DestinationCore | Tourists still want experiences. So, give them…

Tourists still want experiences. So, give them experiences.

The DestinationCore guide on how to create an excellent events and culture offering on your destination website in a post COVID-19 world. BIDs and DMOs pay attention!

The variety and quality of a destination's cultural offering has long been recognised as one of the key factors in why consumers choose to visit a town or city.

In a post COVID-19 world we need to review our approach to carefully curating these experiences to bring people back into our locations in a safe and sustainable way. It's essential to provide consumers with the confidence they need to truly enjoy their experiences.

Now more than ever destinations need to be more adaptable as businesses and attractions reinvent their approach to experiences.

With this in mind, we've put together this short guide on how you can use your website to help users find the experiences they're looking for.

Put yourself in the consumers shoes

Think about what you offer and what the end user is actually after - and then find the crossover.

Users don’t want to have to trawl your site looking for an experience that matches their requirements – and they certainly don’t want to have to search multiple sites.

If possible, use your site to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the experiences in your area, and don’t be afraid to include cultural offerings in areas beyond your remit - as a visitor, you’re not too worried about geographical borders. By showcasing a wide cultural offering you’ll attract more visitors to your website and increase exposure for the businesses you represent.

Think carefully about how you categorise the experiences, and where possible provide users with well-constructed filtering options so that they can quickly and easily find the things which they are interested in.

And don't forget to find ways to reassure, as much as possible, that businesses are following hygiene criteria and offering clear instructions on how to stick to the latest government guidelines around social distancing. This could be as easy as adding in an icon to represent which businesses have self-accredited as 'COVID-Secure'.

make the most of what your destination already offers

Not every destination has Manchester or Glasgow’s vast variety of culture, so don't try to compete. Instead, focus on your point of difference.

Celebrate what’s already on offer through all the providers or attractions in and around your location. Do this and you might just find that your niche independent offering or unique points of local interest are more attractive to some consumers then that on offer through the UKs 'big cities'.

Be an authority

You know your destination better than anyone. Users are looking for you to provide guidance, knowledge and expertise.

Experiences aren't all paid offerings. Think about highlighting locations or sites that have specific historical or cultural significance such as movie locations, or even just great instagram opportunities? These type of visits give potential for wider engagement and often create a more memorable impact as part of a visitors itinerary.

Create useful content on your site using your knowledge of the local area to make recommendations for how consumers can get the best out of their time in your town or city. Think ‘top 10 attractions on a rainy day’, or ‘the must-see events this spring’. Don’t be broad, be specific – this is how you can encourage visitors to discover something new, or stay longer in your destination.

Learn from the masters of the internet – Amazon. When displaying search results suggest some alternatives that the end-user might also like but don’t necessarily match their search criteria. Make sure it’s obvious by using headings like ‘you might also like’, or ‘you could also consider’ to segregate these suggestions from the main search results.

Be an authority – you know your destination better than anyone.

Provide texture, structure and hierarchy to listings

Users hate long lists which seem to go on forever. They are boring and make it difficult to differentiate one experience from the next.

Where possible use ‘cards’ (or boxes) to display results – these are easier for users to read over long lists of text.

Create hierarchy on listings pages by showcasing ‘featured experiences’ at the top of the page in bigger boxes – you can prioritise these however you want, by date, by size, by location (especially great if users are on a mobile). Think about what’s important to you and the businesses you represent, but most of all what’s useful to the user.

Cards Cards are easier for users to read as opposed to lists of text.

Finally, think about the role retail plays in attracting visitors

An important component in attracting visitors to a destination is the retail offering.

COVID-19 puts a new perspective on high street retail, but it's still going to have a role to play in attracting visitors to 'experience' your location.

People are hungry to get back to the 'normal' which at this point in time doesn't really exist, however what you as destinations have the chance to architect and lead is what the future looks like. It doesn't have to be the scary unknown if communication is consistent and clear about which businesses are open and which are following government guidelines. Your destination retail businesses are just as keen to sell as visitors are to get out, start buying again and supporting.

It's important that in tandem with experiences and culture, retail is also given share of the limelight - over time consumer confidence will grow the 'visitor experience' will evolve, and retail will be a part of the equation. What's essential here is to keep information up-to-date and to keep communicating.

High street image It might not be the old 'normal' but the 'new normal' should still attract visitors to a destination with their retail offering.

More about DestinationCore.

The team at DestinationCore have been building destination websites for over 15 years. We’ve been there, we’ve seen it and we’ve got the t-shirt. Our experience of the industry means we know how to create a great user experience, and what to do in order to increase user engagement and drive more visitors to your website. Most importantly (for our clients at least) we understand what drives users to take the actions that help destination marketeers provide value to the businesses they represent.

Want proof? Take a look at some of our case studies.

View some case studies

NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead

The NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the DMO representing Newcastle, Gateshead and the surrounding areas. They came to us frustrated with their existing website solution – feeling that their current provider was offering poor value for money. Our solution has helped transform their online presence by improving the user experience and offering greater value for their members.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Southampton

Visit Southampton

Southampton BID had just gone through a brand refresh and were looking to help bring that brand to life with a powerful online experience. They wanted visitsouthampton.co.uk to be the go-to website for users to find out about what to do and what's on in Southampton. They chose the Advanced core package and The List Events Feed module to power their website.

VISIT WEBSITE

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich is a DMO for Ipswich and the surrounding area. The website showcases events and offers, and also includes a business directory. It provides easy access to a huge range of content, with the Journey Planner and Itinerary Builder modules enriching the user experience. The Campaign Section module provides a hub for the client's numerous marketing initiatives.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Clapham Junction

Visit Clapham Junction

As a BID in their first term The Junction BID needed to make an impact. Attracting visitors to Clapham Junction by showcasing what’s on offer and demonstrating value to the businesses they represent was essential. They chose the Offers and Events progressive web app alongside the Advanced core package to encourage people who work within the BID area to spend more time at The Junction.

VISIT WEBSITE

In Colchester

In Colchester

In Colchester is the consumer website for the Colchester BID. We helped them create a new consumer facing brand, and then applied that brand to the DestinationCore platform to create a stunning looking website. Launched in August 2019 the feedback for this site has been superb. The client is looking to refine and improve the website in the coming months and years by adding modules in the future.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Melchester

Visit Melchester

We’ve created a demo site for our fantasy town of Melchester. It’s an idyllic location by the sea, with an abundance of independent retailers and fair number of local characters too. Be sure to check out the blog about a true local hero - Admiral Standfast. Use the 'Toggle' button to switch between the Standard and Advanced sites to compare the differences. Go on. Take a trip to Melchester!

VISIT WEBSITE
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