One 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.