Websites are an essential communication tool for destinations, containing all the relevant information a DMO wishes to showcase to visitors. With the emergence of digital technologies, destination websites are increasingly developing into sources of not just tourist information, but also containing inspirational, interactive and user-generated content. Very often, this development is also reflected in a more positive user experience on the destination website.
THE USER EXPERIENCE
User experience is considered to be very important for businesses in any industry; a recent study conducted by Econsultancy revealing that almost 75% of businesses deem it a key factor in improving conversions and sales. Destination managers and tourism professionals in particular often highlight this link between user experience and sales as well. Further Econsultancy findings also showed that improving the user experience additionally results in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Interestingly, most respondents did not consider a reduction of cost as one of the benefits of improved user experience, which is quite extraordinary given that an increased user experience can affect costs positively, reducing them as well as increasing revenue.
IMPROVING THE USER EXPERIENCE
Destinations and tourism professionals are continuously working on improving the user experience of their web portals. Digital marketing provides the opportunity and ability to measure and test the different aspects employed and their effectiveness on the user. Interestingly, there are still gaps in terms of testing certain aspect within digital, with most businesses found to be testing the user experience of their live websites and of wireframes and landing pages, whilst not factoring that of their smartphone, mobile and tablet –optimised sites.
This needs to change, with destinations needing to ensure that all their sites in all formats and for all kinds of devices are tested in order to ensure a positive overall user experience. Tourism businesses need to work on different ways of evaluating the user experience, and latest technologies need to be considered and tested to the same degree that they are on websites or wireframes.
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