Travel Wisconsin

Travel Inspiration at Your Fingertips.

Project Brief.

Ascedia serves as the digital agency of record for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Travel Wisconsin promotes Wisconsin as a four-season travel destination to potential visitors with a goal of being the ultimate resource for people to find fun and travel to Wisconsin. The department’s objectives include increasing travel expenditure, awareness, overall engagement, arrivals and conversions on the site.

Since the redesign launched in early 2013, Ascedia’s worked with the Department of Tourism to continuously improve the site by refreshing creative, addressing challenges and pain points and adding interactive, engaging elements. Our efforts over the last several years have been focused on making the site more inspirational and impactful, to capture the attention of a diverse audience, while also maximizing engagement of our captive audience to increase return visitation duration and interaction.

Travel WI mobile mockup

Client Details.

Services Provided.

  • Strategic Planning
  • Experience Design
  • Application Development
  • Digital Marketing


  • Award of Distinction

Project Solution.

We use many different tools for ongoing research and testing, to help us understand website usage, performance and trends, and uncover improvement opportunities and content gaps. Some of the primary research tools and methods used are:


Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the primary tool we use to measure website performance. Data is reviewed on a weekly basis and more extensive reporting is done on a weekly, monthly and seasonal basis, to help identify strengths, trends and areas for improvement. We use this platform to track and analyze key performance indicators, on page events and activities, engagement, content trends, visitor demographics, device usage, general site engagement, visitor flow and campaign success. In addition to ongoing reporting, we use Google Analytics data to help inform all site enhancements and ongoing maintenance needs.

User Testing

We utilize user testing several times throughout the development cycle of new enhancement projects and run competitive user testing to understand how compares to its main competitors. Every enhancement project begins with a strategic planning phase, where we run baseline user testing on the existing functionality to get an understanding of how users are interacting with the current version and identify opportunities for improvement.

Heat Mapping

Heat mapping allows us to see how users are clicking and scrolling on individual pages on the site. We run a heat map on every creative iteration of the homepage, as well as key pages before and after enhancement projects. We’re able to segment this data by device type, user type, search term and referring source, which allows us to get a better idea of how users are interacting with pages on the site and inform enhancement opportunities.

Secondary Research

Our strategic team developed in-depth personas and sub-personas to help us understand the characteristics, needs and challenges of our main website users. These personas were based on primary research data from Google Analytics, as well as secondary industry and consumer research. These personas are used in every project we do and are used as a basis for testing user criteria during user testing.



Fun Finder

The Fun Finder is an interactive tool that provides users with a way to get trip inspiration by trip type, location and dates. Based on the criteria entered by the user, the tool randomly generates a trip plan, including location, activities, events, places to stay and dining options. Results are displayed on a map with an accompanying list, which allows users to dig deeper and learn more about each individual recommendation.

Seasonal Conditions Reports

Fall and snow condition reports serve as a way for users to explore the fall colors and snow conditions in real-time, while also connecting them to additional trip planning information. A list of reports by location and a map are used and provide users with a way to see the color and condition status, weather, additional information, user photos and call-to-action buttons to learn more about the area. These reports also provide users with additional tools, to share the report, upload a photo and embed the report on their own website.


Articles are presented in an easy, readable format, which includes content, imagery, calls-to-action and related content. The format is completely flexible and allows for many different layouts and types of articles to be presented using the same admin process. Images can be placed within the content at any point to break up the content and maps can also be inserted to highlight the specific place the copy is referencing. Maps are collapsed by default giving the user complete control on what they want displayed while keeping pages shorter on mobile devices. Tags are located at the bottom of the page for further exploration as well as related articles.

User generated content

User generated content (UGC) was implemented across the site to provide users with a glimpse of how other travelers are experiencing Wisconsin. Showcasing UGC across the site offers a mix of produced and user content and provides inspiration to those early in the travel planning stage. Applying UGC to location and trip ideas pages gives the user a better understanding of what to expect in those locations, while providing more insight and content that some listing pages may lack in.


The website features a strong integration of the brand and marketing campaigns, including campaign imagery, landing pages and extensions. Ascedia works closely with the Department of Tourism, its advertising agency and marketing committee year-round to integrate branding and campaign initiatives into the site.

Project Outcomes.

Since Ascedia and the Department of Tourism began working together we have seen a huge improvement in a number of analytics. Since 2013, when the redesigned launched, we have seen the below.

In addition, 2019 was a record setting year which netted just shy of 10.5 million sessions, making it the highest traffic year to date! In addition, July 2019 set the record for the highest single traffic month with just under 1.4 million sessions!

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Since 2003 Ascedia has accumulated over 10 awards ranging from the Web Marketing Association - Standard of Excellence to Gold awards for Tourism from W3 Awards and Communicator
Award of Distinction logo