The National Council of State Tourism Directors has presented the Virginia Tourism Corp. with the Mercury Award for Best Travel Web Site among the states. The award was presented last week at the annual U.S. Travel Association ESTO Conference in Boston.
VTC’s consumer travel website, http://www.Virginia.org, has historically been one of the nation’s most-visited state tourism websites. In 2011 it underwent a major artistic, structural and functional redesign, intended to make it more user-friendly. The site now contains more features and content. New search engine optimization strategies were implemented to put the Web site more prominently in the public eye. As a result, the site was accessed by more than 6.3 million unique visitors in the 12 months after the 2011 relaunch.
“This award is a testament to the vision and efforts of VTC’s Electronic Marketing team,” said VTC interim president and CEO Rita McClenny. “Millions of people are drawn to our website each year, and our staff has worked hard to create a site that most effectively converts those viewers to actual visitors. It is one of Virginia’s best marketing tools.”
Key among the new or upgraded features are:
• Interactive maps on attraction and destination pages showing nearby things to do and places to stay
• Recommendations system alerting visitors to attractions and events similar to that being viewed
• Enhanced trip planner allowing user to add items during a visit, organize them into itineraries and share them with friends and family via Facebook Connect integration.
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