Monday, 8 December 2014

Get a Growth Voucher for strategic advice

Enperprise Nation
The Growth Vouchers programme delivers support for up to 20,000 small businesses in England, focussing on small businesses who have never sought business advice before. Businesses looking for advice apply to the programme online and they are randomly assigned to an online questionnaire or face-to-face business advice assessment.

Some businesses will be randomly chosen to get a voucher for up to £2,000 to help pay for business support in one of the specialist areas. You’ll have to match the amount with your own funds.

You can then find a Growth Voucher adviser eg Nick Booker of Attract Marketing,  to work with on the Enterprise Nation Marketplace; you then pay for the services in full and request 50% back from the government.  You download a claim form to claim a subsidy for business advice as awarded in your Growth Voucher offer.

The Growth Vouchers programme is available to small businesses in England who are actively selling goods and/or services, have a turnover no greater than £45m, own 75% or more of their business, and have 250 employees or less.

Click here to find out more

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On Line Reviews TripAdvisor et al

impact of good reviews
Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Flickr Creative Commons
Online reviews are having a huge impact on service businesses says an article in the latest edition of the excellent Attractions Handbook. Although few attraction operators  have embraced them to the degree seen in the hotel and restaurant sectors, the opportunity is there to increase business by encouraging and managing reviews across all areas of leisure, including attractions.

A study by economists at the University of California, Berkeley found a variance of just half a star rating can determine whether a service business grows and thrives or goes bust. Researchers focused on restaurant reviews on and found that the difference between 3 and 3.5 stars increased the chance of a business reaching capacity at peak times from 13 per cent to as much as 34 per cent.

Further reinforcement of the impact comes from a TripAdvisor study which found that properties with 11 reviews or more on the website see a 28 per cent rise in user engagement when compared to those with 10 or fewer.  

Dealing well with complaints relating to online reviews is also important, according to a report from PhoCusWright the travel research and analysis company. They found that 84 per cent of TripAdvisor users said an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of a hotel or restaurant.

In the attractions industry, monitoring reviews can act as a feedback loop for complaints, while managing them helps to neutralise the impact of bad reviews which have been shared by consumers. As more attractions build hotels, spas and restaurants, managing these reviews also becomes an important part of the reputation management of the operation.

Source: Attractions Handbook

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Museum Retail Therapy Visits

Museum retailing consultancy
The series of retail workshops run by Museums Warwickshire earlier this year highlighted the desire for an informal network of those involved with museum shops. As a precursor a series of visits to West Midlands museum shops is being arranged. Details click here

Monday, 18 August 2014

Running Events and Publicising Your Shop

marketing the shop
The Post title is a slight misnomer, as the download available at the end of this post is really about running events in a bookshop but it has lots of very useful marketing and publicity ideas applicable to shops in museums and other visitor attractions.

As the Introduction states, 'hosting events in store, whether they include an author or not, is a proven method of reaching your community effectively' (I'd say market!) 'and is an ideal way of making sure potential customers find out about you, and come back again and again.'

'Successful events are an ideal way to create and build links with all sorts of new markets, from schools for all age groups, book clubs, local businesses and community groups' and of course for museums and other attractions, the local visitor market. These links can lead to a number of further marketing opportunities.

'Once you’ve worked out which events work well for your store, you’ll find it easier to promote them and will get an even better turnout. And this in turn will lead to extra sales and turnover: something we are all looking for!'
So have a look at 'Books are My Bag' here and thank you to Midas PR for an excellent guide to setting up 'instore' or should it be 'inshop' (?) events.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Developing a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan

marketing plan for vistor attractions
Every visitor attraction and tourism destination is different whether it's a museum, heritage railway, theme park, historic garden or stately home, countryside footpath, church trail,  battlefield etc and they all have issues unique to them. However certain generic marketing and business issues face all attraction owners and operators and the article available in the following link describes an approach to creating a robust marketing strategy and plan based on a real life (but anonymous!) example. Click here to download.        

Tourism week

Tourism and the UK economy
This week, via social media, the Government is highlighting the significant contribution that tourism makes to the UK economy. Please help raise awareness by promoting any tourism job opportunities you have, and sharing any case studies of your staff, including what they do, why they chose a career in tourism, and why they would recommend it. Remember to use #getbritainworking. Please also re-tweet @DWPgovuk and @DCMS.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Audience Development and Visitor Engagement - the research tool kit

cakes in a cafe at an an attraction

One way of attracting visitors - good cakes in the café!

How should you set about visitor market research as part of a programme of audience development and visitor engagement? The case study on the link below sets out a method for understanding the profile and background of past and current visitors to a major multi site museum and heritage attraction that can then lead on to creating an audience development programme for attracting new visitors, encouraging repeat visitors and importantly ensuring that both are entertained and engaged during the visit. The case study covers the requirement to gather and measure the views of visitors and ‘non visitors’ on the attraction ‘offer’. Overall the approach is aimed at determining who the visitors are, where they come from, what their needs are in terms of the visit and to identify gaps in both the product offering as well as communications, pricing, on site facilities etc.

Click here to see the case study

Friday, 8 August 2014

Aviation and Tourism: Implications for Leisure Travel

Review first published in the Tourism Society's Journal of Aviation and Tourism: Implications for Leisure Travel by  Anne Graham, Andreas Papatheodorou and Peter Forsyth click here


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Full steam ahead for mail rail as plans get green light

Mail Rail
On Monday 10 March Islington Borough Council approved the British Postal Museum & Archive’s planning application to develop a stretch of the old Post Office Underground Railway – Mail Rail – into a unique subterranean ride.

The decision means that visitors to the newly created Postal Museum, due to open in central London in 2016, will be given the opportunity to explore the hidden world of this railway under Mount Pleasant through an engaging exhibition and interactive ride. In total, visitors will be taken through 1km of the original tunnels, following the same route that much of the nation’s mail took for nearly 80 years from 1927-2003.

The Mail Rail ride is part of a much larger project that the BPMA is undertaking to reveal the extraordinary stories of British social, communications and design history through the universally iconic postal service. By opening up almost 400 years of records and objects from the reign of King Charles I to the present day, The Postal Museum will reveal unusual and exciting episodes from British history. It will showcase curious items including a first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, original evidence from the Great Train Robbery trial, a Victoria Cross and flintlock pistols used to defend Mail Coaches in the 19th Century.

Adrian Steel, Director of the BPMA commented, “It is fantastic that Islington Borough Council has given us the green light to open up these unique tunnels to the public and reveal the captivating story of Mail Rail. Making this exciting project a reality still requires a further £0.5m, but this is a major boost to our plans and for Islington’s, Camden’s and London’s heritage offer. We hope to launch a public appeal later this year, both in the local community and further afield, and look forward to welcoming our first visitors in 2016.”

The BPMA is currently waiting on the outcome of an application for £4.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A decision is expected in May this year.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Bristol Aerospace Centre

Concorde Alpha Foxtrot 216
Bristol is finally to have a proper home for Concorde Alpha Foxtrot 216 and the Bristol Aero Collection. See the article here