08 March 2007

Why U.S. Tourist Office websites tend to be better than ours

Last week I came across an interesting item on Neil Mclean's Travel PR Blog about the difference between U.S. state tourist office websites and our local tourist office websites in the UK.

Essentially it is pointing out that the Americans have more sophisticated sites than us.

I wanted to highlight some reasons for that, but it's an old blog item (Jan 07) and it won't accept my comments. So while they're on my mind, I'll use my blog!

There are a couple of significant reasons why the US Tourism organisations have better websites than us.

1) They have a huge domestic market to address. The vast majority of (Internet-savvy) Americans take their holidays in the USA, and usually by car. US families want lots of easily researchable detail in depth.

2) They recognised the importance of the Internet before us.

Back at the turn of the millennium the Travel Industry Association of America's bi-annual survey into the travel habits of Americans was already demonstrating that.

Of the 1300 adults polled in 2000/01, 17% indicated their primary source of travel planning inspiration came from general magazines. 17% used guidebooks. 20% used TV. 25% referred to newspapers, and 26% read motor club magazines (like the AA. Remember, most American families go on road trips for their vacation)... However, a massive 40% used the Internet.

The US travel industry got that message loud & clear and started investing in the web.


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