Friday, August 19, 2011

Newly-Designed Drives Visitation

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), Durham’s official marketing agency, is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website,  Visitors contemplating a trip to the Bull City visited the site nearly 700,000 times last year.  Having earned numerous awards in destination marketing competitions including twice being rated the #1 destination website in North America, a Webby Worthy Award, “Best on the Net,” “Top Five Destination Site” designation, a MarCom Award, and the WebAward Standard of Excellence, the site is noted industry wide as a bellwether.

With this launch, aside from an updated look, the site is home to new features, content and capabilities, all designed to help drive visitation to Durham.  Designed fully with the intent to achieve a much more user-focused experience, the site now empowers users to build custom itineraries, read customer reviews on place pages, and define their site experience by selecting options that characterize their purpose for visiting.  The site also has expanded content, enhanced visuals, and “stickiness” – the ability to keep users engaged and attentive for longer periods.

“Destination websites like have been shown to increase incremental trips to a destination by about 4% and increase the length of stay of another 4% of visitors who use the site.  With unique visitors to the site approaching half a million, that translates to about 20,000 more visitors each year plus existing visitors spending about 20,000 more days in Durham than they otherwise might have.  That’s huge,”   said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The redesign of is more than skin deep. In addition to a complete visual overhaul, the new website features:

  • Improved navigation – navigation is now easier for the 75% of site visitors coming to the site through a page other than the homepage, and users who do come to the homepage can identify their visitor type and have an experience more tailored to their interests.
  • Trip Planner –’s new Trip Planner feature helps visitors ensure they don’t miss a single thing they want to do.  From any detail screen, whether a visitor feature, restaurant, shop, lodging property, or event, visitors have the option to “Add to My Trip Planner.” This personalized itinerary can then be printed, texted, or emailed for future use.
  • Reviews Integration – with so many great things to see and do in Durham, choosing just a few can be hard for a visitor. To help add a personal touch, now incorporates reviews on each details screen from, one of the largest review sites on the web.
  • Calendar integration – DCVB’s extensive calendar of more than 4,000 annual events is more thoroughly integrated into than ever. Select upcoming events are featured on each page, with options to search the event calendar in more detail through the existing advanced search page.
  • Search improvements – now with the overall site search, users can access relevant content from DCVB’s extensive database of visitor features (including places to stay, eat, shop, things to see & do, and more) and see events related to the search as well. For example, a search for “Duke Gardens” returns results about the place and facility specifications, as well as upcoming events taking place there.
  • Featured content – though offers extensive options for visitors to personalize their trip, sometimes the amount of information available can be overwhelming. For a more “guided” introduction to the wealth of Durham’s visitor product, now includes feature stories in each major section. These features will rotate periodically and may include in-depth features on particular visitor-related businesses or organizations, sample itineraries, announcements of new site features, and more.
  • Other improvements to current features include: a friendlier live chat tab that is less intrusive but still easy to find when needed; online versions of both the 2011 Official Durham Visitors Guide and the Official Durham Meeting & Event Planners Guide; and a more printer-friendly and mobile-friendly template with rich-media features that work on most smart-phones (full mobile version coming in late 2011).

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