REAL CEREDIGION EXPERIENCES
“Researching and receiving mentoring through Real Ceredigion Experiences programme has made us more focused in providing relevant and personable social media content. We are planning in a better way and this gives us more credibility with our target audiences.” Holly Owen, Ceredigion Museum, Pilot Business.
The purpose of the Real Ceredigion Experiences pilot study by Mid WalesTourism was to work with a group of pilot organisations to do research, workshops and develop a network to research business benefits that can be achieved by adopting new ways of working and selling online, and sharing the knowledge gained with the wider tourism community in Ceredigion and beyond.
The main aim of the project was for potential visitors to be able to purchase online 24/7, providing the option for purchase prior to visit, and help to grow new visitor markets.
The project has:
- Delivered a series of workshops to enable participants to confidently use video content, social media selling, channel management and instant book in order to grow the organisation and attract potential visitors
- Produced a ‘Starter Guide to Improving Digital Sales' providing a useful starting point for all types of tourism businesses and organisations throughout the region.
- Ensured participating businesses/organisations demonstrate their new skills within their own activities, share their knowledge with others and actively develop cross-selling options with other local organisations and channels.
Project activities included:
- Desk research undertaken to identify key target audience characteristics and profiling, technology requirements, video use/specification, channel and packaging options
- A recruitment campaign undertaken to engage visitor attractions/activity providers (pilot businesses) to research & develop the skills required to become exemplars in digital selling (owners/managers)
- A survey to assess pilot businesses current digital marketing activity / online presence
- A series of one-day workshops developed and delivered in multiple locations in Ceredigion to reflect project priorities and needs of the pilot businesses.
- 8 pilot businesses participated in three workshops which were delivered in multiple locations in Ceredigion.
- Individual action plans developed identifying business use of video content, social media selling, website presence, channel management and instant book as mechanisms to grow online presence and attract potential visitors at the ‘planning their visit or day out’ stage.
- Pilot businesses working with creative specialists to develop video content to support digital selling /online marketing & promotion
- Digital consultancy support for each pilot business to assist with action plan implementation to use new digital marketing techniques to improve their online presence and increase sales and explore options for cross-selling and multiple channel promotion options
- Pilot businesses contributing to the development of a bi-lingual ‘Guide to Digital Selling’ included exemplar case studies produced in print and online versions to demonstrate their new skills, including digital techniques and instant book, and share experience with other local businesses and groups
Travel is all about the experience of doing amazing things and being some place special. Ceredigion has so much to offer visitors but digital trends change quickly. Small attractions and activity businesses are failing to take full advantage of new technologies and cost-effective opportunities to reach wider audiences.
As a result of the project 8 visitor attractions/activity providers from areas across Ceredigion were able to adopt new ways of working and selling online. One of the activity providers who was involved with the project - Rhydian Evans of Adventure Beyond – stated after the project completion;
“During our participation in the Real Ceredigion Experiences research programme, we developed a range of responses for TripAdvisor reviews and social media comments, so we have content to hand. Our video now includes more laughter and happiness so that the customer experience is better demonstrated. It is so useful to talk with other local businesses in order to learn from them. We are tailoring our digital sales platform to be better suited to our business and enable a better – and easier customer experience.”
The training provided for the pilot companies has helped to develop the skills required exemplars in digital selling (social media, websites, joint ticketing and packaging and /or online sales channels) and explore opportunities to reach wider audiences in the UK and Internationally.
Positive feedback was received from the organizations that participated in the workshops. Each one benefited in a different way, everyone's expectations were different and the course contributed to an increase in their confidence of using digital marketing.
“We are upgrading our website to include more video and better pictures as well as focusing on search engine optimisation. We are reacting to TripAdvisor and social media comments in a more organised way. We have a great product but it was not reflected in our marketing. We are working to ensure that it now is.” Dafydd Rees-Evans, Penrhos Park
Obviously from the nature of the course, the results of its results will be seen in years to come as not only will the 8 visitor attractions/activity providers’ benefit, but the ‘Starter Guide to Improving Digital Sales' produced following the project has provided a useful starting point for all types of tourism businesses and organisations throughout the region.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.