We know that your job in sales is to effectively describe your business, location, venue, space or event in order to increase potential customers. When one of our members is exceptional in how they succeed in achieving this task, we think sharing their success story is newsworthy!
This week we spoke with Maegan Sullivan, Black Oak Casino Resort’s Hotel Sales Manager in Northern California. In this Insider piece, Maegan shares her secrets with us how TrueTour® solves significant challenges for her in communicating her resort to guests from around the world.
Read on for some great ideas you can copy and try yourself!
Visiting Media: Can you tell us a little bit about Black Oak Casino Resort, and your role there?
Maegan: Well, this is where I would actually bring out our TrueTour and show you our resort in detail! [laughter]
Located in Tuolumne, California, Black Oak Casino Resort has been in operation 16 years and counting. We started with humble beginnings and we have proudly transformed this location into a stunning resort, fully equipped with 1300 slot machines and 26 table games along with our new poker room opening in April 2018. We’ve just renovated our Willow Creek Lounge, which seats just under 300 and contains our 16’ by 18’ jumbotron TV screen. We attract extraordinary events, many corporate events, private events, fun events, adventurous events, remarkable events, celebrations and parties. Visitors come from all over the world.
The Hotel has 148 rooms with 5 different suites to offer an amazing experience while immersing you in relaxation and rejuvenating your peace of mind. Our Hotel GM, Ronaldo Pascual, is 5-star class and very meticulous, for paying attention to every detail. He keeps our Hotel looking brand new and being in sales, this is certainly appreciated!
There are so many fun features – it really requires something like TrueTour to show off in full. I haven’t even told you about the 24-lane bowling alley or our 8 restaurants and bars yet!
Visiting Media: Ha. Exactly. Well, tell us a little bit about the Go West 2018 event. What was the purpose of attending this trade show, and what were you hoping to achieve there?
Maegan: It’s a large convention that we attend every year. The other show we’ll attend is a Midwest show called NTA, and then finally an East Coast show, which is called IPW. The Go West is obviously what it means: “Come to the western states.” It tends to attract companies from around the world interested in traveling to Yosemite, California. For larger tour operator companies, it is worth coming to a trade show like this one to speak with hoteliers and operators who can help plan their touring season and large events.
For example, I have this group from China that I met with at last year’s event. I created the tour schedule for them to fly into San Francisco, come stay over in Yosemite with us for a few nights, and then fly out of Los Angeles. So my job at the Go West convention is to educate some of the potential customers and assist them with incorporating this area easily into their travel plans, which maximizes their exposure to this magnificent landscape.
“My job is to create a visual road map of what it looks like here. I have to be ready to field hundreds of possible questions that come at me all day long, every day, during the convention. TrueTour is how I accomplish that.”
Visiting Media: What kind of questions do you get asked at the convention, and how do you go about answering these questions effectively?
Maegan: Questions I field at the trade show include, “How do I get there?” “What amenities does the resort property offer?” “What can people do while they’re here?” “What do the rooms look like?” “How do you get around?”
Honestly, our rooms are twice as large as you would find at most resort locations. We want to promote our spaciousness and accommodate to international markets, offering special accommodations for our guests from around the world.
So with that said, nobody likes paper. The audience at the convention travel from all over the world and they conduct approximately fifteen-hundred appointments over a two-day period – each appointment is seven minutes long. So, I have seven minutes to present and 65 appointments over two days. That’s a lot of quick-fire talking!
Visiting Media: Sounds like there are two problems you had to solve – how to reduce the paper burden, and how to deliver the huge amount of information in just seven minutes! How did you solve both of these problems?
Maegan: We came to Visiting Media to solve this first problem of replacing paper promo materials. You may think this is a small issue, but it’s actually a huge deal for this industry. Imagine traveling from China or India, having to attend upwards of 80 meetings. Each meeting hands you a paper media kit… We’ve often seen attendees who have had to purchase additional suitcases just to transport their paper brochures and convention documents home. And, frankly, much of it ends up unread and in the trash.
TrueTour solved a huge problem for us! Suddenly, we could share a simple link with potential guests and convention attendees. This helped us in so many ways! We could give them MORE information in LESS time. They adored us for lessening their load, which made them feel like we cared more for them, and would take better care of their group. They were more inclined to share our TrueTour with their decision-makers back home, and we became more memorable. Simply put, we stood out from everyone else.
Sharing a link rather than simply handing out a brochure also connects us to the recipient in the future. TrueTour becomes an actual lead generator. When we share TrueTour from within TrueTour, every single email – both from the sender and the receiver – gets stored in our dashboard. We can then follow up with an email, we can notify when information has been updated, we can advertise a special event or discount, and we can track who shares to whom. All of this is done for us automatically by TrueTour! Imagine the time we save not having to frantically track down people’s information on the spot, or collect business cards in glass bowls on the table tops… We can focus on the quality of our conversations, not on the quantity of brochures we hand out!
