Putting the Win in Winter
SkiBig3 is the marketing organization for the three world-class ski resorts in Banff National Park: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mount Norquay. It’s the perfect balance of luxury and nature. When a traveler books with SkiBig3, not only do they get access to all three mountains (ski lifts), they can also book their accommodation, rentals, and transportation. It’s a skier’s dream come true! The goal is to bring overnight visitation for winter vacations.
The US market is their primary target market, but travelers from all across the world come to enjoy the beautiful, fresh powder on the great mountains in the Rockies. SkiBig3 welcomes skiers from all ages and levels, as this winter wonderland is packed with fresh pow and adventures for everyone!
SkiBig3’s primary ad objective is to target travelers and increase overnight vacation bookings.
Navigating Uncertain Times
SkiBig3, like almost every other destination marketing organization, had been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With their core business being international travelers and international travel completely screeched to a halt–the 2020 winter season looked bleak.
We had to pivot the ad strategy, quickly, by developing new products and finding new audiences domestically.
SkiBig3 works with many businesses to provide local experiences, attractions, and activities in Banff and Lake Louise. They needed to find a way to retain the partner network by sharing insights and results to their campaign performance.
But to the partners, ad clicks and website conversions weren’t metrics that mattered; it was money in the bank. We had to help them show how the ads were directly driving business, so the partners would continue participating and working with SkiBig3.
Sleigh the Day
The pandemic definitely gave the travel industry lots of obstacles to overcome. We needed to help SkiBig3 get to a point past sustainability and actually thrive in an incredibly challenging year.
War Room did so by helping SkiBig3 segment available audiences, figure out how to reach them, how to frame the ad messaging, and in a swift manner, get these product campaigns up and running.
The Winter 2020 campaign was targeted solely to the Canadian market, selling Lift Tickets, Lodging Packages, Rentals & Ancillary spend (e.g. snow school).
We strategized and executed campaigns on these digital channels programmatically for SkiBig3:
Throughout the season, travel restrictions kept changing, so we had to be on our toes and ready to make revisions on the go attentively.
We were able to utilize SkiBig3’s existing audience list to create a “Lookalike” segment. Furthermore, we doubled down and applied behavioral targeting to a “Retargeting” audience segment. This way, we could continue first-party user data and expand their contact list for future campaigns (crucial for a future when user privacy is valued and Google’s upcoming removal of third-party cookies).
Ski Lifts & Revenue Lifts
With a holistic strategy now customized for the Canadian market, the campaigns were a hit! Despite having no international travelers, we still delivered outstanding results for SkiBig3 and its partners!
The War Room team was able to put together and execute the complex campaign quickly and accurately. In fact, we were able to connect SkiBig3’s data with an overarching Destination Canada campaign and show the investment they were making was actually returning dollars back!
It’s pretty rare for Destination Canada to be able to show and track conversion in SkiBig3’s campaign (a campaign within a campaign), but with our robust capabilities with data syncing, we made it possible! And for anyone investing in advertising, having ad spend transparency and attributing it to the right campaigns is invaluable, as it helps travel marketers refine their customer journey.
Some of the more notable results include:
Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) Exceeded Goals
Prior to the campaign, we set an ambitious Return on Ad Spend goal. At the end of the campaign, we exceeded the goal by 30%!
Audience Conversion Success
The campaigns that were run had a variety of offerings and demographics targeted. Overall, the retargeted audience segment performed the best. Because of our cross-channel data insights, we were able to serve relevant and data-driven ads to convert them!
The team at War Room was able to hit the ground running and take over SkiBig3’s accounts. We conducted thorough audits and got the campaigns set up efficiently. In the first three months of the campaign launch, over $1 million revenue was generated.
Year-Over-Year (YOY) Exceeded Expectations
Due to the pandemic and ever-changing travel restrictions, we focused on targeting domestic travelers instead. Despite COVID-19, SkiBig3 achieved 80% over their expected sales!
“The initial perception of working with an agency has often been to have monthly meetings. And once we do your kickoff call, it kind of goes over to the agency and that was it.
However, working with War Room, we’ve been able to be incredibly connected with our team and they’re very responsive to our requests.
We had a very tough year with a lot of things moving at a very rapid pace. Our team at War Room was able to be incredibly nimble and get back to us as quickly as possible. They changed things on a dime and it actually benefited us keeping us in the market during a challenging time.“
Director of Marketing, SkiBig3