SEO & PPC drive 70% growth to Cruise 1st

By Banc

2 min read

Cruise 1st appointed Banc Media to address an issue of declining online sales in a downturn economy.

Owned by Royal Caribbean, Cruise 1st is the UK’s leading cruise deal specialist.  They are an award winning online travel company based in the North West of England and specialise in Mediterranean Cruises, Caribbean Cruises and Worldwide Cruises.

The Problem.

The Travel Sector is hard hit by the global economic recession.  Website sales are in decline as travellers economise.  Cruise holiday providers don’t escape this issue.

Cruise 1st, an online-only package holiday provider specialising in Cruise holidays need to address the problem of declining sales and ensure growth continued despite the economic downturn.

The Objective.

“To increase online sales of Cruise-based package holidays by attracting new and returning customers to the Cruise 1st website, via Search Engine Marketing.”

Our Approach.

The analytics data was showing that although visitor levels had dropped off, conversion to sale had in fact remained constant.  The simple conclusion was that if we were able to attract new visits that sales would convert at the same level.

Our approach started with analysis of historical data.  We reviewed seasonal trends, visitor behaviour and conversion statistics in order to get a full view of activity on the website in the previous 12 months.

A full ‘technical SEO’ website audit was carried out.  Reviewing Structure, Navigation, Code, Content and Keyword focus; a report was generated that highlighted all areas requiring optimisation and the solutions, which were carried out by the web development team.

A Pay Per Click audit was carried out in parallel, reviewing Keywords, Ad Text, Landing Pages, Bidding Strategies, Quality Scores; generating a report to overhaul the existing strategic and tactical plan to create cost efficiencies and increase Return On Investment.

Having reviewed the target Keyword List for Organic Search marketing (SEO), we next set out to build the authority of the website by attracting Inlinks from 3rd party websites where contextually-relevant content was written and a link placed to point towards Cruise 1st.

Additional interest was created with the publication of targeted Press Releases, sent to editorially-appropriate publishers and containing a link back to Cruise 1st. Further tactics followed including entry to online Directories.

The Outcome.

Data based on Q1, Year on Year 2009-2010

> 70% increase in Visitors from Organic results (SEO)

> 66% increase in Website Enquiries from Organic visitors (SEO)

> 24% cost efficiencies made from Pay Per Click (PPC) spend

> 42% increase in enquiries from Paid Search (PPC), pound for pound

Next Steps.

Expectations are that the initial work carried out in SEO will pay increasing dividends over the next quarter.  Continued On-site and Off-site optimisation work, reviewing key drivers such as Keyword Position, Indexed Pages, Inlinks, Visitor Numbers, Online Enquiries and Sales will determine keyword focus and ongoing tactics.

Further, a website optimisation project has been agreed to improve the customer journey and thus improve conversion.  As conversion figures increase, PPC calculations are adapted as larger bid prices become available and thus higher positions are achieved leading ultimately to an increase in enquiries and sales.