Ideas for a travel and tourism Web site overhaul

There’s a lot of action going on right now in my Travel 2.0 LinkedIn Group.

One of the members (Mike Huber, working with a commercial Arizona travel company not affiliated with the Arizona Office of Tourism ) asked this question titled Revamping a Website to include Web 2.0 features:

“We are in the process of totally overhauling http://www.arizonatourism.com.  Before we get too far down the road, I’d love some advice on what you think we need to include in the initial overhaul. Are there any travel sites you’d recommend we should emulate or any ‘must have’ features you’d recommend? Here is a preliminary ‘spec’ of our new home page http://www.arizonatourism.com/newindex.html…any feedback would be greatly appreciated.”

Here’s how I answered:

“I’d ensure that your social media buttons are on every page of the site, and that they’re reasonably visible. Twitter, Facebook Fan Page at a minimum, a blog would be very smart, and the ever-underrated but awesome Flickr Group Pool [for travel photos from your customers.]

Itineraries based on travel interests are always helpful: families, outdoor adventure, history, culture, foodie, Native American sites for starters.

Make up some custom Google Maps focused on trails (food, history, etc. as above.)

Mobile, mobile, mobile.  You need to be all over mobile-friendly.

Incorporate music somehow – an easy but powerful way to bring atmosphere. By that I mean maybe suggested playlists (make them on amazon and iTunes and link to them from your site) NOT obnoxious music that auto-starts and makes people want to stab their computer.  🙂 ”

A follow-up question from another Group member asked:

“I am intrigued by adding recommended playlists and would like to add one to [our CVB] http://www.minneapolis.org. Can someone direct me to an example of linking to this from Amazon or iTunes?”

I just love music tailored to a destination, so I told her:

“I’m thinking of something similar to the lists on National Geographic Traveler, though I haven’t done such a list myself in iTunes, only burning my own CD mixtape-type playlists for road trips. (Rats: the words “CD” and “mixtape” both date me!)

***  Wonderful National Geographic music section.

***  The UK’s Guardian, one of my favorite newspaper travel sections, has 50 songs for 50 states.

***  From Heritage Ohio (they coordinate the Main Street program for the state) a playlist called Back Home to Ohio.”

Take a look at the original discussion thread on LinkedIn for a lot more ideas (you may need to join the Group to see it.)

To find LinkedIn Groups that interest you, simply used the Search box in the upper right corner of the site and specify that you’re looking for Groups, not People/Jobs/Companies, etc.

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5 Responses to Ideas for a travel and tourism Web site overhaul

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  2. Brian Hayashi says:

    Mike Huber’s post on LinkedIn got everyone’s creative juices flowing, including mine.

    The playlist is a great idea. Note that just about every song imaginable is now on YouTube. Using the YouTube embed license to play the song on your site is greatly preferable to negotiating a separate license for the commercial use of the song.

    Plus, once you have found the URLs for the YouTube versions of the songs, there are a number of ways to embed the songs into your site. One way is a “destination jukebox” that puts videos of local businesses to music at http://twavl.com/denver – click on a tile, the map tells you where the business is, and the music starts playing.

    If you want to get more on commercial music licensing, this is a very readable primer on the subject:
    http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/music-licensing3.htm

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