After a local vendor designed its previous website, the team at Visit South Bend Mishawaka struggled with the complicated content management system (CMS), which depended on ongoing involvement from the vendor for even the smallest of modifications. In addition, because the vendor lacked industry expertise, the team realized it was missing out on best-practice design principles.
So when it was time for a new website, the DMO turned to Simpleview, the leading provider of CMS in the DMO industry. The goals were simple—to update visitsouthbend.com to be both visually compelling and more useful to visitors.
“Travel and tourism are what Simpleview does. We wanted to tap into that,” said Jake Brown, content & digital marketing strategist for the DMO. “No one on staff writes code, so ease of use, uniformity, and back-end functionality were very important to us.”
“Mondays Can Wait” — But DMO Marketing Can’t
The Midwestern city of South Bend, Indiana, lets you raft through the heart of downtown and then pop into a coffee shop for a cup of joe. Even though the whitewater rapids are artificial, the rest of "The Bend" is an authentic mix of a destination that’s rooted in its industrial past while stepping into the high-tech future. From catching a Fighting Irish football game at Notre Dame to visiting the Studebaker National Museum, the team at Visit South Bend Mishawaka encourages visitors to linger with its clever theme of “Mondays Can Wait.”
But to be most effective at convincing visitors to linger, the DMO needed a better website to maximize the brand essence of The Bend. It gained:
- Seamless integration between Simpleview CRM and its new Simpleview CMS
- Additional integrations such as the Book › Direct lodging referral engine and CrowdRiff
- Drag-and-drop functionality for page design
- A dedicated blog with a backend that’s intuitive and easy to update
“As we run campaigns, we can change things on our own really quickly now,” said Nicole Lawler, director of tourism marketing & travel media. “Really quickly used to mean two weeks, and now it means two minutes.”
Combining Form and Function
The new website showcases a fresh aesthetic within the DMO’s existing brand, grabbing the visitor’s attention with a large and stunning hero image overlaid with our trademark tagline: Mondays Can Wait. Because the DMO aspires to turn day trips into overnight trips and game-day visits into game-weekend visits, newly built within that hero image area is a booking widget with current hotel rates that sits right below the tagline, inviting users to consider and book dates for their trip.
User-generated content (UGC) offers a spirited and visually engaging look at the people, places, and landscapes that make up the destination and make locals proud.
Inspiring The Visitor's Journey
Everyone Loves A Map
The most popular new website feature is a one-of-a-kind interactive countywide map on the home page, which entices visitors to explore beyond the Notre Dame campus and enjoy the area’s nature and local attractions. The map highlights key points of interest, orients visitors, and allows them to pull up pertinent content and personalize their exploration and trip planning. When items are selected, a blog article and Crowdriff images are displayed to both promote the experience and provide information about it.
Don't Just Tell, Show!
South Bend and Mishawaka are big drive markets, with visitors often hailing from nearby bigger cities. Situated in the heart of the Great Lakes region between Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, and Indianapolis, the DMO wanted a visual way to highlight the centrality of the destination to entice meeting planners and leisure visitors.
Simpleview designed a map showing South Bend smack dab in the center of five larger cities, revealing it as a great meeting point. Why brave the big-city traffic when you can indulge in life’s simpler pleasures in South Bend?
Breaking Records & Winning Awards
Switching to Simpleview CMS has been an unqualified success for Visit South Bend Mishawaka, as evidenced by being quickly awarded Best Tourism Website by the Indiana Tourism Association. The new site helped contribute to the largest number of website visits in the DMO’s history, exceeding a million visitors for the first time. That’s an increase of 20% from both 2019 and 2020.
"The results have spoken for themselves,” said Jake Brown. “We set a page views record, our bounce rate is way down, and time on site is up. All our engagement metrics are better, so I don’t know of a better way to say it’s been successful other than when people get to our website, they stay longer and look at more stuff. It’s been really rewarding.”
In South Bend and Mishawaka, more and more visitors are finding that “Mondays Can Wait.” And the Visit South Bend Mishawaka team is finding that choosing industry-leader Simpleview as its CMS provider and website designer was a rewarding decision indeed.
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Dig deeper into the success of South Bend Mishawaka's new website with a case study focusing on their goals, achievements, and results.