Website Hits Exceed 21.5 Million!! Rio S.A. Digital Platform Expands.
Providing the most unique way to offer the wonder that is the San Antonio River and the famous Riverwalk to more than 1.5 million passengers a year isn’t enough for us—thanks to our robust online presence at www.riosanantonio.com, we have logged more than 21.5 million web hits over the last year.
There’s no question that Rio San Antonio Cruises are engaging and fun, so how do you take that experience and share it digitally? To answer that challenge, we decided to approach our online presence in the same manner: dynamic, engaging content that keeps passengers and fans coming back for more.
Redesign and Upgrade
The first step was to redesign the website, www.riosanantonio.com, taking the site from what felt like an online brochure—static, basic information describing the cruises and the providing of tour prices, times and information—to a dynamic site that’s easy to use and draws visitors in to learn more about the cruises and the Riverwalk in general. With fresh content and a colorful design, the site brings the Rio to life digitally. Before the redesign, the site logged 1.4 million hits a month and now regular posts 2.25 million hits each month.
The rebranded site is easier to use and provides users quick access to information. “We’ve taken one of the top tourist attractions in Texas—Riding the Rio—and given it a global reach. It’s easier than ever for people to learn about our cruises and the fabulous San Antonio River,” explained JoAnn Boone, President and CEO, Rio San Antonio Cruises.
But Rio’s online presence is far more than just a redesigned website: Rio San Antonio Cruises is also active on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RioSanAntonio), Twitter (@RioSanAntonio) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/riosanantonio). This robust social media presence plays a huge role in driving traffic to the website and vice versa as everything works together seamlessly for effective cross promotion.
“When we post to our blog, it goes out through Facebook and Twitter as well as other social media sites. And when we make sure our posts work to build our traffic: simple steps like embedding our web address on the photos we post so when people click on the photo, they come to our site. It all combines to increase our digital and social media exposure and ultimately helps our passengers engage with us before, during and after they take a cruise,” explained Boone.
Facebook and Twitter
During a cruise? Yes—passengers regularly tweet from Rio San Antonio Cruises’ barges and post pictures to Facebook, even sharing them on Rio’s social media sites. “We added the Facebook and Twitter logos to our more than 40 vessels last year and our barge drivers mention our social media sites to passengers during their tours. We also feature both the Facebook and Twitter logos on signage our passengers see as they prepare for their cruises. Little things do add up and for us, it’s added up to amazing online numbers—not to mention barges full of happy passengers!” said Boone.
Our happy passengers like to engage with Rio online: the typical engagement rate for Facebook pages is two percent, yet Rio’s has been as high as 21.5 percent. The rate varies based on the time of day, the information posted and the questions asked of fans, but there’s no denying that Rio San Antonio Cruises is on to something—posting strong content, cool photos and engaging fans in conversation keeps them around and coming back for more.
We also have a mobile website: if you type www.riosanantonio.com on your smart phone, it takes you to the mobile website. More than 12,000 people have visited the site over the last three months and stay on the site for an average of 2.5 minutes each visit—a rare number for an informational mobile site. That amount of time is usually spent on a site like Facebook, not a regular mobile site. Rio San Antonio Cruises is considering selling banner ads on the site so that businesses interested in reaching that mobile audience can work with them.
“Our visitors come to us looking for information on Rio, as well as the Riverwalk and San Antonio in general. It’s a perfect opportunity for companies to target this important demographic,” explained Boone.