Joint winner of Best Use of Pay Per Click at the CIM Travel Marketing Awards.
Best practice from ICrossing.
Digital marketing agency iCrossing has worked for airport operator BAA since 2006, providing natural search marketing and technical consultancy. Thanks to great results in natural search, BAA asked iCrossing to take over paid-search campaigns for its airport parking business in 2008.
The objective was simple: increase pre-bookings in the company’s car parks at airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. iCrossing had to work to monthly budget levels and achieve booking volumes and cost per booking targets as agreed with BAA at the start of the campaign
The core approach to meeting BAA’s demanding targets was to capture users further up their buying decision journey by raising its search profile on a broader set of terms. By identifying terms relevant to airport parking, rather than those terms specifically about airport parking, iCrossing aimed to reach more users, earlier in their path, and boost their consideration of airport parking – and specifically BAA car parks - at an earlier stage in their travel booking plans.
So, as well as improving the campaign structure and optimisation, the iCrossing paid-search team expanded the in-house managed search-term set from 355 keywords to more than 30,000.
iCrossing’s unique methodology for identifying search terms used a linguistic profiling model to look at passengers’ online behaviour around airports and parking to identify the language they use when searching for airport-related services. This produced target sets of keywords that expanded to include:
• Directions (People searching ‘how to get to Gatwick airport’, ‘directions to Heathrow airport’, etc.)
• Coverage across all Heathrow airlines matched to a terminal (e.g. ‘icelandair departures heathrow’.)
• Polish and German campaigns running for Stansted. (identified languages from the linguistic profile, high volumes of searches in these languages around Stansted due to the routes from that airport).
• Airport lounge searches (e.g. ‘ Gatwick airport lounges’)
• Weather terms (e.g. ‘weather in Cyprus’).
• The keyword set also included coverage of foreign language variations which helped to target new audiences. iCrossing now have multi-lingual campaigns running across Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow in Polish, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Albanian but Stansted Polish is still the best performer.
iCrossing also developed a broad competitor strategy. One of BAA’s objectives was to gain market share from competitors and dominate all local airport markets. To achieve this, iCrossing bid on most of their competitor brand terms and targeted users with creative conveying the benefits of using BAA. These campaigns are delivering incremental volume and good acquisition costs helping gain market share.
As has been widely publicised in the media, personal and business travel has declined through the recession which has led to year on year declines in passenger numbers travelling through BAA’s airports. In March 2009 passenger numbers were down 11.3% vs March 2008.
Although the rate of decline has decreased (in September 2009 passenger numbers were down 2.6%), iCrossing have continued to deliver considerable year on year increases in car park bookings as highlighted in the results section.
2009 results have seen iCrossing exceed monthly booking volume targets and come in under the agreed CPA targets, as well as delivering considerable year on year increases.
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