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Mattsonmaps Releases First “Tools“ Software for Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Websites on Three Sites


With three initial installations and pending contracts for two others, including the national tourism site for Ghana, Mattsonmaps recently launched TravelTools — a one-of-a-kind software application that handles DMO website tools such as like maps, events, and itinerary-builders. In developing TravelTools, Mattsonmaps firmly believes that the industry needs a software application for common tools as much as it needs CMS applications for site content. Mattsonmaps plans on expanding the tool market horizontally in that its software represents economies that can be passed along to even small DMOs and organizations of all sizes that are feeling the crunch of a slowing global economy.

Given the importance and expense associated with managing content on typical DMO websites, the competitive environment for servicing the first of these needs—content management systems—is exceedingly fierce bringing widespread economies based on standardization, ease of use, and the streamlining of routine tasks.

Curiously, comprehensive solutions for web tools don’t exist. As a default, organizations employ individual contractors or ask their own workers to code tool widgets on an installation-by-installation, solution-by-solution basis. To be fair, many of these solutions work like crazy, but issues of tool development, management and evolution have not benefited from essential “systems thinking approaches” in the same way that the industry has benefited from solutions surrounding web content and member management. Company President Mark Mattson wonders why. "If tools are essential to promoting a multi-billion dollar industry, it would make sense to have applications that are up to the task.

The company’s early success draws upon joint marketing research with the Rohrer Business School at Rowan University during which senior marketing students surveyed 650 destination marketing organizations and found that more than half wanted to upgrade their sites. Most of those surveyed wanted tools, but couldn’t afford them or didn’t know where to find solutions"

The survey also found that tool solutions are not easily understandable on a technological level and that they are expensive to develop, upgrade, and operate. 87% of the survey’s respondents paid outsiders to develop tool applications. Furthermore, many felt trapped by their purchases—feeling locked into “existing solutions” as their financial resources diminished and their needs for tools increased. Moreover, the existing approach to tool acquisition and development delivered varying levels of satisfaction in terms of product equity, agility, or standardized efficiencies. At the end of the day, 64% of respondents complained of a lack of manpower despite costly investments in tool technologies that were originally made for the very purpose of decreasing organizational workloads. 32% were also displeased with the technology that they had purchased and wanted “newer solutions,” and 30% complained about pricing and customer service associated with their tool purchases or acquisitions.

Mattson adds, “Since tools can’t be bought as unified software packages the way that ”content management systems“ can, the costs and inefficiencies associated with custom software development are far-reaching in terms of an organization’s ability to compete in a global climate of economic scarcity. Our gut feelings are supported by our survey responses.”

Consider: 69% of respondents said that they knew what they needed, but lacked the resources to orchestrate better technology solutions in an online market that has exploded to 80% of the 120 million U.S. travelers in 2009. As a result, 60% of respondent websites lacked “truly interactive” mapping capacities, 53% lacked itinerary builders, and 70% were incapable of gathering important marketing data from visitors.

To bridge the gap between what destination marketers need and the limits imposed by “scarce resources,” Mattson concluded that the destination marketing industry needed an integrated software solution for destination marketing tools. Furthermore, he has developed one called TravelTools— a proprietary web-based software application that monetizes, streamlines, and economizes the day-to-day operations of websites run by destination marketing organizations. Within 72 hours, Mattson’s team will install an easy-to-use, totally integrated software solution that manages a DMO site’s membership listings, attractions, events, visitor itineraries, maps, newsletters, sponsorships, advertisements, announcements, hot deals, marketing data, and conferences. Not only that, the system is totally integrated with client data and graphics. Finally, because the system is so economical, Mattson hopes to reach out to the hundreds of smaller DMOs that can’t afford the expensive systems that their larger competitors can. "We want to democratize destination marketing by bringing world-class capacity to everyone. Smaller and larger organizations alike place the same value on tourism dollars. It’s not right that some destinations show well in the market while others are priced-out missing opportunities to promote great, smaller places.”



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