CT Consults

Setting the alarm for a sleepy festival town

Lake in a park, number of people sitting on benches at the edge of the lake. Lawn behind lake and regency building in background

The challenge

Cheltenham, a charming town that often tops the ‘best places to live’ rankings, also has some outstanding cultural assets, notably its festivals – music, jazz, science and literature. It is also a gateway to the ever-popular Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and tourist hotspot since tourism was invented. If that is not enough, it hosts the biggest National Hunt horse-racing festival in the world, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival. However, its major festivals deliver programmes for a fraction of the year.

Our response

In partnership with John Knell, Intelligence Consulting, we worked with a fledgeling partnership that spanned culture and tourism, public and private sector, to develop a culture-rich tourism vision and plan of action that can build its market profile and market size by developing packages and itineraries, investing in key areas (not least in coordination which has subsequently happened through the prism of economic development, this placing cultural tourism at the heart of town planning), and embracing a diversity of culture that was always there, but often in the shade of the major events in the calendar. The route map – a tourism outcomes proposition – was developed to be the template for future investment decisions and partnership working.

Kickstarting a new approach

It has achieved this by structuring the emerging partnerships, setting clear priorities for product development, digital infrastructure, filling gaps in research and actively encouraging shared working to grow the market, notably domestic and international short breaks.

Horse race with crowds around the track and in stands
As commissioners we know the importance of co-creating outcomes which our partners can align behind and which will provide a strong foundation from which our strategic purpose will be shaped. [This] proposition for Cheltenham’s tourism offer will boost the tourism economy, provide clarity on how we deliver and how we will measure success and the impact on public value”

Cheltenham Borough Council and the Cheltenham Tourism Partnership

New tourism agency

Marketing Cheltenham established to promote the town.

New cultural partnership

A Culture Board has now formed to shape the cultural vision for the town.

New Cultural Strategy

They have turned to CTConsults and Intelligence Consulting again to inject insight and ambition into their next Cultural Strategy.

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