Showcasing a region with an inspiring and practical website
Tourism in Wallonia in the days of social media: on one hand, Instagrammability definitely has a huge impact on the choice of holiday destination these days. On the other, we know what things are really like behind the scenes and that many tourist operators find it hard to boost their visibility and their attractiveness in an ever-increasingly digital world.
Very quickly, we saw that the challenge would not only be our client, but also getting operators to see the big picture.
This is why both tourist offices first wanted to promote the attractiveness of their regions, building up a stack of professional photos.
Promoting the attractiveness of a region also means supporting its ecosystem to better control the opportunities and challenges of the digital world.
Creating satisfying browsing patterns for future visitors to the region.
Like other areas in Wallonia, this region is mainly a short-stay destination, especially suitable for day trips. During our research phase, we created profile types (personas) based on concrete data (visitor numbers, surveys, etc.). This allowed us to better define user needs at different key browsing stages, on the platform but also upstream and downstream.
The result of this analysis was followed by a strong decision made by our clients – to design a single, unique platform instead of two separate platforms for a simplified user experience. This ambitious, metropolitan vision allowed for richer, more coherent content.
Establishing the staycation
When we recommended establishing this region as a destination for those most concerned with climate change, the concepts of visitor targets, staycation and slow travel already existed.
We decided to choose a strong key message: adventure is only a footstep away.
The notion of identity was a variation on campaign work already carried out for Charleroi Métropole. But because our project involved two separate clients, it was also important to establish visual guidelines to create a coherent user experience.
The challenge lay in the design of a comprehensive, over-arching guideline with several key players. The work made it possible to establish a common tone throughout, and an ambitious message.
The region is ready to welcome visitors who live only a few short hours away by train or by car.
The next logical step of our mission is to make the platform more popular among our target audience. We are therefore developing a communication strategy with the aim of generating more traffic towards the site and increase bookings for tourist operators.
Similar to the Lombard site we worked on, this platform is a catalogue. The images and interface are therefore designed in such a way that they ‘fade out’ in favour of product visuals.
Straight from the welcome page, we wanted to highlight the region’s features with photos, and display a multitude of its delights to show that the region is stunning and has plenty to offer. We had a clear vision - to invoke surprise, even from local residents: “Is this actually where we live?!” We did not use any stock images; every single photograph was specifically shot in the area.
The ‘themes’ page is a section aimed at inspiring target audiences while also listing selected offers from both tourist offices.
All of this to create a truly positive experience for both users and the client's team.
We believe a website is only truly effective if it is simple for teams to manage and can be effectively developed. For CM-tourism, we used Craft CMS which has a very intuitive interface. But that’s not all.
The tourist offices have populated a database called Pivot which is shared with several services across Wallonia. We proposed synchronizing the contents of the user databases directly with Pivot. The site is therefore directly updated via the shared database.
This meant that we needed to develop a prototype to enable our client to streamline the content, but also provide our team with a concrete view of the content and structures that would allow us to adapt the whole system for an effective user experience.
There were also other elements to consider, such as how to manage advanced searches using filters on an automatically updating map, a bit like the Airbnb system.Visit the website