A Texas Goes Apple Picking: Planning Seasonal Content

We’re getting our first breath of fall weather this week, and I am READY.  Following a recent trip to New England, I’ve already made a batch of hearty soup, eaten a pumpkin spice doughnut and am successfully wearing a sweater without getting too sweaty!  While I prepare for our cooler weather (read: 70 degrees), I’m… Read More

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We’re getting our first breath of fall weather this week, and I am READY.  Following a recent trip to New England, I’ve already made a batch of hearty soup, eaten a pumpkin spice doughnut and am successfully wearing a sweater without getting too sweaty!  While I prepare for our cooler weather (read: 70 degrees), I’m also consuming all the fall content I can get and dreaming about my next seasonal adventure. 

The start of fall brings opportunities to align with visitor excitement for all that the season has to offer: the crisp air, seasonal flavors and a new reason to travel, especially when a visitor may not experience an idyllic fall at home. But for many travel sites, it can be a challenge to share seasonal content.  When so many parts of the country have enticing seasonal attractions, how do you stand out in the sea of fall colors? Inspired by a day of apple picking in Massachusetts, I wanted to share my favorite parts of apple picking combined with my favorite ways that travel sites show off their fall content.


Driving to the apple orchard: showing off your fall colors

I get it, small towns of Massachusetts – you are ridiculously beautiful with all your red brick homes and your gorgeous foliage.  The drive to the apple orchard may have been one of my favorite parts of the whole trip, letting me take in all the autumn colors I could imagine. 

Fall colors are a vital part of seasonal content where vivid imagery draws in visitors aching for a seasonal getaway.  We know that imagery can guide emotions that help your visitors see your fall colors for themselves. Better yet, let your visitors share their own fall photos through User Generated Content!  Personalizing your imagery based on your visitor’s interests or persona is a great way to further engage visitors. If you’re interested in learning more about persona based targeting, be sure to see how Mooreseville increased engagement through their personas!

Apple picking: enjoying a local’s recommendations

As we started our way through the apple orchard, we were grateful for the help of the family farm staff who navigated us through the many rows of apple trees, advising on which ones would be best for the apple crisp we planned on making that evening or which apples may be too tart (or, in his accent: “taht”) for our tastes.  As visitors, we relied heavily upon the staff’s recommendations and directions to make the most of our apple picking – and were grateful for the expert advice. 

Similarly, as the experts of your destination, your team is best suited to share how visitors can celebrate the season at your destination. Highlight what makes your fall activities unique and provide seasonal visitor guides or other planning resources to help your visitors plan their trip!  Personalizing visitor guides or seasonal activity ideas based on different visitors interests will help ensure that everyone can find something they enjoy. 

Apple cider doughnuts: showcasing your editorial content

At the orchard, I was introduced to the magic that is apple cider doughnuts, and my goodness, was my life changed.  In reading a local’s visitor guide, I was encouraged to try this traditional treat, and it did not disappoint. As a visitor, I love engaging with editorial content to help me make travel – and eating – decisions. 

Editorial content is a fantastic way to connect your audiences with new ideas to inspire their travel by combining imagery and recommendations.  Whether it’s highlighting your favorite cold weather food spots, family fun activities that can be enjoyed by all, or the best scenic drives or hiking trails, editorial content provides an opportunity to connect with visitors in a creative way. 

Daydreaming at home: the power of nostalgia

On my return to Austin, I was definitely craving apples (and doughnuts) more than I ever have before.  As I picked out a bag of honey crisp apples at the grocery store, I found myself wishing I was picking them off an orchard tree instead and continued to daydream (and google search!) to plan my next trip.  

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and when paired with moving imagery and creative content, we can help visitors make informed and inspired travel decisions so they can celebrate the season with your destination.  Happy creating and enjoy the season!

Interested in talking more about about creating the best content for your visitors?  We’d love to talk with you!

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Bound’s World Tourism Day Recommendations

In honor of World Tourism Day, we wanted to share some of the most memorable spots our team has visited. From the lights of Vegas to the sacred sites of Lalibela, we’ve gotten around! Jared recommends: Tokyo, Japan Respect seems to emanate from not only all of the wonderful people, but in the city itself…. Read More

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In honor of World Tourism Day, we wanted to share some of the most memorable spots our team has visited. From the lights of Vegas to the sacred sites of Lalibela, we’ve gotten around!

