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Case Study: Vacation Rental Manager Increases Reservations via Professional Paid Search Management

The Challenge

The client is one of the major players in a popular California vacation rental destination. With over 300 properties and homes available for rent, the client is required to take their web presence and marketing seriously in order to sell-out during busy periods and increase occupancy during slower times.

The client had been running PPC for a while prior to teaming with Bizcor, but were unhappy with results. With an annual budget upwards of $800,000 split between their two main websites, they weren’t seeing the returns to justify the spend. With their busiest time of year rapidly approaching, it was vital to act fast and set themselves up for a successful winter.

Strategy

Bizcor entered the picture in late September, with the goal of ensuring that the client’s major PPC investment yielded better results. By tapping the large amount of historical data that the account had generated over the years, Bizcor determined:

“The reality of the situation is that there is a lot of wasted spend going on that could either be transitioned into money saved, or money better spent.”

The wasted spend centered around a poorly organized account that made it difficult to adapt to incoming data. The multiple websites were complicating matters further. The client’s strategy to this point had been to take the advice of Google’s account managers and roll with it, but this advice often lacks long-term focus and typically revolves around increasing spend. It was time to take matter into their own hands.

After determining that one site was better at generating PPC bookings than the other, the focus shifted to the better performing site. From there, the account was restructured using Bizcor’s best practices, creating a well-organized, tight-knit account that could easily be adapted to changing data. In addition, using historical data, negative keywords were added and time of day, day of week, and device bid adjustments were set.

With everything in place, the budget was set to ~50% of the previous year’s budget, eliminating all spend to the secondary website, with the option to increase budget if results turned positive.

Results

Q3 of 2016 (Jul-Sep) was a struggle for client, with a 56% decrease in ROI, a 57% decrease in revenue, and just a 1% decrease in spend compared to 2015. ROI came out to $0.40, and just 0.1% of users booked. Bizcor took over and implemented their new strategy in late September, improving September’s numbers slightly:
 
 
 

 
 
 
With the new account implemented just in time for the beginning of Q4 (Oct-Dec), the beginning of their busiest booking season, the client needed to see results fast. Thankfully the restructure made for a more optimized account that could produce an immediate turnaround.

Q4 saw massive improvements with a 20% increase in ROI, 63% increase in bookings and 60% increase in revenue year over year. ROI came out to $3.16, and 0.57% of users booked, massive increases over the previous quarter. The positive results allowed the client to increase budget on the fly, leading to higher spend than originally anticipated, but also significantly more revenue:
 
 
 

 
 
 
Q1 of 2017 was more of the same, with a 31% increase in ROI, 46% increase in bookings and a 47% increase in revenue YoY. ROI continued to improve to $3.51, and 0.77% of users booked:
 
 
 

 
 
 
When looking at the first full year as a whole, compared to the previous year, the improvements begin to really stand out:
 
 
 

 
 
 
The above data is from 9/22/15-9/21/16, the final 365 days of the old account before Bizcor implemented their new strategy.
 
 
 

 
 
 
This data is the first 365 days of the new account, 9/22/16-9/21/17. As you can see, spend decreased 39% YoY, from over $817,000 to just $500,000. That’s a savings of $867/day throughout the entire year. Clicks also decreased YoY, down 46%, but that was expected as we worked on eliminating wasted spend/clicks, and focused our attention on the top performers.

Despite the decrease in spend and clicks, total bookings increased by 21%, and revenue increased by 7% for the year. Spending $867 less per day, we were able to increase bookings from 4.2 per day to 5.2 per day. Our account restructure increased our reservation percentage 126%, from 0.29% to 0.66%. This means that rather than 2.9 out of 1000 clicks booking, that number increased to 6.6 out of 1000 clicks booking.

Why It Worked

In a nut shell, the client saw such a quick turnaround due to the improved organization of the account. Using historical data to create the initial rebuild, the account saw immediate improvements, and as new data came in, continued optimizations were easily made.

By reporting on the data on a weekly basis, Bizcor and the client made on the fly decisions regarding budget. When things picked up during Q4, the budget was stretched to maximize revenue. When things slowed down at the end of Q1, the budget was retracted and spend was focused on the top performing keywords. The original goal was to decrease spend by 50% for the year, but thanks to positive results and quick action, spend only decreased by 39% to maximize revenue.

Without reliable weekly reporting, and without the knowledge of what it truly takes to have a successful PPC campaign, none of this would’ve been possible. With so much money on the line, and so much competition out there, PPC requires your full attention. There is a fine line between being profitable and wasting a lot of money, which is why it’s as important as ever to have PPC experts in charge of the account.

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