CVB Updates Website As It Readies for U.S. Opens
BY TED M. NATT JR.
Southern Moore County is already a well-known destination for golf and resort travelers, but its prominence is growing as it readies for the consecutive men's and women's U.S. Opens in 2014.
With that in mind, the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a new website that gives the organization greater flexibility to update and craft the site.
"I tell people it's like having the keys to your website so you can make all the changes," said Caleb Miles, president and CEO of the CVB. "Prior to this, we had to rely on the website designer or website hosting company to make changes.
"We're the destination expert that knows the market."
Preparations and activities will gear up in 2013 for the Opens the following year, and Miles said it is important to have the flexibility locally.
Included in that is an enhanced calendar of events driven by Everwondr, a statewide events network calendar program that currently includes 40 communities.
"Consumers typically don't live here and don't care about county lines. We know they're going to look at other events throughout the state," Miles said. "But if they're going to venture elsewhere, we want Moore County to be their base."
The website - www.homeofgolf.com - also allows CVB partners to update their offers, change their logos or add new photography, among other things.
Updates to the site will also give improved options to CVB officials for internal sales, marketing and administration. Further, a toolbar will let users reserve a Moore County hotel room.
"People will be able to book their stay directly from the CVB website starting the first quarter of 2013," Miles said. "The main thing we're trying to do is close the time gap between the consumer showing initial interest in the area and actually booking a trip.
"It eliminates delays. Delays can mean money, because a lot of our competitors already have this technology."
Tourism generated more than $374 million in Moore County last year, an increase of 9.3 percent from 2010. That number will likely grow significantly as the U.S. Opens near.
Other new website features include:
n Improved use of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Flikr and TripAdvisor.
n Enhanced ability to take advantage of website search engines like Google and Yahoo.
n Easier navigation for consumers.
n More videos and photographs to highlight area attractions and meeting facilities.
"The new site does a better job of showcasing our capabilities," Miles said. "All of this is going to be rolled out over time. How quickly will be determined by how long it takes us to train our staff and our partners. There's a lot of data that has to be updated."
Eventually, the CVB will also have a mobile version of the website for smartphone users.
"It will be a pared-down version that is easy to navigate on your mobile phone," Miles said. "An estimated 16 million Americans will book travel via mobile devices in 2012."
Miles said the CVB spent more than a year and five figures to develop the new website.
"The website is the window for the consumer, and we've already started the countdown to the 2014 U.S. Opens," he said. "We want the consumer to think of the website as their place for one-stop shopping when booking a trip here."
Miles said the site is also designed to help event planners and journalists.
"We'd love to get golf tee time booking functionality as well," he said.
Miles credited Karin Toomey, the CVB's information technology manager, with providing quality and depth to the website.
"She's done a fantastic job from conception to launch," he said.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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