|Where Do Our Metrics Come From?
The percentage ranges that I give for each metric are not something you can look up on the Web. Nor are they something you will hear about at your next Web Master Web Expert seminar. Nor will any of the "Officials" know what they are. The percentages are unique to our Twin Lake Area tourism industry. Why?
These are metrics that come from years of real-world Twin Lakes Area tourism marketing - we started in early 1995. They are a combination of traffic report results compared to both successful and failed resort operations. They are tried, tested, and proven accurate over and over again. The metrics are what has evolved from constant observation. You can't do something for over 15 years without noticing the obvious!
Yes, the actual counts will change from year to year. But the percentages do not. And that is why metrics are such powerful tools. Knowledge is the currency of the New Economy. Knowledge comes from scientifically proven progress in any discipline. Metrics create that currency. Applied knowledge is the key to survival.
Why Our View Point On Traffic Is Different
We've seen a lot of small resort tax returns and profit and loss statements. Financially speaking we've seen what works, and what does not in small resort promotion. No, we sure have not seen it all, there is always more to learn. But we've seen the majority of what has worked and what has not. Within a few percentage points we know what expenses will be for various types of operations. And we know within a percentage range what gross sales will be for any given size operation.
It is not hard for us to compare financial metrics to traffic metrics, and then see what has worked and what has not. Yet we obviously see things in this process that no other advertising sales group is going to see. That is the advantage we have had, and that is why our approach is so different.
It does not take an advanced degree to do the simple math involved. It just takes time, over many years, for the real patterns to emerge.
We have learned a great deal from the 148 resort owners we have worked with since 1995. We have seen some wonderful success stories, and we've seen some painful failures. We've pulled more than one operation out of certain bankruptcy with good advertising. And we've seen a few resort owners become true millionaires. We have had programs which were total failures, and we've had programs that produced mind-blowing good results. Most results have been somewhere in between.
I have worked with several small resort support services such as lawyers, CPAs, loan officers, title agents, and appraisers who are either managing a resort bankruptcy, or a profitable resort sale. I have learned from them, and they learn from me. Your average ad salesperson or Web Master has not had these experiences. Our perspective goes far beyond just how to make a Web site.
To earn my R.S.P.S designation (Resort and Second Home Property Specialist) from the National Association of Realtors I had to take several classes dealing with the math of the resort market all across America. Again, this is something no others can claim that gives me a unique perspective.
History Repeats Itself
Because of all these "resorting" experiences I can look at small resort traffic reports and tell who is having a great year and who is not. These report metrics don't come from a book, or from some expert standing on a stage in a seminar somewhere. I am not repeating back what I have heard somewhere else. These are metrics I have observed and identified from the real world of Twin Lakes Area tourism. These are the same metrics Mary and I have used to boost the annual gross sales of several resort operations.
I've also had hundreds, if not thousands of conversations with resort owners about how we can boost their sales via good Web promotions. These efforts were good experiments in co-operation on improving sales. And each year as I run yet more traffic reports, I see the same percentages for all these metrics that I have seen for many years.
There are resort operations that make good money. Others barely get by. And we have pulled more than one out of bankruptcy with good Web advertising. The metrics match each of these success levels on a predictable basis within a range of about 10%.
The point is 2Cooleys have seen what works very well, what is average, and what fails. I've seen this for almost 15 years. And I've watched it all happen through traffic reports. I can reduce the process to a scientific and mathematical process. This is how the Venture Capital firms who were responsible for the growth of companies like Federal Express managed their efforts. This is the same process many corporate managers use today.
While I never discuss locations, names, and confidential details of individual operations, these percentage metrics are taken from the successful, the average, and the break-even operations. The metrics are real world data, as real as you can get.
.Written August 2008 by Gary Cooley