15 Savannah

PopulationMetro: 372,569
Savannah has always been full of stories. These days, it lets others do the talking masterfully.

Despite finishing #15 among America’s small cities in 2018, Savannah landed at #7 in our Promotions subcategory. Impressive for a city of 136,286. So what’s it doing right—other than claiming the title of America’s Most Haunted City?

For starters, it’s not relying solely on its beloved Spanish moss and cobblestone streets to attract visitors. Five years ago, Savannah unveiled VisitSavannah.com, an interactive website that has only improved with time. It now offers maps, trip ideas and special offers, allows users to book hotel accommodations directly and serves up user-generated reviews of restaurants, attractions and special events.

Place 66
Product 66
Programming 51
People 31
Prosperity 32
Promotion 61

The website, which incorporates the best of social media, makes visiting third-party sites such as Google, Travelocity and Priceline unnecessary. Facebook and Twitter feeds are also integrated on the site, as well as Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews.

“You can plan your whole itinerary without leaving the site,” says Joseph Marinelli, president of Visit Savannah. It’s working.

The city scores Top 10 in TripAdvisor Reviews (an impressive #2), Facebook Check-ins and Google Trends.

Almost 14 million visitors vacation in Savannah annually and, with an occupancy rate of about 75% in 2015, the hotel industry continues to expand, with cranes joining the historic steeples in a city that continues to be discovered by international and domestic travelers looking for new stories.