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Maryland’s Cabin Rentals Site A Success

August 21, 2015 by   - () Comments Off on Maryland’s Cabin Rentals Site A Success

The decision whether or not to maintain standalone “Cabins & Cottages” content seems to be a question that is often on the minds of executive directors of state campground associations, Pelland Advertising said in a written announcement. Will members embrace (or balk at) the opportunity to participate, what are the costs, and will the venture prove profitable for participants? These are all important questions.

Pelland Advertising has been the website development and hosting services provider for the Maryland Association of Campgrounds since 2009. According to MAC Executive Director Deborah Carter, “The Maryland Association of Campgrounds is a small organization, with an equally small budget. We volunteer our time, and we work together as a team to promote our industry.” With only about two dozen members, there was nonetheless an interest in exploring this new direction in late 2014. Eight of the members ultimately participated in the program in its first year, and a bit of brainstorming and technical creativity were required to find ways to minimize costs.

The MAC website was built with a custom-programmed, searchable member database. Listings of campground members in any of the state’s six tourism regions were already generated through navigational shortcuts, and only a minor database revision was necessary to trigger a list of members with cabins or park models who chose to participate in the new program.

The search shortcut added to the site’s navigation was mdcamping.com/search.html?Rentals=yes. To increase awareness of the new program, Pelland Advertising also designed a four-color rack card that included the new MDCampingRentals.com address that redirects to the search shortcut. The result was both simple and inexpensive to implement.

Carter continued, “Peter and Josh Pelland worked with us to put the card together, came up with the layout, and made all of the technical aspects work.”

The lingering question was whether, despite the minimal costs, the new project would prove to be effective. According to Peter Pelland, CEO of Pelland Advertising, “Thanks to the use of click tracking in Google Analytics, we were able to uncover some impressive results. Since the new content was introduced on Dec. 12, 2014, there have been 8,238 page views from 5,588 unique users, spending an average of 3:17 of time on the ‘Cabins & Cottages’ data output page. Within that time period, this page has accounted for 5.68% of the MAC website’s overall traffic. In fact, the rentals page is the site’s fourth most popular content.”

He continued, “What is even more interesting is that the eight parks that participated in the Cabins & Cottages program all ranked among the top 10 recipients of outbound click traffic, which is a very healthy measurement of performance. This could be coincidental, but it is a likely conclusion that participation in the program helped to enhance these statistics.

“Each of these participants received anywhere from 1,046 to 1,930 clicks. If only 10% of that highly pre-qualified traffic is converted to reservations, and if a typical two-night stay generates an arbitrary $100.00 in income,” Pelland continued, “participants in the program realized roughly $10,000 to $20,000 in income from the MAC website alone. It is fair to say that the parks’ membership fees and the small added fee to participate in the Cabins & Cottages program were easily recovered many times over.”

According to Carter, “One of the best business decisions we’ve ever made was to work with Pelland Advertising. Peter created our very first website, and the company maintains updates and re-energizes the latest incarnation of our website to this day. His company also produces our ARVC-award-winning print directory. Having Peter Pelland on speed dial is just like having an easy button.”

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