How we used Facebook birthday targeting to increase resort booking revenue
We converted £14,971 in pitch bookings for a caravan & glamping resort by targeting potential guests with upcoming birthdays.
All images and stats mentioned in the below case study are accurate from publishing date (2020).
In this case study, we’re lifting the curtain to reveal how we used a little-known targeting feature to generate £14,971 in revenue from only £1,288 in ad spend over a three month period.
This case study is especially relevant for anyone working in the hospitality industry, specifically companies operating leisure parks, hotels, glamping resorts, or caravan parks.
The case study will cover how to:
Create landing pages that maximise bookings
Use advertising tracking to make data-informed decisions
Create ads that stand out in a crowded Instagram or Facebook news feed
Let Facebook’s machine learning algorithms do the heavy lifting for you
How to use testing to improve advertising effectiveness
Making digital advertising work
Love2Stay is a fully serviced resort for caravanning and glamping. The resort is located in the stunning hills of Shropshire and operated by Salop Leisure, one of the largest caravan retailers in the UK.
Like many other forward-thinking resorts, Love2Stay had turned to digital advertising in order to attract new guests. They first decided to manage their Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns internally, but soon found themselves struggling with poor and inconsistent performance.
Love2Stay called in Built For Now to implement a systematic way of using digital advertising to generate bookings on short notice and at a low cost.
Engaging people on the most special day of the year
In order to generate bookings from new customers, we needed to reach the people most likely to be open to a glamping or caravan stay. So we decided to build the campaign around the one day of the year when people are looking for a little extravagance: birthdays.
But how? Simple: Facebook.
Facebook knows the exact birthday dates of millions of users. This means it’s possible to not only show ads to people with birthdays in a specific month, but also target close friends to people with birthdays in that month. Additionally, with audiences of over 45 and 24 million monthly active users respectively, Facebook and Instagram were the perfect platforms for reaching large numbers of prospective customers.
Targeting birthdays on Facebook provided a differential in a very crowded competitive sector where Love2stay is competing with numerous other caravan parks, leisure resorts and other hospitality advertisers. It also allowed us to target two vastly different audience types, glamping with a broader target audience and touring caravan owners which is more niche.
We proposed an ‘evergreen’ Facebook campaign that will work no matter what day of the week or time of the year. We wanted to create a campaign that largely remained the same, making it both easier and more economical to manage.
As an added benefit, this campaign would allow us to reach people before they were in the market for the product, i.e. searching for resorts on Google. This meant that we could get ahead of the competition and engage the prospects at an earlier stage in the buying journey, and thus at a lower cost.
Together with the client we put together an attractive all-inclusive birthday package. The price point and convenience made it the perfect offer for people with no previous familiarity with Love2Stay.
Building landing pages designed to maximise bookings
We decided not to direct prospective buyers to the main Love2Stay website. Instead we created designated landing pages (one-page websites) stripped of all distractions and focused on one thing: maximising bookings. The text and website graphics were all designed to seamlessly move our prospects towards the purchase decision.
Nothing ruins a great ad campaign like slow page speed. The last thing you want is to pay for people to click on the ads, and then leave before even seeing the website (which happens far too often). With that in mind, we built the landing pages with page load speed as a priority. This resulted in an excellent average load time of less than 1 second.
We also made sure that our landing pages were responsive and looked great on mobile, as we knew that the vast majority of visitors would be browsing on their mobile devices.
Finally, we created a personalised landing page for each month and customised the content accordingly. This made the pages hyper-relevant to our audience and created even more urgency for them to take action.
You can't manage what you don't measure
We set up conversion tracking on the call and order buttons on the landing pages, in order to see exactly which ads and campaigns the bookings came from. We also set up tracking for key events that take place prior to the sale and are an indicator of interest, such as clicks, video views and website scrolls. All of this simply meant that we could make decisions based on hard data instead of subjective opinions.
We also needed a way of tracking the most important metric of them all: revenue. Measuring revenue can be tricky, especially in a case like this where some of the sales take place offline (e.g. over the phone or in person) or over email.
