Capturing the Charm: Utilizing UGC in Travel + Tourism Web Design
May 14, 2019
Streetsense was tasked with conveying the magic of travel and tourism destination Bothell, Washington — a hidden gem nestled in the lush greenery of Washington state. Surrounded by lakes and mountains, bursting with wineries, and a hop and a skip away from Seattle, we had a lot of inspiration to pull from, and a lot of exploring to do.
A Brand is Born
Our creative strategy team worked to find to perfect way to convey this off-the-beaten-path gem. Harnessing the city’s innate whimsy to create a brand that invites visitors to start their next story in Bothell, the brand “Begin at Bothell” was brought into being. With a name nailed down, we conveyed the playfully picturesque town through a storybook-inspired hand-drawn logomark featuring the town’s iconic imagery.
The Grand Design of Our Web Design
Passing the project along to our interactive team, the next step was to create a website that visually illustrates authentic Bothell experiences and adventures. We knew the most fitting way to show firsthand experiences in a travel destination was to source content from Bothell residents and visitors. User-generated content, or UGC for short, leverages content such as photos and videos created by consumers, which perfectly aligned with our goal of showcasing genuine Bothell experiences. Through UGC, we were able to feel like we were experiencing the Bothell, Washington life — viewing Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery selfies and snapshots from Summit at Snoqualmie, all the way from the east coast.
With a strategy in place, we needed the tools to get it done, so our team harnessed the power of visual marketing platform CrowdRiff to create the stunning Begin at Bothell website. CrowdRiff uses artificial intelligence to source a destination’s UGC, allowing designers to curate galleries of authentic travel and tourism content on their websites. While most websites use CrowdRiff to showcase a standard panel of images as an ancillary design feature, the Streetsense interactive team saw the potential of this tool and leveraged it to create a web experience like no other.
The team leveraged CrowdRiff’s tools to fuel a visual search engine for Bothell’s attractions and destinations — as users search the Bothell website for experiences and locations, the website responds with custom curated galleries, showcasing UGC responses to the user’s query. CrowdRiff galleries allow users to click on images to expand and display additional information — the Streetsense team took it a step further by adding calls to action like “Visit this Location” or “Learn More” in the image’s information, driving users to the attraction’s page on the site. Each attraction page utilizes UGC to promote individual locations in an authentic way, and displays handy planning notes like address and contact information. Users can add attractions to their favorites list, and export their favorites to a trip planner, easily researching and planning their stay in one easy user-friendly experience.
Wrapping Up With a Win
This groundbreaking approach to creating an immersive and influential visual experience is already garnering accolades and praise. Within weeks of launching the redesigned website, Streetsense was awarded Graphic Design USA’s 2019 American Web Design Award for the Begin at Bothell website, recognizing the power of its design to enhance the online and interactive experience. After capturing the essence of Bothell, Washington through inspired branding and innovative web design, we’re calling this successful project a win for both our client and ourselves.
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