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Gregory Pierce Americans go online, Atlanta CVB gains from internet marketing

Gregory Pierce, Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer/CFO of

Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau analyzes in TravelDailyNews the benefits and the dynamic of online destination marketing for Atlanta CVB.

TravelDailyNews: Why are Americans going more and more online for their vacations?

Gregory Pierce: Convenience and value. The internet empowers the individual to quickly and easily research, plan and book their vacation online. Online consumers can also browse as long and as often as they want from the comfort of home, researching and comparing all the destinations, options and prices, until they satisfied with their selections. Purchasing airline tickets, hotel reservations, automobile rentals, and even theatre or attraction tickets online is fast, easy, and secure.

TDN: How did Atlanta CVB react to this trend?

G. P.: Atlanta CVB began our web program very early, actually in early 1995. We have continued to revise and update our strategies as trends have changed. We survey our users annually, review their paths through the site, measure key word delivery from search engines, measure their stated preferences, and revise our site and our strategy according.

TDN: How does your online marketing strategy work?

G. P.: We believe it works very well, and our results are the proof. Our web strategy now includes: robust search engine optimization, key word buys and pay per clicks, monthly eNewsletters to registered users, targeted online media campaigns and ad buys, targeted micro-site strategy, link popularity, alignment with traditional media campaigns and an annual site visitation survey.

TDN: What are your expectations for the future? Are you going to include regions outside US in the destination marketing concept?

G. P.: Expectations for online marketing are strong and continue to grow. We will be participating in an online marketing program in United Kingdom in the coming months. Online marketing in other countries will hopefully follow.

TDN: What is your comment regarding the other distribution channels that have their operations offline? Is still a strong way to plan and book a trip?

G. P.: While we recognize that the Internet has become a leading distribution channel, we understand and appreciate the value and importance of the numerous other distribution channels – from toll-free phone lines, to travel agent offices, to tour operators, meeting planners, and corporate travel planners. Each of these distribution channels provides valuable services and important revenue.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.