“New and improved” is how Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is touting it’s new state park web site. An yes, it may sound like an overused advertising gimmick, but TPWD says it certainly applies in this case. And just in time for the busy spring camping season, no doubt? Campers, hikers, boaters, and recreational enthusiast seeking information about their favorite Texas state parks on the TPWD Web site will be redirected to a new, redesigned online resource to help them plan their visits.
A year-long effort by the TPWD State Parks, Communications, and Information Technology divisions, the new Web site is dedicated entirely to the 93 Texas state parks operated by the TPWD. And the new parks site goes live, online this month at texasstateparks.org.
The new site is in response to an online survey TPWD conducted last year where over 3,000 visitors told the State exactly what they thought. Survey respondents made it clear that they seek more useful state park information online and want the pages to be more visually appealing. And I could not have agreed more!
“The on-site visitor research reinforced the importance of the Web site by showing that it was the most influential source of information, other than word of mouth, in motivating someone to visit a park,” said TPWD. Marketing Director Darcy Bontempo. “We all felt a redesignedWeb site was a necessary foundation for more effective marketing of state parks.”
The result is the creation of a separate, interactive Web site with detailed information about TPWD’s 93 state parks, historic sites and natural areas. Online visitors now will find new photos and multimedia features, such as 360-degree virtual tours of park facilities, and a Google Map search feature.
New site features will help create a community of park users that can post and share their own videos, photos and comments. Park staff will also be able to use Twitter to provide conversational, timely updates to visitors on everything from park closings to wildflower reports from their mobile phones or computers.
During a presentation to more than 300 employees attending the Texas State Parks conference in Corpus Christi last month, TPWD Marketing Coordinator Carly Drees presented a sneak preview of what the public will see when they log onto the new Web site.
Each state park has its own redesigned main page that will include a park video, photographs, and some also feature a virtual tour. Eventually all parks will have virtual tours as staff photographers continue to make use of new virtual photography equipment that was purchased for this project. The main page also has a “positioning statement,” which is a verbal snapshot of the park’s unique features.
Users can also navigate to the park’s sub-pages to access additional information about fees and facilities, nature and history and a variety of other information. A reservations button is also prominently featured
on each page.