Blue Square Studios and Portola Plaza Hotel have produced significant results from e-commerce initiatives begun last year to move the property from a major brand to independence, while maintaining occupancy and driving higher average rates.
In 2004, the owners of the Portola Plaza Hotel chose to de-brand themselves in an effort to position the hotel as the Monterey Peninsula’s premier waterfront hotel for both the group and leisure markets. As a newly-independent property, the Portola Plaza Hotel decided to pursue an aggressive e-marketing/Internet program to help replace the reservations they expected to lose when the brand-driven traffic stopped.
To accomplish its e-commerce marketing strategy, The Portola Plaza Hotel began searching for a web development partner that was experienced in the hospitality sector and who could provide e-marketing tools as well as establishing their new website as “best in class” for a competitive edge in the marketplace. The hotel chose Blue Square Studios from a number of prospective vendors as their development partner.
“Blue Square Studios immediately demonstrated their knowledge of the industry by showcasing several other award-winning hotel web sites in their portfolio, walking us through the powerful and easy-to-use functionality of their Hospitality Toolkit that Portola could use - right out of the box - to manage our site, and e-marketing initiatives,” said Wade Bryant, the Director of Sales at The Portola Plaza Hotel. “Blue Square Studios also integrated the Hospitality Toolkit with iHotelier’s One-Screen booking interface to provide invaluable ROI metrics that can be segmented in many ways. This functionality was imperative to measure, benchmark and improve our online success. We can now execute initiatives, track revenue and refine our e-marketing campaigns, PPC campaigns and our targeted organic search engine optimization to increase our traffic and ultimately increase our Internet-driven reservations,
The new PortolaPlazaHotel.com website launched in January 2005 and is now delivering a significant portion of the total room revenue. “Given the site’s design and depth of content, I’m certain it is influencing buying decisions that come to the hotel through other, off-line channels,” said Bryant. “We have managed to increase our average rate already and are beginning to build our occupancy to levels we achieved as part of a major brand. We are confident that in the next 12 months we will be able to obtain comparable occupancy at even higher daily rates and that was our goal.”
Shane Ettestad, President & CEO of Blue Square Studios commented, “We are delighted with the successful implementation of our Hospitality Toolkit and our e-marketing services at the Portola Plaza Hotel. The forward-thinking sales team at the Portola Plaza Hotel has embraced the Hospitality Toolkit and continue to push the limits because they have already secured a three-fold return on their investment in just 5 months.”