Club Mahindra spends about 10 per cent of ad budget online

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | December 13, 2007
The travel and leisure brand currently spends 10 per cent of its ad budget on online display and search advertising, and plans to scale it up further

Club & #BANNER1 & # Mahindra, the travel and leisure services of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd (MHRIL), is keen on using the Internet to attract travellers. With a spending of up to 10 per cent of the ad budget on the Internet, the company is set to further scale it up, says Arun Nair, senior manager, marketing, web initiatives, MHRIL. Nair was brought on to the team three months ago to explore opportunities for the company in Internet marketing.

As part of his mandate, Nair is overseeing the launch of a corporate blog to enter into social media. Club Mahindra already has an informal blog, "Apart from the banners on regular portals, we will develop content on the places around our resorts to educate our prospects," reveals Nair. The company hopes to interact with its customers through the blog and answer their queries. A site revamp is also on the cards, and Nair says the new site will be integrated with the reservation system to enable online bookings.

The Club Mahindra official site
Club Mahindra has always been associated with family holiday packages and the Internet - which is a personal medium - will reach out to new audiences. "For us, everybody is a prospect. We are advertising online to create awareness. Even when we communicate with young people, they will have a family tomorrow," reasons Nair.

The company is also trying search marketing and working with digital agency Mediaturf for the same. "We realised we were missing out on the search results, but we are optimising our website now for search engines," says Nair.

Elaborating on the search strategy that the agency has put in place for Club Mahindra, Nanda Kishore, business head at Mediaturf in Chennai, says, "The way Indians are holidaying has changed. Families with higher disposable incomes are spending more on foreign holidays and are not limiting their holidays to one a year. Therefore, we have selected a set of keywords that match these aspirations."

Arun Nair
Through its search marketing, Club Mahindra is targeting people, who may or may not be Club Mahindra members, looking for cost-effective holidays. In fact, its Zest Holidays division caters specifically to such travellers. Kishore says the company has bought keywords running into thousands based on the terms that travellers look for, such as 'family vacation', 'holiday in Goa', and so on.

Not all the search ads of Club Mahindra are put up with the purpose of generating sales; brand awareness is also an objective. "We are using search marketing more from a branding perspective, though the ultimate goal is sales," says Nair. Kishore adds, "Whether a person clicks on a search ad or not, the brand awareness definitely goes up."

Apart from search, Club Mahindra is also planning content partnerships to create microsites on leading portals where its own content can be displayed. The company does not have a direct deal with travel websites, but Nair says that a dedicated section for Club Mahindra could be developed on these sites, too.

Nair did not reveal how much the company is spending on online marketing, but it is estimated that the figure is about Rs 2-3 crore annually.

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