CT Consults

Author Archive

What’s in a name?

Posted on: January 4th, 2021 by ctceditor

Reflecting on the last ten years there have been the inevitable highs and lows, but doing that during a pandemic lockdown means that you not only look back, but are forced to look forward at what the next ten years may bring and where we want to be as a company.

Like everyone else we don’t have a crystal ball, but suffice it to say, if we thought the last ten years of austerity have been tough, especially for the cultural and tourism sectors in which we predominantly work, then we ain’t seen nothing yet! 

In some ways, we’ve been lucky as we have already been reviewing what we do, how and with whom as our sectors move and shift in response to changing demand. As destinations start to think more holistically as places and what that means for their local residents, businesses, students, investors and visitors, we have been developing our approach to place branding and destination marketing. We don’t just work with tourists or creative organisations, and whilst we continue to run our popular CreativeTourist.com what’s on listings site, we felt it was time to also consider naming, slightly adjusting our company name to better reflect our wider consultancy work – so we’re now CT Consults. We still work with the cultural and tourism sectors but are more often than not now working across places to shape how they think about and articulate what makes them distinctive for locals as well as visitors.

 

Engaging audiences from lockdown

Posted on: August 13th, 2020 by ctceditor


Keep it relevant

Nobody was prepared for something like coronavirus, not just in arts and culture, but across the board, in all walks of life, we were taken off guard. Your audience is understanding of the situation and for those that paused to take stock, rather than rushing in out of fear of being lost in the shuffle, they were able to respond more effectively to the needs of their audiences, engaging audiences appropriately.

It is hard enough for arts and culture to get the attention which we would like to see online – especially if you are a smaller organisation with limited reach. People are still probably more concerned with getting their supermarket order than they are about their favourite cultural organisation pumping out content.

Even a few months into the pandemic, it’s worth taking the time to see what resources you have already and how you can use them. There is a higher risk of losing followers and goodwill from your audience by throwing anything at the wall than there is by saying nothing. Keep it relevant. 

You won’t become a YouTube sensation overnight, so don’t kill yourself trying to! Be realistic in your expectations and work on a content plan that you can actually deliver and is relevant to your audience – like you would in normal times.

All organisations are not equal and your digital archive will only be as big as your funding. It’s easy for the National Theatre to stream world-class performances captured on the highest budget to everyone with an internet connection, we’ve similar examples from the likes of the Berlina Philharmoika who have switched their paid service to a free one. This is great stuff, but it’s not something many can achieve. 

That said, we’ve seen some excellent examples here in Manchester, in particular, the work of Manchester Collective has stood out. A comparative minnow, but also incredibly agile and forward-thinking, Manchester Collective seemed to switch onto digital overnight. Again, they were already digitising their content so found themselves in a better position than some. Another ace up their sleeve is that they suit the online space better than most classical organisations – they are not a BBC Philharmonic or Hallé who rely on scores of players and a concert hall, they all about intimacy and performing in found spaces and the sense of occasion isn’t lost too much over a broadband connection.

It didn’t just happen though – they branded what they were doing, Isolation Broadcasts, and put together a schedule of performances alongside a proper marketing campaign. They engaged publishers like our own consumer-facing website, creativetourist.com, to promote their programme, and found trusted voices like BBC Radio 3’s Elizabeth Alker and their own star violinist and Music Director Rakhi Singh who have big profiles to help extend their reach engaging audiences.

“Our work has always been about forging an arresting, personal connection with our audiences, and we knew that we had to continue in this vein throughout this wild and woolly time” says Adam Szabo, Manchester Collective’s Chief Executive. “As a small, relatively new organisation, we’ve never had huge reserves or an endowment to fall back on. Any measure of success that we’ve had in this period has been due to the authentic and high-quality way that our artists and collaborators have communicated with our audiences. In times of crisis, audiences and stakeholders will not respond to “woe is me” messaging – arts lovers have always been attracted to passion and vision. Right now, part of that vision has to be about how to work effectively and inspirationally in a totally digital landscape.”

