HUGE worked with NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing and tourism organization, to show the best of what the City has to offer with effective platforms and an innovative content strategy.
HUGE started out wanting to build the best, most usable, most “wow-inducing” website New York City tourists had ever seen. However, we discovered something interesting during user testing: almost everyone, including those who had only visited Gotham once or twice, didn’t think of themselves as tourists. They thought of New York as “their city”. As such, they didn’t want structured guides or check-off lists of landmarks. They wanted to make discoveries on their own, without sacrificing insider-only perks like bargains, advice and convenience.
HUGE set out to reengineer the site’s structure, content and tone to match this “everyone’s a local” style of thinking. We enabled information sharing across mobile and social platforms, allowing users to rate their favorite landmarks and shops as well as create, publish, and share custom lists and itineraries.
Real-life locals are especially fond of this last feature. No more link-collecting and map-forwarding every time they have a houseguest. Whether they’re headed to Brooklyn or Staten Island, all they have to do is log in to their myNYC profile (another of our creations) and send out a link.
Typical convention and visitor’s bureau websites feature flat content and infrequent updates. Not here. Users can click on a “Restaurant Week” collection and watch it integrate with Google Maps. They can customize the site layout to their preferences or get a theatre recommendation from a local celeb. The whole experience is current, insider and niche.
HUGE also gave NYCGo.com extensive mobile and transactional capabilities. Visitors can make dinner plans and book travel reservations right on the site through vendors such as Open Table and Travelocity. Texting the word “today” to NYCGO delivers a list of the day’s events through SMS.
Users can also text themselves directions and information for any listing in any borough, both of which make a visit to the site altogether superfluous (though don’t tell our artists and engineers that, they’re a sensitive lot). The latter is especially great for those traveling from international destinations. They can get at the information they need quickly and inexpensively.
Since the relaunch, traffic has increased by 25 percent and site engagement has increased by an overwhelming 48 percent. The new site is quickly become the favorite for “locals” of all types and levels of experience. Accolades have been given at the mayoral level (thanks, Mr. Bloomberg!) and new partnerships continue to expand the site’s reach.