Content marketing and storytelling has become expected of marketers across the tourism industry. While articles promoting trip ideas and destinations remain an important marketing foundation, they have become so common that it is becoming more difficult to differentiate through static content pieces alone. Adding an interactive framework around digital content may be an expensive technical investment, but Brand USA has been able to leverage interactive website features to substantially increase user traffic and engagement.
Like many tourism websites, Discover America features a broad range of content, from articles featuring big bold photography to video galleries and blog posts. The most successful feature on Discover America, however, is the Road Trips/Trip Planner page. The interactive module and the technology powering it reflect how Brand USA strives to leverage content to create an enhanced user experience. Utilizing API connections to both Google Maps and Instagram, the page features an interactive map that combines great photography and geographic context. Users can select predetermined road trips such as a cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway or opt to create their own adventure and itinerary. Because of the wide variety of visitor preferences, the tool has the ability to offer both a high degree of customizability (for those who want it) and a list of preset itineraries (for those who don’t).
Source: Google Analytics Jan – May, 2015
The interactivity and rich content of the Road Trips page has yielded outstanding results. The Road Trips page has one of the lowest bounce rates of any section of the Discover America website. Additionally, users are staying an average of three minutes time on page which is well above other high traffic pages on the site (Figure 2). The feature is also driving traffic to the website through organic search. These visits represent qualified traffic which amplifies the tool’s return on investment without additional spending for traffic generation. To give further credence to the importance of website interactivity, consumer research from Brand USA’s Project Explorer shows that a multi-destination trip planner is the most desired feature for tourism websites.