I grew up in middle Tennessee, so I knew all about Gatlinburg before we even talked to them about redesigning the site. My family took many trips to the Smoky Mountains – camping, hiking, or wading through streams searching for the perfect "skipping" rock. In college, my friends and I took weekend trips to Gatlinburg, even sleeping in my Jeep once. Also, this one time, a black bear ran into the side of my car, shook it off, and ran back into the woods. True story.
Needless to say, I've had some fun times in Gatlinburg and was very excited to redesign their site. They were going on 5+ years for the current version and in need of a complete refresh.
- Entice people to visit Gatlinburg by describing types of experiences they’ll have when they go.
- Help people discover new things to do in Gatlinburg.
- Be a resource for hotel, attraction, shopping and restaurant listings.
- Call special attention to the National Park and the Arts and Crafts Trail.
- Bring user experience consistency by merging the different sites.
- Grow the database for future marketing.
- Increase interaction with potential visitors.
- Grow social presence and gain social followers.
Gatlinburg already had a strong brand presence with their wood textured logo using greens and browns. Our goal was to take the existing brand and make it better. The logo design lends itself to be centered and worked well to anchor the new design. We wanted the user to get the feel of Gatlinburg with the use of textures and photography assets – to almost hear the birds chirping and feel the warmth of spring. We wanted the site to have interchangeable headers and backgrounds to match the season. Narrowing the focus and creating callouts for the most important areas of Gatlinburg helped keep the site simple and clean.
The former site did a fine job of providing information about where to sleep, eat and play to people who had already decided to vacation in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is a tradition for millions of people every year and the repeat visitation is strong. No content existed, however, that would inspire people who had never vacationed in Gatlinburg to give it a try. Gatlinburg is a place where people go to connect with friends and family, and that connection happens through shared experiences. So our content plan for the site focused on writing new content that highlights the variety of experiences offered in Gatlinburg in order to bring new visitors to the city.
The content plan includes full-length feature articles that will roll out every two months throughout the next two years, shorter form guides that hit the niche markets, and stories from real visitors taken from letters and messages shared through the social networks.
We created an original illustration that highlights the geography of the area and presents the content in a 'storybook' layout that is visually compelling.
We are extremely happy with how this site turned out. A mix of new designed features, with tried-and-true functionality.
It's time to plan your trip to Gatlinburg!Share Article