In response to COVID-19, South Walton has taken steps to adjust its marketing strategy. Currently, we’re focused on keeping potential visitors up to date on businesses and any applicable regulations related to COVID-19, including steps taken to ensure visitor and resident safety.
For those in market already, our focus is on how they can help keep our community safe, as well as information on local businesses that are offering adjusted services and are open for business.
Our goal is not only to inform, but to also continue to keep South Walton top of mind with our guests by providing up-to-date information, virtual experiences and pertinent news related to our community.
COVID-19 Travel Updates Page Stats:
The main VSW COVID-19 Travel Updates page launched on March 18 and has seen 235,685 page views (March 18-Aug 5), 190,506 of which were unique page views, meaning the page was viewed 45,179 times by users returning to the page for another reference. Forty-six percent of this traffic originated from organic search. Users spent an average time of 1:34 on the page. Specific sub pages include:
Virtual Beach Vibes:
Guests can enjoy a bit of the South Walton from their own homes, thanks to our Virtual Beach Vibes series. Utilizing South Walton’s social media channels, this series showcases South Walton partners (including musicians, artists, chefs and accommodation partners), and provides an opportunity for fans around the country to join the South Walton community, even before they arrive.
In total, our Virtual Beach Vibes series received more than 21.6 million impressions on Facebook, and more than 8.7 million impressions on Instagram from March 16 – May 31, 2020. Currently our marketing is geared toward educating visitors before they arrive in South Walton, and then reinforcing that message once they are in-market. See an example here:
Want to learn more? Check out our Virtual Beach Vibes page or CLICK HERE to head over to our Beach Neighborhoods playlist.
Interested in getting involved? Reach out to Catie Feeney, our social media specialist, at Catie@visitsouthwalton.com.
June Website Stats:
- Users & Page Views:
- Users who visited the site in June were mostly females (66.7%), between ages 45-64 (42.6%) and new visitors (74.5%). Both new visitors and returning visitors saw huge increases of 21.4% and 18.4%, respectively.
- Traffic to the site increased moderately with sessions up 19.7%, page views increasing 11.1% and Users up 23.7%. Engagements on the other hand saw some moderate decreases with avg. session duration down by 22.9% and bounce rate dropping 26.8%.
- Traffic for most of the month was stable with 2,200 to 4,700 sessions per day, but on June 26 sessions peaked over 5,000 per day and remained there for the last 4 days of the month. Sessions peaked on June 29 with 9,541. All major channels saw significant increases with organic search up 40.6%, social up 21.2%, referrals up 26.1%, direct up 16.3%, and paid up by 40.8%.
- Consistent with previous months, mobile devices continued to bring most of the traffic to the site at 67.4% in June. While mobile devices bring in the most sessions, desktop devices continue to show higher engagement metrics with the longest average session duration, highest number of pages per session and lowest bounce rate.
- Texas accounted for the most sessions to the site with 23,458 and had the largest percentage growth of 55% of the top 10 regions. Meanwhile, Georgia came in 2nd with 20,157(+6.9%) compared to the previous month's increase of 128.9%. Almost all major metros, with the exception of Nashville and New Orleans, exhibited substantial increases this month and of the top 10 areas the Houston metro experienced the largest increase of 67%.
- Top Areas viewing our site: Atlanta, Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, Mobile-Pensacola, and Nashville.
- The most viewed pages:
- The most viewed pages on the site in June were the COVID-19 Travel Updates page, followed by the Before You Visit page and then the home page. Of the top 10 pages, those with the largest increases in page views were the Beach Bay Access Locations page (97.3%), the events page (95.2%), and the Santa Rosa Beach page (45.1%).
- Of the top 10 viewed pages, the Before You Visit page (2:58) and the beach safety page (2:19) showed the highest average times on page. Before You Visit and Beach Bay Access Locations had low entrance rates and relatively above average exit rates, indicating that the large majority of visitors were finding these pages from previously visited pages.
- 40-50% of these visitors likely to consume additional content from other pages after viewing these pages.
- Online Visitor Guide Data:
- Page views on the online Visitor Guide page saw a nice increase of 54.9% this month after a 211.2% increase in May, while the average time on page jumped up slightly by 2.5% and bounce rate rose a bit at 4%.
- Most visits to the page arrived from Google. Organic search and largely came from the Visitor Guide home and entrance pages.Travel Guide page views also increased 29.7% this month and average time on page jumped markedly by 70.9%. From the Travel Guide page, the most visited pages were the Visitor Guide page, the Home page, and Covid-19 Travel Updates page.There were a total of 645 Visitor Guide requests last month, a good improvement from last month’s 90.3% drop to 536.
Visit South Walton is proud to offer a family of publications including: VISIT, STAY, PERFECT, FOREVER, EXPLORE and SAVOR. CLICK HERE to see online versions of each guide.
- VISIT is a revamped version of our Visitor Guide, complete with features on the South Walton culinary scene, lifestyle, events and outdoor exploration.
- STAY showcases our diverse collection of accommodations, in addition to annual events and the different ways you can "stay" in South Walton.
- PERFECT celebrates the businesses and events that were honored as our 2020 Perfect in South Walton Award winners.
- FOREVER is your guide to weddings in South Walton. Learn about the variety of venues available and all of the ways you can create lasting memories on your big day.
- EXPLORE is exactly what you need to get out and discover South Walton's abundance of natural beauty, outdoor activities, live music and dynamic arts and culture scenes.
- SAVOR is our spotlight on all things culinary in South Walton, from waterfront and fine dining to coastal casual eats and full restaurant listings.
We'd love for you to share these free guides with your guests. We've lifted the limit on the number of guides we can now distribute. Contact Industry Relations Specialist Lisa Foster at Lisa@visitsouthwalton.com or (850) 333-2728 to place an order.
Beach Flag Magnets:
VSW beach flag magnets are available in the Visitor Center for pickup. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please contact Lisa Foster, industry relations specialist, at Lisa@visitsouthwalton.com for more information.
BookDirect Accommodations Search Engine:
Visit South Walton has partnered with BookDirect to provide accommodation partners with the ability to display real-time rates and availability on visitsouthwalton.com. Our Partner Extranet does not sync with the BookDirect platform at this time. Please email Haley@visitsouthwalton.com to add or update a rental property listing.
To view the BookDirect user interface and its functionality, please visit the stay page of our website. If you need more information about BookDirect or signing up as a South Walton partner, contact Lisa Foster, industry relations specialist, at Lisa@visitsouthwalton.com or (850) 333-2728.