Jamaica turns to Draftfcb to spice up Web presence

Draftfcb and the Jamaica Tourist Board launched a redesigned Web site for Jamaican tourism on September 3.

The new site, at www.VisitJamaica.com, features trip planning, booking capabilities from Travelocity, Google-enabled mapping, video, music and interactive features. The project, which Draftfcb pitched in May 2007 and won in January 2008, is an extension of the agency’s 17-year relationship with the Jamaica Tourist Board. Before, the agency had focused its Jamaica tourism efforts on print, radio and TV ads. A full-year campaign using those media is in the works, but all ads will now point consumers to the site.

“Draftfcb had done a very successful job for Jamaica, and it had the know-how and the scope to take us where we wanted to go with the Web site,” noted Anthony King, regional director, tour operators and airlines, Jamaica Tourist Board. “The chairman for the Jamaica Tourist Board was adamant that [online] was the way we should go. We want the site to be a major part of our selling process; we know Jamaica sells, and this will play a great part in getting this business.”

The interactivity of the site contrasts with its previous, static design, which King described as a “brochure.” Jamaica switched its booking engine contract from Expedia to Travelocity, placing the Travelocity booking tool on each page of the site for greater trip planning ease. It also added a sliding scale that shows off personalized tourist attractions from “Ritzy” to “Roadside.”

“The theme of the site is really the dichotomy of Jamaica and the ways you can experience it,” explained Molly Shaw, an interactive copywriter at Draftfcb who worked on the Jamaica site. “It has such a rich culture and history, so we wanted the site to [show that it’s] not just a place for spring breakers.”

To improve the user experience of the site, Draftfcb researched what travelers were looking for in the purchase process. The site will continue to gather customer information through its My Jamaica bookmarking tool, which users have to register for, and its Island Buzz opt-in newsletter.

Jamaica’s tourism partners will also help build buzz for the site. Amazon online music will tie in promotions for Jamaica. Three Travelocity ads, featuring the company’s roaming gnome spokesman, have been shot in Jamaica, with the first debuting in August. Jamaica is also focusing heavily on SEM and SEO efforts with Google.

“This is a way of bringing this wonderful thing called brand Jamaica that we have nurtured through TV and print into the world on the online community,” said Peter DeNunzio, president of Draftfcb. “We all know that customer behavior is changing, and people are spending a significant amount of time researching travel possibilities online. It was a requirement that brand Jamaica have a rich, robust, dynamic presence online.”

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