Despite an auspicious start, with the campaign raising a whopping $110k in its first three days, Youri, the mastermind behind Oculis Lodge, soon hit a roadblock, raising $0 in the following 2 weeks. The initial momentum gradually decreased. So, when Youri approached us with a proposition, we were all ears.
A successful campaign is more than just a brilliant idea or flawless execution. It’s about having a dedicated team that is unafraid to challenge norms and think outside the box.
At TCF, we’re that hot mess of a team, proud of our diverse skills and perspectives that foster collaborative problem-solving and innovative thinking. Over the years, we’ve been the backbone for creators worldwide, helping them achieve their crowdfunding dreams and collectively raising million-dollar campaigns.
Our latest success story is the Oculis Lodge campaign, which became, at the time, the most funded hotel campaign in crowdfunding history!
Located in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, Oculis Lodge offers a unique luxury experience for travelers seeking adventure and tranquility. This one-of-a-kind hotel was designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural landscape.
Although the concept piqued interest, our team’s challenge-driven approach ensured that Oculis Lodge consistently achieved exceptional results.
After an initial success, raising a remarkable $110k in the first three days, Youri, the brains behind Oculis Lodge, encountered a hurdle – raising nothing in the following two weeks. So, when he presented the idea to us, we were eager to try it.
Few successful hotel funding campaigns on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo existed at the time. It was also uncharted territory for us, filled with obstacles and opportunities.
But the idea had a certain allure that couldn’t be ignored, and I knew we had to take on the challenge.
I knew success would mean more than just another feather in TCF’s cap. From the outset, it was clear that our triumph would establish a blueprint for future hotel campaigns – a road map for others to follow and a testament to the power of crowdfunding in the hospitality sector.
And so, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Our expertise and relentless drive raised an additional $1.12 million in three weeks!
This extraordinary accomplishment made Oculis Lodge the most-funded hotel crowdfunding campaign at the time and the first to surpass the million-dollar benchmark.
And here is how we did it!
Understanding the audience is the cornerstone of any successful campaign, which was more accurate than ever in the case of the Oculis Lodge.
By imagining ourselves in their position and gathering valuable feedback through various surveys and online communications, we could tailor our campaign to meet their interests and needs.
We quickly learned that our audience was those within the Pacific Northwest — Washington, California, Oregon, and even neighboring BC, Canada.
This conclusion that our audience was based in the Pacific Northwest was not mere speculation but a strategic deduction.
Secondly, our hotel was comfortably close to home for locals. This geographical perk, paired with a generally more substantial inclination towards crowdfunding in the U.S. market, made it logical to concentrate our efforts on appealing to the local population, with Seattle leading the pack. After all, who could resist the allure of a charming mountain retreat right in their backyard?
Upon identifying our target audience, our next challenge was to design a strategy to capture their attention and get the campaign off to a strong start. We zeroed in on three distinct groups:
Our instincts proved to be incredibly accurate! The campaign struck a chord with our targeted audience, and we experienced an overwhelming response, validating the efficacy of our strategy.
Understanding our audience also significantly influenced our media approach.
We realized that a successful media campaign for Oculis Lodge wasn’t just about getting the word out but about communicating our message to the right people in the right way. It meant focusing our efforts on the media types our audience already resonated with and tailoring our content to match their interests, needs, and values.
That’s why our first step was to attract the big media outlets in the category, such as curiocity.com, travelandleisure.com, mymodernmet.com, robbreport.com, and northspore.com, that would have the highest impact on the campaign. While others would have targeted Canada and the USA, we decided to take a different route and narrowed our ads to city-level targeting Seattle and Vancouver.
We crafted press releases and stories emphasizing the unique blend of luxury and adventure offered by Oculis Lodge and the incredible opportunity this presented to backers.
But our media strategy didn’t end with coverage by large, well-known media outlets. We knew local pride was a powerful motivator, and we wanted our audience to feel part of something that genuinely benefited their community.
So, we targeted local media outlets that could help cultivate this sentiment.
Local media outlets like ‘The Seattle Times’ in Washington and ‘That Oregon Life’ in Oregon, among others, have strong local followings and could create a buzz in the community about Oculis Lodge. Their coverage served to amplify the sense of local pride in the campaign, strengthening community support and fostering a sense of collective achievement.
Our media strategy successfully engaged our target audience and translated into a significant boost in website traffic. We witnessed a massive increase of 60% in visits, most of which were a direct result of our media campaigns.
As a result, we raised an impressive $760K in just two weeks.
This surge in online presence was instrumental in driving our campaign forward and contributed majorly to the success of Oculis Lodge’s crowdfunding endeavor.
