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Center Parcs saves £1m in DM costs

LONDON – Short-break holiday company Center Parcs Europe has saved almost £1m in direct marketing costs and boosted revenues by the same amount after employing DataDistilleries software to improve its targeting.

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Center Parcs said it reduced the costs of direct marketing campaigns by 46% during 2001, equivalent to a saving of almost £1m after using the predictive analytical software, which allows companies to better target potential customers, increasing the effectiveness of its direct marketing campaigns.

At the same time, Center Parcs said the number of bookings for accommodation and accompanying leisure facilities increased significantly, resulting in a £1m increase in revenue.

The change saw Center Parcs shake up its direct marketing strategy, which previously involved sending two bulk mailings per year.

Using DataDistilleries, Center Parcs now accurately predicts individual customer needs, contacting only those customers that are likely to respond to a campaign. This has resulted in a reduction of mailing costs by over 50%.

These campaigns are now followed by several small but highly targeted campaigns to sell remaining accommodation or to cross-sell additional facilities.

These targeted campaigns generate £1m in additional revenue for Center Parcs, which competes with short-break rivals such as Pontins and Butlins. Center Parcs is targeted principally at the family market and has four UK holiday villages. It also operates in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Richard Verhoeff, director of e-commerce at Center Parcs, said: "Time to market is crucial to the success of our marketing campaigns. What makes DataDistilleries' offering so compelling is the ability to build highly targeted campaigns in just a few hours."

Earlier this year, Center Parcs appointed WWAV Rapp Collins North to overhaul its customer marketing activity.

The company is developing an aggressive strategy to build its share. WWAV North is responsible for developing Center Parcs' customer communications strategy, including focusing on building relationships. The brief is thought to be worth over £3m.

WWAV North took over the Center Parcs' business after it parted company with Euro RSCG Direct.

"In the current economic climate, companies are focusing on tactical investments that leverage their existing infrastructure to generate benefits in just a few months. The example of Center Parcs fits this footprint exactly," Marcel Holsheimer, president and founder of DataDistilleries, said.

Center Parcs UK's database is managed by databse marketing firm Talking Numbers.

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