increase in lead volume in trimester 1 of 2023 (compared to 2019)
increase compared to 2022 for their Sports Tours brand
decrease overall in CPL since pre-pandemic
Rayburn Tours are group travel and school trip specialists who have been arranging tours since 1965. They specialise in educational school trips, school ski trips and sports tours for schools, as well as concert tours for both youth and adult ensembles. Their aim is to inspire their groups to seek new adventures, embrace new cultures and learn new skills.
Rayburn pride themselves on impeccable service, giving a tailored itinerary to every group that approaches them for a trip. Every detail is planned to ensure the highest satisfaction, and their clients are happy to pay extra for the service Rayburn provides, often returning year after year.
Hallam has been Rayburn’s digital marketing partner for a decade and the biggest challenge we faced together was back in March 2020 when the pandemic completely wiped out the travel industry. During this year, Rayburn’s team downsized to skeleton staffing and refunded over £5 million in trips while negotiating with their stakeholders – Hallam included.
In 2021, enquiries started to come through again and their workforce was ready to scale up and invest where it would be most beneficial. Interest in their service began to grow, as schools and parents were more eager to ensure their children had the opportunity to partake in these life experiences.
To get things back up and running, we were faced with the following challenges:
- Helping to put all the right measures in place to reach Rayburn’s potential market
- Ensuring Rayburn had the capacity internally to respond to all their enquiries after cutting back the workforce
- Navigating the revived travel industry and its many, many restrictions that were now in place, with lead times on trips of 12-18 months
This is where Hallam’s Paid Media team were crucial to success. After a long stint of no advertising, we were responsible for ramping up enquiries and no longer looking at year on year growth, but rather we spent the following two years up until now needing to bring the business back up to 2019’s volume of enquiries.
What we did
During Rayburn’s pause from advertising, paid media evolved rapidly. We also had to adapt to the changing nature of the customer journey, by making website changes that helped fuel their paid media efforts.
With regards to their Google Ad account, where we previously had very granular campaigns according to best practices pre-2020, we instead suggested a restructure of their accounts to fit with the Hagakure methodology instead.
The benefits of the restructure were:
- Reducing account complexity so we could focus on the four core areas of the business instead, and report in that way
- Improving results without a large increase in annual budget (only 1.2% more budget in 2023 than 2022, thus achieving greater profitability in the accounts)
- Increasing the productivity of the team by focusing efforts on strategic decision-making based on key KPIs for Rayburn’s business
- Increased data recording to enable faster learning from Google’s automated bidding
Alongside this, we have expanded our work with Rayburn since pre-pandemic by also putting our energy into ramped up Paid Social campaigns to run alongside the core Paid Search activity.
We have continued to take the time to thoroughly understand Rayburn’s business and visited their HQ this year to better understand how Operations, Sales, Product, Marketing and Finance all work together so we are able to leverage any part of the business to improve our paid advertising.
Whether that’s writing more impactful ads through gaining a better understanding of the products/tours on offer, or weighting budgets differently based on the tours/locations that are completely sold out.
We are thrilled with the results we’ve continued to achieve with Rayburn coming out of the pandemic whereby all operations had to stop and other huge travel companies had to close down altogether. It is the combination of Hallam’s work, the natural increase in demand and search following the pandemic and the fact that Rayburn elevated their brand’s reputation through exceptional customer service during the most challenging of times that has generated success.
In the first trimester of 2023, we’ve seen increased leads and reduced CPAs across the board for Rayburn Tours and their two other tour operating brands Sports Tours and Venture Abroad, for which we also manage all paid media activity.
We have improved conversion volume by 63% and 66% compared to 2019 and 2022 respectively, while significantly bringing the CPA down. We have seen particularly good growth for non-branded keywords in a competitive space, aided by a greater shift to broad match terms, which in turn have increased impressions by 61% and the conversion rate by 53%. As a result of this, we have increased conversions by 125% and reduced the CPA by 41% for non-branded terms since 2022.
Rayburn’s business and workforce continue to thrive following their steady growth post-pandemic, while Hallam continues to love contributing to that journey after ten years of working together.
After many years of working together, our relationship with Hallam continues to go from strength to strength. We value their significant contribution to our paid media efforts, and their willingness to re-align themselves with the evolving complexity of our brands and service offering, particularly over the course of the last few years. They have always assigned a strong team to work on our accounts and we continually lean on their wealth of knowledge to develop our own internal working practices. Working in partnership together, understanding the challenges we have faced, and implanting a strategy overcome these is now playing a big part in us achieving our 2023/24 business objectives.Nicky Astle, Marketing Manager at Rayburn Tours
To take our partnership to the next level we also spent time training Rayburn’s in-house marketing team on all things paid media, to allow for us to collaborate better and thoroughly explain the method behind all of our campaigns.
The two-day face-to-face training delivered to us by Hallam was a real game changer for our team. With responsibility for running an internal marketing department, it is vital that we continually strive to plug any digital knowledge gaps. No amount of reading blogs or google searches could have delivered the depth of learning that the two days delivered. It was delivered in the context of our own business, social media accounts and objectives. Delivery by Simran – and all who supported her – was exceptional. I would recommend this training to any business looking to enhance their paid media management and knowledge.Nicky Astle, Marketing Manager at Rayburn Tours
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