During the economic downturn in late 2009, The Reefs in Bermuda opened a new spa and private residence club. The 64-room luxury resort, which has a high repeat guest rate, needed to both sell real estate and increase hotel stays by expanding its customer base.
The Reefs was about to launch a new search engine optimized website for both the hotel and Club. Previously, they had two separate sites.
- To increase web visits
- To generate top-of-mind awareness in past guests and new prospects of The Reefs’ experience
- To expand The Reefs database
To launch the new site MP&A created an online contest that turned loyal guests into advocates and generated interest in the property among prospects and the media.
For February, the month of love, The Reefs created the “Show Your Love” contest and asked past guests to share a favorite experience in 500 words. Entries were narrowed to seven finalists, posted on the website and voted on by the public. Public voting provided an opportunity to expose the resort experience via strong testimonials to new prospects. A vacation giveaway to both the winning story and a randomly selected voter provided an incentive to past guests to enter and to the public to read the stories and vote.
An integrated digital marketing campaign, including website, email, social media and public relations, was designed by MP&A to communicate the contest from launch to the selections of both winners.
A contest icon was designed and used in all communications, including a button on the website home page. Communications included: landing page with entry form, finalist stories, voting form and rules; HTML e-mails; press releases to travel media; and messages on The Reefs’ Facebook page and blog.
Building upon the month of love, messages focused on love of The Reefs and Bermuda such as proposals in the sand, destination weddings, honeymoons and family celebrations.
With less than $4,000 and relying on email/database marketing, social media and public relations efforts, The Reefs exceeded its goals for the promotion. The contest generated 603 essay entries and 3,264 votes.
It also increased traffic to the new website. The month-long contest launch generated a 165% increase in website visits compared to 2009, and the first day of voting generated more than 3,000 contest-specific web visits and 50 new Facebook fans. Web visits were up nearly 40% for the contest period compared to the same time in 2009 and continue to trend ahead of previous years.
“Show Your Love” also succeeded in generating awareness to new prospects. During the contest, 60% of web visits were new and there were 229 new e-newsletter subscribers. PR resulted in several media placements including Caribbean Travel + Life, Bermuda.com and a feature article in Hilton Head Monthly (the winners’ home town).
Within two weeks of the contest, 64 reservations directly tracked to the campaign representing nearly $200,000 in room revenue.