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Thursday, 03 October 2013 12:40

What Does a Successful Website Look Like?

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The tourism industry is a visual one, wouldn't you agree? When it comes to attracting tour operators and travelers to your attraction, hotel, destination, etc., having a beautiful, easy to read, easy to navigate website is what can set you apart from the competition. But what does a successful website look like? We reached out to Mo Sherifdeen, director of integrated marketing at Travel Oregon—winner of two Mercury awards for the Best Overall State Marketing Program and Best State Travel Website in the country—and got his answers to how their website became the best. Click here for Part 2 of Mo's Q&A session. 

 

What goes into creating a successful tourism website?

This might sound cliché but the success really hinges on how your site’s content and functionality reflects the objectives and needs to your audience.  

Travelers are making crucial trip decisions in front of a web browser or mobile/tablet device. What kind of content do they need to make these decisions? What are their information gathering goals? What do we need visitors to learn about Oregon while using our website? And what is the role of a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) in the trip inspiration and planning process? These are just some of the questions we set to answer when we embarked on an effort to completely overhaul TravelOregon.com and meet the brand objective of becoming the most trusted resource for Oregon travel inspiration and trip information.

What is the best feature of your website?

Inspiration fails when people can’t act upon it, so a primary goal on the new site was to provide actionable information around inspirational content. 

Content Lenses:  An important part of the new Travel Oregon site structure is what we call “Content Lens”. Content lenses are essentially topic pages that allow us to tell a richer editorial story by assembling all associated content—videos, itineraries, stories, points of interest, deals,  and events—on a single landing page. Sample content lenses include: “Beer”, “Cycling”, and “Oregon Trail”.

Trust and Credibility:  DMO’s cannot relinquish the role as the as the preeminent and trusted source of information. But in vast sea of travel information, how does a DMO distinguish its content offerings and ensure that we give travelers content that they believe, and is up-to-date and relevant on what is great about our destination? Our approach was:

1.      Advice from Locals:  We started an ambassador program—Ask Oregon—to humanize the site and connect potential visitors with locals. Our fifteen volunteer ambassadors are passionate Oregonians who have deep knowledge about relevant topics such as cycling, family travel, and wine. To receive personalized, unbiased recommendations, visitors can easily contact the Ask Oregon ambassadors by tagging questions with #AskOR on Twitter, inquiring on the Travel Oregon Facebook page or posting simply posting a question on site.

2.       Reviews/Ratings/Badging:  In response to consumer demand for genuine travel advice, we incorporated real-time (updated nightly) Trip Advisor reviews into every attraction and lodging listing and added the ability for visitors to rate all Oregon places and leave unvarnished reviews on the site.

In addition, since stewardship is core value for tourism in Oregon, business who have made a commitment to sustainable practices (through the thirty-seven Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria) and those identified by National Geographic are designated by a special badging system and featured in search results and in a “Sustainable Tourism” lens.

3.      Going Wide & Deep: From business listings to stories and video to maps, the site features more than thirteen thousand pages of content. When it comes to stories, the content team oversees the development, production, and distribution of a wide breadth of content that brings the Oregon experience to life. In addition to these branded stories, we actively curate and feature stories from external authors, Oregon personalities and content partners using their independent voice to enhance and support our content efforts (additional twenty to thirty stories per quarter).

Finally, the site features informational places of interest (POI) content—attractions, events, trails, restaurants, outdoor guides, and more—that is managed locally by DMOs and statewide trade groups via the Orb, a centralized collection of Oregon’s tourism assets assembled collectively and distributed freely to tourism partners.

 

**Watch the video below and stay tuned to our Facebook Feed facebook.com/grouptravelsupplier as we will reveal PART 2 of Mo's Q&A session about how to create a successful website. You're not going to want to miss what feedback they got from tour operators! 

 

Read 3322 times Last modified on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 07:27
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