If you’ve planned a trip at some point in the past decade, chances are, you started online. Tourism sites can be a great help, but not all of them are equal. Let’s say you’re going to New York City, where the possibilities are endless. How do you narrow down your options?
Scenario #1: Broadway’s on strike. Your plane tickets were booked in July. And even though the stagehands’ union might reach a deal within the week, it’s going to take a serious act of diplomacy to convince your 10 year-old daughter — who’s been waiting patiently (or so she says) for the past year to see The Little Mermaid performed in real life — that a trip to the Empire State Building observatory would be just as fun. You’ve got the tap-dancing part down, but you don’t want to turn into a flounder. Are there any kid-friendly plays happening off-Broadway?
Scenario #2: You’re going to propose to your girlfriend, who grew up in Manhattan, when the two of you visit her parents in the Big Apple for Christmas. She’s usually the one carting you around the city, but you want to surprise her with a romantic night on the town; dinner at a high-end vegetarian-friendly restaurant, an art opening perhaps, then cocktails at some trendy hotel bar that, at the moment, only exists in your head. You have no idea where to begin, other than Google.
NYCvisit.com is a good example of a tourism site with excellent customer focus. Not only is it full of great restaurant suggestions, it also serves food for thought to online marketers. For instance, notice how, front-and-center on the homepage, they acknowledge how the stagehands’ strike could affect your trip:
How’s that for a timely jolt of relevance?* They address the problem and basically tell you, “Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of New York for everyone.” It’s also worth noting how they give visitors in fast-paced Spontaneous or Competitive modes — (more about the different buying modes here) — links to “plan it now” or “play video now.” Perfect! Move ‘em right along…
Which brings me to my favorite part about the site: They help you find out what type of New Yorker you are with a brief personality quiz. For the people who visit NYCvisit, this is an especially great idea, since many of them will be in slower-paced Methodical or Humanistic modes.
Sure, NYCvisit.com has its problems, but which site doesn’t? They’re helpful without being heavy-handed, and instead of stereotyping their visitors, they’re at least kind enough to help us stereotype ourselves.
So, what type of New Yorker are you?
[*The only problem here is that the links go to .pdf downloads, which would probably be better kept online. That way, they could not only link visitors to the restaurants and events, but they could give them the option to download instead of just assuming that they'd want to. Whatever their reasons, a lot of folks are still wary about downloading from sites they haven't been to before.]