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How Vizlly Helped Boost Online Exposure While Decreasing Digital Marketing Costs
Located an hour’s drive east of Orlando, and minutes from Florida’s fastest growing seaside gateway, Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach is the quintessential beach town; a perfect place for travelers to relax, unwind, and slow down.
But slowing down isn’t the kind of thing hotels in the area want to experience! Business should be booming in this tropical paradise, but it wasn’t for the Beach Place Guesthouses.
This 17-unit property, located right on the beach, was struggling to fill its rooms. The owner, located miles away on the west coast, decided to engage the guidance of Alpha Hotel Group, a hotel management company that specializes in helping distressed hotels transform their property’s profitability.
“Our speciality is to take underperforming hotels, analyze them, and set up a business and marketing plan to turn that property around and get its fair share of the market,” explained Anup Shah, CEO of Alpha Hotel Group.
Accustomed to advising hotels in the mid-market (150-200 rooms), Anup was initially reluctant to take on the Beach Place Guesthouses. But, in the end, he couldn’t ignore the obvious potential of this unique property.
Alpha Hotel Group quickly got to work on addressing the missing elements needed to transform the Beach Place Guesthouses – an experienced management team, stellar guest experience, and an effective digital marketing strategy.
“Reputation today is the game changer. It’s not one thing, it’s everything together.”
Alpha Hotel Group started by appointing a new manager with resort experience, who introduced an improved high-end level of customer service for the property. This savvy manager expanded on its unique amenities, with complimentary yoga classes, bonfires on the beach, a rec room for entertainment, and a concierge service. Guests clearly liked the upgraded experience. The Beach Place Guesthouses now has an impressive 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor and is ranked #1 in Specialty Lodgings in Cocoa Beach.
With guest satisfaction improving, the Beach Place Guesthouses needed to get the word out. Enter Vizlly, our digital marketing solution for hotels. The first priority for the Beach Place Guesthouses was to gain more exposure on third-party channels. It started leveraging Vizlly’s digital brochures (formerly known as VBrochure) in 2015.
With Vizlly, Beach Place created targeted digital brochures containing photos, video, virtual tours, captions and descriptive text, to distribute their unique story to 200+ third-party travel websites via VNetwork, the world’s largest media syndication network.
“It worked. We suddenly started seeing we were everywhere. Before Vizlly, we never had that kind of exposure.”
With an enhanced digital presence on third party sites like Concur, Expedia, Priceline and the GDS (Global Distribution System), and a new management strategy, Beach Place Guesthouses doubled its business in the first 12 months!
Riding on the wave of this success, Anup then turned his attention to the property’s own website.
Their independent website should have been Beach Place’s most profitable booking channel, but it was underperforming and proving to be very expensive to maintain.
“We weren’t happy with the website company were using. The costs were high and every time we wanted to make a change we’d have to pay more. The SEO and results were lacklustre.”
So, in early 2017, Anup decided to complete his end-to-end marketing strategy by upgrading his Vizlly subscription. Now Beach Place has a fresh and conversion driven website, mobile website, a suite of Facebook Apps, along with SEO services to increase qualified traffic and improve direct bookings.
The website now conveys the value of the property and justifies its higher-than-average ADR of $250/night. The homepage features high-impact visuals that showcase the property’s close proximity to the beach, beautiful outdoor spaces, and cozy guest rooms. A simple navigation menu highlights the property’s unique features, including Weddings, Concierge, Yoga, Special Offers and things to do at Cocoa Beach. All of this is carried over to a mobile responsive website that provides travel shoppers with a seamless user experience on any device.
In just a few months, the Beach Place Guesthouse is already seeing strong results with Vizlly.
Decreased Digital Marketing Costs
Anup has seen website costs decrease by 40%, which can be attributed to reduced monthly licensing fees and SEO expenses.
In a 3 month period, his new Vizlly-powered website had more than 11,000 visitors, and almost 1 million media views (number of images viewed on the website). This is a clear indication that travel shoppers are engaged with the website and interested in seeing what their anticipated experience would be like as a guest. An impressive 34% of all website visitors are clicking through to the booking engine to check rates and availability – well above the industry average of 20-25%.
Even though the Beach Place Guesthouses is a destination property, with the majority of bookings being made 3 months in advance, a whopping 50% of all website visitors are coming from mobile. Having a mobile responsive website ensures it can cater to travel shoppers anywhere, increasing the likelihood of winning more direct bookings!
Qualified traffic and a conversion driven website go hand-in-hand – both are needed for success! Beach Place Guesthouses’ Vizlly license includes a dedicated Vizlly Success Team that specializes in SEO and online marketing techniques. These consultants created a tailored SEO strategy based on keyword research and competitive analysis. They then developed targeted content according to best practices in digital marketing to build out a modern website, mobile website, Facebook Apps and 3rd party brochures.
While it’s early days, the Beach Place Guesthouses is already seeing some promising SEO results. A search for the term “cocoa beach cottages” reveals the Beach Place Guesthouses ranking FIRST in Google’s Local Listing – arguably the best organic listing you can have on the Search Engine Results Page. And a more targeted search for “wedding venue on ocean cocoa beach” has the Beach Place Guesthouses ranking #6 in Google’s search results. These are amazing results considering SEO is a long-term game and can take months to climb in organic search rankings. “The results have been very good. We’re pretty happy.”
So what’s next for the Beach Place Guesthouses? “We want to expand international visitors to the property and I think Vizlly can help us get there,” says Anup. “Without Vizlly, it would be difficult to get new guests and the outreach we need.”
Anup also plans to convert more hotels under the Alpha Hotel Group’s portfolio over to Vizlly in the near future.
“We want to use Vizlly to achieve the same for our other properties, and any new properties we take on.”
Alpha Hotel Group, a member of AAHOA, the largest hotel owners association in the world, is well on its way to delivering on their promise of a complete transformation. Beach Place Guesthouses is attracting, converting and retaining guests through an improved and differentiated service offering, using smart and contemporary marketing techniques.