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Visit the New Orange Beach and Gulf Shores – Virtually! Jun. 29, 2007

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL— We have a new look at the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. Navigate your browser to www.orangebeach.com or www.gulfshores.com to discover what the excitement is about! Produced by Aristotle Design, the new website utilizes the latest in programming language (.Net). The new technology allows for greater design flexibility, speed and simplifies common tasks, such as form submission.
“The website’s use of bold colors and vivid imagery reflect the changing needs of visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas,” said Mike Foster, vice president of marketing at the CVB. “Research continues to show that this website has become an integral part of our marketing strategy. With 4.4 million visitors in 2006, Baldwin County ranked above each of the neighboring five Florida panhandle counties in lodging revenue.”
Improved website functions include the following items:
  • Live chat on every page—If a visitor has a question, he/she can interact with our staff in real time. Icons on the page indicate when a staff member is online and ready to answer questions.
  • Enhanced lodging search—You can now search by condominium name. Results include building pictures, amenities, directions and listings of Rental Management companies and owners who have rentals in a particular building.
  • Reunions and Weddings—Let our staff help find the perfect location for your wedding, the reception or the annual family reunion.
  • Easier Things to Do search—With so much to do on Alabama's Gulf Coast, we made it easier to navigate and find everything from mini-golf to spa treatments to that tucked away nature trail and back to your favorite beach.
  • Pressroom—Media members will find story ideas, a special interest section and the CVB’s media kit. Subscribe to our [quarterly] e-Scoop and find out what's worth writing about.
  • Photo gallery—With our specific categories, you can narrow in on what appeals to you.
  • RSS Feeds for the “What’s Biting” section (Subscribe here)
  • 101 Things To Do at the Beach—We stopped short of compiling the entire list of 101 things because we wanted feedback from our visitors. Everyone has a different idea of fun things to do—let us hear your ideas.
“To complement our improved website, we also redesigned the layout of the e-Tidings newsletter (Subscribe here),” said Shelley Piraino, internet marketing manager at the CVB. “I'd like to say it's finished, but as everyone knows, a website is never a finished product. It is constantly changing and continues to grow and evolve. We're still working to add more stimulating photography, expand our Beach Music & Video page to include more local musicians, add more videos to the video gallery and new screensavers and add the “Map It” feature, which allows visitors to pinpoint physical locations on an interactive map.”
Piraino adds, “We have designed the website to help our visitors make their decision to come here. At the same time, we want to help our Industry Partners sell the destination. We're creating XML feeds for our Industry Partners to be able to include listings on their websites from our database such as the calendar, restaurant listings and things to do."
To date, approximately 1.4 million people have visited www.gulfshores.com and www.orangebeach.com while the website averages 2.4 million visitors annually and delivered about 2.1 million clicks to industry partner websites in 2006.
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