Visitors Bureau redesigns web site: will have more search and tracking options

TRAVERSE CITY – The Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is transitioning from the web site to The old site is still the site to go to check out happenings around TC-for now.

A few interactive features including online reservations remain on the old site, and the new site simply links people to the appropriate page on the old site. That will change later this winter when online reservations will be moved to By spring, when someone types into a browser, he or she will arrive instantly at

"The appearance change was one of the primary goals of the redesign, but behind-the-scenes technology has also taken a major step forward," says CVB Web Developer Dan Nielsen. "Together, those improvements allow the new site to handle high traffic loads more quickly and more reliably."

These improvements will also allow for more search options for the CVB's online calendar of events and more photography of the Traverse City region.

In January 2007 alone, had visits from countries all around the world. User sessions were broken down as follows: North America 59,910; Europe 2,280; Asia 676; Oceania 163; Africa 90; and South America 82. The sections with the most views included the Events Calendar, Accommodations, Restaurants, Shopping, Wine and Golf.

To help the CVB learn more about visitor locations, the CVB will add a feature to its new web site that asks visitors to type in their zip code, allowing them to see the distance they are from Traverse.

"Behind the scenes, the zip codes will be collected and tabulated so that we can gauge which cities and states use the zip code feature," Nielsen said. "The intent is that we will gain a rough estimate of the locations from which people are most often logging into our site."

Total user sessions at jumped from 1,487,434 in 2005 to 2,102,676 in 2006-a 59 percent increase. A "user session" is recorded when one person arrives at a web site, looks at one or more pages, and then leaves the site, Nielsen says.

Traffic has traditionally been much higher in spring and summer, most notably July and August, than in the winter months, as the chart shows.

"One thing that's significant is that most convention and visitors bureaus that see an increase in web traffic-and ours has been substantial-have seen a corresponding decrease in the number of people who call their toll-free reservation lines," says Mike Norton, media relations specialist for the Bureau. "In our case, both web traffic and phone inquiries have been on the rise, which is just about unprecedented." BN