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Travel SEO, Website Features, and Promotion

August 25th, 2009 · No Comments · Destination Marketing

The Adirondacks - Our Great National PlaygroundI put together the following outline which would be my considered “bare minimum” for a comprehensive destination-marketing online program. While this may apply to a theoretical “Adirondack” program, it can easily be adjusted to work for any destination or brand. Obviously, each item is worthy of long discussion and debate. Would love to hear your opinion, and any items which I may have omitted.

Template for Website Design and Promotion

Website Promotion and Marketing Goals

  • Provide Branding, Inspiration, Tools to Education and Convert Potential Travelers
  • Promote, Maintain, and Enhance Brand Equity and Recognition (and Sponsors)
  • Increase the Frequency, Lengthen the Duration, Expand the Scope of Travel
  • Take advantage of Position and Role to Gain Revenue

Organic Optimization

  • Search Engine Crawlability – No Frames, Reduce/Eliminate Flash, Robots.txt,
  • Clean and Unique Titles and Descriptions for all Pages, Pretty Permalinks, Headings, Metatags
  • WC3 Compliant, Accessibility Compliant
  • 301 Redirects for Legacy or Relocated Content
  • Site Map – HTML and Standards Compliant XML file


  • Simplify and Improve Directory Structure
  • Aesthetically superior design (but still, blue, underlined links, top and side menu bars, logos in the top, left-hand corner), White space
  • Breadcrumb Navigation, Text Links, Categories and Tags, 404 page
  • Fast loading, All Browsers, 1024-wide or more.
  • Avoid use of: Input Forms, Session ID’s in URL, Pages Restricted by Cookies, Frames, Logins

Content Management System

  • Open Source preferred, Robust, Database-driven – i.e. Self-hosted WordPress
  • Scalable for future growth/shrinkage, Upgradeable
  • User-friendly Administration – Easy Format and Publication
  • Extensible Features, Template-driven design
  • Distribution and Syndication via RSS, Atom
  • Image Gallery – Self-hosted – i.e. Gallery2

Website Features

  • “I LOVE NY”, and Local Database – various archive views, effective display of “listings”
  • Content – “The Digital Footprint”
  • Photo Gallery – Self-hosted
  • Mapping – KML or Spreadsheet-driven maps
  • “Hot Deals” – Packaging, Special Offers
  • Advertising, Shopping, and Purchasing – Partnership/Affiliate, Reservations,
  • Trip Planner – Saveable, Exportable, Shareable, Group Collaboration

Traditional Promotion
Offline Advertising, Public Relations, Paid Online Advertising

Social Media Marketing – Brandstreaming Your Destination
Expand use of Networks and Publishing Platforms to Improve the the Digital Footprint of the Brand and Help Deliver it to our Audience.
Interact with Potential and Converted Customers Before, During, and After Purchase Cycle.

The Process

  1. Monitor – Buzz, Feedback, Brand Content, Competition,
  2. Interact – Participate in Brand Conversation, Visitor Services,
  3. Evangelize and Lead – Community Building, Publish Unique and Aggregated Content, Conduct Reputation Management, Generate Numerous and High-Quality Inbound-links


  • Important Networks – YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Niche Blogs, Google Maps
  • Strategy and Policy – Web 2.0 activities should be be conducted within Defined Guidelines
  • Resources and Commitment – Scope and Scale of Effort should be Defined
  • Languages – Anchor Content should be translated into relevant foreign languages
  • Mobile Platforms – Content, Site Design should include access from mobile devices

I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous community which helped to educate me about these topics. That mean you SEO folks, Web 2.0 marketers, Travel-bloggers, and everyone else who I’ve interacted with on this topic. Please contact me if you have any interest in learning how you can implement this for your brand.

Is Social Media a Fad?

A fairly recent Update: A Destination Website

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