Travel Trends – Utah, Miami, Social Media Measurement

Well kiss my grits, that is a beehive.

Well kiss my grits, that is a beehive.

Utah Rolls Out a New Look – Our neighbors to the West have introduced a new, and fully-functioning version, of…just in time for the ski season push in the Beehive State.  I know, beehive…look it up.  After using a heavily modified splash page, for what seemed like years, the team at the Utah Office of Tourism has built upon their unique look and introduced a very eye-pleasing and brand accurate site.  Here is what we like, or at least find intriguing:

  • What appears to be a strong tie to the online (nxtbook) Official Visitors Guide in lieu of traditional website listings.  While we love this idea, we are also concerned about the paradox that it creates…going online to find listings, only to be sent to an online version of a printed book whose value and usability is declining as an actual printed version.  Yeah, crazy.
  • The appearance and overall feel.  It feels like Utah.  Kudos.
  • The weather icon and options.  Love that look, although, we think MSNBC had it first.
  • Social Media integration.  Although it feels like the default for any ‘new’ site, you still have to admire the integration with Flickr and YouTube.  And, to a lesser extent, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Testimonials from other sites.  Finally!  Someone else has heard the calls from the mountain top and responded.  We have talked about it before, travelers don’t trust DMOs and CVBs.  The answer, put testimonials from TripAdvisor and Virtual Tourist right on the freaking homepage.  Simple, but brilliant.

Overall, good job Utah.  We wanted a little more content, but can appreciate the strides you made in this update.  B+

Miami Gets a Facelift…Literally – In speaking with a local colleague of mine recently, he pointed out the current version of the Miami site.  After regaling me with the story, I was intrigued.  Surely, this cannot be true….oh, but it is.  On the surface, the ‘new’ Miami (and Beaches) site looks good.  Great imagery, clean navigation…plus, I see some social links.  Good stuff.  But, as with so many things in Miami, the beauty is only skin deep.  One click, try ‘Visitors‘ for fun, takes you to an unfamiliar and haunting location of cluttered navigation, bright colors and too much information squeezed into a size 1 dress.

After learning how not to create blinking text, the next lesson in website creation school is not to change the wireframe of your site from page to page.  Users don’t like it.

Perhaps this is simply a measured roll out of the new Miami site, to be honest we are not 100% sure.  We certainly do not want to punish Miami for what could be a planned execution.  However, in either case, they might want to add a full website update to the ‘to-do’ list.

Oh, and P.S.  What is up with the intro graphics on the ‘splash’ page?  They look great, but upon closer inspection, the reflection of the models sunglasses actually moves and changes.  Free design tip to anyone and everyone in marketing, graphic design and website development:  stop it with the reflection in the sunglasses trick.  We have seen it before and you can stop using it.  Thanks.

Social Media Measurement Lags Adoption – Is there anything bigger in the marketing and advertising world right now than social media?  Everyone is trying to get as many friends as possible to follow them on facetwitspace.  While this euphoria of social wonderment continues on the fourth floor, up in the executive suite they really want to see some numbers showing the success of these programs.  The old ‘it’s branding’ line is getting old.  Alas, according to recent stats, no one has a clue on how to measure all these tweets.

Despite widespread adoption of social media, measurement still lags. Only 16% of those polled said they currently measured ROI for their social media programs. More than four in 10 respondents did not even know whether the social tools they were using had ROI measurement capabilities.

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