A 90-year-old is not likely to buy a Corvette. And men probably aren’t the target audience for minivans.
Like automakers, CVBs are marketing to specific markets.
The Alexandria CVA, for example, developed a section strictly for meeting planners. Previously, one section addressed meeting planners and tour group planners.
“Part of our concern with the old site was that we were addressing two different markets,” said Lloyd. “We realized we couldn’t address tour groups and meeting planners with the same message.”
The new meeting planner section differs from the leisure section in tone, color scheme and design.
“It looks more businesslike, and it has more information,” said Lloyd. “We learned that planners like to have as much information as they can. A lot of them are planning at 10 o’clock at night. We improved our content a lot.”
Stewart hopes the new website will make it clear that the Pinehurst area, where golf is the best-known attraction, is also good for military meetings and other types of sports competitions.
Pinehurst’s site has specific pages for those meeting segments and others.
On the sports page, planners can choose their sport and see a list of facilities that meet their needs.
“We added an RFP for a sports planner that asks different things than you would ask a meeting planner,” she said.
Scottsdale also developed landing pages for different types of meetings. Doing so makes the site easier to find when planners do Internet searches for venues for specific types of meetings, for example, insurance or medical.
A video for meeting planners was also created. “The video we added speaks directly to meeting planners,” said Kenzer. “The narrator walks us through and shows points of interest, but we don’t spend a lot of time with a feel-good message. The meeting planner video is quick and to the point.”
Streamlined style and function
Whether you are building a car or a website, form and function are primary to good design.
Before it began reworking its website, the Scottsdale CVB studied those of its peers.
It found, in some cases, that CVB websites overreached, going “so far out of the realm of normal that the average user has a hard time understanding how to use them,” said Kenzer. “We realized we should not be trying to teach meeting planners new tricks.”
The bureau’s staff also realized that in simplifying some processes for planners, they would create more work for themselves.
“We decided that if they have their own RFP, they should use it instead of making them answer a bazillion questions,” said Kenzer. “And if our team needs more information, it is a great opportunity for them to call and start the conversation and build camaraderie.
“It is a little more work on our end but leads to a better relationship with the planners overall,” he said.
On the advice of its Web partner, Simpleview, the Alexandria CVA streamlined its RFP. Simpleview hosts more than 200 CVB websites.
“There were a lot of required fields, and we opted to let some of them go,” said Lloyd.
Planners can attach their own RFPs, and the bureau makes it a priority to respond immediately when RFPs are posted.
The Pinehurst area bureau also streamlined its RFP.
“Our other one was two or three pages,” Stewart said. “Now, it is very simple. They just click, click, click.”
CVBs realize that their websites are a work in progress. They’ll need tuneups and tweaks and, every few years, complete overhauls.
Just months after the new website went live, Alexandria’s Lloyd admitted, “I already have four pages of changes that I want to make. It is continually evolving. Everything changes, and we want to make sure we stay attuned.”