AMResorts® (AMR) is North America’s fastest growing luxury leisure resort company. It is part of the brand portfolio for Apple Leisure Group, North America’s only vertically-integrated travel, hospitality, and leisure management group. AMR provides sales, marketing and brand management services to its collection of resorts, which offer high-quality Endless Privileges®, Unlimited-Luxury® and Unlimited-Fun® vacations to the luxury leisure market.
Through restructuring campaigns and performing a PPC & SEO analysis, we were able to identify significant savings on branded terms that were then re-allocated to non-brand terms. This was AMResorts first introduction to looking at search holistically. As a result, working collaboratively between the PPC and SEO division has enhanced our analyses and lead to improved performance.
Observation: Spending 99% of Paid Search Budget on Branded Terms
Dreams Resorts & Spa, a brand in the AMResorts portfolio, was spending 99% of their paid search budget on branded terms before the Seer PPC & SEO teams came on board. As a luxury leisure resort company, there is a lot of opportunity to expand into the non-brand space in order to increase awareness and remain competitive.
The AMR team wanted to increase non-brand presence without sacrificing conversion volume. With the same budget, we needed to develop a strategy to cut back on brand in order to effectively and efficiently re-allocate budget to non-branded terms.
Hypothesis: A Phased Approach to Restructure Campaigns
After on boarding in January, we analyzed the existing account and strategized our restructured approach. We broke out the campaigns by city, adding nine additional campaigns with 1,039 incremental keywords. We launched the campaigns in phases, most of which were limited by budget. We then pulled Paid Search Query Reports from Google and Organic Search Rankings from Ahrefs in order to better understand the search intent, where we are ranking, and potential saving opportunities using Power Bi.
Action: Where Have We Spent Money Where it Hasn’t Converted?
Our first step was to look at all search terms where we’ve spent money, but have not converted in Paid. A major flag was the term ‘excursion’ which was coming through on our broad match modifier variation of our brand term. Consumers who had already booked a vacation were looking for excursions that they could potentially book while they were there. In fact, our client actually uses a third party to book excursions, so this term was spending money with no return.
Upon further digging, the ‘amenities & transportation’ theme was our highest spend, non-converting bucket. These terms do not make sense for Paid to bid on, but are absolutely relevant for SEO. We spent about $1.6k per month on these terms over the past six months, equating to over $18k per year of wasted spend. Of these keywords, 96% were already ranking organically in positions 1 – 5, with 60% of these terms in position one. This is an area where we negated Paid and allowed SEO to capture the search, as we still wanted to maintain visibility on the SERP. Brand questions is another example, in which converters were inquiring about resort-specific details (how many stars are dreams resorts, what is the best time to go to dreams, etc.) While relevant to Organic, we’re only ranking 27% in positions 1 – 10. This is a huge area of opportunity for our SEO team to expand our content.
Findings & Impact: $43K in Savings & Increased Non-Brand Presence
Not only have we identified $43k in savings to re-allocate towards non-brand, we have already started seeing success in the reallocation. With 183x higher click volume YoY, we’ve experienced a 9.4k% increase in Check Availability, one of our main KPIs, and 5 additional transactions.
“Our team recognized an opportunity for us to more efficiently maximize our PPC investment by taking a more holistic approach to search. Given the highly competitive landscape in the travel industry as it pertains to search, it was historically difficult for our team to remain competitive in the non-branded keyword space. Working with the Seer team to supplement branded PPC spend with equivalent organic SERP (while continuing to mature and optimize both our PPC campaigns and organic search strategy) will allow us to get more creative and focused with those funds.” – Rob Giannone Digital Analytics Manager
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