Harrisburg, PA – The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today announced it launched the region’s new official travel consumer web site as part of the bureau’s ongoing weeklong celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week. The new site brings a fresh feel with significant enhancements that will benefit consumers and the bureau’s 300+ local business Partners, according to tourism officials. Here are a few of the significant highlights with the new site:
OPTIMIZED & RESPONSIVE: The most significant change with the new site is that it will be fully responsive with all user formats including its ability to work seamlessly with mobile devices which are becoming the top tool for travel planners, according to Jason Brown, Director of Marketing Communications for HHRVB. According to an eMarketer article in November 2014, nearly 48 percent of the 129 million people in the U.S. who research travel on the internet will do so via a mobile device. Furthermore, Brown points to the timeliness of this enhancement for the bureau’s site following the launch of Google’s new algorithm on April 21, 2015 that applies significant weight to search results for web sites, landing pages, and blogs that are fully optimized for mobile.
Nearly 48 percent of the 129 million people in the U.S. who research travel on the internet will do so via a mobile device and 52 percent of those using the internet to research travel will book travel online. – eMarketer Report, November 2014.
According to Brown the bureau recognized the need for this responsive upgrade for some time, but other factors such as budget cycles and selecting a web site provider required the bureau to follow a more conservative timeline to remedy the issue. In the interim the bureau utilized an application (APP) and other temporary fixes intended to bridge the time until the new site could be developed and launched. But his team still managed to remedy the issue in time for Google’s algorithm shift, which many online marketers are referring to as “Mobilegeddon” according to one HubSpot blogger.
FRESH & FUNCTIONAL: While consumers will notice the fresh face of the site, Brown says the new functionality behind the new site will have a more significant impact on how the bureau uses the site to convert online sales and promote Partners. The November report by eMarketer estimated 52 percent of those using the internet to research travel will book travel online. “Conversion was a key element in the site design,” says Brown. “We wanted to create greater opportunities for a site user to purchase tickets, reserve lodging, rent cars, and make other purchases. But beyond purchases on our site we wanted to provide greater opportunities for visitors to link out to our Partners’ web sites.”
“Conversion was a key element in the site design,” says Brown. “We wanted to create greater opportunities for a site user to purchase tickets, reserve lodging, rent cars, and make other purchases. But beyond purchases on our site we wanted to provide greater opportunities for visitors to link out to our Partners’ web sites.”
NEW PROVIDER & NEW PLATFORM: In 2014 HHRVB selected their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider Simpleview to develop the new web site. The bureau is one of the first DMOs in the world to work with Simpleview’s newest Content Management System (CMS). For HHRVB the move allows the bureau to leverage both CRM and CMS services under one provider resulting in a more streamlined experience for Partners and a more cost-effective approach for the bureau, according to Brown. The bureau’s data maintenance and tracking functions are now more simplified and HHRVB Partners can now interact more directly with the site allowing them to update their own content, upload deals/coupons, and review site performance reports.
“Our new system gives Partners easy access to their data and listing information,” said Brown. “This creates a greater sense of ownership for Partners and they have more control over how their business is listed and promoted on the site.”
The bureau will continue to roll out announcements this week in celebration of the 32nd Annual National Travel & Tourism Week that began on May 2 and ends May 10, 2015. National Travel & Tourism Week, led by the U.S. Travel Association, serves to educate local residents, political leaders, and community stakeholders on the importance of sustaining and supporting a local tourism industry. The final announcement for the week will be on Thursday when the bureau debuts the new promotional destination video featuring all new images and spectacular aerial footage.
MEDIA INTERVIEWS: HHRVB President Mary Smith will be available throughout the week for media interviews regarding National Tourism Week and the economic benefits of a healthy local tourism industry. Due to her busy schedule as an active member of the PA Association of Travel & Tourism (PATT) Executive Committee which is holding its annual statewide tourism summit this week at the Hilton in Harrisburg; please try to make any interview requests at least 24-hours in advance. HHRVB will make every effort to accommodate all interview requests. Contact Rick@HersheyHarrisburg.org or cell 717.884.3328.
Since 2001, Simpleview has supported DMOs with tools, knowledge and creativity to help them perform at the top of their game. Working with the world’s top cities and smallest towns, Simpleview believes that every DMO has a role to play in creating a better experience for the people who visit and a better life for the people who call it home. In 2007, Inc. Magazine began publishing the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. private firms. Simpleview ranked on that list and has secured a spot every year since, earning a place in an elite group of less than 400 companies nationwide. Simpleview has achieved that distinction by managing their business with the same approach they bring to customers: smart use of resources, visionary thinking, attention to everyday needs, hard work, planning ahead and never stopping at “good enough.” Today, Simpleview is a company of more than 150 people dedicated to destination marketing, both by working with individual DMOs and by helping the industry as a whole adapt, evolve and thrive.
Simpleview CMS (Content Management System)
Simpleview CMS is the only web site management system built for destination marketing, which means features are uniquely designed to bring the best information and services to visitors and planners. Simpleview CMS is also the industry’s only content management system that allows seamless integration with a companion CRM. With a single technology platform for both systems, Simpleview customers accomplish more in less time.
Simpleview CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Each day, destination marketing turns to Simpleview CRM more than any other technology for meeting sales, forecasting, reporting and managing data on consumers, partners and other critical relationships. Simpleview CRM was created in 2002 in collaboration with DMO professionals sharing how they work every day. Twelve years later, Simpleview still follows that model, investing heavily in ongoing enhancements with steady input from CRM user group and everyday users. The result is not only the most powerful destination management system, but a complete set of tools tightly aligned with changing DMO needs as our industry relentlessly evolves.
About the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB)
The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) serving Pennsylvania’s Dauphin and Perry counties. This Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) accredited organization is committed to actively marketing the region locally, domestically, and internationally to leisure and business travelers; meeting & convention planners; sporting event producers; and group tour leaders. For more information go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org, or call 877-727-8573.