Come mid-April, anyone searching for travel information about Bend will find a modernized Visit Bend website, one that is light on words and heavy on images.
The new Visit Bend website will have a trip planner that includes links to accommodations, activities and eateries. Visit Bend is paying Smartz $60,000 to develop, design and produce the site, Executive Director Kevney Dugan said.
“Our website is a powerful tool,” Dugan said Tuesday morning at Visit Bend’s quarterly board meeting. “Our mission is to ultimately drive traffic to our stakeholders.”
Last year, over 1 million people visited the Visit Bend website. More than 26 percent of those website visitors came from Portland, 17 percent from Bend, 14 percent from Seattle and nearly 7 percent from San Francisco, said Nate Wyeth, Visit Bend vice president of sales and marketing.
The new website will include fewer narrative explanations and more ways for users to interact with the content and then map out activities.
The mapping accessory, which is already on the site, is one of the eight most-visited pages on the website, Visit Bend says.
Three menus — eat, play and sleep — will contain additional information, a departure from the 6-year-old website with eight drop-down menus. The site maintains the orange Bend logo.
Smartz, a Bend company, also designed websites for Crux Fermentation Project and the Deschutes Brewery, Wyeth said.
About 200 man-hours have been invested in the revision of the website, he said.
“Our goal was to clean up the look and make it easier to navigate for the user,” Wyeth said. “We’re trying to make everything feature-rich so people spend more time on the website.”
Visit Bend also has formed a partnership with TripAdvisor, an internet travel site. Since January, ads placed on TripAdvisor have sent 1,321 new views to Visit Bend’s website, Wyeth said. TripAdvisor reports 375 million visitors a month to its webpage.
Visit Bend is the marketing agent for Bend. It is funded by transient room tax.
— Reporter: 541-633-2117, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, the name of the company that will design the website was incorrect.
The Bulletin regrets the error.