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Building a Dynamic US Tourism Experience

With target traffic coming from outside of the US, localization was key for Brand USA to expand US tourism through a new Drupal 8 site.

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    Gold Winner of the Travel Weekly 2017 Magellan Award for excellence in travel technology.

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    A testament to the strength of Drupal 8's core, the site was built with 35 modules. With Drupal 7, the same functionality would require 50+ modules.

woman using iphone to take a picture in a city setting

Project Goals

  • Migrate from Sitecore to Drupal 8
  • Decrease bounce rate
  • Create a user-friendly trip planner
  • Integrate with Acquia Lift to build a personalized user experience
  • Migrate content across multiple country site domains (for example, for France)
  • Develop website features and infrastructure that allow for continuous improvement and user-based customization, including front and backend coding, ingestion of data, integration of third-party APIs, and testing/quality assurance
  • Support transition to the team via training sessions including CMS training and Technical (code) walkthroughs
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Parallel Development with Components

With a Drupal-agnostic component-based approach, front end development ran in parallel or ahead of back end development. The entire front end was built in a living styleguide which served as a single code source, ensured consistency, and avoided some of the common challenges (like improper markup that interferes with site functionality) in a traditional developer to themer handoff. Front end development was completed ahead of schedule. Based on the project requirements, Mediacurrent was able to identify early on that several components were the same or similar on different pages. This allowed us to build a component once and reuse it as many times as needed. In cases where a component had different variations from page to page, we used KSS Node and added modifier classes to change the component as needed without having to rebuild it from scratch.

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Trip Planning Tools

The new website takes the legwork out of trip planning with features like a widget that aggregates Weather Underground temperature averages and displays a temperature range by month and season. Area attractions are pulled from TripAdvisor’s API service and users experience numerous opportunities to share trip plans and ideas with family and friends through social media or email. The site also features an interactive choose-your-own adventure game on the homepage which captures a users favorite interests and then compiles a list of recommended content.

Localization and Data-driven Personalization

With Acquia Lift, the Brand USA team can observe users’ location-based behaviors and learn how different audience segments interact with the site. Content preferences are also tracked: when a user interacts with content on the page, Lift will track that user’s interests. This contributes to a profile within Lift that centers around the user’s primary interests including outdoors, food and drink, cities and towns, and other main topic categories.

Brand USA website trip planner on desktop, mobile, tablet
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Final Thoughts

With the power and versatility of Drupal in combination with Acquia personalization tools, provides an ideal framework for Brand USA to expand and adapt tourism. Post-launch, Brand USA has continued to evolve the digital experience with Mediacurrent.