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Case Study: Converting leisure travelers

August 03, 2021
kayak in river

About Plantation on Crystal River

Plantation on Crystal River is a beautiful, 232-acre resort surrounded by Kings Bay’s natural springs. The resort is part of the Ascend Hotel Collection®, a lifestyle division of Choice Hotels®. Recognized as the hotel industry’s first soft-brand concept, each of the Ascend Collection hotels is independently owned and operated by its franchise partners, offering unique amenities and experiences with a bit of local flavor. Lifestyle hotels have a unique story to tell and if they differentiate themselves successfully, can really outperform the market.



While their current branded website offered a unique look into the resort experience, it was not enough to set this property apart from the competition. Traditional marketing methods failed to effectively drive customers and consequentially, did not produce the desired results for the hotel. Plantation on Crystal River General Manager Michael Mancke recognized the need for a better digital strategy in order to improve direct sales, both bookings and group lead generation, so he turned to Vizergy® Digital Marketing for its expertise. 

To recover from the unexpected decline in 2020 travel and steadily increase revenue, it was crucial to attract more customers to the website. One major area of opportunity was for Plantation on Crystal River to leverage the shift in consumer preferences for experiences; for that reason, Vizergy created a new digital strategy focusing on the hotel’s unique features and highlighting safety protocols to reassure travelers following COVID-19.

The resort’s goal was to attract and convert visitors by enhancing the independent website to highlight its amazing location along the nature coast and the experiences available to different types of travelers. Vizergy’s objective was to create a destination site that allowed travelers to plan their stay using the curated list of experiences offered. Since teaming up with Vizergy and implementing the recommended strategy, Plantation on Crystal River expertly optimized and redesigned its independent website, boosting traffic by 45%.  



The resort found that its main challenge was organically attracting new customers to the website. Demand for hotels has dramatically transformed in terms of both volume of travelers and the desired types of properties, increasing the need for a more cohesive online strategy. 

They also faced another challenge: due to current events, the travel industry experienced another shift where business travel decreased while leisure travel continually increased. This rebound in leisure travelers required a different marketing focus, affecting how the hotel positioned itself among the competition (other hotels), Airbnbs, and vacation rentals. 


What Did Vizergy Do? 

Vizergy began utilizing in-depth Google data, researching popular keywords and their search volumes, past site traffic, and the resort’s target market’s user behavior. Vizergy also took a close look at the competitor data to ensure any gaps in positioning were considered. The team took an inventory of the hotel’s assets and unique qualities that set them apart. For example, the resort sits along Crystal River with natural springs largely populated by manatees. After evaluating the demand for specific features of the hotel and why people would travel there, the team optimized the content and highlighted the curated experiences around those demands. 

The new independent website leveraged storytelling to create limitless possibilities of adventure, further highlighting the resort as a destination offering many exciting experiences such as snorkeling and swimming with manatees. Video and rich media centered around not only the hotel, but also the local area and unique nearby attractions. 

As a result of these calculated enhancements, visitors to the site are now immersed in nature to help them envision their stay. They are able to imagine a destination—a place to make memories— rather than just a hotel. 


What Impact Did Vizergy Make?

  • Plantation on Crystal River increased its website traffic YOY by 45% from all sources and more qualified inbound leads are now flowing into the sales pipeline. 
  • Since optimizing the content to attract and convert leisure travelers seeking unique experiences, customers delivered to the reservation system increased by 38%.
  • Vizergy ultimately elevated the hotel’s user experience and made pertinent information easier to locate, leading to a 17% increase in completed Requests For Proposal (RFPs).
  • The customized marketing strategy promoted the hotel’s special amenities and services in the right way, resulting in a 79% increase in click-to-call, allowing hotel staff to personally engage with potential customers and close the sale.


“Vizergy is doing a phenomenal job for us, and we’re delighted to partner with them,” said Mancke. “Their expertise and website solutions helped us increase revenue by providing thoughtful direct sales strategy.”


About Vizergy®

For more than 20 years, Vizergy has served the hospitality industry with leading marketing technologies, knowledgeable talent and exceptional service for clients worldwide. The company deploys complete travel life-cycle marketing solutions from conversion-optimized website design to award-winning digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and execution. Vizergy’s platform is touted as the #1 digital sales & marketing system – easy to use, turnkey and SMART, and continually enhanced with tools to help hotels compete and maximize revenue. At Vizergy, hospitality marketing is not only our mission, it’s our sole focus. For more information, please visit

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