To solve this, we used Facebook’s Offline Conversions feature (learn more here) to upload sales data directly to the platform and match it against the people who had clicked on the ads. This allowed us to measure the actual relationship between digital advertising spend and real-world sales.
Creating ads that work
Social media news feeds are a fiercely competitive marketplace for attention. The next hilarious video or cute baby photo is just a swipe or click away. The result? The overwhelming majority of ads are either ignored or quickly forgotten.
With this in mind, we designed our ads to stand out and appeal to our audience.
In order to grab attention, we used interesting, colorful, and eye-catching photos and videos of happy people and beautiful scenery. We commissioned campaign-specific photography of birthday celebrations in a Glamping or Touring environment to 'sell ' the birthday break. All creatives were purposefully designed to have a native look and feel, instead of a classic advertising appearance.
We sparked interest by mentioning the birthday month in the first sentence. This made our audience feel like we were speaking directly to them and motivated to keep reading.
Finally we evoked desire by selling the features and benefits of the package. The text was casual and informal, using a tone of voice that resonates with both the brand and the platform.
We created a large variety of text angles and creative variations for later testing.
Letting Facebook’s algorithms do the work for us
Facebook has hired some of the most brilliant data scientists and engineers to build the machine learning algorithms that power its advertising system. Machine learning is awfully complex, but the most important thing you need to know is that it works. That is, if you know how to use it.
If you want the algorithms to work with you and not against you, you need to tell them what you want. Many companies mistakenly optimize their campaigns for clicks, video views or impressions. We optimized for the thing we wanted most: conversion (i.e. bookings).
In other words, we told Facebook to show our ads to the people most likely to make a booking. This meant that we paid more for each ad impression in order to people with a higher purchase intent. With tracking on the landing page, all the booking data was fed back to Facebook and used to improve our targeting even further.
In addition to targeting people based on their birthdays, we used Facebook’s powerful Lookalike Audience (learn more here) feature to make sure we were reaching the right people. We simply told Facebook who the previous customers were, and let the algorithms find people with shared attributes.
80+ ads later
Much of digital advertising success comes down to one thing: testing. The more, the better and the faster you’re able to test, the better the results. For this campaign, we tested over 80 ad variations. This is what allowed us to quickly find the messages that were most effective in generating bookings.
We methodically tested two variations (e.g. two different images) against each other. After each test, we analyzed the results, discontinued the losing variation and repeated the process. This systematic A/B testing process is what allowed us to quickly test so many ad variations at a low cost.
People tend to ignore ads if they see them too many times, a phenomenon known as ad fatigue. To combat this, we used Facebook’s Dynamic Creative for our remarketing ads. This feature dynamically matches different texts, images and headlines, which keeps the ads fresh and improves performance.
£11.62 in revenue for every £1 spent!
Using Facebook’s offline conversions feature, we were able to measure the sales directly generated from advertising. The campaign resulted in a confirmed return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) of 11.62x. This meant that Love2Stay made £11.62 in revenue for every £1 spent on advertising!
These results were achieved by targeting and bringing in completely new customers in addition to showing ads to e.g. past website visitors.
Furthermore, our ads were seen by over 130,000 people in the targeted geographic areas and demographic segments, and more than 11,000 people engaged directly with the ads. This increase in brand awareness is likely to keep bringing in new bookings for a long time to come.
What does this mean for you?
Thank you for reading our case study! If you’re interested in recreating this kind of campaign for your park, resort or hotel, you’ve basically got two options:
Do it in-house. Successful digital advertising is complex. At a minimum, your team should have competency and experience in media buying, copywriting, graphic design, tracking and analytics.
Outsource it. If you have the resources, hiring an agency is a fast, easy and effective option. Just make sure that the agency is focused on performance and knows how to drive revenue, not just engagement.
We’d love to discuss how Built For Now can help you leverage the power of Facebook advertising to generate more bookings. Feel free to reach out for a complimentary consultation.
"Amazing work on this project by Built For Now. Really drilled down in to our needs and left no stone unturned. Level of detail as well the service was exemplary."