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EQ Case Study on Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos

Riding in the 1952 Mercury truck as part of "A Culinary Journey through Canada's Desert"

Destination British Columbia recently signed an agreement with Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission) that gives all tourism stakeholders in BC free access to the Explorer Quotient (EQ), a market segmentation tool based on social and travel values, motivations and behaviours. The following is an example of how one BC resort has been using EQ over the past few years, with great success.
 
The award-winning Watermark Beach Resort in downtown Osoyoos has a wealth of attributes to draw travellers. By using the EQ tool, the management team at Watermark are marketing to their best customers—with outstanding results.
 
Watermark is located on over 300 metres of sandy beach along the shores of Osoyoos Lake. The four-storey, 153-suite property consists of a main building and 30 beachfront townhomes. Under the leadership of General Manager and VP of Business Development Ingrid Jarrett, the resort has been systematically using EQ as a product and market development tool since 2010.
 
Jarrett first learned about EQ at Rendez-vous Canada. Jarrett then worked closely with Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission) and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) to implement product and market development activities using EQ.  
 
As a first step, the team reviewed research from Destination Canada and TOTA, looked at the types of guest experiences that could be offered in the Osoyoos area, and then decided which EQ types to target. Using EQ, Watermark was able to market to individuals most likely to book a trip. As such, marketing activities across channels were developed with an EQ lens, using language and images that appeal to the specific emotive drivers of their target EQ types. 
 
Jarrett has become a passionate advocate of this psychographic segmentation tool. The Watermark team now works with many local businesses and community organizations to develop products and events to attract visitors. The work has resulted in a number of exciting developments such as the Canadian Signature Experience “A Culinary Journey through Canada’s Desert” in conjunction with Covert Farms. These events and experiences were crafted to appeal to target EQ types, are promoted accordingly, and are helping to drive bookings:  for example a recent “Pig Out” wine and food event at Covert Farms was sold out. Working with local partners has been critical to the success in implementing EQ as part of a product development and marketing strategy. 
 
Watermark currently leads its competitive set in revenue per available room (RevPar)—and with outstanding guest reviews, the results speak for themselves. Jarrett says, “We knew the strategy was hitting the mark when guests were heard using the same language to describe their experiences as recommended in the EQ research.” Through EQ and an engaged approach to business development, Watermark has also earned a number of prestigious awards, including being inducted into the TripAdvisor 2015 Hall of Fame after five consecutive years of receiving Certificates of Excellence. Okanagan Life Readers Choice Awards gave Watermark the distinction of Best Chef; Best Place to Have a Meeting and Best Wine Bar in the South Okanagan. This year they were also named as one of Canada’s best summer resorts for families by Today’s Parent Magazine. 
 
Watermark and local partners like Covert Farms offer truly inspiring experiences crafted with insights from EQ, prompting guests to give rave reviews to their family and friends about their trips to Osoyoos. 
 
Visit Destination BC’s EQ resources page for more information about EQ and how your business can leverage this powerful tool.
 
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