Jared recommends: Tokyo, Japan

Respect seems to emanate from not only all of the wonderful people, but in the city itself. Queues for one of the busiest train/subway systems in the world self regulate with no rudeness, yellow bump strips on every walkway even in most public buildings make it navigable even for low vision users, and pride in every job from the workers directing in traffic to a construction site, the person shining the floors in the subway station, to the lawyer going into the high rise. Public transportation and walkability are always huge metrics for me when traveling, and Tokyo and the rest of Japan nails it. 

Jessica recommends: Las Vegas, Nevada

You can visit Las Vegas a dozen times and still find something new to explore. The Strip itself is always changing, with new hot restaurants opening up and casinos getting a refresh. Downtown Vegas continues to dazzle with the Fremont Street Experience. If you’re thinking about trying the zipline, do it! And do it at night! Ziplining between street after street of flashing lights is amazing. My favorite part of Las Vegas is that there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s shows, food, hiking, or gambling, you can entertain anyone in your friend or family group!

Taylor recommends: Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City offers visitors beautiful views of the lakeshore with year-round outdoor recreation alongside delicious cuisine paired with wine and beer aplenty. Enjoy a sampling of the over 300 million pounds of cherries that are harvested in the region each year, or if you’re a cherry fanatic, visit during early July for the National Cherry Festival. Walkable Traverse City is a perfect retreat for families with children. Pick up a delicious pastry and coffee at BLK\MRKT as you make your way to Clinch Park and Beach. Prepare yourself for a sandy, steep hike when you visit Sleeping Bear Dunes in nearby Glen Arbor, a cute town in its own right.

Mary Clare recommends: Lalibela, Ethiopia

Ethiopia, in general, is one of my favorite places in the world. But Lalibela, in particular, has a special kind of magic. The rock hewn churches that make the town famous are a UNESCO world heritage site. However, so few people travel here that visitors have the privilege of experiencing these 800 year old churches in an intimate way. The churches are still actively used and members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church make pilgrimages to the site. As a visitor, it’s an incredibly unique experience to walk down into the rock and explore these sacred sites first hand.

Ali recommends: Jerome, Arizona

Though it’s become more popular in recent years, thanks to its close drive to the gorgeous scenery of Sedona, the charming town of Jerome still feels like a fun secret tucked away in the mountains. Comprised of historical buildings stacked on the windy streets, this small ghost town is full of eclectic shops and fun art galleries, all with beautiful views overlooking the Verde Valley. Make sure you stop at Nellie Bly Kaleidoscope, the world’s largest kaleidoscope shop, and get lost in looking at the most beautiful pieces of art. Have lunch at the famous Haunted Hamburger, and visit the Jerome Artist Cooperative to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir. As my grandparents live at the bottom of the hill, Jerome will always hold a special place in my heart, and I love sharing my favorite memories there. If you’re roadtripping through from Sedona or driving up scenic 89A to the Grand Canyon, make sure you stop for the afternoon in this old mining town, and enjoy all the history and small town treasures that Jerome has to offer!

Matt recommends: Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is a gorgeous, cosmopolitan city. It has temperate weather, great food, and killer nightlife. Once you’ve exhausted all of the eating and drinking possibilities in the city, hop a seaplane to the Channel Islands, spot whales while taking the ferry to Victoria, or explore one of the many city and provincial parks. (Stanley Park has a great 10k jogging/biking trail!) My favorite thing to do is take the stunningly beautiful drive up to Whistler where you can ride a zip line between mountains, swim next to a waterfall, or hit the lifts at the best ski resort in North America.

Adriana recommends: PHILLY, BABY, PHILLY!

Did you know there’s a city where you can drink a beer brewed according to a recipe by Benjamin Franklin IN a tavern frequented by Benjamin Franklin? That’s right, I’m talking about one of my favorite cities, Philadelphia. Of course, everyone knows about Philly’s rich history. Parts of downtown are still cobblestone, and the Liberty Bell draws huge crowds! But many don’t realize that Philly is an amazing destination for the non-history-buffs among us. Murals dot the city every few blocks, and unique art collectives, like the Magic Gardens, represent the inspirational artistic nature of the city itself. Plus, oh boy, the food is gooood. For a city that truly radiates personality throughout its city limits, look no further than Philadelphia.

Want to talk to us more about how much we love working with DMOs? Say hi and learn more!

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Is Your Personalization Missing These 5 Geo-Targeting Strategies?

