Marketing End of Year Report 2015

I went back and skimmed over last year’s annual report for some inspiration.  Then I went back and looked at all my annual reports.  There has been a common theme during the “O’Fee Direction” era and I’m excited that we are on the precipice of the final culmination of this 4 year journey.  

My team and I had a mission to give Woodloch a cohesive “brand image” and make our outward look to be consistent.  To elevate the quality of our imagery and to tell the story of Woodloch and serve it in an easily-digestible manner.  Through a years-long process of collecting photography and video footage, updating collateral materials, advertising, and building out a comprehensive marketing plan we are about to complete the process with the launching of the new 

We set out to give Woodloch a voice of authenticity, vacating as much “sales” language as possible, and by harnessing the power of it’s origin story. We’ve been able to do this by committing to a documentarian-style video platform as well as capturing those special moments that happen on Woodloch’s campus naturally every day.

What do we set out to do every day? Bring families closer together. Whether that’s our express mission, or the byproduct of our entire program, that’s what’s happening at Woodloch daily, and more so than at any other vacation destination. “Woodloch; a Story About Bringing Family Together” has become our adopted motto, our new tagline, and should be our brand mission. No one in our compset can claim anything close to this and we have harnessed this concept and expressed it visually.

Of course we’ve put a lot of this video and photography to good use in our advertising, but in 2016 we want to go even deeper. Jumping into highly-targeted PPC/Retargeting/Programmatic digital ad buying, and hopefully getting into digital TV ad buying (pre-roll, in-content streaming web video and tv).

Our website continues to grow as our inbound links become more reputable, our SEO improves over time, our marketing efforts drive more and more traffic directly or through referrals.  Our year over year stats (15/14) show a dramatic, nearly 20% growth, mostly in organic search traffic. The graph below shows our web statistic growth over the past 5 years with a focus on web-related marketing.  Over 200% growth, approaching 2,000,000 visitors this year alone.  As we launch this new website I am extremely confident it will only help to better qualify our inbound leads, clear up confusion across the Woodloch brand, offer an easier-to-use system and be twice as SEO rich as our previous site.

Website growth past 5 years

We continue to push forward in curating a solid lineup of editorial from reputable and respected outlets throughout the year. This, coupled with our targeted grassroots advertising program and inbound marketing philosophy we have created a comprehensive strategy. Here are some highlights from the year:

  • #1 *Hotel* for Families in America – // #6 in the world
  • Philadelphia Magazine 2 page feature
  • Shape Magazine – 2015 Healthy Travel Award
  • Resorts and Lodges #1 Family Resort in America
  • Family Vacation Critic “Ten Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts in the US”
  • Money Magazine full page feature
  • Sirius/XM Radio Spotlight (2x)
  • Weddingwire 2015 Couples’ Choice Award
  • The Knot Best of Weddings 2015
  • Happenings Magazine: Best Overall Resort, Best Winter Resort, Best Summer Resort
  • The Street feature
  • Newsday write up on lakeside retreats
  • Baltimore Sun – feature, spring break getaways
  • The Examiner – write up
  • Huffington Post
  • MiniTime
  • And featured on over 24 MORE blog posts
The forecasting team has been able to establish a benchmark, uncover some patterns, and even predict to a relatively close degree, the occupancy levels, by day, at Woodloch. One particularly successful example was our dramatic growth in vacation rental American Plan sales for the summer. We have also seen success in putting together multi-channel approaches in advertising softer dates in early June, end of August and the month of November.
The AWAY program (Art+Wine+Adventure and You) has been established as a natural transition to our new programmatic expansion to cater to the “new” senior demographics. The young retirees, the baby boomer generation, are looking for travel that revolves around new experiences, individual passions and “bucket-list” type activities. We have been working on ala cart options, most at an additional fee, for midweek, non-peak travelers to partake in wine tasting, mixology classes, outdoor adventure and more with more to come.

We want to work with every department as efficiently as we can. We are utilized by, or work with/for 12 different “brands” in the Woodloch family that all have their own requirements, image, message and so on, needing anything from a giveaway to a permanent sign to an email send. There is a lot to manage and in 2016 the marketing team and I are going to work to try and give some power or tools back to these departments so they can do some of their own things.

Through the use of templates we can create a cohesive style and brand image while allowing these departments (like Reunions, The Market, The Sports Complex, etc…) to produce fliers and such at their leisure while still looking on-brand. This will free up marketing time to be more strategic and alleviate some frustrations on having to wait on marketing for a marketing piece. I’ll reiterate that the door to the marketing office is ALWAYS open, we are always open to ideas, suggestions, comments, concerns, anything and everything, even critiques…..

I promise even bigger, and better things from Woodloch Marketing in 2016.