Calling all attractions (and other interesting experiences)

Last week we embarked upon a ‘social media experiment’ with Go Ape at Rivington. Go Ape are a forward thinking business with an eye on the pulse of the (social media) nation as you can easily see from a visit to their website.

We gathered together a mix of people who ‘applied’ for a free place at Go Ape last Friday afternoon by contacting us via Twitter, Facebook, our blog or email. This crew were technology savvy and willing to tweet, video, blog and be snap happy on the way around the exciting course at Go Ape (safety permitting of course!).

So over the next few hours we had lots of fun and twittered, snapped, blogged and videoed our way around. Since then there has been alot of social media ‘noise’ about Go Ape Rivington; generating interest from new ‘readers’ who may not have considered a visit previously.

We are now looking to extend this out to other Lancashire attractions. You just need to let a group of 10 loose around your attraction to have the best experience possible – and give them something to snap, say or video about you. We will then bombard the various social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, blogs etc and aim to generate new audiences and visitors for you.

Anyone up for making some noise?

Contact me on 01257 226619

Sarah Lundy

Welcoming Blackpool Zoo’s Newest Attraction!

BlackpoolZooPenguinOpening380X260I was delighted to receive an invitation from Blackpool zoo to the opening of their newest attraction.

Congratulations go to Blackpool Zoo for their new Penguin enclosure and pool at the popular attraction, which was officially opened on Tuesday 21st July by the Mayor of Blackpool Councillor Norman Hardy.

The zoo has listened to public demand over the past few years and have re-introduced a small colony of twelve Magellanic penguins which stand at about 18 inches tall (very popular with our own Katie in the office). The investment of £400,000 is very welcome and shows the parent company’s confidence in the Zoo and Blackpool too. I am sure they will be popular with visitors this summer, who will also be able to see them swim underwater thanks to an observation window to the side of the enclosure.

This year , zoo visitors will also be able to see three new baby lion cubs and 2 new baby sealion too! Well done Blackpool zoo and all involved – keep up the good work…

Tim Dixon

Abracadabra.. there’s a new wizard in town

You will soon be receiving a letter from Trimedia UK on behalf of VisitEngland about their new SOCIAL MEDIA WIZARD.

We’re excited about this because it will put Social Media ‘Gubbins’ into plain English and be targeted towards your tourism businesses specifically. We’re going to help you to use it effectively and ensure that you keep at the forefront of digital marketing to steal a march as a forward thinking county.

The Social Media Wizard is a stand-alone website that is designed to quickly and efficiently walk you through creating a strong presence in social media sites and being more efficient in search engines.

The Wizard is designed for people who aren’t particularly ‘techie’ or into computers, and takes people through each procedure, step by step. It will be beneficial both to those organisations/businesses who are not engaged in social media and those who already have a presence but are perhaps not using it to their best advantage.

The Wizard will guide people through these vital elements of social media presence:

As well as tips and simple guides for…

  • Search engine optimization/ marketing
  • Tools to help you keep an eye on your brand and competitors
  • Best practice in Trip Advisor

This will give you an explanation of how these profiles will benefit your business and help to build a strong online community with an active interest in tourism in Lancashire.

There will be examples of best practice in each specific theme or social network, and you will be able to do most of the activity (registering/ logging in, uploading content etc.) from within the Wizard itself, making the set up work very minimal and quick.

You will also get this information in the Visit England e-newsletter – keep your eyes peeled! This is all great for your businesses, but the real power of the Wizard is that it connects you all further to us and our work in the social media space (obviously at the forefront ….).

And just to let you know (you heard it here first) that you will be invited to a Social Media Gubbins Day in October to help you further in this space and take Lancashire forward as a social media force to be reckoned with.

If you want to register in advance for this day please e-mail me as there will only be 50 spaces available.

roll on tweeting, blogging, file sharing and more……………

Sarah Lundy

Attending the Blackpool and Fylde College Awards

One of the parts about my job I love the most is getting to know the individuals who work in the industry. I love going to a venue and knowing the staff who work on the front line – not just the management team. A good start for meeting these people is whilst they are still studying and last night I was proud to attend the Blackpool and the Fylde College School of Tourism’s Higher Education Achievement Awards at the Dunes Conference Centre, St Annes.