 It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon, at the end of summer. Do you know where your website visitors are?  If your answer is yes, you’re steps ahead of many marketing teams. Knowing the geo-location of your site traffic can help to inform site content and allow you the opportunity to cater site messaging to specific geo-locations… Read More

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 It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon, at the end of summer. Do you know where your website visitors are?

 If your answer is yes, you’re steps ahead of many marketing teams. Knowing the geo-location of your site traffic can help to inform site content and allow you the opportunity to cater site messaging to specific geo-locations using personalization.

 But, often times, marketers have a shallow understanding of their geo audiences. Most marketers know the general geographic make-up of their visitors, but usually they stop their geo-targeting after a quick glance at Google Analytics.

 I’m here to tell you there’s more- MUCH MORE- to geo-targeted personalization. And, it’s not as tricky as you might think! Let’s start with:

What Visitors Are Already on your Site?

 Throughout your personalization journey, Google Analytics will continuously serve as a compass to help guide your strategy. And, there is no better way to start considering your geo-markets than by referencing the Geo tab under Audience. This resource may tell you a little bit that you already know. Like, of course, your top geo-markets are probably cities/states in close proximity. But, you could also learn something new about the visitors coming to your site. Like crikey, who knew your destination had so much traffic from Australia? Deciding the messaging for your visitors is another beast in itself, but it’s important to first identify your existing audiences so you can start personalizing to them.

What cities are you targeting in your other Marketing Channels?

Driving down the highway in Austin, Texas, you won’t  get too far without seeing a billboard or a bus placard for another destination (I see you, Fort Worth). Or, hearing a destination’s sponsored ad on the radio (what’s up, St. Pete!). DMOs are constantly using geo-targeting in their other marketing channels, but are you mimicking that marketing on your site? If you’re specifically targeting another city or state with messaging about your destination, make sure to continue that messaging when those visitors land on your website!

Are there Direct Flights to your destination? 

What’s a great way to get more visitors to your destination? Make getting there as easy as possible! And what’s easier than a direct flight? Visitors from areas offering direct flights to your destination are a great group to target with personalized messaging. And unfortunately, these visitors are often overlooked by marketers. If a trip from City A to your destination is as easy as a direct flight, you better get the word out! Booking a trip gets a lot easier (and more desirable) if no plane changes are involved.

Are you geo-targeting with paid media?

Oh, paid media. It makes some marketers smile and others shudder. It can bring excited new visitors to your site but can also introduce an onslaught of low-engaging traffic. Love it or hate it, paid media is here to stay. So, why not make the most of your current paid strategy? If you have paid media hitting certain geo-locations, it’s essential that you account for those geo-locations in your personalization strategy. This does not need to be difficult or time consuming. Simply put, if you’re targeting Sunnydale, CA(for example) in your paid strategy, you better be targeting those visitors on site too!

Do you have articles written for certain geo-locations?

As they say in the biz, content is king. The right content can lead a potential visitor to book a trip to your destination while the wrong content can make a visitor decide that your destination is not for them. Editorial pieces, blog posts, and stories are fantastic ways to build long-form marketing content, showing-off your destination to potential visitors. And a trend we’ve seen lately, is for destinations to publish content about trips from specific Geo-Locations. Sometimes it’s a blog post about a road trip, other times it’s a video following a visitor from a specific city. Whatever the format, it’s important to account for those geo visitors in your personalization strategy. Whether your desire is to lead those site visitors to a landing page full of personalized content or if it’s simply to push them to the blog post you’ve written for them, setting up segmentation and personalization for this group is key. Plus, if you’ve spent time writing about their journey, you want to make sure that content is easy for them to access and engage with!

While reading through this list, some of these key geo-targeted segments might resonate with your DMO. Others may not. The important takeaway is that your geo-targeted personalization strategy should be as robust as your destination! To speak to a diverse audience, you must target diversely. And a great place to start, is with geo-targeting!

Have questions about how to best engage your geo targets?  Contact us to talk more!

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How Mooresville Kept Visitors on Site Using Persona Based Targeting

One of the most common struggles for a destination is how to appeal to visitors with wildly different interests. With persona-based ad campaigns you can separate these visitors and send them to different landing pages, but how do you continue to speak to their specific interests as they explore the general site? Using Bound, the… Read More

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One of the most common struggles for a destination is how to appeal to visitors with wildly different interests. With persona-based ad campaigns you can separate these visitors and send them to different landing pages, but how do you continue to speak to their specific interests as they explore the general site? Using Bound, the Visit Mooresville team created a homepage experience customized for each of their three target personas.

