Friday, December 3, 2010

International tourists find the Polish seaside through Google AdWords

Sebastian Hejnowski’s parents built the Villa Zdroj Bed and Breakfast in 2002 to share Poland’s beauty with weary travelers. Located in Miedzyzdroje, a city on the coast of Polish island Wolin, Villa Zdroj is one of the island’s first modern bed and breakfasts.

Sebastian’s parents handle reservations, property development and sometimes breakfast. Sebastian runs the advertising efforts for his parents’ Villa, including Google AdWords. “When we first started our AdWords campaigns, we focused on Poland but we soon realized that there was increasing interest from our neighboring countries,” says Sebastian. When he noticed an upward trend in drop-in visitors from other countries, he decided to launch campaigns across Poland’s borders as well.

Villa Zdroj - courtesy of Marcin Matecki Photography

According to Sebastian, the variety of outdoor activities combined with the relatively inexpensive cost of Polish tourism make Wolin a vacation paradise for Germans and Scandinavians. “Germans and Scandinavians were coming to Miedzyzdroje, but mostly staying in expensive five-star hotels,” says Sebastian. “B&B’s were never an option since they didn’t know where to find them.” So Sebastian made Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden his first international targets. The strategy proved correct: “We were one of the first Polish B&B’s to create a website in English. When we targeted an AdWords campaign to these people, they started calling and booking reservations.”

As time went on, Sebastian noticed that Poland had become more and more accessible to Europeans due to an increase in flights to the area. To capitalize on this trend, Sebastian expanded his AdWords campaigns even beyond bordering countries. “With time we extended the campaign to the Great Britain and the Netherlands.” says Sebastian. “Europeans tend to explore new places and travel extensively.”

Sebastian with his family - courtesy of Marcin Matecki Photography

Today, foreigners account for more than half of Villa Zdroj’s guests. And Sebastian estimates that up to 60% of those international guests book Villa Zdroj because they found his AdWords ads.

Thanks to his effective targeting, Sebastian now sells out all of the villa’s rooms during peak summer travel season. He adjusts his ad campaigns to reflect availability: “In summer, we track vacancies and adjust our campaigns accordingly. We pause the campaigns if we’re booked a few weeks out.”

In 2012, Poland will host the Euro Cup and Sebastian’s dad is already getting ready for an influx of visitors. “My father is considering buying a big projector so everyone can watch the games together in the communal room,” says Sebastian. “We’re already excited to share the Polish seaside with more out of town visitors!”

Learn more about Villa Zdroj Bed and Breakfast and Sebastian’s successes online in this short video (it's in Polish, but you can view captions).

Posted by Piotr Zalewski, Communications Associate, Poland