How Oban Spa Inn & Suites’ Creativity Drove Direct Bookings and Drowned out the Competition

May 12, 2016

Oban Spa Inn & Suites prides itself on offering a personalized and complete experience for their guests—from their world class dining room and spa, all the way down to a private library stocked with classic books. The Oban Inn is a small boutique hotel. This means it’s able to bring a very personal touch to its amenities. But, the team doesn’t have the budget or the headcount to compete with marketing efforts of the big brands nearby.

Ian Shulman, General Manager, oversees all aspects of the inn, from marketing to guest relations—and even sometimes fold laundry, a self-proclaimed therapeutic exercise. One of Shulman’s major challenges is competing in a crowded and loud local market.

Oban Spa Inn & Suites is in a unique position in that it competes with one company that owns 90% of the hotel rooms in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Because its competitor monopolizes the local paper, radio, and other forms of advertising, Oban Inn Spa & Suites had to get creative in its efforts to drive direct bookings and compete with the big name brands and their big advertising budgets.

Cutting through the noise with Sojern

In order to be competitive, Oban turned to Sojern. “We are not going to pay an SEO company to artificially inflate the traffic to our website,” said Shulman. “We need organic traffic and Sojern is one way to get organic traffic amongst others. Sojern’s platform leads to direct bookings and there is no risk on our part.”

With 490,367 Impressions, Sojern drove 69 direct bookings for an additional Net Revenue of $21,101 to Oban Inn & Spa. Sojern created the ads using Oban’s images and messages. They then used 350 million travel profiles to prospect and retarget consumers in-market for Oban. By using smart and dynamic advertising, Oban was able to drown out the monopoly of noise in the Niagara hotel scene and drive bookings.

Speaking for themselves and delighting customers

Oban has it all—hotel, spa, and dining and so on. Once it started driving direct bookings to its website, potential customers saw just how much Oban had to offer. Shulman comments:

“We know that once someone gets on our booking page our rates and packages speak for themselves.”

“We have one package called the Snuggle Package. When you go to book online, you pick a date and see two rates: our B&B rate and the Snuggle rate. In a lot of instances the Snuggle package is lower than the B&B room rate. So, it’s a no brainer to pick the Snuggle package but it’s that whole idea of giving added value and giving $25 spa voucher, winery vouchers, restaurant credit, welcome gift, etc.”

Because the bookings came directly to Oban’s website, Oban could showcase more of what it does so well. The team could upsell customers and also control the messaging around the property, and its customer expectations too. Driving direct bookings increased the number of packages purchased, which obviously helps the bottom line, but also helps delight guests.

Oban is a gem in the Niagara-on-the-Lake hospitality scene. While previously its boutique stature meant that it was overshadowed by the local competition, with Sojern’s help Oban Spa Inn & Suites has been able to stand out and shine.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Sojern can help your boutique hotel drive direct bookings, connect with us!


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About Sojern

Sojern is travel's leading data-driven performance marketing engine. Through its Sojern Traveler Platform and billions of traveler intent signals across online and mobile channels, Sojern puts more heads in beds, travelers in seats, and tourists in towns for its clients worldwide.

Sojern About the author

Sojern is travel's leading data-driven performance marketing engine. Through its Sojern Traveler Platform and billions of traveler intent signals across online and mobile channels, Sojern puts more heads in beds, travelers in seats, and tourists in towns for its clients worldwide.