So here’s the dilemma. I’m trying to choose a family-holiday escape suitable for my two girls aged two and six.
I’m looking for something with a back-to-basics feel and a close-to-home destination. I don’t want Disney. I want to bring the girls closer to nature, dip out of the daily grind and spend undivided time with them to build cherished childhood memories.
The destination bit is the easy bit. Wales, obviously, for its good value for money, simplicity, the friendly people and the natural beauty.
There’s too much going on but not enough sense of insider knowledge. I want a shopping list for groceries but, for a once-a-summer family break, I want to feel an expert is sharing their personal insider knowledge with me.
I also want to know what other families are doing and for them to share their top tips with the forum.
And, on a practical level, I want to navigate my way around the site easily, accessing material from a central page, not having to follow an endless stream of links around labyrinthine sub-directories.
A new look
So how to improve it? Personally, I would make the following suggestions:
- Make it more personal. A weekly blog to be written by an expert voice, highlighting a great thing to do that week.
- Give it a face. I want to know who the expert is and why they’re qualified to advise me on where to take my children.
- Human interaction. Stop using pictures of people with their backs to the camera. If you’re on holiday in Wales, wouldn’t you be smiling?
- Work with the medium, not against it. No more chunky text but a clearer writing style better suited to reading on mobile and tablet formats.
- More multimedia. Use of image galleries, short video clips and audioboos to make it less static.
- Use social media. Push content through Twitter then harvest comments, tips and other user-generated content to compile lists of tips, or provide follow-up story ideas.
- Cross link. Bring new material to a wider audience by promoting it on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other platforms where Visit Wales already has a presence.
- Make it a good read. The tone needs to be inspiring and fun as well as informative. You need good, updated information but it needs to hold your attention too.
- Keep it fresh. It needs to be relevant to what’s happening now – half term, St David’s Day, Easter egg trails etc.
- Simplify navigation. One page for family holidays with a lead story and a menu of links, plus a column of social media. People read differently online, so lead the eye naturally.
Well, that’s what I’d do. Maybe you have other suggestions – if so, post them below.
And as for our summer hols? Well, in the end I chose a holiday based on a recommendation from a friend in Cardiff.
Maya, Olivia and I are going to spend a few nights at Cae Mabon near Llanberis, staying in one of the lodges. We’ll be joining in the bushcraft and listening to owner Eric Madden’s story time each evening.
The girls are excited. We check in August 13.