Are you looking to update your destination or tourism website? You’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to destination marketing, in today’s world your website is the linchpin that hangs it all together - vital for raising awareness about your destination or visitor attraction’s offer, and persuading people to come along and enjoy it for themselves.
Here in this latest blog, we’ll aim to provide some inspiration and guidance to help you make sure your website resonates with your target audiences and turns web visitors into real visitors for your destination, attraction or leisure brand.
First, let’s take a quick look at recent digital trends within the destination and tourism sector, to understand how the market is changing to accommodate user preferences – and elements that you should look to build into your new website.
Destination and tourism website trends
When assessing the sector as a whole – there’s a number of trends including designs, user experience (UX) and functionality that destination and tourism brands are currently employing:
Strong use of high-quality, full-width photos and videos is prevalent across the board, tapping into the trend for websites to offer an extended scrollable experience to encourage continued browsing.
Rich-media creates a visual space so not only are you telling people about how great your destination or visitor attraction is, but you’re able to show them too.
It should be no surprise that responsive sites and mobile-first design is key. With so many people using hand-held devices to browse online, it’s essential your website offers an outstanding experience on mobile. It’s not good enough for it to simply work on different devices, it needs to offer excellent UX - regardless of how the user chooses to access the site.
In a similar vein, this means that load times and speed are important too. Visitors won’t stick around waiting for pages and content to load, so if your site is slow, you’re guaranteed to see high bounce rates and short dwell-times. Sadly this won’t provide you with the opportunity to raise awareness about your destination’s USPs and exciting offer.
As well as a quick loading experience, users also want to be able to move around your site with ease – so a streamlined navigation structure is important to satisfy consumers’ need for efficient browsing.
Ultimately, bells and whistles are being downgraded on modern sites in favour of quicker load times and intuitive UX. Of course if you can have both then there’s no need to hold back.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t see these trends as a checklist for your new destination website. If you have any out of the box ideas that you think will work especially for your destination or tourism and leisure brand, then it’s worth talking to a digital destination marketing expert about how it you could put your ideas into practice and if it’s likely to have the right impact.
So, as well as being aware of these digital trends, what can you do to make sure your destination tourism website is engaging your audience and providing the best online experience?
When it comes to content it may be time to put additional resource into creating more segmented content to appeal to a wide-range of potential visitors. It’s highly likely that your customers will have varied interests - so it’s vital to offer content that appeals and engages each and everyone one of them.
Segment your content based on interests (for example sports, food and drink or nature to name just a few). You could even filter down within these to create even more specific content to appeal to people with differing interests within these wider general themes – such as content relating to skiing or walking. Content can also be generated with a focus on seasons, specific areas or neighbourhoods, transportation methods, budgets or even whether they’re travelling solo, with family or as part of a group.
Complementing this content with rich media such as quality photography and video will also help to really bring your destination to life and add weight to the story you’re trying to tell.
Another way to support the authenticity media can add, is by producing user-generated content from visitors, residents, employees or ambassadors to create unique, genuine content about your destination or attraction. Not only does each person have their own perspective or viewpoint to contribute that can help your brand resonate with more people, but it can also help to create a real community feel whilst answering demand for authentic local travel info.
You may even want to consider integrating attractions, events or places with TripAdvisor reviews to offer social proof about each of these when visitors are navigating around your site and learning about what you have to offer.
There’s more to streamlined navigation than it just being on-trend; intuitive navigations and menus based on interests or areas, can help improve the ways in which people move around your site and discover all the content you have to offer. Also consider whether your site would benefit from breadcrumb navigation to support peoples’ browsing habits and allow them to quickly return to previous pages to choose an alterative item to discover more about.
Another way to support people in their browsing is to offer a map of your destination, split by locales to highlight web content relating to each, allowing them to drill down into specific areas to find out more. Maps are a more human way to explore a destination versus a basic list, helping to drive engagement and increased dwell times. You could then add lists and additional filter options in at a secondary level, so people can not only search by location but can then sort content by interest or content type.
Offer a personal browsing experience
To ensure visitors get a truly positive experience from your website you can attempt to create a highly personalised experience. Part of this can stem from the segmented, specific content you’ve created but you can take this a step further.
Added functionality such as itinerary builders, favourites, activity planners or booking systems can allow people to tailor their browsing experience and build a personal list of activities or attractions which will take them one step closer to becoming a visitor.
If you’re looking to design or build a new website for your tourism or leisure brand – our destination marketing specialists are here to help.
Get in touch with us to talk about your website and how it can work better to promote your destination - or request a call back.