Discover more from MaryTebje’s Talking Travel & Tourism
Touches of local flavour woven into your story through design, language, community and heritage are your sense of place. Are you communicating what’s all around you?
Welcome back! I hope your summer has been restful if you’ve taken a holiday, or busy and profitable if you are at the coal face. Are you like me, usually on a busman’s holiday, relaxing, but not quite?
What is on the cards this autumn?
I will be busy on a number of projects that at first glance, appear quite diverse, but have a common theme: a 50th anniversary, accessible tourism, souvenirs with a sense of place, marketing surgeries and a strategy to put a museum on the tourism map.
This year, the Ridgeway National Trail is celebrating 50 years since being designated a National Trail (one of 16 across England & Wales), in spite of being in use for thousands of years! I provide comms & digital support, including event planning for the anniversary event atop a landmark hill in Buckinghamshire. I will be recording the anniversary video, including storyboards, interview planning and b-roll film to collect. Very exciting, this is what I really enjoy doing! I will share the results next month.
Chances are you don’t have a huge marketing comms budget, yet there’s an expectation to be visible and vocal against fierce competition for visitors. But, it’s easier and simpler when you know how to harness the special character of your place, helping retain locals and attracting those who appreciate what you have to offer - who will come back too! Town centre managers, business networks and tourism officers may be interested in our new Distinctive Destinations Approach.
What started as a lockdown project, has taken off and is now part of the regional tourism souvenir market, selling locally designed and UK-made Chilterns Gifts, a retail partnership creating and products inspired by the beautiful Chiltern Hills. Just as the Christmas starting bell has been rung and we’re climbing right on board with a Chilterns Gifts campaign that will feature a new range of my photographs and capturing autumn-colour photography workshops. This has been a baptism of retail fire, made harder by a tough economic climate, but with well designed products competitively priced, we are starting to feel real traction and customer loyalty.
I have recently volunteered as a Trustee at the small, but perfectly formed Amersham Museum. The custodian of the market town and its people’s shared story, they were seeking someone to take the lead - with the director, on digital marketing comms.
Over the summer I have spent time looking, listening and learning about the museum, it’s people and the place it occupies so that I could write their first ever marketing strategy. You may think it bonkers that a tourism business doesn't have a marketing plan, never mind a strategy, but when your team is part-time and reliant on volunteers to keep the doors open, it’s no surprise. I haven’t written a marketing strategy for a while, so I also had do my homework to be sure it is focused, brief (no jargon Mary!) and attainable. It will be actioned through a number of practical marketing plans to be implemented from spring next year. I will keep you updated on progress as just love to get involved in a product that has so much promise and potential.
Accessibility takes many forms, depending on individual need, local environment and as ever, resources and business interest. Focus tends to be on the built environment, less about communication and understanding of what is needed could be achieved.
Improving access that links countryside to market towns is a huge challenge and not often attempted. Or has it? Share your joined up train to trail examples please. I am working with the Chilterns Conservation Board to consider how to practically improve Chilterns accessibility and shaping an inclusive, collaborative visitor offer.
The common theme
I asked earlier what the common theme is amongst the above projects: they all involve what is local and special = local distinctiveness. They are examples of how they can potentially be packaged, communicated, distributed and sold. This is what I do best!
If you want to discuss how I can help your business grow, please get in touch.
Links you will need
This summer, I have had an interesting mixture of European city trip, English cities, countryside day trips and seaside short breaks. I will be sharing some of my experiences and gems on my Micro Travels with Mary weekly newsletter.
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