It is the way they have used their artists and collaborators, not falling back solely on recorded concerts, but engaging audiences across their social platforms to create interactive content. If anything, it feels like Manchester Collective has raised their profile in the past few months. 

We’ve seen similar examples from Band on the Wall who were the first to make an event and schedule around re-watching their archive concerts, and the Old Bank Residency – a twelve-month creative occupation of a disused bank in Manchester – who has shifted their entire schedule of tutorials and workshops online, even moving the focus of their sessions to cover things like mask-making and improving the lighting on your Zoom calls – all the more relevant than ever in this new normal. 

Four ways to build back value into your visitor offer

Posted on: August 9th, 2020 by ctceditor

Visitor sentiment research undertaken by BVA BDRC (consumer insight consultancy) and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions confirms the pent-up demand for days out experiences. At the same time, the findings show that there are equally significant numbers of visitors who have no intention of returning to their pre-Covid-19 behaviour yet, especially in regard to visiting indoor venues. The outdoors inevitably appeals. Day-trippers are rushing back to coastal and rural locations, whilst city centres are eerily empty. Seasonal destinations and venues are also rushing to salvage what is left of the summer season but sustainable, resilient and now ‘safe’ tourism isn’t built on such foundations. Together with tourism partners, the heritage sector has a major part to play in rethinking the model to make sure that visitor levels are controlled, that the experience is rewarding, reassuring and responsible – for operators as well as visitors. Anything less will do long-term damage to the positioning and perception of heritage tourism with key markets.

We have identified four priority areas for the heritage sector to address to ensure its recovery planning also maximises its long-term value for heritage tourism:

Focus on place and localism

It will be a long time before international visitors return to anywhere near pre-Covid-19 levels. The traditional growth-driven tourism model of more visits, more visitors and more spending has become more at odds with powerful voices calling for the sector to become more environmentally sustainable. It’s not long at all since some of the world’s best known heritage-rich destinations (such as Amsterdam, Venice and Barcelona), desperately looked to radical regulations and visitor dispersal mechanisms to mitigate overtourism. Even in the UK we have all experienced the peak-season misery of shuffling around overcrowded museums and galleries, especially in London or in destination hotspots like Stonehenge, Bath or York. But are you and your local partners brave enough to switch to a model focused on value rather than volume? Now is the time. Our current work with Visit Flanders is about developing heritage-led tourism experiences which tap directly into its landmark Travel to Tomorrow ambition. A model that focuses on sustainable and resilient tourism with local, social value and low-carbon transition, can provide impactful and memorable experiences that also support local economies. Co-designing the reopening of heritage venues and destinations in partnership with local residents, testing and piloting to address fears and anxieties will go a long way towards rebuilding local community confidence and shaping future visitor welcome.   

Partnerships and collaborations

Many destinations are investing in place brand development, not to be confused with poorly conceived logos, straplines and short-term campaigns, but an in-depth approach to understanding a place’s values and how they relate to local residents, businesses, students, investors – and visitors. York is a great example of a city known for its extraordinary heritage. Yet it’s also a city with a strong independent spirit, technologically innovative and deeply socially progressive. Its new, values-based place narrative which we helped develop, undertaking extensive consultation with over 6,000 residents and visitors, is now ready for rollout. Rollout isn’t about a campaign but about all city partners adopting and communicating the values through what they do and how they do it. It’s about building a better city for the future – and it’s arguably at its most influential in a shared crisis. For The York Festival of Ideas, York’s museums sector delivered a public lecture – Locked Down but Not Locked Out sharing ideas with local residents affected by the impact on tourism to encourage understanding, ownership and engagement. 

Ticketing and online bookability

If you do not have an online booking or reservation system in place, no doubt you are trying to navigate various technological solutions to manage your reduced capacity and control visitor flows. Everyone from the small independent to the National Trust has had to make changes to how people book and access their properties. You do not need to spend a fortune on a ticketing system, nor do you have to resort to online solutions that don’t provide you with access to your consumer data. Look to the travel & experiences sector for your solution – it is easier than you think (and considerably cheaper).

