Third Party Websites vs. a Managed Pay-Per-Click AdWords Campaign to Convert Shoppers

PPC CampaignTeam Parking is an offsite airport parking company servicing St. Paul/Minneapolis International Airport (MSP). Originally started in 1997 under a different name, the company made the name change to Team Parking in 2006. Team Parking provides self-park services including covered, open lot, and oversize parking 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

The Challenge

In 2000, the multi-billion dollar parking industry was introduced to third-party websites offering reservation services in the markets of most U.S. airports. These third-party websites, known as aggregators, multiplied by the hundreds with a sales pitch “let us help fill your empty spaces”. Over the years, Team Parking listed their company on several aggregator websites so they could compete against other offsite parking companies who were also listed on these websites. Even though the aggregators channeled reservations and helped fill some parking spaces, they charged anywhere from 20%-100% of the parking fare based on the length of stay. Most of the aggregators even charged the consumer a service fee to book online. The fees were excessive and the competition on such sites was based on “price” alone. Therefore, the customer had no loyalty to any one vendor. Ultimately, Team Parking realized that their use of these third-party websites was completely counterproductive. In effect, the aggregators were doing nothing more than hi-jacking Team Parking’s customers and selling them back to Team Parking at a reduced rate.

The Solution

After embedding a real-time reservations system on the Team Parking website, the company re-evaluated its marketing strategy and implemented a strategic Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign designed to reallocate funds and redirect customers from the aggregators to the company website. In doing so, Team Parking would be able to track clicks, opens, conversions, and costs associated with various campaigns. It also enabled Team Parking to target specific communities, businesses, and travelers while gathering pertinent customer demographics and data for future marketing promotions.

The Results

Ridding the company of aggregators helped eliminate brand erosion and consumer confusion. Using direct customer contact via scheduled email campaigns, Team Parking was able to maintain and strengthen their brand image and establish a loyal customer base. In addition, to the substantial savings produced by marketing a direct channel to their own website for online reservations, they were able to improve their search engine rankings on Goggle and Bing. By dropping their aggregator listings and employing a managed PPC campaign, Team Parking increased its net revenues by 230% in less than 12 months and grew its customer email database by 130%.

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