CT Consults

Archive for July, 2018

We’ve been optimising our digital optimisation

Posted on: July 26th, 2018 by ctceditor

Since joining us in January, Rabea Schwarzmann has been working with director Dan Lukas to formalise and streamline our digital audit and optimisation programmes. This has allowed us to work with even more destinations around the country on improving their digital assets and capabilities. Right now we’re working with Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Wakefield, Calderdale, and Bristol & Bath on bespoke programmes aimed at defining digital best practices, training key staff, and supporting digital marketing.

Our digital optimisation process always starts with a close analysis of the points where local partners interact with audiences online, including their websites, emails, and social media. Working with questionnaires, checklists, and Google Analytics data, we determine how each partner is performing in terms of their own digital engagement goals, and where they might improve.

From this, we develop a list of actions for individual partners to address any weaknesses in their own digital strategies. We also look at the bigger picture: how can partners — working together and with support from local or national stakeholders — position their city or region online as a cultural destination. Based on these findings and recommendations, we develop a bespoke programme of digital optimisation.

While getting the technology right is important, we tend to find that the main factors holding partners back are more conventional: they lack skilled resource, clarity on what constitutes ‘best practice’, quality content, actionable engagement data, and local support or coordination.  So the digital optimisation programmes we’re delivering on the back of these recommendations emphasise a holistic approach. Ultimately, the challenge is to ensure that our digital optimisation programmes not only deliver a measurable impact on the cultural and visitor economies, but also nurture a cohort of skilled and motivated digital practitioners.

For example

If you work in a destination marketing partnership and feel that you could benefit from looking at collaborative digital marketing practices then get in touch with Rabea.

Ireland’s Viking coast

Posted on: July 24th, 2018 by ctceditor

Sæl (that’s hello, old Norse). Where do you expect to find Viking explorer heritage, once they struck out from Scandinavia in their iconic long ships? Northumbria, Francia, Iberia, Wessex? How about ‘Viking Ireland’? We know what happened when they found land – raiding, exploring, then trading and eventually settling. It’s an epic (and often bloody) story, told across Europe from the Liffey to the Danube. Our challenge was to look at whether, and if so how, the beautiful south-east of Ireland could grow its heritage tourism offer to have genuine international appeal.

Their story is phenomenal, with the cities of Waterford (Vadrarfjord), Wexford (Waesfjord) and Wicklow (Wykinglo) all founded in the 10th century by Norsemen in ‘Viking Ireland’. The hit MGM-produced Vikings TV series is even filmed in the region. We are currently working with our colleagues at TEAM Tourism, and BOP Consulting too, to help Fáilte Ireland and its ‘medieval partners’ explore how a coastal region can once more provide rich pickings.

This time it’s the Viking stories we want to capture, weaving together attractions, events, arts, waterways and landscape to create an immersive, and hopefully not too brutal, visitor experience. The Vikings are coming. Again.

Pakka Fyrir (thanks, old Norse)

♪ “I wish I was in Carrickfergus…”♪

Posted on: July 9th, 2018 by ctceditor

The jury may be out over which version is best (Joan Baez, Bryan Ferry, The Dubliners, Van Morrison, Bryn Terfel, even TV soundtracks from Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders), but whoever is singing, this famous folk ballad is guaranteed to make any self-respecting Irish émigré shed a wee tear for the homeland. And why not? Carrickfergus sits proudly on Belfast Lough just 10 miles from the capital, a 12th century Anglo-Norman Castle garrison as its focal point. This landmark has been a lightning rod for Ulster’s complex, fascinating and often turbulent story. This is a place which has shaped history, literature and industry: William of Orange landed here, Robert the Bruce laid siege to the Castle and razed the town, the 7th US President Andrew Jackson’s parents emigrated from nearby, Jonathan Swift was a clergyman in the town, poet Louis MacNeice immortalised the town in verse. WWII Churchill tanks were built here. Energy was a major and innovative industry in the town – gas, coal and salt. So plenty for Carrickfergus to shout about, especially from a heritage tourism perspective.

Poised as it is at the start point of the stunning Causeway Coastal Route (the full route is almost 200 miles from Belfast to Derry) the tradition of welcoming new arrivals continues today. The UNESCO World Heritage Site that gave its name to the route, the Giant’s Causeway, hit 1m visits last year. Some of these visitors do pass through Carrickfergus, but many simply don’t stop – and there lies the rub. The late 20th century has been less kind to Carrickfergus than this pivotal, medieval maritime town deserves. ‘Progress’ has driven a highway between the town and the waterfront castle, has built up against and through its medieval walls and has pushed shopping out-of-town leaving its core a shadow of its potential self.

We are thrilled to be working to help put Carrickfergus back on the map, building on the national heritage tourism framework we created in 2016 – all at a time when Northern Ireland is attracting record numbers of visitors. Jumping ahead a decade, we foresee a fully ‘switched on’ Carrickfergus will be one that has re-energised, but not through gas or coal this time. Instead, through its heritage, through bold new storytelling, imaginative and ambitious events and activities – all plugged into the heart of the town’s regeneration. It will have established itself as a must-see jumping off point for the Causeway Coastal Route, helping to make the North ever more visible in international markets.

Sounds great, and our work – place branding, heritage asset management, cultural events, target marketing and community engagement – is importantly part of a masterplan that is setting the road map for significant investment in Carrickfergus’ future – with culture and heritage making the lights shine that little bit brighter once more.

View CTConsults’ case study – Time to renew in that place where it all changed

More than words…

Posted on: July 2nd, 2018 by ctceditor

To paraphrase Monty Python, what have consultants ever done for us? Yes, we can plan, strategise, do blue sky thinking stuff (whatever that is), crunch the numbers, make bold forecasts, but what actually comes of it – except perhaps yet another report, right? Well, actually, wrong. We like to work with clients to deliver fresh thinking and insight that can actually be used to transform their cultural tourism offer, and we can prove it! We’ve been working in cultural tourism for a long time now, and we can see the positive impacts build. We can point to new investments, partnerships, capabilities and products, and most importantly new and growing visitor markets.

We helped to launch Elizabeth Gaskell’s House here in Manchester, have guided Northern Ireland’s invested programme response to 2018’s European Year of Cultural Heritage, and we set the blueprint for the National Forest’s amazing new festival, Timber (pictured). The strategic DNA in our Cultural Tourism Vision for London can be seen in the capital’s London Borough of Culture initiative, which has recently awarded over £2.35m to help eight boroughs deliver cultural transformation. We are busy helping to attract new international audiences to England’s great northern cities and cultural events, and our work with Cultural Destinations is creating better digital marketers and cultural partnerships, delivering new audiences through new cultural experiences. We do write strategies, plans and feasibility studies, yes. But we make sure they are always looking to turn innovative vision into deliverable action.

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