By choosing booking systems like Bokun, FareHarbor, Checkfront, or Rezgo that are built with visitor experiences and online distribution in mind, you can easily manage information about your products, set up complex schedules, and automatically ‘close out’ inventory based on the availability of key staff or equipment. While they’re often called ‘online’ booking systems, these systems don’t just power your website — they also support bookings over the phone, by email, or in-person, as well as by your approved affiliates, agents, or resellers. The best systems also include sophisticated channel manager software that automatically synchronises your availability and pricing information with channels such as Viator, GetYourGuide, Booking.com, Expedia, or Google, while allowing you to switch those channels on or off as desired. Using a single ‘connected’ system to power all your distribution is not only far more efficient — reducing the need for manual processing of bookings, cancellations, changes, and invoices by as much as 80% — but also gives you a real-time view of your inventory and powerful insights into how each of your distribution channels are performing.

Fáílte Ireland commissioned us to write the National Online Distribution Strategy for Visitor Experiences and is now fast-tracking its work programme with hundreds of tourism suppliers (including heritage attractions) to improve their online visibility and bookability. 

Digital engagement with visitors for the long-term

International brands that had already invested heavily in their digital offer pre-Covid-19, such as Historic Royal Palaces, were quick to repurpose existing digital content and create new content exploring their venues, collections and stories. For those that had not prioritised digital engagement and marketing before lockdown, it’s been a rude awakening. But it’s not all about content, social media, PR or new technology (e.g. VR/AR). Unless you have your basic digital housekeeping in place – conversion goals, tracking, metrics and monitoring – you’ll have little idea whether what you’re doing is meeting your objectives. Take advantage of the free digital skills training available right now, including the Government’s Digital Boost programme, Heritage Digital from the Heritage Alliance and Arts Marketing Association’s Digital Heritage Lab (both funded as part of NLHF’s Digital Skills for Heritage Campaign), Coach by digital marketing expert Chris Unitt and Arts Council England’s Digital Tech Champions.

Conclusion

Most of the heritage sector is understandably focused on survival. It can be extremely tough to think about where you might be in 6-months’ time, let alone 3-5 years. But you’re not alone. 

Destinations really are more than the sum of their parts. With increasingly limited resources, the need to step outside your comfort zone to collaborate with a wider range of local partners is becoming simply essential. Bringing local residents and visitors closer together needs to be at the forefront of your thinking, rather than seeing them as opposite ends of the heritage tourism spectrum. There is a real opportunity now to rebuild relationships with local markets to create better and more distinctive visitor offers. But that will only work if you invest resources into developing your understanding of your local markets and learn how to engage and communicate with them more effectively.

So are we really just trying to adjust to the ‘new normal’, find the ‘old normal’ or should we be focused on a more resilient heritage tourism economy built on more sustainable practices? We vote for the latter.

This article was originally commissioned by and published on the National Lottery Heritage Fund website in an edited version on 9 July 2020. 

Culture Hosts helps your data work harder

Posted on: August 9th, 2020 by ctceditor

Over the last ten years, we have been busy helping audiences discover unmissable events and experiences through our North of England listings website, creativetourist.com. Meanwhile, through our consultancy work, we have been helping destinations and place-based consortia to position culture for visitors and locals and to better understand culture’s role in place-making, place branding and destination management. 

However and wherever we have been working, the basic question of how to make listings work harder to reach audiences has never been too far off the agenda. 

