I have now spent just over 1 year marketing and taking bookings for our cottage in Nethybridge it has been a very interesting experiment in niche web marketing. We decided that from the outset we would focus our marketing on families who were typically using the North of Scotland as a second holiday destination (they didn’t book this as their only holiday in the year).
As you would expect this did mean that most of our marketing effort was focused at selling the school holiday weeks. Having looked at a range of marketing options from becomin Visitscotland accredited to national newspaper advertising (the Scotsman has a good holiday section but only a circulation of 60,000) we decided to focus on online activity only.
Although a brave move at the time this has paid dividends. We have exceeded out annual expectation of rentals and have nudged the rental rates up a little for 2008.
So what have we learned?
We initially focused on Google adwords and here are the results.
We had reasonable traffic from Google adwords but we were focusing on a very small keyword “nethybridge”, “nethy bridge” and “aviemore cottage”. So anyone looking for a very small geographic area was shown an add linking to the site. The great thing is that this destination is really cheap costing less that 12p a click. Here are the clicks we had (only from adwords)
This gave us some reasonable volume of traffic and good conversion to enquiries. We have included a online calendar to cut down the number of enquiries that are repeat in late 2007.
The traffic source split was:
The referring site is the Nethybridge tourist association (www.nethybridge.com) who have an excellent site on Nethybridge but it is quite difficult to find out that you can find holiday homes etc on the site.
My second strand of marketing was on SEO which has really allowed me to cut the budget on adwords significantly without reducing the number of enquiries.
So here is the best bit. We managed to get the cost of booking (excluding time spent on online marketing) down to £3.00 per booking over the last 12 months, which is excellent and I am not sure it can be matched by any of the national campaigns. So for under £100 we generated significant bookings and a good database of family clients.
Remember we only started last year so I am very pleased – we had no goodwill or word of mouth that I am sure will help in 2008.