The new Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau website, launched February 1, 2014, is being touted by a national marketing firm as the standard for visitor bureau websites.
Market Street Services of Atlanta, Georgia, praised the website for its design, content, usability, and interactivity along with other attributes. “From a design standpoint, the website is best-in-class. It’s colorful, attractive, and interactive featuring an abundance of high-quality photography and video,” said Matthew Tarleton, Market Street Vice President. Market Street has been working with Grand Island organizations to develop an economic vision this year.
The convention and visitors bureau conducted months of research that led to an entirely new website philosophy for the organization. Like most destination marketing websites, their previous site focused on lists of information with short descriptions. The new VisitGrandIsland.com focuses heavily on characters, stories, and experiences that visitors can engage with.
Further, significant reorganization of menus created a hierarchy that accurately reflects Grand Island as a destination and invites website visitors deeper into the site. “We want people to be drawn into the website, to wander, to stay a while even after finding what they thought they came looking for,” said visitor bureau Marketing Manager Paul Nielsen.
Statistics are validating the design and navigation of the new website. Total number of visitors is on track to increase 100% from the previous year — from 25,000 in 2013 to more than 50,000 in 2014 — but more telling are the bounce rate and time-on-site metrics. Bounce rate, representing the number of people who don’t click through to a second page, dropped from 70% on the old site to 23%. Average time-on-site is up from 1:20 to 4:15 minutes.
The bounce rate and time-on-site also appear to be industry leaders. While no industry standard statistics specific to destination marketing organization websites seem readily available, the CVB’s own research indicates that typical bounce rates for comparable sites average around 45% and time-on-site 3:15 seconds.
More people spending more time on VisitGrandIsland.com is helping further the visitor bureau’s mission of growing tourism in the area and defining Grand Island as a destination.
“Market Street can say with confidence that it would recommend the Grand Island CVB’s website as an example of a best practice destination marketing website to other clients in the future,” Tarleton said. “It outperforms the websites of many other CVBs with far greater resources (financial and staff) located in communities with far greater travel and tourism volume.”