Baron Holiday Homes
25 March 2021
Baron Holiday Homes is a successful holiday rental company with a portfolio of 90 characterful properties, located on the island of Gozo, Malta. Many are beautiful stone built farmhouses which have been lovingly restored over the past 25 years of operation.
ie has been working with Consultant Marketer, Kathryn Bullock, to support their marketing activities for several years. More recently we have worked with Kathryn to design and develop a new, fully responsive website. The site is also integrated with Kigo, a third party holiday booking system which provides online distribution of the properties to many online travel agencies worldwide.
Pivoting the business to survive COVID
We had not known that Covid-19 would bring the world to a standstill in March 2020, signalling a temporary end to international travel. However, with Kathryn’s help, Baron Holiday Homes were able to successfully pivot their business to focus on serving their domestic market whilst they waited for international travel to resume.
During the 2020 COVID restrictions, local residents living on Malta were still allowed to travel to and stay on the neighbouring island of Gozo.
“If you are being encouraged to work from home why not do that in a lovely environment, with a pool and beautiful views!” said Kathryn. “The Baron team made sure that everything we did complied with local COVID-secure guidelines and marketed the properties to locals.”
“Prospects were made aware of the favourable rates for long-term bookings and reassured that the properties were wifi-friendly, so perfectly suited to ‘home working’. To facilitate online booking, more flexible booking policies and longer stay options were made available through Kigo’s upgraded booking engine, Kigo Pro. The idea was really well received and Baron Holiday Homes were delighted with the outcome.”
“It’s all about communication,” says Kathryn. “We have many loyal guests who stay in Baron holiday homes year after year. Guests who had already booked for 2020 were reassured that their money was safe and that they could postpone their booking until a time when international travel was again permitted.”
“The team also stayed in contact with their international guests by posting beautiful images on their social media channels and with tailored monthly emails, reminding them of Gozo and all its charms.”
“It’s great to know that the website is now capable of delivering for both the domestic and international markets and that, thanks to the work we have done with ie, Baron Holiday Homes is well-placed to ride out challenges associated with travel in the months and years ahead.
The website attracted 48% new website visitors during 2020 versus the previous year, with a 32% increase in conversion (lookers to bookers) and a 104% increase in enquiries. These results demonstrate the importance of pivoting the business to attract the new local audiences, which also increased by 175%.
The web audience were also more engaged, with a 19% increase in the pages browsed per session. Staying in contact via social media resulted in a 34% increase in Facebook fans and a 37% increase in Twitter likes in 2020 (the year of Covid) versus the previous year. View Case study >
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