Our own listings platform, Culture Hosts, began life back in 2015, as part of Greater Manchester’s Cultural Destinations programme, an initiative designed to enable arts and culture organisations to increase their reach by working with the tourism sector. It was supported by funding from Arts Council England and developed in partnership with Marketing Manchester and a consortium of Manchester-based arts organisations. A Cultural Concierge was established as part of this programme, working with visitor-facing staff at hotels and visitor information centres to improve their knowledge of Greater Manchester’s cultural offer. We discovered that the combination of high staff turnover and a constantly-changing offer meant that a training-based solution alone was unlikely to provide a sustainable long-term solution – a centralised platform of quality arts listings in Manchester was needed.

To address this need we built a new, integrated online listings platform – Culture Hosts. The transformational point of difference is that with Culture Hosts, arts/culture and tourism partners supply the data directly themselves – manually or automated – and the data can then be shared openly with multiple online channels with increased value and visibility. For the Cultural Concierge, the Culture Hosts platform is used directly by hotels and visitor-facing staff to keep-up with current arts listings in Greater Manchester, and we continue to supply a weekly newsletter of edited cultural highlights direct to their emails. But the Cultural Concierge was only the starting point and Culture Hosts is now a fast-growing platform which powers a number of different listings-driven channels and projects around the UK, and several future uses are live in development too.

With all this experience of developing and building a shared-listings platform, we read the discovery report by Nesta and The Satori Lab published on Culture Hive in 2019 with great interest – they conclude that arts listings are broken and that there is a lack of standards and technical competence (or will) around the use and potential of data across cultural institutions.

We agree and back their recommendation that the arts and cultural sector needs to use standard, structured data fields and embrace the potential of their data. They recommend Schema.org as the data standard – an internationally agreed dataset used by search engines to identify things like events, dates and places – and they suggest API connections to help realise the potential reach of their data – an API is effectively a feed which allows listings to be shared with publishers. These ideas have been the driving force behind our listings platform Culture Hosts since its inception.

In developing the potential of Culture Hosts we embraced these open data standards with the exact intention of making arts and cultural listings more efficient and able to reach new audiences. To achieve this we have invested in building a fit-for-purpose listings database which goes far beyond the capability of the original WordPress site created to power the original Cultural Destinations project in Manchester. 

Using the highly structured data fields based on Schema.org, this new database captures and stores information about venues, events and festivals alongside accommodation, food and drink, and retail. This information can be shared to as many publishers and applications as we wish using API connections. Similarly, the database can be populated by an infinite number of incoming API connections – not just from the Culture Hosts front end, but directly from existing databases, websites and even box-office systems like Spektrix.

With these added capabilities, we rebuilt our own consumer-facing ‘what’s on’ website, creativetourist.com, and we now power it entirely via Culture Hosts. Using the event and venue information from Culture Hosts has delivered a step-change in the efficiency and therefore sustainability of editorial and content management for creativetourist.com. Not only did it bring operational improvements and significant content and editorial time savings, but the data model nearly doubled the traffic to our website and helped connect more people than ever with cultural events in Manchester and across the North of England. 

We opened up an outgoing API connection to Marketing Manchester and they worked with their platform developer to integrate listings from Culture Hosts into their Visit Manchester website, which is powered by Simple View – a widely used website system used by many destinations across the UK. This was really the start of our ‘upload once, publish many places’ thinking which has driven Culture Hosts’ development.

We continue to find new applications for Culture Hosts – it is currently supplying event listings for destination management websites like Visit Manchester and Visit Greenwich, as well as venue data for local listings website Manchester Wire and highly localised listings for the soon-to-launch Manchester Oxford Road Corridor website. 

Other projects have taken a similar approach to creativetourist.com and built their websites on top of Culture Hosts listings – look out for Wakefield’s new visitor and resident facing website, Experience Wakefield (due to launch in 2021), and Manchester City Council’s new neighbourhood-specific website, Loads to do, designed to engage hard to reach audiences with the city’s cultural offer, both coming soon. 

So to come back to the Nesta and Satori Lab call for industry-wide action here – we firmly believe that we have created a platform which meets standards needed to make listings data work harder and that our consultation with organisations and destinations helps bridge the gaps in technical competence. If you would like to talk to us about how this can help you, please contact ben@creativetourist.com.