In addition to our media strategy, we also utilized advertising campaigns to reach specific segments of our target audience described above. These included social media ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram that were tailored to appeal to the interests of each group.
Our strategy involved creating different types of content to appeal to each group.
By basing our advertising strategy on the specific interests of our audience groups, we could craft compelling, targeted messages that resonated with our audiences and significantly boosted the efficacy of our campaign.
Communicating effectively with your audience requires understanding who they are and what they like. You must also speak their language and address them in a manner that resonates with them. Your tone of voice, choice of words, and visuals – every element in your communication – should reflect your audience’s preferences and sensibilities.
To further captivate our audiences, we designed visually stunning ads featuring Mount Baker and the 15-foot domes of the Oculis Lodge. These ads showcased the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped mountains and the innovative architecture of the Lodge’s domes, offering a glimpse into the extraordinary experiences awaited guests.
Our copy highlighted the unique amenities available at the Lodge, from the idyllic hot tub and the cozy wood-burning fireplaces to the unparalleled stargazing opportunities through the dome’s skylight.
While crafting our message to each of our target audiences, we found that incorporating quotes from famous and credible sources like Forbes and Travel+Leisure resonated deeply with our recipients. This technique, often referred to as ‘social proof,’ taps into the human tendency to trust and follow the opinions of influential figures or trusted sources.
These testimonials served to reaffirm the message we were delivering and added an extra layer of credibility to our claims. The resulting improvement in audience engagement was clear evidence of the strategy’s success.
But we wanted more – we wanted to crank things up a notch. So we began running ads featuring badges that boldly stated “Last Hours” or “Save 50% Now.” This tactic was based on two powerful psychological triggers: urgency and bargain appeal.
Seeing a ticking clock or a limited-time offer creates a sense of urgency, prompting viewers to act before it’s too late. And let’s face it – who doesn’t love the prospect of saving money? A significant discount further incentivized backers to contribute to the campaign. These ads provided that extra nudge, capturing attention and encouraging immediate action.
The synergy of our meticulously crafted visuals, compelling copy, and targeted reach culminated in a dramatic success.
Our relentless dedication and tireless efforts paid off, as evidenced by a substantial 8 – 9 ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) throughout the campaign.
Influencer marketing holds immense potential in crowdfunding, especially for niche markets such as luxury lodges or hotels. With their extensive and often dedicated followers, influencers can help bring attention and credibility to your project, effectively bridging the gap between potential backers and your campaign.
Trust plays a crucial role in crowdfunding. Backers are more likely to invest in a project recommended by a trusted influencer, as this reduces their perceived risk.
In the context of a niche hotel market on crowdfunding platforms, influencers who cater to travel, lifestyle, or luxury sectors can be particularly effective. Their followers are already interested in such offerings, making it more likely for them to back a project like an upscale lodge or hotel.
Furthermore, influencers can create authentic content around your project, giving potential backers a glimpse of what to expect. It not only creates excitement and anticipation but also further validates the project.
The impact of influencers in shaping consumer behavior cannot be overstated. Leveraging their reach and credibility, we involved a select few influencers who aligned with Oculis Lodge’s brand values and appealed to our target audiences.
Thus, we embarked on an innovative approach to influencer marketing.
Recognizing the power of Instagram influencers in shaping perceptions and driving engagement, we decided to collaborate with local influencers willing to create content without physically being at the Oculis Lodge. It was a unique but exciting challenge that required creativity and ingenuity. We equipped these influencers with green screens, which allowed them to film themselves discussing the Lodge while showing it in the background.
This way, we incorporated the influencers’ personal touch and credibility while visually showcasing the Lodge’s unique appeal.
The influencers discussed the Oculis Lodge’s amenities, location, and sustainability practices. The audience was treated to stunning visuals of the Lodge in the backdrop.
This approach to influencer marketing yielded impressive results, with the content resonating deeply with our target audiences. It enhanced the Lodge’s brand image, increased engagement, and significantly contributed to the success of our crowdfunding campaign. Furthermore, it demonstrated the potential of creative, out-of-the-box thinking in influencer marketing strategies.
The combination of concise messaging, impactful visuals, strategic use of social proof, urgency tactics, and innovative influencer marketing led to unprecedented success for the Oculis Lodge crowdfunding campaign.
We reached and exceeded our funding goal, raising a staggering amount that surpassed our most optimistic predictions. More importantly, we cultivated a community of enthusiastic backers invested in the Lodge’s vision and success.
All in all, Oculis Lodge was a great success story! This journey demonstrated the potency of a well-executed marketing and communication strategy, reinforcing our belief in the power of creative, audience-focused storytelling – all while keeping ROAS at an impressive 9%.
Now, that’s what we call a perfect marketing campaign!