Tasked with towing the line between content that inspires and functionality that drives conversions, these destination and hospitality websites do it well.
By Katie Bridges
As traveler needs and interests continue to evolve, so too do the tools travelers use to plan.
From small-town destinations to global hotel brands, these seven travel marketing-focused websites masterfully marry form with function in a way that appeals to today’s traveler.
Building on the success of its editorial hub, The Journey, which drove nearly $2 million in bookings in 2021, we helped The Ritz-Carlton tap into the power of content on their newly redesigned brand site as well. By integrating owned content, ritzcarlton.com demonstrates its expertise on luxury travel as a whole, telling authentic travel stories grounded in the expertise and knowledge of the brand. At its core, the website is now an extension of the legendary service that the company is known for — a destination in its own right, with personal relevance to the brand’s target audience segments.
Consistently ranked the happiest country in the world, Finland’s allure among Americans has risen to France-like levels in recent years — and its website strengthens that appeal through a strong sense of place. Content is both inspirational, like this virtual meditation session, and informational, with regions, maps and FAQs located prominently on the homepage.
When the Arizona Office of Tourism set out to redesign its website, we helped them rethink their navigation. Marketing a destination as vast and diverse as the state of Arizona is no easy feat, but through a renewed sitemap that consolidated categories and created intuitive user journeys, as well as content that appeals to a global audience, the website now serves as a go-to hub for both inspiration and planning.
Dubbed Minnesota’s Sweet Spot, the cozy hamlet of St. Louis Park and Golden Valley needed a website that highlighted the region’s proximity to Minneapolis while still positioning it as a standalone destination. To achieve this, we created a content-heavy new site that highlights the truly unique attributes of the town, while weaving in mentions of its convenience to the city. Paired with a clean, vibrant design full of greens and blues, the site is a digital representation of the town’s natural beauty.
The latest venture from the glamping behemoth Under Canvas, ULUM Moab is the brand’s first foray into the luxury market — and its website is evocative of the experiential travel that today’s luxury consumer is seeking. Imagery showcases the natural setting through an upscale lens: luxe pools set against a backdrop of starry skies, tent-like suites adorned with king-sized beds and high-end amenities, and close-up shots of design details reinforcing the sense of quiet luxury.
The site itself is a stunning homage to the natural beauty of the Mountain State, but it’s the seasonal option in the top navigation that stands out as an example of design driven by user experience. Showcasing the state’s seasonal variety allows visitors to plan a trip that aligns with both their interests and their schedules. The West Virginia website is also a masterclass in the impact of imagery and video — the cohesive look and feel elevates the entire experience.
It’s clear when a brand understands its audience in travel marketing, and the Design Hotels website is an example of just that. Above the fold, the homepage’s most prominent real estate is devoted entirely to magazine-style content that appeals to a thoughtful, creative traveler. The latest issue of the brand’s print publication, Directions, is positioned as an exploration of responsible hedonism, with articles that touch on design, travel, sustainability and history in a way that feels unique to the brand. Opportunities for conversion are included throughout, but they are subtle and don’t distract from the editorial nature of the site.