With an Oscars theme and a cast of 500 it was never going to be a quiet night – but boy did those students make an effort. As each category award winner was announced their colleagues whooped and screamed so loudly I wish I had taken some ear plugs. Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board are proud to sponsor the Skills for Tourism award and this year’s winner was Claire Fothergill who has just completed a City and Guilds Advanced National Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

With Staycation being the buzz word for the summer I hope that Lancashire manages to capture many of these students to work in the industry and if they display as much enthusiasm in the workplace as they did at the awards last night then Lancashire will be THE tourism destination to work.

Don’t forget that for those of you wanting to recognise your own achievers the LETS awards will be launched on August 3rd so start to prepare your nominations now.

Diane Blakemore

Welcome to Blackpool

With the Welcome to Blackpool course becoming a resounding success across the resort (over 1,000 delegates can now boast a greater knowledge of the British seaside resort), some members of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board decided they wanted in on the action! So, on Monday, eight of us took our places in the boardroom for a fast-track training session.
The thing that struck me was the great history behind the resort that I had never known. Sure, I’d been told the story of the famous Tower and Illuminations before but it was really interesting to hear, for example, that Blackpool has been a settlement for 11,000 years (that’s 1,000 years earlier than the ice age)!

Gloria Vessey, our trainer, was really animated and kept us all on our toes with various tasks including, testing our knowledge on the more well-known attractions and events, as well as looking at the developments and regeneration projects across the resort.

This course has really helped us all look at Blackpool more closely and I know that I will be able to mention, in a lot more detail, what goes on in the resort and all its attributes. I think it’s really important that anybody working in Blackpool is able to do the same and would recommend any business with links to the town gets themselves booked on too!

Kate Roberts

Kids Fun Ideas Show

As part of the summer Family Fun campaign the tourist board took a stand at the Kids Fun Ideas Show in Manchester this weekend to give out copies of the new pocket guide and to promote family friendly short breaks in Lancashire.

Our newly designed stand (with the lime green and bubble motif) gave us a very strong presence and together with Mrs Dowson’s Ice Cream Dairy who joined us to give out free ice cream, we attracted a good number of visitors to the stand. We gave out nearly 1000 Family Fun guides over the two days, as well as 1000 bright green logo-bugs (a big favourite with the kids) which promoted visitlancashire.com/family.

Lancashire Museums and the Hands on Gang joined us on the stand and ran craft workshops over the two days making table hovercrafts and Hands on Gang puppets. These workshops were well attended and it was good to be able to showcase Lancashire as offering such a variety of family attractions from the thrills of Blackpool to the museums and stately homes in the Lancashire countryside.

As we constantly seek to gather new contact names we ran a competition from the stand to win two nights at Park Hall Hotel and entrance to Camelot Theme Park for a family of four or four tickets for Go Ape; Rivington. We collected 340 entries which we didn’t think was too bad for the two days and those that have opted-in to receive more information will be added to the database of contacts and targeted with future family fun related marketing campaigns.

Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd

Meeting members in Blackpool

For a day out of the office catching up with members, I couldn’t have picked a better, the resort looked amazing in the sun and the place was buzzing with families. My day started with a catch up with Claire and Mark Smith at Number One St Lukes and having a tour of their beautiful award winning guest accommodation. Claire told us about her involvement with the Tourism Alliance and how she represents micro-businesses on the alliance.

Tim (our Business Development Manager in Blackpool) and I headed into the town centre to visit the Ruskin, a mainstay of Blackpool’s hotel offer for years, with over 70 bedrooms and 50 staff, the Ruskin is a different operation to the many owner operated accommodation providers I visit in Blackpool. After spending some time looking at the recently renovated rooms in the Ruskin we walked back to the car stopping to check out the arches being installed in Birley Street, apparently lights, smoke and sound are going to encase visitor’s walking under the arches.

We then went up to Coast Apartments and spoke to Steve about his plans for a 3rd apartment. Coast apartments have just received confirmation that they are to receive monies from the Invest in the Best Scheme (supported by the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board and Blackpool Council), unfortunately all those funds have now been allocated but we are very excited about all of the new developments that have now become possible with through that fund.

The highlight of the day was the launch of the new Langtry’s guest accommodation in King Edward Avenue.  The guest accommodation, which is to be featured on Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector (later this month), looked the part and having received 5 stars and a silver award in its recent grading clearly set and achieved high standards. Those attending the event included Lesley Lloyd the chair of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, who was  impressed with the focus on local produce that Langtry’s had adopted. The local focus ran from Mrs Kirkham Cheese and Goosnargh Duck, by Kwizeen Restaurant to over 90% of the fixtures and fittings being sourced in Lancashire. We wish Julie and David all the success and we really like those forgot me boxes!

Zoe Viney