The Visit Champaign County CVB welcomes visitors to enjoy the “Outside of Ordinary” experiences that abound there. The area is a popular destination due to Midwest hospitality that is enjoyed at hotels, restaurants, shops, parks, museums, and more.
The goal for the new website was to be the primary resource for those interested in learning more about the greater Champaign County area and be a dynamic and comprehensive website, creating reasons for people to return to the website over and over again as they continue to explore the area to visit and live.
The Visit Champaign County CVB also needed the site to be designed so that it incorporated with content in IDSS (Tempest) to save staff time.
Today, those looking for things to do have a plethora of options available, from sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, to social media, and Google searches. Visit Champaign County CVB needed a website that offered more than simple listings by presenting the area’s unique offerings through “Outside of Ordinary” story telling.
The McDaniels Marketing digital team, along with CVB client staff, conducted research reviewing websites nationwide to determine components to incorporate into the new website. The team also worked closely with IDSS to create a backend system of all community listings that would seamlessly transition to the front-end website. Previously, Visit Champaign County staff was making edits to listing content in multiple places, creating unnecessary work.
The McDaniels creative team developed a new site map for the CVB staff’s approval prior to designed the new website. The next step was to create a dynamic homepage where visitors could find information based on the time of year. The new homepage presents an overview of the area while also establishing the CVB’s unique voice, setting the tone for what people can expect when visiting the greater Champaign County area. The homepage also identifies the location of Champaign-Urbana within Illinois, and in relation to major cities across the Midwest.
Other website key components were then created to direct visitors to highly trafficked areas including calendar of events, food scene, Game Day information during Fighting Illini events, and music scene. To highlight stories before listings, each section under Things to Do provides an overview of the experiences available and links to three blogs showcasing top experiences in that area.
The new website makes it easy for visitors to sign-up for the e-newsletter, access the Experience Guide, or go directly to the Food & Drink section, one of the more popular pages. Throughout the website, eye-catching imagery demonstrates what visitors will experience. Using CrowdRiff, the website showcases user-generated content on the homepage.
Equally important was making it easy for planners to access content to help draw business to Champaign County. The Planner pages in the upper navigation bring tour operators, meeting planners, and sports planners to sections that contain information needed to attract conferences, tournaments, and motor coach groups.
The new website features a Film Office section showcasing why the area is ideal for filming. Film makers can access the filming permit and discover unique locations for their shoot.
Finally, the new Live | Work section is a vital resource for new residents and employers to access content to help acclimate and draw people to the area, from information on education, specialty stores and markets, park districts, and accessibility.
The new website launched late August 2019, prior to the start of Fighting Illini football when thousands access the website for information on the greater Champaign County area. Compared to same period prior year, the Game Day section increased from 1,656 to 10,404 views, a 528% increase! Previously, the blog did not factor into the top ten visited pages, but the new site shows two individual blogs and the Our Stories section in the top ten, for a total of 17,137 views in just three months!
The new website exceeded its goals in just the first three months after its launch by delivering a more engaging experience while sharing the “Outside of Ordinary” stories of the greater Champaign County area.