use, causing the Grapevine staff to save information in multiple areas, through different processes, and without standardization. The result was wasted time, effort, and skewed data. By adopting Simpleview CRM, the Grapevine staff achieved their goal of having a centralized storage hub and data management system. This allowed them to generate reports demonstrating their efforts and achievements related to productivity, sales, and more. Over 160 Grapevine spreadsheets were imported into the new Simpleview CRM between August 2013 and January 2014.
This effort yielded staggering results:
- 100% user adoption
- 17,204 contacts collected and organized
- 7,271 completed traces
- 100% of duplicate contact information identified
- 99% active sales profiles
- 91% of listings have Geo-Coding associated with accounts.
The “Love, Rochester” campaign showcases a great example of what Simpleview and DMOs can achieve through collaboration. Simpleview created a multi-channel online campaign to promote summer 2014 visits to Rochester, MN, built on a concept of personifying Rochester as a warm and welcoming friend. The campaign included ads on high-quality networks and sites and a Facebook contest. By sending more than 46,000 clicks to their site, this strategy contributed to a 23% year-over-year lift in overall traffic to Rochester’s site for the duration of the campaign (May through early August) and delivered more than 48.2M impressions from Facebook, paid search, and display ads. The outcome? They exceeded industry performance averages with 2.03% conversion, 35% email open rate, and 800+ referrals to partners.
Today, Simpleview’s competitors are companies offering interactive marketing services to DMOs. While some of their services mirror Simpleview’s innovations, there are three key components that separate Simpleview from their competitors.
Complete Services: Simpleview offers not only best of breed & industry technology, but also creative design and content development services, multimedia and more.
DMO Focus: By focusing exclusively on travel and tourism, they’ve gained a deeper understanding of the challenges DMOs face. Their web-based CMS and CRM technologies are tailor-made for DMOs, not adapted from tools for other industries or one-size-fits-all systems.
Emerging Technologies: With the creation of Simpleview’s Product Development team, the organization has made a commitment to industry trends and innovation, ensuring each product is always the best version it can be.
The culture at Simpleview is the product of employees who value hard work in a relaxed and fun environment. Employees encourage each other to work hard and push their boundaries, but never at the expense of their family obligations. They challenge themselves constantly yet also have time for personal lives.
Some innovative culture practices at Simpleview include:
Personal Education Development Program – Not only are they hiring the brightest professionals, but they are also continually investing in enhancing their staff’s expertise through a personal education development program. The program provides a specified amount of funding annually for each full-time employee to take classes, attend conferences, purchase books or otherwise add to the knowledge they bring to work.
Super Bowl Monday Holiday – To allow the football fanatic employees to fully enjoy the Super Bowl without being tired for work the next day, the company decided to make Super Bowl Monday a company holiday. This allows for the rest of the week to be productive, creating a positive impact on employee engagement. This addition gives the employees 12 paid holidays.
SimpleStar Awards – To offer an outlet for employees to recognize each other and their successes, the company developed the SimpleStar program. Whether acknowledging delivering a project ahead of schedule or providing excellent customer service, the team now has a mechanism to say “Thank You” and give positive feedback. In addition, each nominated employee receives tickets for an Annual Vacation Drawing, where the company covers up to $3,500 of costs for the employee to go on vacation with their friends or family.
Simpleview offers not only best-of-breed industry technology, but also creative design and content development services, multimedia and more.
Work From Home Days – Employees that cannot come into the office and are able to work effectively from home can do so up to five times a year with no questions asked.
Return to Work Policy – After taking leave for pregnancy, injuries or other reasons, employees can ease back into the pace of work. This policy allows employees to work from home three days a week for up to three months.
Healthy Food Options – To ensure employees are eating well, Simpleview has provided low-cost vending machines full of healthy options for employees. Fruit, vegetables, milk, fruit juice, and even gluten-free snacks are available without having to leave the offices. Additionally, the company gives each employee $15 a month to use at the machines.
Simpleview ensures that the employees always stay on top of the technology through:
- Personal Education Development Program: Simpleview covers registration fees, hotel and travel expenses for employees to take classes or attend training conferences. Employees can also use this financial support to pursue certifications or further their education.
- Lunch & Learns: Held at least once a month, these hour-long company gatherings cover the latest upgrades, advancements, and solutions in the technology industry and in Simpleview product and service offerings. Dedicated trainers walk employees through the solutions put into place to address specific client challenges, the latest updates and requirements from Google, software and system enhancements, and more.
- Google Certifications: Each member of Simpleview’s Search Engine Marketing team is Google Certified in either paid search or analytics. In addition, they attend industry conferences every year that include: SES, SMX, MozCon, Pubcon, Search Love, and more to ensure they stay on top of industry best practices.
Simpleview (www.simpleviewinc.com) would like to continue the successes they’ve helped create across the U.S. and Canada and introduce similar accomplishments internationally. They’re expanding their reach in order to help DMOs around the world expand their reach, make indispensable connections, and benefit the global economy.
Ryan George’s tireless work ethic in transforming his vision into reality, coupled with his enormous entrepreneurial spirit, have driven him to spearhead one of the most forward-thinking, technology-focused companies in the tourism industry today. Technology is constantly changing and improving, and DMOs continue to play vital roles in domestic and global economies. Simpleview aims to foresee further travel and tourism industry solutions and provide the powerful tools, integral connections, and dedicated expertise to make those solutions possible and beneficial on a global scale.
They aim to continue providing innovative and leading-edge products, services, and solutions that address the clients’ concerns and improve their businesses. As the company’s vision states, they intend to remain THE standard for integrated destination marketing solutions built on experienced leadership and meaningful relationships.