It has been a busy start to 2020 at Visit Bath. Read on for Interim CEO Kathryn Davis' round-up of our recent activity...
While time has flown between the end of Bath Christmas Market just under two months ago, the celebrations continued when we picked up Gold in Tourism Event/Festival of the Year category at the South West England Tourism Excellence Awards last week. Mick and Lynsay were there in person to collect the award among a host of other Bath winners, including the Roman Baths and Pump Room, Assembly Rooms, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Herschel Museum of Astronomy, and THE PIG-near Bath.
Last week, the team attended and supported the UKinbound Annual Convention that took place in Bristol – the first time this event has been held in the west of England for 20 years. Lisa took part in a day-long meeting calendar with key Destination Management Companies (DMCs), travel buyers and digital distributors, all of whom wanted to learn more about working with Bath, and Kathryn attended the CEO roundtable and hosted one of the workshops. Visit Bath also hosted an educational visit post-conference visiting a couple of hotels and attractions, as well as enjoying a guided walk. For some of the participants, it was their first visit to Bath, so a great opportunity to show off the city during a day of lovely weather. The whole team got involved to support both the event and fam trips, from planning to delivery.
Our next trade event will be ITB Berlin, where we will have a presence within the VisitBritain stand in a joint Bath and Bristol pod. This will be our most prominent position within the stand, facing the main hall entrance and located next to the Great West Way team to enable us to coordinate opportunities. We have also signed up to Explore GB, VisitBritain’s flagship event, which will take place in Belfast in May – more to follow later.
As we develop more programmes to work with the travel trade, we are excited to host the latest Taking England to the World event in partnership with VisitBritain next week. This is a huge opportunity to learn more about the travel trade and learn best practice about working B2B. Following this, we will be running a workshop to support local industry, to share insights from our experience and to begin to develop new itineraries and experiences.
We launched Feel-Good Bath, our spa and wellbeing-themed campaign, at the beginning of January. So far, the campaign landing page has received over 4,000 page views, and the first of our feel-good-themed e-newsletters garnered 19,000 opens and 7,000 click-throughs. At the beginning of February, Emma hosted a blogger trip, where a group of influencers including Frankie Thomas, Sophie Lily and Not a Simple Mind explored feel-good spots in the city, including Thermae Bath Spa, Sweet Little Things, Goodbody Wellness and The Soul Spa.
In January, we launched the first of our new working groups, with a focus on spa and wellbeing. Emma led the first workshop, which will now work with us to ensure we learn from each other to develop a clear, coherent message and build on our aspiration to be recognised as the UK’s leading wellbeing destination.
We also attended MEET South West, promoting Bath’s business and social event venues, team building and incentive experiences. Nas and Lisa spent the day talking to event organisers, gaining valuable feedback on knowledge of the Bath product and what is important to them. We will shortly be sending invitations to come to a workshop focussing on the Business Events industry and the opportunities to develop this valuable market. If this is of interest to you, mark 11th March in your diary – more information will follow soon.
Emily and Rosie have led development on a content calendar that gives a framework to our social and digital communications strategy, maximising opportunities collectively for the destination. The calendar also complements work being delivered by VisitEngland in their own content development, which we are supporting.
There are also strong links to screen tourism, with Bath and the surrounds featuring on recent productions including The Trial of Christine Keeler and The Pale Horse, as well as forthcoming The Secret Garden. And while not featuring Bath as a destination, as Emma hits the big screens this week, we will be using this as an opportunity to showcase Bath’s Austen connections.
Film and literary connections are two themes that have been covered in our new 2020 Bath Visitor Guide which is currently being printed and will be distributed shortly.
We held our latest Members' Forum at the end of January and will be sharing information shortly about the next series of events, some of which will be timed to coincide with English Tourism Week, where we will celebrate the industry.
The Visitor Information Centre and Bath Box Office continue to operate important services to visitors and the local community and are developing new packages to enable visitors to easily experience the city, ensuring they are spending longer in the destination.
In the wider world, we are continuing to share information from VisitBritain about Coronavirus. If your business has been affected with cancellations, please do keep in touch and we can continue to update strategic partners about the impact in-destination. You can stay up-to-date with the latest developments here.
Also, VisitBritain have developed EU Exit Reassurance assets which are available here.
Finally, yesterday, I represented Visit Bath at the celebration of the British Tourist Authority’s 50th anniversary at the Tower of London. This was a wonderful way to network with industry colleagues and ensure that Bath remains front-of-mind with decision-makers.