This article is an amended version of Open Listings – how Culture Hosts works which was first published on Culture Hive.

‘What’s on’ in the time of corona

Posted on: August 9th, 2020 by ctceditor

Like for everyone else across the world, things got a bit twisted upside down for us over the past few months. On our consumer-facing ‘whats on’ website, creativetourist.com, we’ve started referring to it as “you-know-what”, but the benefit of those reading in the (hopefully much brighter) future, I am of course referring to the coronavirus outbreak. 

In talking about this, it’s important to take a self-aware moment and acknowledge that we have not been working on the frontline for the NHS, we are not in low-paid service industry roles which were suddenly as dangerous as they were essential and our team are lucky enough to all be healthy and able to work safely at home. We are though, an organisation which specialises in arts and culture, heritage and placemaking – you know, all that stuff that people usually leave their homes for. We are also not publicly funded.

Like many across our industry, the moment the Prime Minister took action to help protect the lives of our citizens had an instant impact. Within 48 hours we had to ask our amazing team of freelance editors on creativetourist.com to stop what they were typing and bill us for the last time in what may have been quite a while. With all the events on our website either cancelled or rescheduled and not a single client in a position to pay for a future campaign, key members of the core team were furloughed. 

So what to do with a ‘what’s on’ website when everything has been cancelled? 

Our first step was to pause and see how the industry reacted – we can only point our audience in the direction of cultural distractions once they exist. It became clear very quickly that there would be an online response from the cultural response and we needed to be ready.

Working with our development team at OH Digital, we moved quickly to upgrade Culture Hosts, our integrated online listings platform which powers CreativeTourist.com, as well as content on other websites including VisitManchester.com, VisitGreenwich.com and the soon-to-be-launched Manchester City Council resident-facing website, Loads to Do. Taking the lead from Google, who had launched new emergency data standards around virtual events, we pushed out a new release of Culture Hosts which allowed cultural partners to upload online events. 

While the upload process remained as seamless as ever for our partners, the changes we applied meant that we were structuring online events with the same data markup which we do for all our other listings – in other words, search engines could now tell which of our events were happening online. We have brought this feature onto creativetoursit.com and it’s something which we will be in place for the Loads To Do website when that goes live. 

The Response

While we were tinkering away on these improvements, venues and organisations across the North of England had started rolling out their programme digitally; from watch-alongs of archived work to Facebook Live and Instagram events via virtual exhibitions and concerts. 

We’ve seen some excellent examples here in Manchester, in particular, the work of Manchester Collective stood out. A comparative minnow to the likes of Berlina Philharmoika who simply switched their paid service to a free one, Manchester Collective are incredibly agile and forward-thinking, seemingly switching onto digital overnight. They suit the online space better than most classical organisations who demand scores of players and a concert hall, they are all about intimacy and performing in found spaces and the sense of occasion isn’t lost too much over a broadband connection.

It didn’t just happen though – they branded what they were doing, Isolation Broadcasts, and put together a schedule of performances alongside a proper marketing campaign. They engaged publishers like creativetourist.com to promote their programme and found trusted voices like BBC Radio’s Elizabeth Alker and their own star violinist and Music Director Rakhi Singh who have big profiles to help extend their reach.

“Our work has always been about forging an arresting, personal connection with our audiences, and we knew that we had to continue in this vein throughout this wild and woolly time” says  Adam Szabo, Manchester Collective’s Chief Executive. “As a small, relatively new organisation, we’ve never had huge reserves or an endowment to fall back on. Any measure of success that we’ve had in this period has been due to the authentic and high-quality way that our artists and collaborators have communicated with our audiences. In times of crisis, audiences and stakeholders will not respond to “woe is me” messaging – arts lovers have always been attracted to passion and vision. Right now, part of that vision has to be about how to work effectively and inspirationally in a totally digital landscape.”

