New official travel & tourism web site goes live today for the Hershey Harrisburg Region
On: May 7, 2015 Filed Under: Member News
New travel destination web site combines fresh face with functionality for consumers & bureau Partners.
Harrisburg, PA – The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today announced it launched the region’s new official travel consumer web site as part of the bureau’s ongoing weeklong celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week. The new site brings a fresh feel with significant enhancements that will benefit consumers and the bureau’s 300+ local business Partners, according to tourism officials. Here are a few of the significant highlights with the new site:
OPTIMIZED & RESPONSIVE: The most significant change with the new site is that it will be fully responsive with all user formats including its ability to work seamlessly with mobile devices which are becoming the top tool for travel planners, according to Jason Brown, Director of Marketing Communications for HHRVB. According to an eMarketer article in November 2014, nearly 48 percent of the 129 million people in the U.S. who research travel on the internet will do so via a mobile device. Furthermore, Brown points to the timeliness of this enhancement for the bureau’s site following the launch of Google’s new algorithm on April 21, 2015 that applies significant weight to search results for web sites, landing pages, and blogs that are fully optimized for mobile.
Nearly 48 percent of the 129 million people in the U.S. who research travel on the internet will do so via a mobile device and 52 percent of those using the internet to research travel will book travel online. – eMarketer Report, November 2014.
According to Brown the bureau recognized the need for this responsive upgrade for some time, but other factors such as budget cycles and selecting a web site provider required the bureau to follow a more conservative timeline to remedy the issue. In the interim the bureau utilized an application (APP) and other temporary fixes intended to bridge the time until the new site could be developed and launched. But his team still managed to remedy the issue in time for Google’s algorithm shift, which many online marketers are referring to as “Mobilegeddon” according to one HubSpot blogger.
FRESH & FUNCTIONAL: While consumers will notice the fresh face of the site, Brown says the new functionality behind the new site will have a more significant impact on how the bureau uses the site to convert online sales and promote Partners. The November report by eMarketer estimated 52 percent of those using the internet to research travel will book travel online. “Conversion was a key element in the site design,” says Brown. “We wanted to create greater opportunities for a site user to purchase tickets, reserve lodging, rent cars, and make other purchases. But beyond purchases on our site we wanted to provide greater opportunities for visitors to link out to our Partners’ web sites.”
“Conversion was a key element in the site design,” says Brown. “We wanted to create greater opportunities for a site user to purchase tickets, reserve lodging, rent cars, and make other purchases. But beyond purchases on our site we wanted to provide greater opportunities for visitors to link out to our Partners’ web sites.”
NEW PROVIDER & NEW PLATFORM: In 2014 HHRVB selected their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider Simpleview to develop the new web site. The bureau is one of the first DMOs in the world to work with Simpleview’s newest Content Management System (CMS). For HHRVB the move allows the bureau to leverage both CRM and CMS services under one provider resulting in a more streamlined experience for Partners and a more cost-effective approach for the bureau, according to Brown. The bureau’s data maintenance and tracking functions are now more simplified and HHRVB Partners can now interact more directly with the site allowing them to update their own content, upload deals/coupons, and review site performance reports.
“Our new system gives Partners easy access to their data and listing information,” said Brown. “This creates a greater sense of ownership for Partners and they have more control over how their business is listed and promoted on the site.”
The bureau will continue to roll out announcements this week in celebration of the 32nd Annual National Travel & Tourism Week that began on May 2 and ends May 10, 2015. National Travel & Tourism Week, led by the U.S. Travel Association, serves to educate local residents, political leaders, and community stakeholders on the importance of sustaining and supporting a local tourism industry. The final announcement for the week will be on Thursday when the bureau debuts the new promotional destination video featuring all new images and spectacular aerial footage.