CRM brings creature comforts to vacationers

Next time your favourite resort remembers your preference for goose down pillows and Dr. Pepper, you may have FileMaker Inc. to thank.

British Columbia’s Nimmo Bay

adventure resort recently implemented FileMaker Pro with successful results after outgrowing it predecessor.

“We had a customer relations program called Maximizer which we grew with until about 2001,” said Steve Davis, vice-president of media and communications for Nimmo Bay. “It filled a lot of needs, but left a lot not taken care of.”

Davis worked with local FileMaker developer Kathy Berndt to develop the database, which took approximately two months to go live. Davis estimates the development cost at around $15,000.

The company decided to make the change after running into support and scalability problems with Maximizer. Out-of-the-box CRM systems didn’t meet their needs, but custom-built databases like Oracle and dBase were cost-prohibitive. “The solutions available to us weren’t scalable,” Davis added.

The resort had put reliability and ease-of-use foremost among its goals, alongside cost.

“We thought, where can we be on a platform where we’re not crashing and losing data, and where the software is keeping up?” said Davis.

The company, which offers high-end hospitality and adventure packages such as helicopter touring, caving and fly fishing, found FileMaker Pro allowed them a more personalized level of customer attention.

“We might have the same person return two years later, but now we don’t have to remember from four years ago what their favourite drink was. So we’ve been able to extend our level of service,” said Davis. “Now we have several diferent reports for every tour group, which have their names, birthdays, dietary preferences, if they like down or feather pillows, if they have signed fishing licenses, and so on.”

On an infrastructure level, FileMaker Pro has streamlined the booking process, making it easier for Nimmo Bay to do business efficiently. Davis said that customers are surprised at how much the FileMaker Pro system has improved booking.

“They find it surprising now when we instantly are able to say, ‘that date is available,’ whereas before we had to write it down and see if it was possible, and maybe get back to them later that day,” he said.

“Now at the click of a button we can jump to a month with a visual layout and see which spaces are available and what types of trips are available and when, down to how many seats are free on the helicopter.”

Nimmo Bay’s remote location posed some unique challenges in terms of data management. The resort, located at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, lacks t

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