North Carolina Tourism launches new VisitNC.com

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 04:23 AM

For the first time since 2009, the North Carolina Division of Tourism has significantly enhanced its digital presence with a new website for consumer travel planning. VisitNC.com features a fresh look with dynamic content and responsive web design to make travel planning easier and more interactive.

In addition to its agile design, the new website aligns with the Division’s key focus of showcasing North Carolina’s beauty and continued growth of downstream referrals to industry partners’ sites. In 2012, downstream referrals increased 10 percent on record traffic of more than 4 million visitors.

“VisitNC.com is the preeminent consumer travel planning website for North Carolina and the centerpiece of our tourism marketing efforts,” said Wit Tuttell, director of tourism marketing for the Division, which is part of the state Department of Commerce. “The site plays a critical role in promoting the state’s tourism industry, which directly supports nearly 200,000 jobs for North Carolina residents and contributes $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenues.”

The Division of Tourism kicks off the website launch with the “Beauty Amplified Photo Sweepstakes,” which offers visitors a chance to win three exclusive trips of a lifetime. Consumers can go to visitnc.com/beauty-amplified to enter and find additional details.

A major component of VisitNC.com is its responsive design, which provides an optimal layout and user experience for any screen size — from mobile devices to web-enabled televisions. In just four years, mobile traffic on VisitNC.com has grown from 1.3 percent to 33 percent.

“With so many people using mobile devices to make their travel plans, it was important for us to provide a compelling user experience regardless of platform,” Tuttell said. “Whether someone goes to the site on a cell phone, tablet or computer screen, the new VisitNC.com will showcase the state’s awesome landscapes and also reflect the character — the people and places — that adds depth to the journey.”

The website is part of a brand evolution that includes the Division’s “beauty amplified” tagline. A custom-designed logo and typeface build on North Carolina’s position as a place of unrivaled scenic beauty where deeper connections happen. The site was developed in collaboration with Charlotte-based Luquire George Andrews (LGA), the Division’s marketing agency of record.

To shape the site’s content-first architecture, the web team used a research-based approach that drew on consumer traveler studies, usability testing and partner input. Among the enhancements of the new VisitNC.com:

Integrated, sharable content. The website is designed to engage visitors in exploring North Carolina and sharing what they learn. Site users can find compelling content by interest, inspiration, geography and date with multiple types of content — videos, trip ideas, feature stories, listings and reviews — gathered around a specific place or topic. One-click sharing via popular social media platforms extends the site's reach.Increased rich media. A new, 90-second “Deeper Journey” video overview of the state is featured on the website and the Division of Tourism’s YouTube channel. Vignettes from the popular North Carolina Weekend program are accessible from VisitNC.com through the Division’s partnership with UNC-TV.Consumer reviews. Listings include third-party insights from TripAdvisor.com. The partnership with TripAdvisor.com reinforces VisitNC.com’s status as the go-to source for North Carolina travel information.Improved keyword search. New content is indexed immediately so that visitors access the most up-to-date information.Industry partner enhancements. Data entry has been streamlined to make it easier for attractions, businesses, event sponsors and others to initiate and update listings. VisitNC.com’s comprehensive statewide database includes 18,500 entries representing accommodations, attractions, restaurants, events, golf courses, seasonal special offers, travel professionals and 375 local and regional destination marketing organizations.