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8th May 2015

The Challenges of Online Destination Marketing

In this era of information overload, destinations face the challenge of providing great information online. The purpose of destination websites is to engage users, measure that engagement and build a base of followers and advocates to make future promotional efforts easier. Promoting offers and driving traffic to partners (eg: hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, festivals, natural areas, etc.) is also an important role for tourism websites.

So, what is Best Practice for tourism websites? 

Intuitive and attractive design 

  • easy to navigate
  • highly visual
  • have the right balance between simplicity and enough information

Give a sense of what it is like to be there

  • use photos – a slideshow or gallery of great images – to make the destination come to life.
  • incorporate other media such as video or sound to add to the user experience and the likelihood of them sharing the website with family and friends.

Make it easy to plan a visit

  • include trip planner tools
  • include options for itineraries – eg: 1 day, weekend, 1 week
  • include links to promote partners and build interest about what there is to do
  • make it easy for users to save their trip plans and share with others
  • include a map to help connect users to attractions is beneficial to all stages
  • of the customer journey

Discover Tasmania (click to view site)

Australia’s Coral Coast (click to view site)

Make sure your website works on mobile devices – before, during and after the trip

  • mobile is hugely important for visitors at all stages of the decision-making process – planning, during and after their trip.
  • any emails and attachments you send before, during and after the trip should also work well on mobile.
  • encourage all tourism operators/partners in your area to have mobile-friendly websites – this will enhance the overall experience of visitors.

Free public WiFi is a must

Life in the Park (click to view website)

Make it easy to access maps and information on mobile devices

  • most visitors will want to be able to bookmark, save or easily access destination maps on
    their mobile device
  • there are many options here, depending on the destination’s budget – such as, a static, image map, a downloadable PDF with addresses, websites and phone numbers for destination attractions, an interactive online map or a mobile, offline, interactive map for users on-the-go
  • mobile apps may also be used for interactive experiences – eg: maps, trail guides

Make it easy to share and promote on social media

  • provide helpful and entertaining content that is people want to build interest and promote sharing
  • include links to allow visitors to post to Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, etc
  • have visible social following tools to help users connect with your various social media presences
  • ensure you use and monitor your accounts for conversations, issues and brand mentions
  • think about using a social media login (eg: Facebook or Google+) to make it easier to create an
    account and login (eg: for a saved trip plan) and to promote advocacy through content sharing, recommendations and comments.

Include a blog and latest news page

  • a blog gives you freedom to create a wide variety of content – this helps with organic search rankings and can be a central part of your inbound marketing strategy
  • post news and updates on the website
  • include a media kit, reference links and historical context that might generate interest from bloggers, journalists and potential partners.


Visit Perth City (click to view website)

57{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} of travellers worldwide book using the internet.

88{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} of travellers consult online reviews before booking.

75{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} of users will go to a competitor’s website if yours takes more than 5 seconds to load.

45{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} post information on social media while on holiday.

73{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} increase in internet bookings over the past 5 years.

60{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} of travellers use online searches to decide on activities once at their destination (WiFi).