Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council
Salvaging the Season.
Defeating a Hacker.
The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council (KPTMC) is a member-driven Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) that serves to increase tourism and travel to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. The organization has a mission to serve a large territory that includes well-known destinations in Alaska, like Kenai, Seward, Homer and Soldotna, and many other smaller communities, like Cooper Landing, Sterling, Hope, and Seldovia.
Scope of Work
Search Engine Optimization
Conversion Funnel Optimization
The KPTMC used a combination of traditional marketing methods and a website, built on an outdated and insecure version Drupal, to raise awareness of the Kenai Peninsula. Since sales tax associated with tourism accounts for 25% of all sales tax revenue on the Peninsula, the KPTMC was faced with a growing problem. Tourism to the Peninsula had experienced a 3.1% drop against a project of 4% increases year over year. With only seven months until the peak summer season, the KPTMC asked Divining Point to assist with boosting vacation planning to the area.
Divining Point started with a thorough review of the marketing methods employed by the KPTMC. Like many other DMO’s, there is a heavy reliance on printed Visitor Guides to advertise local attractions, businesses and information about the community. The organization mails physical copies of the Visitor Guide to people submitting online requests. However, the majority of the guides are distributed to local establishments and visitor centers, where they can be consumed by tourists already in the area. The digital marketing methods exclusively revolved around a website and organic social media.
Divining Point recommended a robust online marketing strategy to target two territories: Anchorage and the “Lower 48” mainland United States. The mission was to introduce the Kenai Peninsula as a prime destination for fishing, hiking, sightseeing, RV travel, and lodging. After a deeper analysis, we discovered that historically travellers came from the greater Alaskan area, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas and Florida. With an emphasis on these areas, we focused our advertising efforts to position the Kenai Peninsula as “Alaska’s Playground”.
In order to track conversions on the website, a series of updates were made to the KPTMC website. Built on Drupal, the site had been neglected without much maintenance to keep it secure. A conversion tracking process was implemented, and we tracked requests for the Visitor Guide, along with clicks to member sites.
Within eight weeks of launching our campaigns, the KPTMC website saw nearly a 2000% increase in traffic and a 257% increase in Visitor Guide requests. Engagement on social media climbed by 46%, whereas Likes increased by 96%. Each month during the engagement we saw near triple digit increase in session, new users, Visitor Guide requests, and clicks to member sites.
After three months into our engagement, we noticed something suspicious during monthly reporting. Keywords for athletic shoes and adult related content were being attributed to the website, with remarkable growth in rankings over more pertinent keywords.
Approximately two years prior to our engagement with KPTMC, a hacker had created a keylogger to detect passwords on entry to the site. Once the hacker detected a higher than usual volume on the website, they returned to fill the site with malicious code, hidden keywords and dozens of pages with pornography. Google sent a warning that the website would be blacklisted if the issues were not repaired.
We worked quickly to block the hacker from accessing the website while simultaneously removing the mechanism to hide the pages and keywords. The site was scrubbed, and the site’s standing with Google was salvaged. Following this cleanse, keyword ranking made remarkable improvements across the board and our pay-per-click campaigns resumed their stellar performance.
Our mission is to build greater trust in the marketplace by helping companies fulfill the promises they make to their customers. As such, we wake up every morning to generate demand for our clients’ services and cultivate brand loyalty.