A Sophisticated Playground For All Ages

Billed as a “sophisticated playground for all ages,” Carmel Valley Ranch occupies 500 scenic acres in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, an hour from Silicon Valley in central California’s wine country. 

The forward-thinking luxury resort—which is part of Hyatt’s Unbound collection—features a spa, golf course, tennis courts, saltwater swimming pools and organic restaurant, to name just a few of the high-end amenities on offer. 

A destination unto itself, the Ranch offers visitors an immersive, activity-packed experience that ranks among the best of its kind in Northern California, recognized by Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Readers’ Choice Awards, among others

The Challenge

Carmel Valley Ranch approached us having recently revamped their brand guide and visual identity. They wanted a new website to capture the updated look and feel of their marketing assets. In doing so, they hoped to also solve some of the problems presented by their previous web strategy.

Chief among Carmel Valley Ranch’s goals for the new website was to ensure it could be easily managed and modified from their side. With their previous site, it was difficult for the property to make website updates themselves. The backend access they had was limited and hard to navigate. The process of making edits to the site was often costly, time consuming and frustrating.

There were other problems that needed to be avoided this time around as well. The old site comprised an enormous amount of content spread across dozens of pages, which added another time-consuming layer to the process of keeping everything up to date. The site lacked sufficient accessibility features and suffered from bugs and inconsistencies throughout.

Their digital marketing strategy also invited improvement. Their campaigns focused on a very narrow set of keywords targeting primarily local markets, with limited results. The data, too, was limited: analytics were set up to track only a few touchpoints, giving an incomplete picture of user behaviour and ad performance. There was room to refine the approach and expand the scope of these efforts.

The Results

Wallop began by designing and building a new website to embody the property’s updated brand. We built the site using a modular framework that allows the property to seamlessly add and edit content that works in harmony with the existing design and structure. Their staff can now make website changes quickly and easily themselves, without a developer’s assistance.

The clean, modern design brings new features to their user experience including more concise and intuitive information architecture, improved navigation and a reimagined approach to highlighting, and allowing guests to plan, onsite activities. The new website is also designed with accessibility in mind, making it easy to navigate for users with disabilities.

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Alongside enhancing the user experience, Wallop’s approach emphasized SEO for the new website by utilizing structured data, disavowing toxic links and optimizing metadata to further grow their organic rankings for non-branded keywords.

Shortly after we launched their new website in August of 2021, we took over management of the property’s digital ad campaigns. Being careful to work around existing campaigns run on behalf of the property by Hyatt, we’ve implemented a strategy that includes Google search and display ads with broader geographic targets and a much greater diversity of keywords than their previous agency had been bidding on. We’ve bolstered this approach by running additional ad campaigns on Facebook for prospecting and retargeting. 

The results across the board have been impressive. From August through September of 2021, total website users increased by 33.68% while the overall number of website sessions increased by 27.68% compared to the same period in 2019. 

The boost in traffic from Google has been even more compelling, with a 44.38% increase in Google organic traffic and a 68.84% increase in Google Ads traffic when comparing 2021 against 2019.

Here at Wallop, we look forward to Carmel Valley Ranch’s continued success as we help them seek out new opportunities and improve their digital marketing results over the long term.