It has been a busy few weeks for the Visit Bath team. Read on for Interim CEO Kathryn Davis' round-up of our recent activity...
It goes without saying that over the past few weeks, Bath Christmas Market has been at the forefront, with Mick Heath and Lynsay Redwood conducting the vast orchestra of traders, partners, suppliers and everything else that goes into delivering arguably the most unique festive market in the UK – and already an award-winner just a week before opening. The Market is an incredible feat of collaboration across the city.
The amount of work that goes into delivering the 18 days (plus the Residents’ Preview Evening) is phenomenal, and we’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors in the days ahead for a taste of local produce and an incredible showcase of local artisans, as well as enabling local charities to fundraise from their dedicated chalets.
And with the focus on Bath as the ideal festive destination, comes a lot of press attention. Emma Frayling has been managing a huge amount of local and national interest from broadcast and digital media resulting in some great coverage. We have already had a special festive event for key lifestyle and travel bloggers and welcomed some of the VisitBritain PR team, who were focussed on getting lots of new content to share across their domestic and international channels.
The opening of the Market also offered a great chance to create our own new content, with Emily McKay organising updated film and photography to use across our platforms. Nas Alvi, Lisa Franklin and Rosie Hurley joined in to be our Bath at Christmas models!
This weekend, we have a Winter Wellness press trip, featuring media from the USA, Australia, India, GCC, Germany and South Korea, who will be in Bath as part of a wider UK trip, spending two days in and around Bath before heading to the Cotswolds.
Last week, we took part in the Great West Way Showcase event in Windsor, completing more than 20 appointments with DMCs and agents from the international travel trade, all of which are now being followed up. It is a great opportunity to renew relationships and run through what’s coming in 2020 and beyond. With operators planning 2021 and beyond, it is so important to keep us up to date with any plans. We can help advise of ways in which to work with the trade to enable you to reach new audiences. Don’t forget that they are always looking for new products, whether for groups or individuals enabling year-round travel. It was great to see so many Bath businesses taking part.
Following the showcase, we welcomed two of the three Great West Way educational trade visits to Bath across the weekend. There are so many destinations across the route to feature and so it is a testament to the strength of the offer in the region that so many were included. A huge thanks to all who supported and took part.
As well as the Great West Way visits, we also welcomed tourism officials from Hunan Province in China who took a little time from their busy schedule to explore a bit of Bath and enjoy a visit to the Roman Baths, before enjoying lunch at Koffmann & Mr. White’s.
Work continues to deliver a new look Visitor Guide for 2020, with advertising opportunities still available. Please contact Lisa Franklin for more information.
The Visitor Information Centre continues to be busy with lots of people popping in for information to help with their trip, and there are still a few opportunities left to boost your festive skills with a Christmas Wreath-Making Workshop.
Bath Box Office has events on sale for performances from now until late 2020 – look out for festivals, magic, music and much more besides.
Finally, we’re busy finalising our activity for 2020. There will be a Membership Forum in January, followed by a Taking England to the World session delivered by the VisitBritain team. This is a great opportunity to learn more about maximising opportunities and routes to market.
We will have a busy start to the year for B2B activity. Starting the year with MEET South West – a great showcase for the meetings industry – we will also be taking part in the UKinbound Annual Convention, hosted in Bristol in February 2020. We are also going to be partnering with Visit Bristol and Bristol Airport for ITB, an incredibly important event for the German-speaking and wider European market which features both B2B meetings across three days and two consumer days. In 2018, the International Passenger Survey estimates that Germany was the second-largest inbound market for those visitors staying in Bath.
There will be more to come over the coming weeks, but thank you to all our Members for their ongoing support.