We were asked by the team at Visit East Lincolnshire (VEL) and East Lindsey District Council to create a new website that would promote East Lincolnshire as a destination to visitors from outside of the area, providing inspiration and temptation for those considering a short break as well as more detailed information for those who have already chosen to stay in the area. The site should be simple and intuitive, highlighting the range of events, attractions, retail and accommodation on offer in the area.
East Lincolnshire attracts an estimated 4 million visitors each year, many of these visitors stick to the coastal area - but it’s clear that there’s so much more on offer and it’s our job to make it easier for visitors to discover these hidden gems. The support of local businesses was a primary goal for the site and to achieve this the first step was to make it as easy as possible to get their businesses listed.
Adding your business to the site is very straightforward, just fill in your details using a simple form and hit submit - your listing will then appear on the site (once it’s been approved by the admin team). It doesn’t have to end there though! Once you’re listed you’ll be sent a link to access your own personal admin area. Once logged in you can add more businesses, edit your business details, if you’ve recently received an award or star rating that you want to share - just select it from the list - you can even add your own events. If you’re running a one-off event and don’t really want a full-blown account - no problem, just submit your event and the team will take a look and (hopefully) approve it. Easy. By making this process so simple to use we’re ensuring that businesses will log in time and time again to promote themselves.
Now that the website is filled with attractions we need to attract the public - there are a number of ways we’ve achieved this. When we were given the brief we knew that we didn’t want to make just another run of the mill tourism website - we wanted to build a website that people would find inspiring, a site that would encourage visitors to explore and discover their own secret part of East Lincolnshire. With intriguing Instagram-esque cards answering questions like ‘where can I take the dog’ or ‘where’s good for photos?’, interactive Google map integration that encourages hands-on exploration and randomising results pages so you discover new locations on every visit - all the tools are there to plan a truly unique trip. Navigation through the site is very organic, users can search or browse the site in various different ways; when they find an attraction that looks interesting the site will also suggest a few places to eat that are nearby or accommodation in the area.
The site also features an inspiration area that will be used to promote collections of attractions as well as suggested itineraries, competitions where visitors can win fantastic prizes and a bespoke public voting app. The voting app is a fantastic way to encourage user interactivity but also raise the profiles of businesses on the site - using the app visitors will soon be able to vote for their ‘favourite place to grab a coffee in East Lincolnshire’ for example. All of this data is collated within the content management system (CMS) for the VEL team to monitor and export as and when they wish.
"Root Studio is an excellent company to work with, they are approachable, friendly and professional with great communication throughout. They were able to take our vision and create a design that was beyond our expectations. All the specifications were taken on board and they offered helpful guidance and advice when needed. The support they provide is fantastic, response time is fast and the Root Studio team will take their time to help out no matter what, they really do go above and beyond." Karen Edwards from the VEL team at East Lindsey District Council
The technical stuff
This is no ‘off-the-shelf’ solution - our website features innovations in both code and design with smart search technology and bespoke business management apps developed for our CMS. Within a beautifully responsive framework we have built a powerful and scalable platform that drives all of the site functionality using a central hand-coded API which allows us to develop a variety of bespoke applications, all deployable in an instant.
Updates to business listings can be submitted by business owners through their own login area. Here they can add new images, edit details, create events and multiple business listings. Once they’re happy with the changes they’ve made in draft mode they can submit the updated listings for approval by the VEL admin team. For the VEL team this is a seamless management process all handled by the main CMS; submitted information can be approved, amended and queried within a few simple clicks.
"The CMS is so straightforward and easy to manage, it is a pleasure to use. We are able to make changes and/or add new content at the click of a button, a vast improvement on our previous website! Businesses can even add and manage their own listing very easily which saves us a lot of time and also helps keep the website up-to-date. Root Studio has supported us through the whole process, offering additional help when needed and since going live they have continued to support us by driving traffic and businesses to our website, of which we are very grateful. Needless to say we are extremely happy with our new website, so much so that we will soon be starting work on another one!" Karen Edwards, East Lindsey District Council
The website is already a massive success and we expect to exceed 18,000 page views within its first month (which is a radical increase compared to the same period last year). Users are also interacting with the site as we’d hoped with a raft of business and event listings being submitted, almost 900 competition entrants to date and an exciting race for the leading spot in the first VEL poll for ‘Best Attraction’.
“The website looks brilliant” National Trust