Atlanta, GA (PressExposure) May 14, 2013 -- Visit Savannah, a leader in the destination marketing industry, launched the newest iteration of its highly successful website, VisitSavannah.com, on Wednesday, April 3 at the Telfair Academy in Savannah's Historic District.
"VisitSavannah.com has truly become the backbone, or work-horse, of where we drive all of our destination marketing," said Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli. "So, we set out quite simply to have a best-in-class new website that would establish us as a leader in the marketplace. By incorporating social media, user-generated reviews and responsive design, I believe we have done just that."
The former VisitSavannah.com received over 1.4 million visits last year, generating more than 7 million page views. Additionally, the mobile version of the site sees almost half a million visitors per year. Of that, 75 percent were logged in as unique page views. The most popular pages on the site last year were "Attractions," "Dining," "Accommodations," "Events" and "Tours." These five pages accounted for more than 20 percent overall page views during the year.
The new VisitSavannah.com focuses on the way people travel today. The website pulls in consumer reviews and social media feeds from Visit Savannah and its hospitality partners. It also features an interactive map for visitors to tailor their getaway and create an itinerary that they can save, reference and share. The responsive design of the new website gives it a flawless translation between computers, smartphones and tablets.
After an extensive bidding and vetting process, Visit Savannah selected Studiocom, an Atlanta-based agency, to be its new interactive marketing partner. Studiocom's other clientele includes major consumer-centric brands such as Coca-Cola International, Kleenex, Cartoon Network, Barilla Pasta and Ferrari.
"We really brought everything into one experience -- an interactive map to explore the city, user reviews, member photography and details," said Studiocom Co-President and Chief Experience Officer Juan Fernando Santos. "It's a lot of technology and a lot of innovation all coming together in one powerful website."
The interactive map shows the locations of the Visit Savannah hospitality partners with listings and icons that match their various categories, such as "Places to Stay" and "Food and Drink." From the map, users can click on each partner icon and read a description of the company, see a photo that they've uploaded and read content from the member's Trip Advisor, Facebook and Twitter feeds.
"How do people naturally explore a city?" Santos said. "By wandering, looking for landmarks, talking to other people.So we created a rich, tactile, interactive map experience that's really the heart of the site. It gives visitors a way to explore, and get to know Savannah before they even arrive."
"One of the things that I think is so fantastic about this site from a consumer's perspective is that once I'm on the site, I don't have to leave the entire time while I'm exploring," said Brendan Ferrara, who chaired the task force that selected Studiocom. "I can book my hotel room on the site; I can scan all the reviews from Yelp and Trip Advisor; and I can see the Facebook feeds from all the partners as well as Visit Savannah. That means consumers will likely stay on the site longer and explore more options."
The updated VisitSavannah.com design also reflects the organization's new "...that's Savannah" leisure tourism marketing campaign. The new creative plays on Savannah's unique blend of its historic Southern charm and beauty, while also showcasing its vibrancy and self-professed eccentricity.
"We wanted to design a site that's modern and timeless, like Savannah itself, but that's also just as functional as it is beautiful," said Santos. "So we spent a lot of time refining the aesthetic aspects, like textures and colors, and exploring the strategic aspects, like technology and traveler behaviors. In the end, VisitSavannah.com is one of those websites that brings everything together seamlessly and actually does justice to the city it represents."
"Visitors to Savannah already know our city is beautiful," Marinelli said. "They know that the live oaks, Spanish moss and cobblestones here are what truly make our city unique and authentic.
"However our goal with the new '...that's Savannah' campaign is to show that yes, we're historic, but we're hip too. Yes, we are a classic American city, but we also have that eclectic, quirky side as well."
The creative campaign features candid photography that depicts a "regular" Savannah scene with an unusual happening in the midst of the city's historic elegance. The headlines tell the story of these scenes from both a visitor's and then a local's perspectives, with a "You call it... We call it..." saying that ends in the tagline "...that's Savannah." Examples of the print ads for this campaign have been running in a number of regional and national travel and lifestyle publications since mid-February.
"The photography is really one of the focal points," said Santos, "and at every turn, it truly captures the dichotomy of the city's modern, yet classic, personality."
"As we try to attract younger, more affluent new customers that will stay longer and spend more, it is important for us to show them that whether it's our wide array of festivals, the unique style of our coastal cuisine or just relaxing at one of our outstanding spas, we have what they are looking for in a perfect getaway destination," Marinelli added.