It is the way they used their artists and collaborators, not falling back solely on recorded concerts, but engaging audiences across their social platforms to create interactive content. If anything, it feels like Manchester Collective raised their profile over the last few months. 

We’ve seen similar examples from Band on the Wall who were the first to make an event and schedule around re-watching their archive concerts, and the Old Bank Residency – a twelve-month creative occupation of a disused bank in Manchester – who has shifted their entire schedule of tutorials and workshops online, even moving the focus of their sessions to cover things like mask-making and improving the lighting on your Zoom calls – all more relevant than ever in this new normal. 

We asked partners like these to upload their new programme of online events to Culture Hosts, and we published everything we could for them creativetourist.com without charge. While this completely bypasses our business model meaning creativetourist.com is being propped up out of our own pockets, it felt like the right thing to do. We love the cultural industry and the organisations who make Manchester and the North such a special place, and so does our audience. 

We continued to support these organisations and our audience as much as we could, but without our editors, our content wasn’t quite the same. 

The new normal

We made a successful bid for the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund: for organisations (non NPO) to bring our editorial team to keep audiences engaged with all the great lockdown culture created by organisations in the North and beyond. There have been nearly 300 activities featured on creativetourist.com since lockdown began and Arts Council funding will help us keep audiences engaged into the autumn. What lies beyond then, we are unsure. We know that creativetourist.com is one of the most effective marketing channels for arts and cultural organisations in the North with a click-through rate several times higher than similar sites. However, if can’t welcome back clients in the near future, there is a looming question mark over the longevity of this marketing channel.

How to get your virtual event listings right

Posted on: August 9th, 2020 by ctceditor

Applying structured data to virtual event listings has been one of the keys to unlocking SEO success for some time now. Marking up your venues, places and events with the information that helps search engines to better crawl, organise, and display your content. 

For example, when you see a rich information panel for a venue in a Google search result, this is because of correctly applied structured data. Alongside links to the organisation’s website, contact and social information you might find their virtual event listings, this is because their website is marking up their event data so that search engines can recognise what the event is called, where it is taking place and when it is happening.

Working with developers to apply structured data to your website will allow your events to appear in more places automatically. The standards for data mark up, or schemas, are available on Schema.org. The more data mark up you can apply, the more chances you are giving yourselves to appear in search results. For example, if you mark a stage performance as ‘TheaterEvent’ (schemas are written in American English, but it isn’t visible to the front end) then search engines can differentiate this event from a concert or exhibition, thus improving search results and helping you achieve better organic results.

Very early on in the UK coronavirus lockdown, Google issued a new schema for online or virtual events which distinguished these events from those taking place in physical venues. This is an important update as it allows you to maintain the integrity of your data mark up instead of leaving a blank or misleading venue field which might hinder your organic results.

We have applied this new event type to Culture Hosts, our integrated online listings platform which powers a range of Destination Management Organisation websites and what’s on websites including our own consumer-facing website creativetourist.com. The main source of traffic on creativetourist.com is organic, as well as helping audiences discover things to do in Manchester and the North of England, the website is really our shop window for using structured data along with all the other SEO tricks to draw in this traffic.

Organic traffic is one of the most important channels for a venue, organisation or destination management website. Getting yourself in search results for what people are actually looking for is far more effective than more invasive channels like social media or display advertising. It is because of organic traffic that creativetourist.com is one of the most effective marketing channels for arts and culture in the North.

How can online events from relatively small cultural organisations compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+? It’s too early to tell, and we certainly would not expect a considerable upturn in organic traffic during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, but now that there is a proper structure available for online events, it is important to use it. 

Recent events have given everyone a taste of life without culture in physical venues and it has certainly brought to our attention that this, for some, isn’t just a temporary reality. Perhaps one outcome of this will be more consideration for the elderly, disabled and long-term sick who cannot attend events in person. This could be the moment where more culture goes online for the widest possible audience to enjoy. 

If it is, make sure the search engines can find you.

