Carolina Designs Realty is an innovator in Outer Banks, NC. They’re the first Outer Banks rental company to provide linens as a standard amenity, the first to offer floor plans on all vacation homes, the first to offer real-time, online availability and reservations…the list goes on and on.
They were also one of the first to start reaching new customers through paid advertising on OuterBanks.org. Now their campaign has the third most clicks of any Destination Travel Network advertiser, a network of publisher websites containing more than 1,600 advertisers. Due to this stunning performance, we reached out to Carolina Designs Realty’s brother and sister marketing duo Ryan and Michele Thibodeau to learn how they leverage OuterBanks.org and other services offered by Outer Banks Visitors Bureau to rent their vacation properties and get more business.
Carolina Designs Realty opened in 1988 by their parents to represent quality Outer Banks vacation rentals located in the towns of Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. The family owned and operated business fills a niche for high-end, beachfront vacation homes. For over 30 years, they have established a solid reputation with visitors and homeowners alike.
“With the rise of sites like AirBnB and VRBO and other OTAs, renting direct from a property management company has a lot of value,” said Michele. “We live and work here so we know the area. And we cap our inventory so we can keep a pulse on what’s going on to provide exceptional guest experiences.”
“The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s website gets a lot of traction, the site appears high on search results for vacation rental terms, so it’s a good fit for us. We can’t get much more targeted to our demographic.” ~ Ryan
When it comes to advertising and marketing their vacation rentals, partnering with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau was a natural fit.
“The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau website has always worked really well for us. Historically we’ve done really well with clicks and conversions from the website,” said Ryan. “We try to jump on opportunities with them pretty fast, if you don’t get in early you could be out of luck.”
Their quick action landed Carolina Designs Realty digital advertisements that continue to give them a return on their investment. In a recent Destination Travel Network Top 100 Advertiser by Clicks* poll, they earned the 3rd spot with more than 1.8 million impressions and 21,425 clicks for an average of 1.16% CTR over a 13 month period. Considering the DTN Ad Network services more than 1,600 advertisers, this performance is extraordinary.
Ryan attributes the success of their campaign to the targeted audience of OuterBanks.org. OuterBanks.org is visited by the very people they are looking to attract: vacationers searching for high-end vacation homes offering premier amenities, prime locations, and easy access to the beach.
“The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s website gets a lot of traction, the site appears high on search results for vacation rental terms, so it’s a good fit for us,” explains Ryan. “We can’t get much more targeted to our demographic.”
Michele agrees. “It’s a group effort. We are all trying to get people to come to the Outer Banks. The quality of the leads from OuterBanks.org is perfect. The site attracts the people who are interested in exactly what we provide.”
Carolina Designs Realty doesn’t rely solely on OuterBanks.org and diversifies their reach through other websites and advertising options. They track results to make the best campaign decisions.
“We use Google Analytics to track our campaigns. The OuterBanks.org is consistently one of our top 10 traffic sources to our website,” said Ryan.
The Outer Banks is a popular vacation destination. As such, they both agree that OuterBanks.org provides perfect exposure for local tourism-related businesses in the Outer Banks. Ryan knows the visitors bureau researched companies before choosing a digital advertising partner and he’s confident with their decision to use Destination Travel Network.
“It’s a group effort. We are all trying to get people to come to the Outer Banks. The quality of the leads from OuterBanks.org is perfect. The site attracts the people who are interested in exactly what we provide.” ~ Michele
“Working with Meredith at DTN has been great. It’s pretty easy and straightforward to get on the website and invoicing is really easy,” said Ryan. “Other businesses should give it a try. Start small and track results. DTN has tracking if they don’t. It won’t hurt and I think those who try it will be pleasantly surprised.”
If you’d like to join the DTN Ad Network, learn how to become an advertiser. If you’re a DMO and want to learn more about becoming a DTN publisher and offering your local businesses enhanced exposure opportunities on your website, schedule a demo today.
*The Top 100 Advertisers by Clicks report was generated by the DTN Ad Ops team and included performance data from January 2017 – February 2018.