Growing Tourism with a New Kind of (Award-Winning!) Travel Website

Inspiring Visitors to Illinois

by Daniel Thomas & Zack Mast

From snackable mobile content, to video first, today’s travelers demand destination websites that are relevant, useful, and inspiring. And that’s exactly what we delivered with the new website for the Illinois Office of Tourism. is a  a multi-faceted creative expression of the Amazing Illinois brand. It’s a captivating digital magazine showcasing the rich diversity of experiences across Illinois. We engage visitors with video, stories, photography and user-generated content from local influencers.

And the results speak for themselves

Since its launch in March 2017, has generated a 74% increase in user traffic, 447% increase in newsletter signups, and a 14.5% increase in hotel accommodations and flight bookings.

2017 Mercury Award Winner for Outstanding Travel Website

In addition to this visitor growth, won the U.S. Travel Association’s Mercury Award for outstanding travel website at the 2017 Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Minneapolis. Here’s what the judges said

If this campaign resulted in the application alone—not even the website, social media, or ad campaigns featured within it—it would still be deserving of industry recognition. The scale of the effort, the creativity, attention to detail and commitment to problem-solving are all front-and-center in this initiative. These partners have done an outstanding job building out a suite of tools designed for specific audiences, and built to offer compelling ideas and the exact solutions necessary to succeed. The background research on Illinois’ visitors, target audiences, current trends and current behaviors is well articulated and organized. The tactics involved in the campaign website are best summed up as creating a seamless user experience. This website is extremely easy to navigate, and each content-rich article is as well-integrated into the overall site map, and indeed a dynamic map of the state of Illinois, as the next. 

To see the website for yourself, visit

For more information about the website and ESTO awards, download the press release here


About the Authors

Daniel  Thomas

Daniel Thomas

President & CEO

I lead the team here at TimeZoneOne. I can help you come up with marketing strategies that increase revenue and deliver results and true ROI for your business.

Zack Mast

Zack Mast

Digital Content Strategist

Here at TimeZoneOne, I tell stories with sound strategy, finding solutions for our clients by combining creative content and data-driven insights.

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