Digitally Transforming Sharjah’s Tourism Approach
Crafting an engaging website experience and robust digital marketing programme
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is the government entity responsible for promoting Sharjah as a tourism destination locally, regionally and internationally. Having successfully carried out traditional media campaigns for over two decades, SCTDA identified the need for a more measurable and technology lead approach to its communications. With the ambition to see significantly increased visitor numbers in the coming years, Sharjah looked to a digital solution to answer its needs.
SCTDA approached MBLM to develop an engaging platform that would attract visitors, provide information about the multitude of offerings in the emirate and fulfill the ambitions of Sharjah as a tourist destination. MBLM conducted an in-depth analysis of comparative tourism websites and portals and developed a digital framework that aligned SCTDA’s vision with its business and marketing goals. Based on inbound methodology, a unique solution was developed to guide the implementation of new content, overall visual aesthetic, functional requirements and tracking user behaviour and interest. With a solid strategy in place, MBLM went on to create, design, develop, launch and manage the entire digital platform for SCTDA
Critical to the success of the digital transformation was the development of new content for individual destinations, activities, events and offerings, in both English and Arabic. Using a robust information architecture and SEO focused approach, MBLM implemented an intuitive navigation and tag-based organization to support the discovery of content and relevant cross linking of Sharjah’s destinations, activities, events, and must-see locales.
Additionally, MBLM integrated a digital marketing platform in to the website to capture user behaviour and interest, manage marketing automation, implement conversion workflows and create a contact database of potential tourists. With this new information on its audiences, markets and personas, SCTDA would now have the ability to segment, personalise and target groups and individuals directly with relevant marketing communications.
Furthermore, MBLM crafted a business portal that allowed third-party tourism partners access to add and management content for their own hotels, restaurants, activities and promotions. With empowering tourism partners as one of the core KPIs of the transformation, the website needed to serve as a world-class platform for stakeholders to be part of the overall promotion of Sharjah. Quality of the third-party content is maintained through a publication approval process, with SCTDA and MBLM reviewing each submission.
The new website and digital campaigns encapsulate the very essence of Sharjah in an understandable, well considered and relevant experience.
The launch of the new website and digital marketing campaigns has significantly helped increase visitor traffic and engagement. Over 100,000 new visitors were recorded in the months following the launch, with an exceptional 74.32% of traffic coming through organic sources. Through collaborative efforts with local tourism partners, the number of accommodation, dining and activity options have steadily grown since the site’s inception – a statement to the sites quality and ability to promote third-party content effectively.
The transformative success has allowed MBLM to continuing building upon Sharjah’s appeal, using the ever increasing understanding of its audiences as the basis for launching new digital marketing and advertising initiatives, creation of new and highly relevant content, and rich media engagement points.
Sharjah Government Communication Award
2019: Best Government Website – UAE