< Back / has been nominated as a website finalist in the Best Design Awards 2017 and in the Mercury Awards 2017.
The lights of the Chicago Skyline reflected in Lake Michigan. Image Daniel Bartolo, Courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism tablet view. Another destination site by award winning creative agency tablet view. Another destination site by award winning creative agency TimeZoneOne


Not so long ago, travel purchase decisions followed a linear process. Travelers arrived in their destination after extensive planning, with accommodation and transport already booked and activities scheduled.

These days, mobile has changed everything. Travelers use their phone to plan on the fly, sharing their adventures on social media as they go. Our brief was to build a destination website to engage this new generation of digital travelers.

We identified opportunities for improvement and used Illinois visitor research to create robust visitor personas, which guide our content and marketing strategy.


Our primary goal for is to increase the number and length of overnight stays in Illinois. We do this by:

  • Turning day trips into overnight stays.
  • Turning overnight stays into multi-night stays.
  • Encouraging more Chicagoans to visit downstate Illinois.


Improved listings. Illinois visitors find things to do, places to stay, and places to eat via thousands of local business and event listings. We made listings easier to manage, more visual, and stronger in organic search—a more powerful lead source for local business.

Better mobile experience. Over 60% of destination website traffic is mobile. We’ve increased mobile traffic to the website 76% year-on-year.

Strong focus on data capture. A range of data-capture tactics have delivered a 447% increase in newsletter signups.

Re-engage visitors with e-marketing. Although Illinois had a sizable email list, it had been inactive for over two years—high-risk for spam filters. We reinvigorated Illinois e-marketing and managed this risk.

CRM captures visitor interactions and personalizes their experience. Brands delivering the right experience, to the right visitor at the right time on the right device are winning increased engagement, loyalty, and revenue.

Content strategy. Inspirational content is the cornerstone of the new site.

Actionable inspiration. Most destinations use User Generated Content to create pretty Instagram feeds. We use it as powerful actionable inspiration.

Pinterest style itineraries. We help visitors plan their trip to Illinois. Visitors use My Favorites to heart content, create itineraries, save, and share.

Evaluation methodology. We use monthly reporting to identify opportunities for improvement, measuring a range of KPIs demonstrating intent to travel.

RESULTS is a multi-faceted creative expression of the Amazing Illinois brand, optimized to capture data and personalizing the digital experience to inspire more people to visit Illinois. The new site launched March 1, 2017.

Increase in traffic

March 1–May 31, year-on-year comparison

  • Sessions: 66% increase
  • Users: 74% increase
  • Organic traffic: 31% increase
  • Mobile traffic: 76% increase
  • Social media traffic: 80% increase (our agency took over social media management on May 1, 2017)

Increase in conversions demonstrating intent to travel

  • Newsletter signups: 447% increase
  • Magazine leads: 43% increase
  • Travel Illinois magazine downloads: 52% increase

Increase in travelers and travel booking revenue

February 1–April 31 (Data starts in February)

  • Number of travelers: 46% increase
  • Accommodation and flight bookings:5% increase
  • Accommodation booking revenue: 86% increase
  • Total number of nights: 23% increase

“TZO team! You simply amaze me everyday … THANK YOU!!! YOU ROCK!!!”

Cory Jobe, Director, Illinois Office of Tourism

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