EYE ON TOURISM | PostIndependent.com

EYE ON TOURISM

LORI HOGAN

More than 64 million travelers – 30 percent of the U.S. adult population – used the Internet last year to get information on destinations or to check prices or schedules, according to the Travel Industry Association of America’s (TIA) latest Travelers’ Use of the Internet study. Of that group, 42.2 million actually booked travel online during 2003. Given those statistics, it is increasingly important that Glenwood Springs has a strong presence on the Web. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s (GSCRA) Web site,www.glenwoodchamber.com/, just received a face-lift and was unveiled last month. After months of research and evaluation, Monument Graphics, a graphic design company based in Grand Junction, was selected to design a new Web site based on very specific criteria developed by GSCRA staff. The overall theme matches that of the advertising campaign, “You’ve Got Options.” Visitors to the site will now find a colorful new look with jazzy, upbeat music and sound effects, and action-packed photos that splash across the screen. Navigation is also much more streamlined, making it easy for vacation planners to find information on what to do, where to stay, and where to eat. Content is always fresh and updated on a regular basis, which encourages repeat visitation. An innovative approach has been taken to provide advertising opportunities to local businesses. Traditional banner ads have been replaced with more attractive, less intrusive business profiles that coordinate with the look of the entire site. One of the most popular areas on the site is “Hot Deals” with discounts on dining, lodging, shopping and activities where visitors simply click and print coupons. There is even an online store where customers can purchase souvenirs, historical reference books, novelty T-shirts and specialty items like annual Strawberry Days memorabilia. The success of any travel Web site is measured on how many people are looking at it and actually booking their trip to that destination. An average of 50,000 visitors view http://www.glenwoodchamber.com/ every month. A primary goal of the tourism marketing plan is to drive traffic to the Web site. All advertising prominently displays the web address. An online survey is in place to capture important market research information to determine visitor profiles and trends. To encourage participation in the study, those who fill out the survey are entered in a drawing for a free trip to Glenwood Springs. With the help of Blizzard Internet Marketing, based in Glenwood Springs, visits to http://www.glenwoodchamber.com have increased steadily this year. Complex optimization strategies are constantly monitored to increase the popularity of the Web site on primary search engines. Blizzard tracks traffic received from pay-per-clicks, banners, affiliates, and search keywords. There are also many chamber-member benefits on the new Web site including a complete calendar of events, Frontline Facts, Travel Newsletter, Chamber News, Legislative Update, and a business directory. A “Members Only” section enables businesses to access vacation and relocation referrals and print their own mailing labels. Members also have the ability to update their contact information and view reports on how many times their business was viewed on GSCRA’s site. Take a look at how your business can use http://www.glenwoodchamber.com/.Lori Hogan is the tourism marketing director for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. She can be contacted at 945-6589 or lori@glenwoodchamber.com. Lori Hogan is the tourism marketing director for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. She can be contacted at 945-6589 or lori@glenwoodchamber.com.


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