Monday, August 20, 2007

From Internet to Interstate?

It's good to know that, the state's tourism promoting Web site, has had more success creating revenue than has the legislature.

Recent reports show that:
  • hits on the site were up to 7.5 million in July, up from 6.1 million for the same month last year;
  • 65% of those who use the site for information follow up by traveling to and within Michigan, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) Travel Michigan division, as reported in the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

    It's good PR eval to go beyond rejoicing in Web hits to determine if the Web traffic led key publics to desired behavior. In this case, there seems to be a correlation between the site and travel in Michigan. I have a few questions however:

  • what percent of those people who traveled "to" Michigan vs "within" Michigan?;
  • how did people find the site--billboard ads, magazine ads, radio ads, Google searches?
  • to what extent is increased travel within Michigan more a result of high gas prices and people traveling in-state, as opposed to a response to the heart-string-pullin' photos on the site?

    It could be the site has been a fabulous success. It could be a coincidence with other factors.

    Meannwhile, having just driven though a variety of Midwest states, I'd suggest the MEDC have lunch with MDOT. The first thing travelers to and within Michigan will notice is the poorquality of our roads compared to neighboring states. You can "brand" the first-rate natural features all you want, but if the road is reminiscent of third-world that's the reputation we'll have.
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