Skift Take

For all the noise tourism boards try to create with flashy TV ad campaigns and social media efforts, are they forgetting to put their resources behind online marketing 101? This data certainly suggests so.

Editor: Recently we’ve started a new monthly feature on top trafficked sites in various sectors in travel, using data from SimilarWeb. We have found SimilarWeb’s traffic stats to be a relatively good barometer of consumer web activity, better than other traffic comparison sites, at least as far as proportional comparison goes.

So far we’ve looked at the top online booking sites, the top airline sites, the top hotel brand sites, and the top travel media sites around the globe. Today we’re looking at the top official consumer tourism and destination marketing organization sites run by states and cities across the United States (in terms of traffic), for October 2013.

Biggest Takeaways from the Numbers Below:

  • The pathetic traffic numbers for these sites. We couldn’t believe it at first, and cross-checked with verified Quantcast numbers for those available, which we’ve noted below. Even if Similarweb is undercounting, as it seems to be based on Quantcast numbers, and even if you double traffic to each of these sites, it still comes up to puny numbers, especially if you compare them to the top travel media sites.
  • For the amount of dollars in ad campaigns spent by these states and city tourism boards and the buzz they create among the travel industry, the online results don’t seem to match it.
  • It seems that the resources devoted towards online content creation, online marketing and audience acquisition are small, that is one logical explanation.
  • Many of the tourism boards have latched onto social media in a big way, especially Facebook, and that’s become the proxy for all online content creation and marketing for these brands. That could also explain why the main consumer tourism sites are being ignored internally.
  • Some of the big city sites do well, not surprisingly, and NYC makes it to the top among all tourism sites in U.S., followed by Las Vegas, though Vegas should have been doing much better especially as it is now positioning the site as a booking portal as well.
  • The main DiscoverAmerica.com site has very little traffic, considering its audience is the world, and goes on to show the ineffective job BrandUSA has done in building up tourism marketing machinery for U.S.
  • VisitCalifornia.com, for being the main tourism site for the largest touristed state in U.S., is so small, we had to triplecheck this one.
  • Virginia and Florida are two states that deserve special recognition for being smart and very active with their digital strategy overall, and it helps them climb up the ranks.
  • VisitPhilly punches above its weight in all possible ways. For being a mid-sized non-gateway city, its tourism board has done admirably with the resources it has.
  • In general, east coast states do much better on online traffic than others, and most mountain and mid-west states are among the worst.
  • Any other points you can think of? Put in the comments below.
RANK SITE ESTIMATED VISITS, OCTOBER 2013 TIME ON SITE (IN MINUTES) PAGE VIEWS PER VISIT LEADING COUNTRY Quantcast Verified UVs, if Available
1 Nycgo.com 570K 3:43 5.31 United States 82.88% N/A
2 Lasvegas.com 560K 5:05 5.56 United States 79.71% N/A
3 Gohawaii.com 460K 2:59 3.55 United States 73.40% N/A
4 Virginia.org 370K 4:16 4.68 United States 96.60% N/A
5 Visitflorida.com 340K 2:12 2.9 United States 90.40% 365.1K
6 Visitphilly.com 320K 2:28 3.29 United States 93.44% 422.1K
7 Discoverlosangeles.com 310K 2:36 3.52 United States 85.36% 314.8K
8 Visitorlando.com 310K 3:19 3.5 United States 72.98% N/A
9 Michigan.org 260K 3:07 4.25 United States 96.08% 352.9K
10 Neworleansonline.com 250K 3:48 3.91 United States 91.23% N/A
11 Colorado.com 220K 2:45 3.51 United States 94.04% 315.7K
12 Arkansas.com 220K 4:08 4.16 United States 96.17% N/A
13 Denver.org 210K 3:19 3.79 United States 93.61% 260.1K
14 Sanfrancisco.travel 190K 2:28 2.9 United States 81.82% N/A
15 Utah.com 190K 2:27 3.12 United States 89.43% N/A
16 Travelalaska.com 190K 2:17 2.84 United States 88.14% N/A
17 Visitnc.com 190K 2:27 3.61 United States 94.54% 171.5K
18 Massvacation.com 180K 1:35 3.17 United States 92.11% N/A
19 Travelwisconsin.com 180K 2:47 3.53 United States 97.50% 135.8K
20 Choosechicago.com 170K 2:48 3.99 United States 82.02% N/A
21 Tnvacation.com 170K 2:44 3.4 United States 88.72% 176.8K
22 Visitcalifornia.com 150K 2:53 3.45 United States 75.95% N/A
23 Washington.org 140K 2:55 3.67 United States 87.14% N/A
24 Visitmusiccity.com (Nashville) 120K 2:37 3.6 United States 94.26% N/A
25 Iloveny.com 120K 2:29 3.11 United States 92.12% N/A
26 Kentuckytourism.com 120K 3:09 3.84 United States 97.06% N/A
27 Discoveramerica.com 100K 2:07 2.94 United States 21.13% N/A
28 Exploregeorgia.org 100K 3:37 5.26 United States 93.97% 142.9K
29 Exploreminnesota.com 100K 2:43 3.34 United States 96.48% N/A
30 Visitpa.com 95K 2:39 3.05 United States 95.84% 155.1K
31 Ctvisit.com 95K 2:36 2.85 United States 97.15% N/A
32 Discoversouthcarolina.com 85K 4:38 3.7 United States 94.82% N/A
33 Visitmaine.com 85K 3:39 4.43 United States 83.85% 126.2K
34 Visitnh.gov 80K 4:44 4.25 United States 90.28% N/A
35 Visitmaryland.org 80K 4:01 3.82 United States 98.05% 77.3K
36 Miamiandbeaches.com 75K 3:25 4.1 United States 69.02% 119.5K
37 Louisianatravel.com 70K 2:42 2.77 United States 93.88% 128.3K
38 Wyomingtourism.org 65K 2:53 2.78 United States 92.47% N/A
39 Visitnj.org 60K 2:23 3.05 United States 91.54% 91.7K
40 Visitseattle.org 60K 2:00 2.98 United States 85.07% N/A
41 Discoverohio.com 55K 2:07 3.47 United States 97.83% 48.7K
42 Traveloregon.com 55K 2:49 3.26 United States 90.35% 9.3K
43 Visitmo.com 55K 2:33 2.83 United States 96.96% N/A
44 Visitmt.com 50K 2:38 3.35 United States 87.67% N/A
45 Enjoyillinois.com 50K 3:57 3.84 United States 92.49% N/A
46 Newmexico.org 50K 2:55 2.95 United States 90.14% N/A
47 Travelsd.com 50K 3:34 3.71 United States 90.77% N/A
48 Travelnevada.com 45K 4:08 3.9 United States 92.52% N/A
49 Vermontvacation.com 35K 1:14 2.7 United States 80.22% N/A
50 Visitidaho.org 35K 2:19 3.01 United States 89.34% 35.9K
51 Visitdelaware.com 30K 3:20 3.35 United States 95.33% N/A
52 Visitmississippi.org 25K 1:54 2.63 United States 93.35% N/A
53 Experiencewa.com 15K 3:09 4.01 United States 83.99% 21.6K

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Tags: similarweb, tourism

Photo Credit: NYC & Co.'s website. PlaceIt by Breezi