Destination management organisations – a bit of new thinking

Posted on: June 19th, 2019 by ctceditor

Do you remember the tourist boards of yore? A simpler time, when regional statutory bodies served a regional visitor economy membership community, and fed into bigger national agencies. One model, nice and easy. Well, not quite, but today’s deregulated landscape of DMOs (that’s ‘management’ and ‘marketing’) has as many models and structures as it has, well, DMOs. Core funding is only going one way, but market opportunities are arguably never stronger, even though stability is a word we use less and less.

So how does an emerging ‘place’, without convenient ring-fenced tourism budgets or staff, deliver what they need in collective destination management terms? Well, the short answer is get a clear vision, even clear goals and build from the assets they do have (which will almost certainly be more than they thought). Whether it is Buxton, Calderdale or Barnsley, the collective resource can and will make the difference. We are working with, and seeing, emerging and historic destinations at all scales renew their brand, product offer, packaging, information and market analysis. There will generally be a bigger DMO at a regional level, so these relationships are being challenged and rebooted. Even with no kickstarter funding on the table, progress can be achieved, and a phased approach will find and release new funds and resources over time, as confidence and partnerships grow. We’re working with clients doing this now. What’s happening at your ‘place’?

Image: Creative Tourist Ltd

Better together – developing cultural heritage at a destination level

Posted on: May 1st, 2019 by ctceditor

Stories always fascinate us. Having the (alleged) best story can win you the Iron Throne after all, so they must be important (apologies to the sensible, silent majority who have never visited Westeros). We genuinely love learning about the history of places, the people that have shaped them and uncovering hidden gems before anyone else. We encourage the worlds of arts and heritage to work together to tell stories in relevant, exciting and contemporary ways. We have tried to do this through our work over the last few years in developing Northern Ireland’s cultural heritage. It’s a place with an amazing richness and depth of stories through time. It has had its challenges – often overshadowed by its recent history and the tourism juggernaut of traditional Irish cultures, highly developed and packaged south of the border.

Following our work to develop Tourism Northern Ireland’s A Prospectus for Change: A Strategic Framework to Unlock the Potential of Heritage-led Tourism in Northern Ireland, we’ve continued to support Tourism NI and its strategic partners in focusing on bringing cultural heritage to the fore of the visitor offer, where we believe it belongs.

Two of Northern Ireland’s major museums – Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster American Folk Park – tell extraordinary stories of the past that still have resonance today. We are working closely with National Museums Northern Ireland to review and rework the vision and direction for each, applying their values and ethos through a route map to build a resilient, dynamic and socially responsible enterprise culture that delivers rich visitor experiences. Alongside this work, we’ve also been setting some challenges to the NI heritage sector to see how they can work better together through a shared vision. A manifesto is emerging…

Image courtesy of Trevor Cole

Hit the North – creativetourist.com outperforms the market by 300%

Posted on: March 13th, 2019 by ctceditor

We are delivering better-than-ever results for our clients through our consumer-facing, ‘things to do’ website creativetourist.com, with user numbers and click-through rates at an all-time high.

Since relaunching our consumer-facing site – creativetourist.com – three years ago, our move away from a magazine-style to a more ‘things to do’ approach has been a huge win for our readers and our partners.

Built on event and venue data submitted to Culture Hosts by venues and organisations, creativetourist.com uses a suite of cultural and visitor ‘guides’ — curated by experts and optimised for search — designed to help people discover unmissable events, attractions, and businesses in Manchester and the North.

We work with carefully selected partners via a mixture of free listings and paid-for posts to attract more than 100,000 monthly users a month from across the North West and beyond – typically our audience are highly engaged experience-seekers aged 25-55.

Our business model is all about getting our audience to book on partner websites and we are currently delivering an average click-through-rate of 13%. That’s around three times higher than sector averages and — combined with more than the site’s more than 100% year-on-year traffic growth — provides an excellent return on investment for our clients.

View CTConsults’ case study – How do you find out what’s on?

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