NewOrleans.com Focusing on Tourism

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NewOrleans.comOne of my favorite cities in the United States is New Orleans, and I’ve always been a fan of NewOrleans.com. I’ve also had the chance to meet the team running the website at the GeoDomain Expo and via email afterwards. While  planning a June vacation in NOLA, I noticed that NewOrleans.com had undergone a major overhaul to almost completely focus on tourism.

I think this was a very smart move for the company, which previously employed many journalists and other overhead-intensive staff (expensive).

From my perspective, people who are doing the main searches for New Orleans are those who are planning vacations. They want to book hotels, make fight reservations, and research great restaurants. News and sports does drive traffic, but it’s difficult to monetize without significant sales staff (as I have experienced). Additionally, with New Orleans being somewhat of a gritty city, home page news articles aren’t as enticing as hotel and attraction images.

I’m not sure how I missed it, but NewOrleans.com and Vegas.com  announced a partnership in January “to launch a full-service New Orleans vacation booking site.” Vegas.com is probably the highest producing geodomain name, and I would imagine the tourism to local search ratio is probably similar for both cities. Smart move partnering up with a leading site like Vegas.com.

One of the best things about a city.com domain name (vs a city keyword domain name) is the versatility it gives the owner. Aside from what looks to be an  anomalous drop in traffic in April (only according to Compete), NewOrleans.com appears to be chugging right along with its new business model.

Kudos to the management team for trying out a business model and quickly changing when it became necessary. As they say in New Orleans, laissez les bon temps rouler. Looking forward to my trip in June.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “Aside from what looks to be an anomalous drop in traffic in April (only according to Compete), NewOrleans.com appears to be chugging right along with its new business model.”

    If that drop in traffic is correct then the website is certainly not “chugging along”, they are chocking. Losing almost 75% of traffic in one month is enough to kill many websites. I would hardly think something like that could be shrugged off.

    I think they used to be on the front page of Google when searching for New Orleans. Now they are on the second page. That could be the problem with their greatly reduced traffic in April.

  2. New Orleans needs to focus on protecting it’s tourism…..too much crime. It’s worse than many third world countries.

    Last time I was there I got pickpocketed (my wallet was in my back pocket 15 minutes in three days and I got taken, the rest of the time it was in my jacket). I stupidly tackled the guy as a reflex action, but he had already handed off my wallet. I’m lucky I did not get stabbed or shot.

    A guy I know on vacation there many years ago got killed when he giggled at the accent of one of the locals. His girlfriend watched these two thugs beat and stab him to death.

    He’s now gone forever.

    .

  3. Awesome! The powers of geo.com domains!

    Even if the site did drop in rankings, it will pick back up

    They still have the direct navigation and its priceless! Geo.com very powerful.

    Agree with Elliot on this one.

  4. NewOrleans.com is a great geo. Yes, all big cities have their glitz and crime. Do I need to talk about Acapulco.com? 😉

    In this economy everyone is getting hit somewhat especially travel related businesses. A site like NewOrleans.com also gets direct navigation and much of that does not get picked up in Compete.com or Quantcast unless you use their analytics script on every page.

    I am sure since the site revamp they are dealing with Google’s search placement but it will definitely come back up to the first page and site in the first three positions.
    NewOrleans.com works hard as a business and as partners in the Geo space. They deserve credit where credit is due.

  5. Other than the name cash, looks like it’s on auto-drive, relatively speaking. Gives me an idea considering that I own quite a few top city.cctld that match a certain state. One alone has about 20,000 hotel rooms. Of course I don’t need to make that much to be very happy with them.

    Great post.

  6. @Michael…..I’ve been to Acapulco and New Orleans and I can assure you for tourists Acapulco is safer than New Orleans.

    I’ve been to many third world countries and New Orleans is scarier and more dangerous than many of those countries and cities.

    Just read the blotter of New Orleans.

    After the last domain conference there, right outside the Marriot hotel, where I met you for the first time, a drive-by shooting mowed down and killed several people pretty close to the hotel’s entrance.

  7. Just a few comments on the above comments:

    The drop in traffic regarding the Compete measurement is neither accurate, inclusive nor unexpected. Compete was giving us readings of 80,000 visitors and didn’t include our subdomains in its tally while our Omniture readings were showing 275,000 visitors in actuality. Frankly, I certainly trust Omniture more than Compete’s figures.

    The actual drop was not unexpected – in fact – it was planned as we refocused and re-trained our users on what the site had become – an OTA rather than a local news media site. As of April 1st, we focused almost exclusively on the visitor traffic as opposed to the local traffic (visitors purchase airfare and hotel rooms and other hospitality related items – not locals). The sole exception was our award-winning sports site which historically was responsible for 35 – 40% of our traffic – we re-branded and relaunched it under SportsNola.com. For the record in April our visitors totaled a little over 125,000 not including our sports site.

    Regarding the safety of New Orleans…
    I’m not certain where “Tron” is getting his information (more dangerous than a third world country?!?), however, New Orleans, according to an article in Yahoo recently, using FBI crime data records did NOT make it into the top ten crime cities in the U.S. – not for incidence nor percentage of population (http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/112804/most-dangerous-cities-247 ) but I think you’ll see some surprising names that do. And, as far as a shooting after last years GeoDomain Expo in New Orleans, I checked our crime map for that area and found no violent crime that took place within a 6 month period by the Marriott.

    As a matter of fact, New Orleans was ranked #1 in the country for Nightlife ( http://www.neworleanscvb.com/articles/index.cfm/action/view/articleID/5376/typeID/31 )

    We’re very proud of what’s been accomplished in New Orleans since Katrina – owing in part to the massive Federal government help and, of course, to the heartfelt generosity of many throughout this country and the world who helped us rebuild. New Orleans remains a unique jewel in the tourism and hospitality industry.

    I invite everyone to come down for a visit – you’ll enjoy our hospitality immensely! Of course, use NewOrleans.com to make your arrangements 😉

    Thanks.

    -Don Jones
    CEO – NewOrleans.com Media, LLC

  8. Acapulco’s *far* more dangerous than New Orleans.

    New Orleans is almost completely safe for tourists anyway, Tron’s making stuff up.

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