Thrill Seekers, Meet Alaskan Adventure
Scope of Work
Breathtaking Adventures in the Last Frontier
Since the 1980s, Alaska River Adventures outfitted thrill seekers for guided fishing, scenic rafting, hiking, and lodging on the Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.They helped people achieve the vacation of a lifetime in the epicenter of award-winning fly fishing and breathtaking scenery.
TAKING ON WATER
Alaska River Adventures experienced positive growth in their business for over 38 years until new competitors took a bite out of their performance. They reached out to Divining Point to bring their numbers back into the black with a new brand, updated website, and online marketing campaign to boost bookings during the summer seasons of 2019 and 2020.
TIPPING THE SCALES
Divining Point reviewed their existing website and identified flaws with the user experience and onsite SEO. Competitive research showed that many of the newer competitors used digital advertising methods to attract new customers before and during peak season.
We deployed a temporary website designed with WordPress to replace their existing site while we launched a robust pay-per-click campaign using Google Search and Display advertising. Our goal was to target people well before they started the planning of their vacations (from February to June) and to target people as they enjoyed their vacations in Alaska (from July to September).
Simultaneously, Divining Point designed a new brand identity for the company. The previous logo was busy, difficult to read, and did not resonate with modern thrill seekers. The new logo is modern, powerful, and captures the adventure that awaits the customers of Alaska River Adventures. Following the new brand design, an entirely new website was developed.
MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME
As Divining Point consulted with Alaska River Adventures, we learned that an entirely new revenue stream was possible with guided hiking, an outdoor experience the company had never properly promoted.
We flew to Alaska in the summer of 2019 to capture original photography and videography around which the new website would be designed. Our work included aerial drone footage, underwater videography of salmon, and photos of the client during guided rafting and fishing adventures.
Fire Disrupts The Summer of 2019
In June of 2019, while Divining Point was filming on the ground, a lightning strike ignited the brittle grass around Swan Lake close to Alaska River Adventures’ home of Cooper Landing. The fire spread throughout June and July until it engulfed 167,164 acres of pristine woodlands. The fire also impacted vacation planning for many thrill seekers who had not already departed for Alaska. As the fire grew, new bookings from outside of Alaska dropped.
As Divining Point was working on the website and running advertising campaigns, a strategic decision was made to shift the targeting of all campaigns to reach a greater number of people already in Alaska enjoying their summer vacations.
Alaska River Adventures was able to maximize bookings all the way up until Cooper Landing was evacuated in mid-August of 2019. Although revenue from mid-August to mid-September was lost due to a natural disaster, the company managed to reap the rewards of taking a “local first” approach to marketing from mid-June to mid-August.
Surviving the Pandemic of 2020
Alaska River Adventures requested we deploy advertising campaigns in January of 2020 to bring travelers to the new website to start booking their summer vacations in Alaska. Just as momentum on campaigns climbed, the WHO announced the COVID-19 crisis had reached global pandemic status. Bookings came to a complete halt by mid-April, and cancellations started pouring in.
With the prospect of a second summer season in jeopardy, Divining Point halted campaigns and returned to a “local first” approach. We updated on site metadescriptions and copy in order to give Alaska River Adventures the opportunity to yield more bookings through organic keyword rankings. As travel nationwide stopped, Alaskans chose to “staycation” and enjoy the adventures in their own backyard.
Although the season of 2020 was not entirely salvaged, the volume of local bookings helped Alaska River Adventures avoid a total loss of revenue. Divining Point continued to provide strategic marketing support, as needed, and web support to keep their online presence in good standing so they could market their guided adventures throughout the pandemic.