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How the Best Western Edgewater Resort Increased Organic Traffic, Purchase Intent & Revenue in 7 Months
Sandpoint is a picturesque small town in northwest Idaho steeped in rich history. The Salish Tribes were the first occupants of the region which transformed into a hub for timber harvesting and railroads in the late 1890s. With the opening of the Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the early 1960s, Sandpoint evolved into the recreational paradise it is known for today – a hot spot for skiing, ice fishing and skating in the winter, and horse riding, golf and wine tasting in the summer.
Situated on the edge of Lake Pend is the Best Western Edgewater Resort, a 54-room property with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Much like the area, the Best Western Edgewater has undergone several transformations over the years. Its last major renovation was 5 years ago, with big plans for another makeover in the near future to expand the property.
Despite its idyllic location, the Best Western Edgewater Resort was struggling to increase occupancy. Part of the problem was awareness; not enough travel shoppers were finding the hotel online. Dallas Cox, Director of Sales, knew they needed to do more to increase bookings.
They decided to build on what BestWestern.com was already doing for them with a standalone hotel website. This would allow them to continue to gain exposure through BestWestern.com, while being able to tell their unique story to travel shoppers. Furthermore, a standalone website would enable them to target more localized search terms through search engines, to further boost their online “discoverability.”
The Best Western Edgewater Resort purchased a new domain (www.bestwesternedgewater.com) and engaged the help of a local media company to build the website. However, once the site was live, the support disappeared. “The company had a ‘set it and forget it’ approach,” explained Dallas.
“In order to update the website, we would make an appointment and meet at their office. It was cumbersome, labor intensive and ultimately, expensive.”
To add to this, the website couldn’t even be found by travel shoppers online. Its new domain carried no domain authority, which meant the Best Western Edgewater Resort was being outranked in search results, even for its own branded search terms.
Dallas chose to switch to Vizlly, Leonardo’s digital marketing solution, to drive more website traffic and increase conversions. With Vizlly DMS, the Best Western Edgewater received a new hotel website, mobile website, professional SEO services and Facebook Apps.
“Economy and midscale hotels don’t have full-time staff dedicated to marketing. With Leonardo, we are able to create an industry-leading website that competes with the best.”
The Best Western Edgewater Resort now has a visually-driven hotel website, optimized to drive visitors to the booking engine. Its homepage leads with high-quality images of the guest rooms and hotel amenities.
There is a dedicated page for Things to Do in the Sandpoint area, including the Schweitzer Mountain Resort and Silverwood Theme Park (attractions travel shoppers might be searching for). Its photo gallery is well organized, with plenty of photos of the property and surrounding area, to give travel shoppers a complete picture of the overall experience.
The Best Western Edgewater now also has a mobile responsive website. This is not just important for SEO, but essential to the modern-day travel shopping journey. In 2016, mobile searches overtook desktop searches for the very first time in history.
“Leonardo has got their finger on the pulse when it comes to the hotel industry and emerging trends,” said Dallas. “With our mobile website, they didn’t just adjust it to fit on a mobile screen. They optimized it by analyzing web traffic and prioritizing menu tabs for the best user experience possible.”
“Telling your hotel’s unique story is a conversation between the hotelier and the guest. Working with Leonardo, there’s a conversation that takes place between the Success Coach and the hotelier about how to tell this story best. The result is a website that delivers a compelling reason to stay at the property.”
As part of their subscription, the Best Western Edgewater also received professional SEO services. This included a competitive analysis, extensive keyword research, website content optimization and off-page activities to boost the website’s visibility in search engine results. These services were delivered by a dedicated in-house team of SEO and digital marketing experts.
Since going live with its new website and SEO strategy, the Best Western Edgewater Resort has seen overall site traffic increase by 113%, with nearly 40% of that traffic attributed to organic search.
This is a clear sign that the Best Western Edgewater Resort is being found by more travel shoppers online. Before its new SEO strategy, the Best Western Edgewater was ranking on page 6 of Google for its own brand terms, “Best Western Edgewater” and “Best Western Edgewater Sandpoint.” Thanks to Vizlly, it’s now ranking on page 1 for both of them. It’s also ranking well for non-branded search terms too, like “Sandpoint Idaho accommodations” and “Lakeside hotels in Sandpoint Idaho.”
By targeting both branded and non-branded keywords, the Best Western Edgewater increases its odds of being discovered by more travel shoppers. And once they get to the website, visitors are clearly engaged by what they see. Website bounce rates have dropped from 70% to 40%, indicating that the website content is relevant to the search query.
Purchase intent (the number of visitors clicking through to the booking engine) is also up, with 43% of all website visitors navigating to the booking engine to check rates. Twenty-six percent of these clicks are coming from organic search visitors. This indicates that the Best Western Edgewater Resort is driving quality traffic to its website; travel shoppers who are seriously looking for a hotel in Sandpoint, Idaho and ready to make a booking.
“I really appreciate that the team at Leonardo is data-driven and results-oriented. With Vizlly, we’re able to find a partner.”
While still early days, these are certainly promising results for the Best Western Edgewater Resort. In fact, in July 2017, Vizlly helped bring in $1947 in new revenue for the property. This is in addition to what Bestwestern.com is already driving. With almost $2000 in extra revenue in just one month, Dallas is seeing incredible ROI from his Vizlly subscription.
More good news followed in September 2017, with the Best Western Edgewater’s website generating more bookings than any OTA site. Over time, this will help reduce the property’s guest acquisition costs and OTA commissions, resulting in even more revenue.