3 years ago, we created a simple platform in response to a specific local need – Culture Hosts was initially created to support ‘cultural’ knowledge training and supply real-time what’s on information to visitor services staff in hotels, visitor centres, and venue front of house in Manchester. Which it still does.
But once we’d built it, we started to see how its potential to support cultural marketing and place-making was greater than we had envisaged – and very well-suited to the direction in which the digital marketplace was evolving.
Culture Hosts is capable of doing many things along the digital-content, marketing supply chain. At its simplest:
- It is a data warehouse of cultural assets (venues, events, activities) – with information structured in a standardised way that makes it easy to source from partners and easy to share and make visible.
- The content from Culture Hosts is available via an API to feed digital channels who can market culture on your behalf – tourist websites, city resident websites, digital magazines, editors and bloggers, online travel operators (like Expedia, Trivago or Google) – the potential is pretty endless.
- It can filter and cluster content (by place, season, theme, market) to create joined-up campaigns and itineraries for partnerships and destinations.
At the moment, we are testing some new features and uses:
- Monitoring direct return on digital marketing investment – by tracking content and audience reach across multiple channels so we, and more importantly you, know what works and what is worth spending your budgets on.
- Asking how it can help cultural partners keep-up in an ever-evolving world of digital communications, such as help tackle the need to shift our collective thinking away from driving traffic to our own websites to placing content in the sites and in the places where our customers already go instead.
- As a tool for digital communications skills training and capacity building.
We are lucky to be testing and developing these ideas with various Arts Council England Cultural Destinations partners in Manchester, Bath and Bristol and soon in Stoke-on-Trent – but are keen to hear from other partnerships for whom Culture Hosts might be a useful option.
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