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5 “must haves” for your travel and tourism site

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by Gary S. James

Everyone’s being more careful about how they spend their money these days and travel is no exception. Even those with higher discretionary incomes are feeling the pinch.  Here are some tips from Synergy Point, an award-winning travel and tourism web design firm, to make it easier for visitors to find you and to keep them coming back:

1)   Lodging, Dining and Events. First, the obvious: Visitors to your site will want to see what lodgings are available, the restaurants and attractions in your area. But, you also need to first get them to your website and that’s where keywords and a description are important. For example, to promote Chimney Rock Park, their description includes “a 1000-acre scenic attraction,” and “North Carolina,” “mountains,“ “hiking” with keywords such as “Western North Carolina,” “Chimney Rock,” and even “Rhododendrons,” which are particularly colorful in the spring. Both description and keywords are a must for site rankings.

2)   E-Newsletter – You want to keep visitors abreast of what’s going on and that includes specials and promotions. Remember, even if they choose a different destination this go ‘round, you’re reminding them of all the wonderful reasons you should be on their list for next time.

3)   E-Commerce – If you’re a hotel, a real estate/vacation rental agency or a chamber recommending “places to stay,” it’s a good idea to have a way visitors can make reservations or purchases, or check out package details, without leaving the site. At the very least, use a pop-up window so navigating back to the original site or home page is simple.

4)   A good content management system — Managing all the content, especially if you are working with a large chamber or group, can be daunting. Melinda Massey Young, Director at Polk County, NC Tourism, uses the Synergy Point SiteManager™, a turbocharged content management system built specifically for tourism and travel.  The Polk County website, “First Peak of the Blue Ridge,” recently won Synergy Point its 6th award in a row from a regional public relations association.

Reasons Young sited for using the system, to keep visitors coming back and the content fresh, is the systems “ease of use.” Synergy Point SiteManager™ is miles ahead of CMS, providing seamless integration of news, events, images, video and points of interest and maps. It even helps with e-marketing and leads. Plus, the system offers advanced database-driven technology and custom-class components at off-the-shelf prices, all made friendly with WYSIYG.  And finally:

5)   Maps. There was a time when you could stop at the gas station, and while a guy came out and filled your tank and cleaned the windshield, you could go in and get yourself a free map with great, helpful information in it. Well, that era may be gone, but now there are simple solutions for getting interactive maps into your website. Make it easy for your visitors to find all your area has to offer and they’ll keep coming back to your destination – and your website – for more.