The Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; these are just a few of the attractions visitors can enjoy in Tennessee. No matter the vacation preference, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development connects travelers with the best trips, attractions, and resources to make their stay unforgettable.
The goal of any tourism site is to inspire travel, and to provide dreamers and planners with the tools necessary to become visitors. However, the landscape of state tourism is changing, as 70 percent of travelers with a smartphone now prefer to research travel online. In response, tourism agencies must learn how to engage mobile users, and deliver the contextual experiences consumers now demand.
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development knew it needed to reinvent its digital platform to convert online visitors into real tourists. So they asked their agency of record, VML, to help build a website that could deliver personalized experiences that are as unique as a trip to Tennessee.
To showcase the wide range of sights and activities in Tennessee, the Department of Tourist Development needed to deliver the most relevant content to aspiring travelers based on their interests. However, an outdated platform lacked the ability to push personalized content to a diverse array of audiences, and an extensive set of content tags made categorization burdensome for internal teams. The result was “one-size-fits-all” site experience, which made it difficult for visitors to find relevant information for trip planning and inspiration.
Tennessee Tourism also had to reconsider how the organization approached customer relationship management (CRM) efforts. Traditionally, lead generation was benchmarked by the volume of printed guide requests. However, VML urged Tennessee Tourism to consider expanding CRM efforts to include saved itineraries, email opt-ins, and outbound referrals to community partners. This would require a flexible platform that not only delivered inspired content, but made it easy to integrate with preferred marketing technology.
To deliver the most relevant content to aspiring travelers, VML recommended Acquia as the vendor of choice to build the new TNVacation.com with Drupal 8 and Acquia Lift. Drupal 8 made it possible for VML’s development team to build reusable components that allow for powerful content customization across the site.
Acquia’s commitment to being API-first also enabled Tennessee Tourism build a platform that is best-of-breed. Acquia helped Tennessee Tourism integrate its preferred back-end systems, such as a CRM and social media vendors, with Drupal 8. Instead of rip and replace, Tennessee Tourism can build a technology stack that is best suited for its business needs across the entire customer journey.
Next, Acquia Lift was a natural choice to deliver targeted and meaningful content to site visitors based on their preferences and behaviors. When it comes to implementing personalization, Acquia recommends a crawl, walk, run approach. It’s hard to do personalization right, but when strategy and data are paired with the right tools, organizations can create experiences for users that are seamless and engaging. That’s why VML kicked off the project by leading a story mapping session with key stakeholders, which included a complete audit of all existing site content. This session was coupled with industry research to pinpoint tourism trends and travel habits specific to Tennessee.
Across every stage of the redesign, VML chose to use data and industry trends to inform Tennessee Tourism’s implementation of Acquia Lift. This included establishing user segments across three specific disciplines: vacation experiences, destinations, and the CRM funnel. For example, if market research dictates that certain users are more likely to visit Memphis, multiple areas of the site will feature content and tourism partners related to Memphis. Once the user explicitly expresses interest in a different destination, Acquia Lift updates the featured components to highlight the new destination instead.
This strategy is also applicable to a user’s stage within the CRM funnel. By configuring events in Acquia Lift, first-time visitors on the site are greeted with a request to sign up for email updates. Once a user has provided their email address, the promotions will change to showcase printed guide requests. If a user signs up for both, Acquia Lift will promote the State’s other social channels. With the ability to deliver personalized content, Tennessee Tourism can act as a trusted adviser as users move down the funnel.
In partnership with VML, Acquia helped the Tennessee Department of Tourism build a digital platform that inspires music fans, barbecue lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and everyone in between to discover all that Tennessee has to offer.
- Average session duration: Up 29 percent
- Average page per session: Up 9 percent
- Average time on page: Up 8 percent
- Bounce rate: Decreased 19 percent
- More than 120,000 partner related engagements and outbound referrals
- 2 percent increase in the pace of email signups over previous years
- 2017 Engage Award Winner for Best Digital Experience