“…this process of emailing a link to my TrueTour is perfect. It just bridges the whole entire world honestly. It also connects us to our community in a profoundly effective way. The PartnerList lets us connect to tourism and local attractions so much better than our competition!”
Sending video links is also something we have struggled with over seas. You can’t send YouTube videos over to China or Brazil or the Philippines, it doesn’t comply. But, TrueTour offers solution to that. So this process of emailing a link to my TrueTour is perfect. It just bridges the whole entire world honestly.
Visiting Media: We love hearing that! The trade show environment is really a microcosm of the sales cycle, don’t you think? What other ways do you share information?
Maegan: Again, it’s really being able to answer questions effectively. I think that is why we do so well at these events, because we aren’t just distributing thousands of brochures and give-aways into your bag as you walk by. We’re here to listen to what you need, and supply you with valuable information in a deliverable format that is fun and easy to share. With TrueTour, we are sharing our photo gallery, videos, PDF brochures, 360˚ photos… everything in a single link I can text to you or email you!
The delivery platform becomes as much fun as the information it contains. So, not only am I telling my appointments about my property, but they are totally interested in how I was providing the information. They wanted to know how does TrueTour work? I’m sharing photos with them and I’m just making everything so simple and seamless. Not to mention, the VR goggle icon was super easy to use. This next show, I plan on bringing my cardboard VR goggles to provide people at their appointment table so that they can experience it on their own.
Visiting Media: So fun! As a side note, are you aware of the new PDF gallery?
Maegan: Yes, actually I just used it! A colleague sent me an amazing article about Horsetail Fall in Yosemite. I was able to upload this internal PDF to my TrueTour, showing everyone how gorgeous this area is around El Capitan. There’s no way we would have had the time to produce a hard copy of this in time. With the PDF gallery, I was able to increase our marketing value for ZERO additional dollars, and very little time.
Again, respecting the guests by not sending them email after email, I’m able to increase the value of my TrueTour without having to send confusing or random links. I can simply inform them to look at the link I’ve already provided them via text message or email – which stays the same – to view the updated information. How cool is that?
Every time I include something new I get a new opportunity to send out my TrueTour link to my contacts. So, after, during and before a trade show, now it’s this cool marketing tool or sales tool. “Hey, come look at what I’ve added to my Visiting Media TrueTour.” I get pretty excited about how fun this is, not to mention, very effective!
Visiting Media: And so you mention that it took about eight months for you to get your TrueTour really dialed. Was that a frustrating process for you? Or were there any challenges where we could have made your life easier?
Maegan: No. I believe it’s an ongoing process. I had to figure it all out with the Happiness Team. I was sort of overthinking the process. I would have to say it was a learning process because this is obviously new technology – or at least a new way of thinking about creating a virtual brochure for sales. I’ve worked with a few of these types of dashboards in the past so it was very simple and seamless to integrate all of the information once I realized the potential of it all. I really appreciated having the Happiness Team’s help to get through this. It must require some patience on Happiness’ part to educate us on the potential of TrueTour.
Visiting Media: Thankfully, that’s what we love!
Maegan: One thing I want to make sure I point out is that I’ve noticed that every idea that I have around this virtual brochure for sales, there always seems to be a solution within TrueTour. That’s just remarkable, and that’s the beauty of this membership. I really love the analogy you guys shared with my team – it’s like an empty bucket that you can keep continuously filling in and adding to. If I have a bigger idea, there’s always a way, and that’s just perfect!
Visiting Media: Thank you so much for saying that. That actually just warms my heart. That means a lot to us!
We learned so much about The Black Oak Casino Resort and how TrueTour plays a major part in their business during the interview. Many thanks to Maegan for discussing her TrueTour experience with us. We hope that you were able to take away some great feedback from this insider post. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Join the conversation in the comments below.
I am the Hotel Sales Manager and am so proud to represent the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and Black Oak Casino Resort. I love my career and I love the fact that I’m inviting people from all walks of life to experience what I love. My focus is group sales for corporate, or any group that would like to experience this amazing Tuolumne County and the Yosemite area. I have been part of Black Oak Casino Resort family for one year and 5 months however am a student of life with a ‘major’ sales background.
In regards to my “convention season” I travel across the nation attending 3 major conventions each year. Which are, Go West, NTA, IPW. Each of these shows bring quality opportunities through 7-12 minute appointments over a 2-3 days period. I have only minutes to prove to these appointments why I’m the best location for their guests to travel to.
In the past, I would point at a map of California and circle with a highlighter my town. Yikes! There has to be a better way and then along comes Visiting Media! Now my appointments, guests, and prospective clients actually are immersing themselves in my Resort!