Search Engine Guide Case Study: Fairmont Hotels Takes a Natural Approach

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Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a chain of resorts and city center hotels, has engaged icrossing since 2001 to provide visibility in natural search results for its corporate Web site at www.fairmont.com. The site contains information about the company as well as destination-specific information for each of its 43 hotel properties throughout six countries.


Early on, the hotel chain realized that a Web site increasingly is the gateway to a company's brand, product and services and that search engine marketing is a critical component of being found on the Internet.


Objectives


At the inception of the natural search engine optimization program with us, Fairmont had three main objectives:


· Increase visibility for primary keywords within the first three pages of the natural search results across all major engines.


· Increase the amount of search visitor traffic to the Web site.


· Increase the number of online booking reservations.


Critical for Fairmont was maintaining a customer-centric approach throughout the process.


Solution


Icrossing was enlisted during Fairmont.com's redesign to ensure the complete optimization of the site, from its overview pages to the hotel-specific pages. We optimized Fairmont's site, including images, file names and title tags. Content was rewritten to be more appropriate for search engines and also to be more customer-centric. Unique content was created to target various lifestyles such as golf, skiing and spas as well as destinations.


Both vendor and client opted for a custom performance-based revenue model. Essentially, icrossing serves as a travel agent, generating demand and getting compensated for bookings done through Fairmont sites. Icrossing and Fairmont established baselines, and icrossing receives a percentage of sales above the baseline.


Results


· Keyword visibility: From a baseline of 223 keywords, the number of keywords appearing on the first three pages of search results increased to 2,579.


· Search traffic: Baseline search traffic was established at 29 percent. Within one month of implementation of optimized coding elements, search traffic soared past the baseline search traffic number, especially at the destination level. Search visitor traffic percentage ultimately increased to 41 percent.


· Booking reservations: As of 2004, booking reservations had increased to 150 percent over the baseline. This continual rise catapulted online booking reservation revenue to more than four times the revenue amounts captured before implementation of the natural search optimization program.


For more articles from The Direct Marketer's Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit www.dmnews.com/search .


A PDF of the guide is available at: http://www.dmnews.com/pdffiles/semguide.pdf


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