Isle Be in TouchCreating a successful digital brand for a vacation destination 3/12/2013 01:23:48 PM Eastern
The Soggy Dollar Bar, a popular British Virgin Islands
resort nightspot named for its famous beach bar (and for inventing the original
Painkiller), had a dilemma. They wanted to find a way to reach out, and stay
digitally connected and engaged with the 110,000 rum-thirsty travelers who
ascend from the water and stumble barefoot up to their white sandy Jost Van
Dyke beach each year.
The Soggy Dollar folks liked the work done with lifestyle
brand retailer Life Is Good, so they enlisted the company responsible-SilverTech,
a digital marketing agency in Manchester, N.H.-for help in creating integrated
digital marketing strategies and bringing those strategies to life, from
concept to creation.
SilverTech's primary goal was to create a digital brand that
virtually brought previous visitors back to their time spent at Soggy Dollar.
In addition, by reconnecting with, and encouraging visitors to reminisce about
their experience online, Soggy Dollar hoped to grow previously stagnant online
sales of branded apparel and gifts via a new e-commerce website.
Like any tourism destination competing for traveler wallet
share, Soggy Dollar needed to find a way to maintain relationships with its
visitors in between trips.
"We reached out to SilverTech to help us create an
integrated brand experience that could be applied across our website, social
channels, email and even on the island," says Jerry O'Connell, owner of Soggy
Dollar Bar. "Knowing the emotional connection that visitors have to our beach,
to our infamous Painkiller rum drink, and to our staff, it was absolutely
critical that we found a partner who could recreate and bring to life the
authentic Soggy Dollar experience."
It's an experience that has led to the bar being named a top
10 Caribbean beach destination by Conde Nast Traveler. And as part of SilverTech's
strategic process, members of the team traveled to the Caribbean to experience
Soggy Dollar firsthand, where more than 200 visitors per day go to relax and
party at its White Bay location.
The beach bar is only accessible by swimming from a moored
boat or by beaching a dinghy, so currency is often soaked and soggy by the time
it arrives, hence the bar's descriptive name. There, the SilverTech team
investigated what made the place unique in order to translate that experience
through the Soggy Dollar website.
"People are so crazy about the authenticity of this place
that we had to maintain it online," said Erin Presseau, account director at
SilverTech, who worked on the Soggy Dollar project. "You get there and it's so
laidback and surrounded by natural beauty that you feel like you are on a
deserted island with 200 of your closest friends. So it became clear to us
immediately that every detail had to be authentic so we made sure the
photographs were real, the staff photos were current and the magical vibe of
the island came across in the messaging and interaction online."
The SilverTech team designed and developed a new,
interactive Soggy Dollar e-commerce enabled website, created email campaigns to
reconnect and grow relationships with travelers in between visits and kicked
off social media campaigns that included contests to further engage loyal fans
and encourage them to visit the new site.
More specifically, here are some of the ways the agency was
able to connect visitors both on and off the island:
Put a webcam on the beach so visitors can relive their
experience and potential visitors can find out what they are missing.
Use authentic photographs and colors, right down to a portrait of the bartender
mixing a cocktail, the exact number of stools at the bar and the color of the
Offer branded merchandise guests can purchase online-merchandise they couldn't
buy on-site because their swim-up route to the island bar prevented it.
Stay connected with guests via email through the Painkiller Club, named for the
bar's signature drink.
Encourage guests to share their experiences through social media sites such as Facebook,
Twitter and Foursquare.
The results have been impressive. In less than five months
after launching the new website, online sales are up almost 200% over what was
sold online the entire previous year, email subscriber lists have grown nearly
20%, the social media fan base is up 16% and social interactions have more than
doubled. In addition, the new website, launched at end of June 2012, earned a
gold Davey Award in the categories of marketing and tourism, which recognizes
agencies for their creativity.
SilverTech continues to work strategically and creatively
with Soggy Dollar as the company's official digital marketing partner, and
helps to craft ongoing campaigns and develop new interactive concepts for all
online, digital and mobile channels.
"We're delighted with the new ways we're keeping our
customers and fans connected to the one and only Soggy Dollar experience we've
worked so hard to create," says O'Connell. "We're hearing that it's the next
best thing to being here."
(The above case study was submitted for
publication by digital agency SilverTech.)