Luxury Escapes Case Study with Digital Minds

Achieving travel success amid a global pandemic to deliver award-winning solution

Luxury Escapes is an Australian travel brand that offers discounted luxury travel packages throughout Australia and the rest of the world. Restrictions on travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 presented a huge challenge to the business. We were able to help navigate this challenge by identifying the opportune time to take advantage of improving sentiment, whilst also pivoting our creative messaging to aide conversions.

Over the course of the campaign, we achieved a return on ad spend (ROAS) well above the desired target. Moreover, by the end of the campaign, total website revenue returned to 2019 levels. A remarkable result and a testament to the opportunity of continuing to leverage search intent signals during uncertain times. The campaign was also recognised in the 2021 APAC Search Awards, winning ‘Best use of Search – Travel & Leisure’.

The Objective

When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020 and Australia entered lockdown, travel intent collapsed and Luxury Escapes suspended all marketing activity. We did however see evidence of the first signs of recovery through increasing travel searches at the start of May. With this insight, our objective was to be early to market and establish Paid Search as a viable marketing channel during the lockdown period. Luxury Escapes committed a small but significant test budget of approximately 20% of their pre-Covid spend over a six-week campaign period, with the objective of obtaining a profitable return on ad spend (ROAS).

The Strategy

Through analysis of search trend data, we were able to identify increasing travel interest within Australia in early May 2020 and launched a six-week test campaign to capture this emerging demand. The team focused purely on the domestic Australian market and took a highly segmented approach with regards to user destination interest and geo targeting. We also highlighted booking flexibility throughout our creative messaging and ad copy to help alleviate concerns around booking future travel.

Campaign spend was prioritised based on performance across our three key search term categories and geo segments. We were further able to leverage Google’s travel intent signals to help prioritise users in-market for travel bookings versus lower intent users with general travel interest.

The Results

Overall, the activity surpassed expectations considerably, achieving a ROAS over the 6-week test period well above target, and overall business revenue returned to 2019 levels by the end of the campaign period, despite no other paid marketing activity. 

The strength of our results not only validated Paid Search as a viable marketing channel amidst a global pandemic, it also paved the way for ongoing Paid Search activity which we’ve continued to scale throughout 2020.

There are few industries that have been more impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic than the travel industry. The closure of Australia’s international border as well as restrictions on interstate travel presented a huge challenge to all Australian travel brands. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, we recognised signs of a shift in sentiment in early May and in conjunction with our client were able to move quickly to capture this opportunity with a combination of strategic thinking, tactical smarts, and seamless execution. The results exceeded the highest of expectations and based on feedback from our contacts at Google, such a feat has not been achieved by other travel brands within Australia.

“Digital Minds quickly pivoted their mindset and account strategy to support what was best for our business, and customers. Their fast re-build of strategy allowed us to rebound before many of our competitors, and is a testament to their customer centric focus.”
Matt Meisner
VP Digital Marketing, Luxury Escapes