USDM.net Enlivens Desert Tourism Site

DALLAS Travel marketing specialist USDM.net is launching a new Web site for the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority that is expected to double the number of online visitors in 2005, the company said.

Online advertising and links to the site through search engines and email are the main tools for boosting traffic, a USDM representative said.

“When we took on the Palm Springs account, there was no online marketing for that site,” she said.

The Web site will offer special pages for different demographic groups, the company said. Golfers, nature lovers, women, gays and lesbians are some of the groups targeted with special sections. The venue, www.palmspringsusa.com, is expected to debut before Christmas, the convention and visitors bureau said.

The bureau spent $50,000 to develop the new site, a representative said. Tourism accounts for about $1 billion of the economy in California’s Coachella Valley, the CVA said.

USDM in Corpus Christi, Texas, is one of the nation’s top online promoters of tourism, the company said. A traditional advertising agency until 1993, the company now works exclusively on interactive marketing for bureaus involved in tourism, convention and related business, a spokeswoman said.

With more than 151 clients, USDM handles state travel offices, multi-state destination markets and several convention and visitors bureaus. City tourism sites designed and managed by the firm include Atlantic City, N.J., San Antonio and Memphis, Tenn.

USDM has access to 8 million golfers online, as a result of an Internet golf-marketing program it sponsors, www.usdm.net/golftraveler.

USDM.net holds a one-year, $35,000 contract with the CVA to index information and manage the new Web site, with plans to provide information about trends, potential sponsors and co-op advertising opportunities, the company said.