Last night we covered the very disappointing tourism arrival numbers, today we get wind of the promising results of the Bermuda Tourism website, which is encouraging.

Statistics released for the website suggest an 81% year on year increase in visitors for the second quarter which hopefully is an indication of an improving recognition of Bermuda abroad.   The suggested page view total of 2.7 million for 301,000 visits is a good sign as this indicates an average of about 9 pages viewed per visitor which is quite a good rating for any website.  Of note however is that it is preferable if we could be provided statistics of how many of those visits and page views were from Bermudian IP addresses and how many were from foreign sources.  This should not be a difficult nor unreasonable statistic to attain and if the Bermuda Tourism website has truly been a success this should be a statistic they happily provide.

Quoted in the article is the “bounce rate” of the website which had a decline of 48.5%, though the actual rate was unfortunately not provided and we can hope it will be.  For the uninitiated the bounce rate refers to how many people only visited a single page before leaving the site.  The bounce rate of a site is usually used to measure the old marketing principle that it takes less than 3 seconds for someone to decide whether they’re interested in learning more and thus is a good indication of whether you’re adequately capturing your audience.

The new look of the site is actually quite appealing though it is hard not to frown at the load time for the flash animation.  While it is quite good in comparison to most sites this writer has always believed that the core of a website is getting people the information they want as fast as possible with the least possible amount of effort.  Flash is usually gimmicky and turns off those who come looking for answers, not gimmicks.  Overall though the load time is quick enough that the flash load time isn’t very noticeable which is a positive if we’re going to have flash.

The site succeeds in having a clean and elegant look that doesn’t overload the user with too much information or leave the page looking empty.  The photos chosen are quite good and very fitting for both the site and Bermuda.  The layout of the site is well done and the navigation is good, though it is a bit confusing when you click on headers like ‘Travel’ under the meetings section and aren’t taken anywhere.  Despite there being a dropdown the color change of the heading suggests it is meant to take you somewhere and yet it confusingly refreshes to the same page.  The spacing of some informational items seem a bit off, though nothing really worth fretting over.  Overall the information provided on the site seems quite good and comprehensive which is definitely what we’re aiming for.  Finally, bonus points are necessary for having contact details on every page, this is something that should be stressed for every website as no one should have to struggle to figure out how to get in touch with someone quickly.

While we may be very disappointed with the present tourism numbers we can hold out some hope that the tide may be turning and that the Tourism Department may well have charted a course in the right direction for the future.  Their focus on our core markets and recent advertising schemes are much more promising than some of those that have been undertaken in the past and we can hold out hope that things will continue to improve.  Hopefully the new website is just one small step in a large scope of positive things to come, for certainly Bermuda needs it.