With the website address of racecityusa.com, you might guess that Mooresville, NC is best known for being a racing town. However, the area is also a popular destination for travelers with an outdoor interest, and is packed with gorgeous wedding and reunion venues as well. As the Visit Mooresville team planned their 2019 spring and summer ads, they decided to target three key personas. Each persona, (racing, outdoors, and wedding interest) was sent to a different destination page aligned to their interests.

The Visit Mooresville team wanted the homepage to also reflect each persona’s interest. They used Bound to change multiple elements of the homepage to show articles and user generated content relevant to each persona. 

Wedding Interest

 

Racing Interest

 

Outdoor Interest

 

They found that while the racing interest group was the largest audience, the outdoors group engaged best with the personalized content, with an 18% clickthrough rate on the outdoors articles.

In addition to improving clickthrough rates, the personalized sections helped keep visitors on the site. From March to mid-August the homepage averaged a 68% bounce and a 61% exit rate. For visitors seeing the persona-specific content, this dropped to a 31% bounce rate and a 29% exit rate. These visitors also had more than a 200% increase in overall pages per visit and time on site.

By updating a highly trafficked page to create more relevant content for their ad personas, the Visit Mooresville team has continued to increase their website engagement and the value of their ad spend.

 

Interested in creating a better website experience for your ad personas?  Contact Us:

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Bound’s Guide to ESTO Eats

Welcome to Austin! We’re so glad that you’re here.  In a city of amazing food options, we know you have a lot to choose from.  We wanted to share our favorite spots to help make your trip even more memorable.  Enjoy! When you land: Taylor recommends: Juiceland at Gate 7 As you hop off the… Read More

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Welcome to Austin! We’re so glad that you’re here.  In a city of amazing food options, we know you have a lot to choose from.  We wanted to share our favorite spots to help make your trip even more memorable.  Enjoy!

When you land:

Taylor recommends: Juiceland at Gate 7

As you hop off the airplane into the jetbridge, you may be surprised by the 100+ degree Texas heat. Start hydrating ASAP by hopping over to Juiceland located at Gate 7. On the other side of the airport, but would love some juice? They have Juiceland kiosks with fresh juices thoughout the airport. My favorite smoothies are the Wondershowen (add cacoa for a kick), Morning Sunshine and Peachy Green. If you’re more in the mood for juice, I recommend the watermelon, beet, and sea salt combination found in the Recovery Punch.

For breakfast:

MC recommends: 1886 Cafe and Bakery

Check out the historic (and haunted!) Driskill Hotel and then grab breakfast or lunch at the delicious 1886 Cafe and Bakery. If you don’t want the decadence of a Texas Pecan Waffle (but really, why would you not?), the omelettes and sandwiches are all fantastic. If you’d rather check out the Driskill a bit later, the Driskill Bar serves pretty delicious cocktails and will give you a taste of historic Texas.

Ali recommends: Easy Tiger Bakery

This is also a late night favorite with an amazing beer garden, but their fresh baked pastries and coffee make for a perfect breakfast.  Buy a cookie or baguette to snack on later!

For lunch:

Matt recommends: TLV (at Fareground Food Hall)

A relatively new addition to the Fareground Food Hall, TLV serves excellent Israeli street food. Fresh veggies, delicious hummus and pitas. Literally all of their lunch & dinner options are good, and they have some tasty pastries and interesting filled donuts.

Jared recommends: Burger Bar

You might be thinking, “It sure looks like they wanted to maximize restaurant space in this hotel by renting out part of this exterior utility closet and I bet these burgers and shakes are average at best.” Well, you might be right on the real estate and efficient use of space front, but the burgers and shakes are slightly above average. I would wander down to Hopdoddy’s on South Congress if you want to level up your burger game, but for convenience and quality you are set here.

For an afternoon break:

Adriana recommends: Halcyon

Halcyon is a fun little spot to grab coffee, a cocktail, or a quick snack. There’s a ton of comfy couches and they usually have a small band or guitarist playing in the corner. The best thing to order is the build your own Smores. They actually bring out a tiny miniature campfire, sticks, and all the fixings so you can make your own delicious dessert.

