A little about Starwood
Starwood is one of the world’s largest hotel and leisure companies. It is home to some of the best known hotel brands, including St. Regis, Le Méridien and Sheraton.
Starwood has been a client of Razorfish since 2007. Initially, Razorfish UK was selected to handle search campaigns in two of Starwood’s EMEA regions – North-West Europe (NWE) and Greece, Turkey, Cyprus (GTC). Then, in July 2009, the EMEA Division decided it needed to improve its operational search efficiency by appointing a single agency to handle its search account across all nine of its regions within EMEA as well as its central search.
Marin has helped us to build much better relationships with our clients.
Starwood currently bids on approximately 100,000 different keywords across its range of hotels. As Starwood operates its business through subsidiaries as well as directly, the company needs to run both co-funded and generic search campaigns. Around 90% of all Starwood’s search terms are branded, but its business model dictates that they bid on broader terms such as ‘luxury London hotel’ or ‘place to stay in London’.
In line with running co-funded keyword campaigns for multiple brands, Razorfish needs to keep track of the search marketing for each of Starwood’s subsidiaries. The Starwood EMEA’s regional teams naturally look to get the best search engine rankings, and each hotel has its own individual budget. This means that when it comes to sharing search results, Razorfish is tasked with running and having to manually consolidate around ten separate reports on a yearly, monthly and even weekly basis. Manually producing understandable, comprehensive reports with such frequency became too time consuming, with each report taking at least half a day.
Arianne Donoghue, Search Manager, Razorfish UK comments, “Each of Starwood’s hotels has a fixed sum for search engine marketing. We therefore need to ensure that their campaigns are not exceeding budget. Handling so many keywords for so many different clients made keeping track of this an incredibly complex challenge – we are managing the search campaigns for almost 100 hotels, all of which have different budgets. So much of our time was originally spent reporting, when it really could have been more useful optimising and managing the campaigns.”
Razorfish decided to use Marin Software’s flagship product, Marin Search, to handle Starwood’s campaign as it provided them with easy-to-use analytics and the ability to rapidly generate reports.
Through Marin’s Web Query reporting, Razorfish is now able to produce simple reports in a readable format within a matter of minutes – significantly reducing the time it takes them to create a report for each of Starwood’s subsidiaries.
The software has also significantly improved the way Razorfish monitors budgets. The reporting function in Marin Software enables the company to check the search spend against each set of keywords for each region and use this to ensure that all costs fall within the respective hotel’s allocated budget.
Razorfish now has instant access to the data at any time, meaning that if Starwood unexpectedly requests a budget or search report for one of its hotels, Arianne and her team can generate one immediately.
Arianne comments, “With less of our time being spent on handling reports and budgets, the search team has been able to spend more time optimising keywords and focusing on development and techniques for improving our search marketing campaigns. We rely on Marin’s automated reports to help us stick to budgets. When a client wants to see how their search budget has been spent, we can produce the information for them immediately, rather than having to make them wait. The team at Marin has provided excellent support throughout the process and keeping an accurate track of their budgets through Marin Software has helped us to build much better relationships with our clients.”
- Easier, clearer reporting
- At least 20 hours saved each month through automated reporting processes
- Ability to easily identify under-performing keywords
- Increased operational efficiency
- Ability to provide clients with bespoke reports that previously weren’t possible due to time and resource constraints