How is UX Shaping Destination Websites?

Why is user experience (UX) important for destination websites? For Slovenia, the main aim of the website is awareness.

For Slovenia, the main aim of the website is awareness. Answering key questions such as what to do or where to visit are all central to the role of the destination website in responding to the individual needs of travellers.

Answering key questions such as what to do or where to visit are all central to the role of the destination website in responding to the individual needs of travellers.


Slovenia's consumer site is dynamic, adapting according to seasons and thematic topics and providing interactive and personalisation features to ensure the user is immersed and engaged throughout the site.


A good example of this is the implementation of interactive videos, such as their Sustainable Stories video, which allows users to interact with the video, rather than just use it in a static manner. This more engaging way of involving users to play with content is key to creating. a memorable user experience.


These efforts really pay off, with more than 4.6 million users and 12 million page views recorded, a rise of 40% from the previous year. Organic search is also rising from 4m in 2019 to 5,5m in 2022, showing that the investment in good content is really key to their success, with 75% of users now coming from mobile.


Slovenia's global digital campaign is now running through the winter months as well as the key summer season, with €2,6m invested annually in driving interest in the destination. As they evolve with digital trends, they also bring campaigns into other channels such as TikTok, whilst there is growing recognition of the importance of YouTube as part of discovery.


Market adaptation of the content is also really key for getting the site right, not only in terms of languages but also the content selection and getting this right for the market - for example, focusing on hiking for the German market.


Sustainability and responsible travel have formed part of their global campaigns, whilst in specific markets always-on opportunities, such as the Tour de France help to engage visitors on more targeted topics, where pre-roll videos on platforms like Twitter generated 18m views.


In this example, the work with sporting ambassadors has been key, such as cyclists, climbers and skiers who all form part of the content, message and engagement created around these themes.


Landing pages play a key role in creating strong entry points to different destinations, around key themes and key spots events, where every thematic page can offer a rich and experiential discovery of a theme and play a key role in the inspiration stage of the funnel.


This ultra-sharp focus on a fewer number of key themes has played a major role in earning Slovenia strong recognition in the likes of National Geographic and Lonely Planet, where this clear unique brand proposition is starting to get noticed.


The voice of others also plays a key role in driving further engagement on the page, where integrations such as CrowdRiff help to bring in other perspectives from users that help to offer a level of authenticity and social proof, key to supporting the message.


During Covid, Slovenia National Tourism Board also used their site and digital platforms in a more functional manner, where more than 130 updates on rules and regulations formed a key part of assuring travellers and providing confidence to travel. This information campaign was supported with regular e-mails too for those who wanted to stay in touch, where the average open rate was 50%, with the highest during the campaign being 64%, showing the strong desire to also have this 'official' information at times when it's needed.


Automated, personalised content based on their interests is key to strengthening the performance of all activities. For example, shaping stories, messaging and campaigns around the needs of those who are seeking inspiration on outdoor activities helps ensure the messaging is focused only on the needs and interests of this market segment.


Aleksandra also shares how important partnership is to Slovenia, where she shares more about the Google Arts & Culture partnership where more than 60 stories and virtual tours with more than 2,000 pieces of art able to be discovered in a deeply immersive way on Google's uniquely designed discovery environment. These partnerships are key to sharing the strengths and benefits of discovery on and off the slovenia.info site.


Why is UX Key to Success?


Our partner Creatim explains the importance of having a clear set of brand guidelines and a breakdown of how this is delivered to different segments and markets. From here a unique digital identity can then be.


Creatim's founder Andrej Perc shows how the sense of a brand can be overlayed with the 'traditional' functionality of a destination site, where predictable elements such as where to go, what to do, etc. leave a predictable hierarchy of information, requiring the brand experience to deliver a uniquely strong visual experience layered on top of that.


He talks about the importance of these three key elements:

  1. Brand identity - be memorable
  2. Images - be authentic
  3. Tone of voice - build relationships


Focusing specifically on the brand tone of voice, we should see this as a sort of persona, where all channels, platforms and environments where the brand lives should be consistent between and amongst one-another.

Data Driven Design


Understanding user flows through the site and working to constantly understand, prototype, test and analyse these are really key to gradually iterating versions through small and gradual improvements.


What is the key to getting this right?

  1. Make decisions based on data and strategy
  2. Make the site usable and accessible
  3. Adopt and embed testing and iteration


Design Systems


Design systems are also today a major part of user experience and design. An 'Atomic Design' allows so called atoms - reusable components - allow editors and developers to re-sue elements through platforms, sites and digital user environments.


Tools like Figma allow design systems to be used by anyone involved in the digital environment, whether directly in the use of CMS's or in the development of campaign sites and new platforms.


Personas & Personalisation


Andrej explains how important personalisation is for destination sites to better match the content and discovery experience to the individual needs of those users. There are different ways in which we can create personalisation and the tools we put into place might depend on the level of knowledge we have about our users, for example:


  1. Personalisation from the source - if we know how or what brings someone to our site and its their first visit to the site we can personalise the experience with a certain set of assumptions and existing knowledge about users from these sources.
  2. Learning on site - where the use of simple features can help us personalise and channel users through. the site, with knowledge about what they're looking for or motivated by such as playful questions etc.
  3. Machine learning - the implementation of AI within content management can increasingly learn what different user behaviours look like and what they're likely to seek next, serving up content according to data, not assumptions.
  4. Market segmentation - the long-used research methods still have a role to play but increasingly these are better embedded into the strategies and content decisions for the above key points.


Why does this matter? SEO


The key here is that if you do everything right, Google will recognise and reward that good work by pushing you up on search results based on relevance, engagement and overall performance - not only the technical performance of the site, but the performance of content based on these key metrics:

  1. Bounce rate
  2. Dwell time
  3. Click-through rate
  4. Social shares and comments


Content quality also matters hugely, considering things like:

  1. Content quality - relevance of content is the most important factor, in responding to user needs.
  2. Copyright - ensuring copyright is handled properly and avoiding duplicate content.
  3. Localisation - including an adaptation of content to market interests and needs.
  4. SEO - optimisation of content, keywords, backlinks, link quality, broken links and 404's.
  5. Story guidelines - links to other storytellers.

Key Takeaways

  • Market adaptation of the content is key for getting the site right, not only in terms of languages but also the content selection and getting this right for the market.

  • Design systems are today a major part of user experience and design.

  • Personalisation is key for destination sites to better match the content and discovery experience to the individual needs of those users.
Published on:
December 2022
About the contributor

Aleksandra Jerebic Topolovec

Slovenian Tourist Board

Andrej Perc

Creatim