Ali recommends: The Central Library

This is pretty much my new favorite place in town since it opened – I would live here, if I could. Their rooftop patio is a fun way to see the city and their Cookbook café has the greatest french toast ever, along with a lot of other great snacks. It’s a half-mile from the JW Marriott and a great place to have some quiet time after a full day of conferencing!

For dinner:

Jessica recommends: Moonshine Grill

All the cocktails are delicious but it’s definitely worth trying the Apple Pie or Strawberry moonshine. The food is a Texas twist on comfort. I’d recommend the Chicken & Waffles, Green Chile Macaroni, or the Hill Country BBQ Baby Back Ribs.

Jared recommends: Coopers BBQ

It’s good Texas BBQ, and it’s right next to your hotel. You don’t want to be far from your bed in a dark room with A/C when the meat sweats hit.

Ali recommends: La Condesa

Modern Mexican that pairs bright, fresh ingredients with amazing drinks and desserts.   Treat yourself to the guacamole trio, ceviche and some mezcal.

For an after dinner drink:

Jared recommends: Elephant Room

Good things always happen at bars below ground level. Chimay is on tap. Duke Silver will probably grace you with his presence.

When you’re heading home (and already planning your next visit!):

Ali recommends: Ruta Maya at Gate 28

Ruta Maya will always hold a special place in my heart as the quirky coffee house across the street from my college where I attended my first (and only) poetry slam contest. Thankfully, they opened up a beautiful coffee shop that is my favorite spot to grab a pre-flight coffee. They also serve a variety of fancy and fun chocolate bars that I like to pick up as a treat for the person I’m visiting, if I can keep myself from enjoying it on the way there.

Taylor recommends: Tacodeli at Gate 24

Nothing says hello (or goodbye) Austin like a breakfast taco. Filled with your favorite breakfast foods, Tacodeli tacos are the best in town. Try the Otto, Vaquero, or Migas. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for papas on your taco. Nothing says breakfast like delicious mashed potatoes with eggs and bacon.

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Time to Get Personal

As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social… Read More

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As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social content is targeted to their search results, and you hope these visitors click through to your site to consume and engage with the top content you’ve created.

But what are the best practices in turning these online visitors into destination visitors?

Leading destination marketers from Explore Branson, Elkhart County, Indiana, and Visit Williamsburg believe website personalization is a cost effective way to turn their website visitors into destination visitors. In Time to Get Personal, these three destinations highlight some of the ways Bound’s personalization solution has helped them stand out amongst their peers and convert their online visitors into destination visitors. Some of their results include the following:

  • Explore Branson has seen a 560% increase in e-newsletter sign-ups by using a personalized pop-up targeted to different website audiences.
  • Elkhart County, Indiana used Bound’s A/B testing capabilities to increase travel guide conversions by 253%.
  • Visit Williamsburg used Bound to maximize the value of their paid media campaigns. ince targeting paid media visitors to the website with personalized landing pages, they have seen a 41% increase in time on site.

Read more in this report to learn how these destinations got these results and to see if now is the right time for you to explore personalization for your destination’s website.

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Why Personalization Matters As Explained By Your Thanksgiving Feast

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and you’re still trying to plan the menu. While you are thrilled that some rarely-seen relatives have decided to journey to your home for the holiday, they’ve also presented you with a culinary challenge. You realize that with only one turkey, and room on the table for only a few… Read More

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It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and you’re still trying to plan the menu. While you are thrilled that some rarely-seen relatives have decided to journey to your home for the holiday, they’ve also presented you with a culinary challenge. You realize that with only one turkey, and room on the table for only a few side dishes, you won’t be able to give everyone the perfect Thanksgiving feast.

You decide to try and tackle the turkey first since it’s the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Uncle Bob has requested a fried turkey this year, but cousin Alice from Austin thinks a smoked turkey would be better. You’ve never smoked nor fried a turkey before so it seems like an easy decision to stick to the traditional, which should be good for most of the group.

However you feel bad that Bob and Alice won’t get the turkey they want, so you decide to prioritize them for the sides. They’re both on board for your garlic mashed potatoes. This means though that the mashed sweet potatoes won’t fit on the main table, and will need to stay in the kitchen. Your mother will only eat the sweet potatoes and has a bad ankle. Is it fair to make her walk to the kitchen every time she wants more?

You could move the green bean casserole to the kitchen and leave all the potatoes on the table. Meanwhile your brother-in-law, Caleb, asked if the green bean casserole could use gluten free fried onions, and you’re still trying to decide if that would work for everyone or if it would taste noticeably different.

