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Nearby attractions would add to county's web appeal
By Jackie R. Broach
A redesign of Georgetown County’s tourism website needs to include more information on the area’s events and attractions — even if that means borrowing some from Horry County, according to eBrains, the county’s online marketing firm.
Studies of destination websites show that visitors to the sites are primarily interested in information on three things: accommodations, attractions and a calendar of events, said Jim Star of eBrains.
“They’re very, very interested in attractions. Our highest conversion of visitors to websites are those that go to the attractions page.”
Star, along with eBrains president Ralph Thompson, delivered a report last week to the county Tourism Management Commission on services the county contracted with the firm for in 2010, and what the county can do to make its online marketing efforts more effective.
Offering attractions packages was on the list, along with highlighting a larger number of attractions.
“There’s a lot of stuff you should be doing now with the changes Google has made to their site,” Thompson said. “You ought to have some Myrtle Beach content on your site, but bury it.”
Commission members indicated that was worth considering, and Helen Benso, who chairs the commission, pointed out that Horry County likely uses some Georgetown County attractions in its tourism marketing efforts.
Websites such as myrtlebeach.com and visitmyrtlebeach.com have information about golfing opportunities on Waccamaw Neck, as well as about Brookgreen Gardens and the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk.
But Benso wasn’t enthusiastic about using Myrtle Beach in the county’s marketing efforts.
“We may do that,” she said, “but it was just more of an offhand kind of comment.”
Work on a redesign of the county’s website, which hasn’t started yet, will probably take about six months, Benso said.
The improved site would also emphasize the fact that it is the county’s official tourism site and encourage visitors to bookmark it as a future resource.
Marking the site as official is a good move, Thompson said. “It’s very important for [visitors] to know that,” he said.
An interactive map that would allow visitors to the site to navigate the beach was also suggested as a useful addition.
The county also needs to continue working to build its e-mail database of people who are interested in receiving more information about Georgetown County. One of the ways it hopes to accomplish that is by adding a contest that would give visitors to chance win a stay on Waccamaw Neck by submitting their e-mail addresses. In the process, they could subscribe to receive tourism information.
“We also want to have some surveys they can take,” Benso said. That would provide another chance for potential visitors to sign up to receive e-mails.
A separate survey would be offered to get feedback from those who have already visited the county.