How We Think
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Atlantic City, NJ
Our team has lots of great ideas - and we're willing to share
“Travelers don’t understand travel industry labels.”
We recently heard this feedback during initial user research done by Destination Analysts prior to launching a new travel website.
As the creative minds marketing destinations to potential visitors, we start our web development process by putting ourselves in site users’ shoes to ensure we give them the best user experience possible—without giving them guesswork in determining what it is we are suggesting they do in whatever destination we are marketing to them.
As storytelling experts, it is our job to tell a destination’s stories to inspire travel, not to confuse potential visitors or lose their interest by leading them off path with unfamiliar verbiage and dead-end design solutions.
Today’s site users expect intuitive design solutions and clear calls to action that let them know exactly what experience they will be presented with as they move through a website. It’s a best practice to not use catchy buzzwords and travel industry terms that have no obvious meaning to the user. Occasionally we
Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory (which has worked with brands like Airbnb, Condé Nast and Starwood Hotels and Resorts) says it like this: “The authenticity bubble is about to burst.”
With so many destinations claiming to be authentic and offering authentic experiences, it makes sense that consumers would become numb to the idea, get annoyed and feel sold to.
So is authenticity dead? In my opinion, no – but it has moved from buzzword to basic expectation. Think of the color TV: You just assume your hotel room will have one, and if you see it advertised it makes you go “hmmmm.” In the 1950s, automatic was the word – ads touted exciting automatic dishwashers, automatic washing machines, even automatic toasters! Over time, automatic became old news, and it dropped out of conversation (and ad copy). Of course, color TVs and automatic appliances are still around, but we talk about them differently.
The same thing is happening with the idea of authenticity. Our content doesn’t need to claim authenticity – it just needs to be
1. Look over your latest content audit (if it’s more than a year old, do another one) and identify gaps in content. Does your content align with your brand targets? Does it meet your audience’s needs and desires? Hannah Brown takes a thorough look at creating a content audit here.
2. See what users are engaging with. Go into Google Analytics and determine which pages got the highest views and time on page, and the lowest bounce rates. Don’t just pay attention to the topics that are getting the highest engagement – also look at their format. Are more people reading lists? Watching videos?
3. Don’t forget photos (and, even more important, videos). Rich media adds to your storytelling: help set the scene and immerse the user in the destination. And let’s face it – more people look at pictures than actually read. The average human only has the attention span of a goldfish; it’s science.
We recommend a combination of landscape shots and shots with real people showing real
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