Tourism Fiji Drives Record Visits With Help of Drupal
2 million new visitors to Fiji’s tourism portal www.fiji.travel–a 7-fold increase–one month after switching to Drupal
Tourism Fiji’s global marketing plan set out to connect Fiji with new audiences that struggle to understand where Fiji is, let alone how the 333 islands connect and the rich variety of experiences available there. It needed to replace a fragmented set of websites targeted at different markets–weddings, diving, etc.–with a single, modern, mobile-friendly site that showcased the wealth of travel and tourism activity the Fiji islands have to offer. Drupal provides Tourism Fiji a digital platform at Fiji.travel that has delivered lasting growth and measurable success to the tourism industry. The site helps connect Fiji with the new tourists it wants to attract; it offers a wealth of information and planning tools that help make their vacation dreams come true.
Tourism is the Fiji’s most important industry, accounting for more than a third of national GDP and employment. An outdated and poorly coordinated collection of tourism websites, developed separately on a custom web content management solution over the course of several years had three major disadvantages. Sites were hard to maintain, had limited content-management functionality, and did not work well on today’s plethora of devices. Most importantly, these sites were not effective in supporting Fiji Tourism’s global marketing mission of presenting Fiji as a vacation option–much less helping tourists plan effective itineraries on its 333 islands.
Fiji Tourism wanted to move to a well-supported platform and away from software vendor lock-in. Drupal fit the bill and won the day with its strength in organising content by category, fine-grained access control, and its ability to support Sparks Interactive, the New Zealand full-service web agency hired by Fiji for the creation of a beautiful, digital, multi-lingual experience within a tight 6-month production cycle.
The new site is built around a series of pages dedicated to common tourism categories, an interactive trip planner, and maps. On each category page (e.g. hotels and accommodations, events, dining, transport) the site’s visitors can scroll to see an ever-expanding list of listing teasers for different offerings. The teasers are randomised hourly to give each operator an equal chance to hit the top of the page, an important part of the Tourism Fiji mandate. Clicking on a teaser brings up a full listing page, with an expansive image, description fields, image galleries and embedded videos.
All of the information is entered and managed by the activity or attraction operators themselves and moderated by Tourism Fiji before publication. Almost 500 operators self-manage their information online, a substantial participation from businesses from across Fiji, from large organizations to small ones that don’t maintain a separate digital presence.
From any teaser or listing, visitors can add activities to their personal Trip Planner. This interactive tool lets visitors drag and drop activities and travel options into a day-by-day itinerary for their vacation in Fiji. They can add notes and develop a plan for their dream holiday or business trip, which can then be priced by each operator, who is notified by the site when they are included on any submitted trips. This platform also enables the industry operators to see live statistics of how their listing is performing: from how many times their phone-number or web address have been viewed down to how many people have added their listing to an interactive Trip Plan.
Visitors can view their itinerary on a map–great for locating activities close together and regrouping plans to get the most out of their time in Fiji. A map feature is also prominent on the homepage, with dynamic filters that can display and overlay accommodation, activity, event, and dining options. Fiji.travel's maps speak a universal language, connecting the mobile-first generation in Asia and Europe to the attractions of Fiji.
For Tourism Fiji and the tourism/travel industry at large, metrics are an important gauge–and watched closely at the highest levels of government. A set of dashboard pages have been created that allow site administrators to check live results on site activity and filter any dates historically. This includes how many new users are coming into the site, how many of each type of listing people are saving to trip plans, and how many trip plans are being created–which is running into the tens of thousands per year and growing.
The new digital platform launched in 2013. Stats after launch immediately proved the value of the consolidated content approach on Fiji.travel and the SEO friendly nature of Drupal:
Month before launch (old sites)
- 327,751 site visitors
- 453,000 sessions
- 1,187,000 total pageviews
Month after launch of Fiji.travel on Drupal:
- 2,268,000 site visitors (+692%)
- 2,469,000 sessions (+545%)
- 2,942,000 total pageviews (+248%)
The new site has supported a massive increase in traffic and delivered results to Fiji’s most important industry: bookings are up, revenue is up, and Tourism Fiji is a happy Drupal user–Fiji experienced a record tourism year in 2014.
Key features for visitors:
- Responsive design that maximises visual impact of the Fiji experience.
- Interactive drag-and-drop Trip Planner and map to create the perfect, individual holiday.
- Site translated in English, Chinese (simplified), and Chinese (traditional).
- Several more European languages are in the pipeline.
- Providing both mobile solutions and translated/localised content was key for unlocking visitor growth.
Key features for the tourism industry:
- Content created and updated by tourism operators, moderated by the site owners in custom workflow, fairly and automatically surfaced to site visitors.
- Site automatically generates highly qualified sales leads for industry.
- Site delivers prices/quotes: users can make buying decisions right on the site.
Implementation by Sparks Interactive, a full service web agency based in New Zealand. The website project accompanied a comprehensive rebranding effort coordinated across multiple agencies by Colenso BBDO in Auckland, supported by PR from Verve Communications and social media marketing from Cricul8 in Sydney.