Finger Lakes Wine Country is a region with rich natural beauty, deep roots in history, and a passion for life's simple pleasures. For a classically trained chef and an interior designer, the opening of the Black Sheep Inn and Spa is the culmination of a lifelong dream; to create an oasis from the stresses of everyday life in an atmosphere that embodies their personal philosophies to pursue happiness and fulfillment.
It all came together for the couple just outside the village of Hammondsport, NY. This is where Debbie Mertisky and Marc Rotman discovered an historic 1859 Octagon home centrally located to award-winning wineries, craft breweries, local cheese producers and a tremendous selection of cultural and outdoor activities. It took more than six years for them to completely restore the unusual structure while they commuted from Cleveland, Ohio. Black Sheep Inn and Spa opened in the spring of 2007 and is now a top Farm to Table Bed and Breakfast in the Finger Lakes on the National Register of Historic Places.
“As we regularly review the metrics on our own website, our presence on FingerLakesWineCountry.com continually appears in the top tier of our own analytics, translating to exposure for our property and direct bookings.” ~ Debbie
The Innkeepers are not just business owners; they are involved in many local and regional tourism organizations, serving on several boards to help enhance visitors’ experiences in the Finger Lakes. Marc served on the board of the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, which introduced them to FingerLakesWineCountry.com.
The couple uses a variety of digital advertising avenues to promote the spacious and comfortable guestrooms, locally sourced and organic farm to table breakfasts, and the studio and art gallery.
“We were aware of the effectiveness of FingerLakesWineCountry.com and how its metrics continue to grow,” says Debbie. “We selected the advertisement that was appropriate for our business, and that offered both excellent exposure and fit into our marketing budget.”
That placement was a Run of Site Banner managed and serviced by Destination Travel Network. This paid, premium sponsored content puts the Black Sheep Inn and Spa on nearly every page of the website and includes a photo, direct link to their website and enticing copy to introduce website visitors to their distinctive rooms and guest experiences. And in March 2019, they moved to a Page Sponsor on the Places to Stay Bed and Breakfast page, a targeted placement that puts them right where their guests can find them.
Visitors who stay at the historic inn can choose from five well-appointed guest rooms. Each room features its own unique design and style while all offer private en suite bath with plush towels and monogrammed robes. Organic breakfasts are prepared daily by Debbie who sources 85% of her ingredients from within 50 miles of the Inn. And travelers can choose from concierge services such as a relaxing massage, seasonal floral arrangements and gifts, and classes in their F.L.A.V.O.R. studio and art gallery just to name a few.
The on-site art studio, F.L.A.V.O.R. Studio, is where Debbie and Marc create artwork using recycled and repurposed materials in Mixed Media, Stained Glass, Handmade Jewelry, and Repurposed Furniture. Guests can take hands-on classes in any of those categories to get a truly creative experience.
“The acronym FLAVOR stands for Finger Lakes Art, Vintage, Old and Repurposed, which embodies our deeply-held principles of repurposing and recycling,” says Debbie.
Their choice in paid digital placements is working well for the couple. Over the last nine months, the Run of Site Banner received 58,104 impressions and 792 clicks for a 1.36% click-through rate (CTR); quite a bit higher than the average Google Display Network’s .3% to .5% average CTR.
“As we regularly review the metrics on our own website, our presence on FingerLakesWineCountry.com continually appears in the top tier of our own analytics, translating to exposure for our property and direct bookings,” says Debbie. “More awareness of our property translates into more heads in beds. While this isn’t the only digital advertising we do, the ad on this website is one of our top performers.”
So would Debbie recommend paid digital content on FingerLakesWineCountry.com to other tourism businesses? Due to the programs overall effectiveness and ease of use, she would.
“Although more expensive than some other advertising opportunities, the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association draws great traffic to their website and as a result to our website,” says Debbie. “The process of setting up the ad was very easy, and with Destination Travel Network’s auto-pay feature, we don’t need to have much contact throughout the year.”
Black Sheep Inn and Spa is open year-round and Debbie and Marc welcome you to their creative retreat. You can learn more about the farm to table bed and breakfast at StayBlackSheepInn.com, and follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TripAdvisor and Yelp.