We recently took a look at innovations coming through from the forefront of digital in sport. But sports organisations are not alone.
Tourism and travel destination organisations have moved miles in recent years.
The old tradition of destination sites using digital as simply an online brochure, piled with pretty pictures but otherwise just listings of hotels and attractions, has moved aside to make way for sites that are responsive, to align with the needs of users using mobile to browse, and looking for sites to inspire them, rather than simply a tool to provide lists.
Don’t get us wrong - the use of powerful imagery in destination sites remains the most effective pull, but in all other aspects, times are changing. Here are four innovative trends we’ve noted in digital destination offerings from around the world:
Why include a simple map of an area when you can use it as a hub to link off to activities, imagery and information? DiscoverLosAngeles has a good example of this done very well - a clear, straightforward map separating the greater Los Angeles area into sections, with each smaller area linking to a dedicated section of the site for the user to explore articles, events and ‘Buzz’ - what people are doing and talking about in that area.
Themes not lists
Lists of possible activities or local areas, whilst informative, are not always very inspiring. A more stimulating way of organising sites has been to sort articles and features into themes - be it love and romance, adventure and discovery, history, or peace and quiet. A visually stunning example of this can be found on the VisitFinland site, whose themes include ‘Silence, please’, ‘Wild & Free’ and ‘Cultural beat.’ VisitSkåne offers ‘Good living’, ‘Family fun’, and ‘History’ amongst others.
Another rebellion against the traditional list style of tourism sites is a style that is more scrapbook-esque, which allows organisations to arrange images in fun, bold ways and encourages the user toward a more enjoyable experience, past simple scrolling. TravelBelize.org organise the areas of the country into colourful, caribbean-styled scrapbook fragments, which fill in as the user hovers over them. VisitStockholm uses this style to gather and display all its homepage content.
Letting the users guide the content
Encouraging people who have visited a destination to then write a review, or even post a photo, is one thing, but this is much more effective when collated and galvanised into something that is enjoyable to explore. A great example of this is the Love Wall section of the Visit Britain site, which separates attractions into boxes organised by how many people have ‘loved’ visiting here. Their interactive map also displays where the most ‘loved’ things are located.