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Thomson Al Fresco

THE CLIENT

Al Fresco Holidays is an award-winning camping and mobile home operator providing holidays at destinations in France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Austria and the Netherlands.

The operator specialises in family camping holidays, and asked PushON and Brazen PR to deliver a digital marketing strategy to increase brand presence and sales via Al Fresco’s website.

THE CHALLENGE

Al Fresco Holidays aim to make holidays personal by capitalising on the fact consumers spend more time choosing their holidays than five years previous. To do this, they needed to engage consumers considering making a purchase, helping them find the right resort, facilities and attractions for their needs.

Al Fresco’s recognition in search engines and in the blogosphere was low in comparison to other, more established international competitors. These companies had been competing in the online space for many years and have dominated search rankings. They also had greater reach as they are part of the same group and have a higher number of parks to sell.

The business had a very limited usage of social media with no substantial presence on any key social network. Online mentions of the brand were also limited with little online interaction being had with its existing customer base. There was also limited blog coverage on the business and this not only had an impact on the brand visibility, but also reduced the volume of inbound links that are naturally acquired as a result of PR activity.

What’s more, there had been little SEO taking place and Al Fresco’s highest converting keywords were for brand specific key terms and as a result the majority of where Al Fresco Holiday’s traffic was coming from.

The business needed to draw more business from long or short tail keywords. The changing nature of the sector meant it was an area Al Fresco Holidays needed to quickly become established in. This fundamental need would drive the strategy forward, with PushON needing to position the company as a family friendly holiday operator online.

Other objectives included:

    • Tapping into the personalised way consumers use search and social media to research their holidays
    • Increase sales by 20%
    • Maximise search engine visibility ahead of the peak holiday booking period of January and February, by achieving page one search visibility for 90% of the companies park locations
    • Increased sales during this key period
    • Maximise visibility during the down season
    • Tightly integrate online and offline marketing initiatives to drive increased sales
    • Increase the number of affiliates by 20%
    • Increase brand awareness online by 20%
       ”

THE STRATEGY

Before commencing the campaign, PushON undertook a technical assessment of the website to ensure it was built to web standards and maximising user conversion.

Then the SEO strategy was put in place. A strategic site map was created to maximise the amount of search traffic based around Al Fresco’s resort locations and offering.

Park specific terms were then targeted. This was a key part of the campaign as many other operators have allocations on the same parks, so it was very important that Al Fresco competed for a share those search these terms.

A PR, social media strategy which used media relations, Facebook, Twitter and a blog was put in place to help personalise Al Fresco’s brand presence and drive customers to the website. These tactics all aided the business in competing for long tail keywords relating to all its holiday destinations and build links for SEO.

In addition to this activity, PushON worked with Brazen to identify and build relationships with key travel bloggers and journalists, especially those who publish online and would provide authoritative inbound links.

The PR strategy also mirrored and amplified the digital marketing strategy. For example, park by park PR competitions and reviews were set up to mirror the activity taking place online, via social media and on the blog.

THE RESULTS

Our strategy allowed savvy holiday consumers to discover the perfect holiday for them, whether they were looking via Google search, social media or traditional print titles.

The strategy worked and PushON achieved the following:

        • Increased overall website traffic by 49% thus raising further awareness
        • Increased direct revenue by 12% in just five months
        • Increased the number of brochures requested by consumers by 120%
        • Increased visibility in search by achieving page one rankings for 48 of the 54 holiday parks
        • Increased brand searches by 15%
           ”
PPC SEO and Social Media Affiliate Marketing
Revenue Up 60% Up 29% Up 11%
Bookings Up 80% Up 30% Up 10%
Other Page one rankings for 183 target terms Signed up 92 new affiliates

In addition to park specific or holiday specific searches, brand searches remain critical to success in the travel sector online, and PushON worked with Brazen to improve the level of brand searches over the course of the year. As a result of the company’s collaborative effort increased brand searches by 7% when compared with the previous year.

Also key were seasonal successes during the peak sales period of January and February. Much of PushON’s work was geared toward the two key sales months of the year. These are January and February. Over these two months PushON helped to achieve an additional 27% in revenue when compared with the same period last year.

PushON took over the PPC campaign from another agency in early October 2011 and looked to refine and expand the campaign. While spending levels remained the same, traffic and sales increased significantly and the campaign had become much more effective. Less wasted clicks were being delivered and more targeted traffic was being driven to the site. PushON expanded the campaign through the use of other Pay Per Click channels such as Microsoft Adcentre. Targeted landing pages were also created.

By working hard at building relationships with these influencers, not only did Thomson Al Fresco benefit from influential coverage from bloggers and travel writers but also acquired authoritative and high quality inbound links from domains such as The Daily Mail and Travel Supermarket.

This activity was heavily up-weighted ahead of the year end to ensure that the crucial January and February sales period was targeted.

As a result of these efforts, Al Fresco was now genuinely reaching consumers at every step of the buying cycle, from initial research to purchase, whether they were looking generically for camping holidays or country based terms.

Brand research showed that typically, once consumers had completed their research and engaged with the brand online, or read about it via PR coverage, they knew what type of holiday they were looking for, they would typically turn to Google above any other media to finalise their purchase using brand related searches. Thankfully due to all the combined digital marketing efforts, Al Fresco was ranking well for key search terms, benefiting from increased traffic and – critically – converting these customers in to sales.

Get in touch with PushON today to discuss your internet marketing requirements and to find out about growing your business online.