You’re completely lost when it comes to desserts. Your family will only eat pecan pie but your mother-in-law is severely allergic. It seems logical to make pumpkin, but how can you not have the pie that half your guests want?

Luckily you’re only faced with this conundrum once a year. Destination marketers, however, face this challenge daily. Instead of a turkey, they need a homepage hero that still appeals to in-state, out-of-state, and special interest visitors. They might not need to worry about someone walking the extra steps to the kitchen, but they struggle with keeping content easy to find so that brides looking at wedding venues or business travelers coming for a conference don’t need to dig through page after page of general vacation trip ideas.

Reimagine this Thanksgiving feast/website with personalization. Most guests would see the traditional turkey hero, but Uncle Bob and cousin Alice see the turkeys they want. Your mother doesn’t need to “walk” to the kitchen, because you’ve set a fly-in on the sides content that takes her right to the sweet potatoes. That pecan pie that can’t get near your mother-in-law? You’ve set rules to exclude her from ever seeing it.

We hope YOUR Thanksgiving is delightful and there are no challenges with planning. If you’re interested in learning how to take your website to the next level with personalization request a consultation to see how we fit in with your current marketing strategy.

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Measure Your Success

Business management consultant Peter Drucker is often attributed with the saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” By this he meant that you don’t know whether you’re succeeding unless your goal is defined and tracked. When it comes to DMO websites there are six goals we see tracked more often than others. They are:… Read More

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Business management consultant Peter Drucker is often attributed with the saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” By this he meant that you don’t know whether you’re succeeding unless your goal is defined and tracked.

When it comes to DMO websites there are six goals we see tracked more often than others. They are:

  • eNewsletter SignUp
  • Visitor Guide Download
  • Aggregate Bounce Rate
  • Aggregate Time On Site
  • Aggregate Goal Conversion Rate
  • Aggregate Pages Per Visit

Because it is the most commonly tracked, we covered eNewsletter Sign-up in more detail in this previous post. In this post, we’ll pull from our report State of Personalization for Destination Marketers, so you can see how you measure up to your peers.

In the below charts, the Non-Targeted numbers represent website visitors who were not served personalized content. If you are not serving personalized content, you should compare your own performance against this group.

If you are serving personalized content, you will be in the higher performing group and should compare your performance to that of the website visitors tracked under Targeted.

How does your website compare to your peers on these key metrics? Does this bring up questions about what you’re measuring and managing? A simple but well organized measurement strategy is critical to managing a successful website. If you have any questions about best practices, please feel free to contact the Bound team here, and we’ll be happy to chat.

If you would like to download the  Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report from which we pulled these metrics, click here. In the report, you will learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  •      Website personalization benchmark statistics
  •      Strategies for implementing personalization
  •      2018 trends in content and personalization
  •      Real case studies from successful destinations

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Images and Stories Inspire Us to Travel

Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their… Read More

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Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net

When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their experiences. We respond strongly to this user generated content because we can relate to the creators and we can relate their experience to what ours could be like.

In our 2018 State of Personalization Report, we identify user generated content as a major driver in online engagement. That’s the difference we see between user generated content and advertiser or marketer generated content. Travelers trust other travelers over advertisers. According to a study by Elon University, 65% of consumers trust word of mouth on the Internet more than content produced by advertisers.

Incorporating user-generated content into your destination’s digital marketing campaigns is a great opportunity to include an undeniable level of authenticity. In the report, we look at how leveraging local audiences to create content creates three benefits:

  • Modern consumers are visual decision makers.
  • Real people don’t feel like an advertising campaign.
  • User generated content establishes credibility.

As part of a bigger initiative to turn all marketing directives from professional photos to user-generated images taken by real visitors, Bound customer, Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, started their #MyTupelo campaign. While Elvis’ hometown draws crowds from far and wide, many visitors only come for one specific attraction — so the challenge for the marketing team at Tupelo CVB was to increase overnight/weekend stays. Tupelo realized that it could take its marketing goals and initiatives to another level with a strategy that involved leveraging their locals.

“With UGC it’s not just us telling you to use our hashtag; it’s us saying there’s another traveler who stood in the exact same spot you’re standing in right now, and telling their travel story with a level of authenticity we just can’t provide on our own,” said Will Crockett, Online Content Manager at Tupelo CVB.

