“Regional Travel”* is a travel information and booking service for a region of the U.S. The owner was well connected throughout the region’s travel and tourism industry. The site already had a solid site structure, fairly strong SEO performance, and a large amount of content, especially video and photo assets.

* Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Challenge: Incremental Growth and Balancing Revenue Streams

The site had grown organically over the years and featured a variety of visual styles, far too much text, and a mishmash of technologies. The client wanted to redesign the site to increase revenues and provide a solid foundation for future growth. The business model consisted of half commissions from a local partner travel agency for bookings through the site’s 800 number and half advertising from hotels, excursions, and other travel suppliers. The client wanted to strengthen ad revenue first, which was dropping, and eventually be able to take a larger role in booking to increase that revenue. Meanwhile, SEO needed to improve or at the very least stay the same.

Approach: Focus on the Areas for Greatest Impact

After in-depth discussions with the client, reviewing secondary research he provided, and doing brief competitor audits, I decided to focus on three areas. We came up with a maintainable communication and social media strategy to increase his presence and strengthen SEO for the commercial part of the site. I designed a series of phased page templates for his most important page types, providing long-term targets and intermediary stages to drive self-fueling growth. And I provided guidance and examples for him to use when working with the eventual designers and developers of the site.

Outcome: A Creative Outlet, Plan, and Confidence for the Journey

The blog design has been implemented, and the client has enthusiastically embraced this new channel as well as Twitter. The overall site design, once further phases are implemented, should improve the customer experience, highlight the expert advice and video assets that differentiate him from his competitors, and promote traffic to ad-revenue areas of the site. It also provides additional measurement points to show value to advertisers, beyond impressions and referral traffic to their websites. And what the client found most valuable of all was the confidence he had gained that he understood how and why the various strategies, designs, and guidelines would fit together to help grow his business.

Roles

  • Digital Strategist
  • User Experience Architect
  • Usability Tester
  • Content Strategist
  • Advisor on SEO, Copywriting, and Visual Design

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