Thanks to Noble’s efforts, SLO saw a massive spike in hotel conversion rates (including referrals) and a jaw-dropping bump in homestay referrals. Note: Beyond traditional accommodations such as hotels, San Luis Obispo offers a variety of homestays for travelers looking for a home-like environment during their stay on the Central Coast.
Putting Hearts in Beds
It’s not enough to put “heads in beds,” in San Luis Obispo. A new branding effort and website allowed VisitSLO.com to also put “hearts in beds.”
Standing Out with Purpose
A small, charming town on the Central Coast of California got a digital makeover from Noble Studios when we revamped San Luis Obispo’s VisitSLO.com site. We quickly decided that if putting “heads in beds” is the business purpose, putting “hearts in beds” is the brand purpose. The new website needed to align with that purpose while balancing stakeholder referrals and telling the brand story.
- Bring a new brand identity and platform to life
- Highlight things to do, places to stay and unique communities
- Incorporate new features into a mobile-first experience
Three Key Metrics
Breathing Life into a New Brand Identity
The goals of the new VisitSLO.com website were to bring the new brand platform and visual identity to life on the website; highlight the various things to do, places to stay and unique communities within SLO, and drive stakeholder referrals; develop an easy-to-navigate and engaging experience that allows travelers to plan their perfect getaway so they can “Live the SLO Life;” and incorporate new features to create a more modern and impactful mobile-first user experience.
In the realm of conversions, we hoped to increase lodging partner referrals, increase Things To Do partner referrals (referrals to dining, wineries and other tourism businesses), boost newsletter signups and visitor guide downloads and increase engagement across the site.
Touting The Benefits of the ‘SLO Life’
With the site revamped, the first thing you’ll notice on VisitSLO.com is an eye-catching video — a vibrant visual treat that showcases signature SLO happenings. It’s as if the pixels on your screen are inviting you to come and join in. Our goal was to let you experience the SLO Life right from your first click. It’s a digital hug that leads to an adventure, a discovery and a homecoming.
Picture this: An intuitive design that lets you easily swipe through things to do, upcoming events and SLO Life Tips. It’s a little bit like flipping through a catalog of experiences, each more enticing than the last.
And if you’re still in the dreaming phase, we’ve got you covered. With premade trip inspiration tiles, you get a little bit of the legwork done on your behalf. Imagine these tiles as your virtual concierge, just without the fancy uniform.
Happy Stakeholders, Happy Visitors
Noble’s work also helped SLO in the following ways:
- Immersing potential visitors in the SLO Life virtually through immersive video elements and Xplorit which provides VR views of select properties.
- Increasing overnight stays and visitation by establishing reasons to stay for multiple nights including mid-week, which led to increases in lodging partner referrals conversion rate.
- Increases in things to do partner referrals show that we established SLO as a homebase away from home, more than just a pit stop, to encourage more overnight visitation and helping to fuel the destination’s tourism economy.
- Improved SEO performance across all devices, i.e. organic sessions via our content migration strategy which included topic clustering and an enhanced URL strategy.
Local stakeholders have been so thrilled with the new site — enhanced images of their lodging properties, updated information on the features and inclusivity of their accommodation offerings, amenities, etc.
Built for Now. Built for Later.
In the end, we created a future-forward site that can scale and create more visibility for SLO as it continues to evolve as a destination and differentiate itself from other coastal destinations. Our efforts led to a decreased cost of ongoing maintenance along with the ability to automate listing updates (previously a time consuming manual process).
We also provided SLO with a scalable foundation for continued success. The previous site had a tremendous amount of technical debt that made it more difficult and costly to integrate new technologies and trends over time. The rebuild provided a clean slate that will provide years of scalability, improved performance and more economic maintenance.
Hotel Conversion Rate
Hotel Referral Conversion Rate
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