San Francisco Travel Association launched their “I am San Francisco and You Are Always Welcome” campaign as part of an initiative to let international travelers know that all people are always welcome. The first phase addressed the visitor directly in a dedicated video and #AlwaysWelcome hashtag. Phase two involves a nine-feature campaign leveraging locals with the goal of showcasing San Francisco as a diverse and welcoming destination. Titled “I Am San Francisco,” it’s an online series sharing the stories of both natives of the city and those who came to visit and found a home.

“We wanted to tell stories that are real and authentically San Francisco,” President and CEO of SF Travel Association, Joe D’Alessandro said. “This is what San Francisco is all about–not just acknowledging diversity but celebrating and defending it around the world.”

User generated content is just one of the topics we cover in our annual report. You can download the Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report to learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  • Website personalization benchmark statistics
  • Strategies for implementing personalization
  • 2018 trends in content and personalization
  • Real case studies from successful destinations

Related Posts

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What Marketing Performance You Should Expect from Your E-Newsletter Sign Up

Across our many Travel & Tourism customers, e-newsletter sign up is a key website metric because it builds a destination’s email list and creates a connection with potential visitors. It enables you to maintain an ongoing – albeit long-distance – relationship with a potential visitor to your destination. Think about it, when a website visitor… Read More

The post What Marketing Performance You Should Expect from Your E-Newsletter Sign Up appeared first on Bound.

Across our many Travel & Tourism customers, e-newsletter sign up is a key website metric because it builds a destination’s email list and creates a connection with potential visitors. It enables you to maintain an ongoing – albeit long-distance – relationship with a potential visitor to your destination.

Think about it, when a website visitor submits the sign up form, they take a big step in their relationship with you — they move from an anonymous person learning more about your destination to a person who is sharing their information and asking to be updated when you have something of interest to share. Let’s take a look at:

  • Why people sign up for e-newsletters
  • What performance you should expect from your own e-newsletter sign up
  • How our experience and best practice strategies impact e-newsletter sign up

Why do people sign up for an e-newsletter? We see two main segments of website visitors signing up to receive an e-newsletter:

In-Market

  • Want to be aware of upcoming events
  • Weekly digest and weekend highlights are important
  • Will impact the business of key attractions and local partners
  • Will likely not impact hotel occupancy

Out-of-Market Pre-Visit

  • Are considering a visit but not immediately booking
  • Updates on key attractions and annual events are important
  • Will impact the business of key attractions and local partners
  • Will impact hotel occupancy

In-Market

Out-of-Market

Smart destination marketers message these two groups differently. Consider offering them a call to action or reason for signing up that aligns with their interest. Think of this as their ‘why’. Why should they give you their contact information? What’s in it for them? If they are in-market, focus on upcoming events content that is shared in the e-newsletter. If they are out-of-market, focus on the long-term reasons to stay in touch with your destination.

What performance should you expect from your own e-newsletter sign up? If we look across our customers’ sites for visitors who do not receive personalized messages (non-targeted visitors), we see an average of .12% conversion rate on e-newsletter sign up. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of non-targeted visitors on site who sign up for an e-newsletter by the total number of non-targeted site visitors.

If we look across our customers’ visitors who see a personalized call to action related to their  interests, we see an average of .42% conversion rate on e-newsletter sign up. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of targeted visitors on site who sign up for an e-newsletter by the total number targeted of site visitors.

How do we see e-newsletter sign up done really well?

Visit Sarasota uses simple, but powerful, personalization to drive engagement with this key goal.  Sarasota County, Florida — an award winning Gulf Coast beach destination with a thriving arts and cultural scene — encourages website visitors to sign up for their e-newsletter during their initial visit to the destination’s website. If they don’t sign up today, Sarasota’s personalization waits two weeks and asks again when the visitor returns to the site.

With support from their agency, Miles Partnership, Visit Sarasota introduced their e-newsletter pop up in January of this year. Within six months, this personalization campaign drove over 8,000 new subscribers — increasing the size of their email list by more than 250% as compared to the previous year.

With increased subscribers, Visit Sarasota shares upcoming events, sponsored places to stay, and unique local attractions on a monthly basis.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at how e-newsletter sign up compares with visitors guide download. We’ll discuss as a call to action and where each is used most effectively.

Download the Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report — in this report you will learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  • Website personalization benchmark statistics
  • Strategies for implementing personalization
  • 2018 trends in content and personalization
  • Real case studies from successful destinations

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