That was the (digital) year that was

A small snapshot of our digital year at LBTB.

•    Launch of new
We were over-excited about this as we really really had enough of the ‘children’s yellow’ we had for the site before.  There were some major developments and a radical change of design. In our ponderings on where to put the new things like Social Media we started a new section called GUBBINS – how brilliantly Lancashire.

• Set up of Twitter Account
Making a commitment to Tweet to consumers before most businesses had thought about why or what they were tweeting (never mind thinking of a strategy) felt very Brave New World. Luckily there are many of you hanging on our every tweet 10 months down the line. Our top tweets so far on Lancashire Day (Nov 27th) got us over 400 visitors to the website.

•    Official Launch of on  Twitter

With no money for a launch and the fact we were getting into our swing with Twitter we thought we would try this new ‘marketing tool’ for our launch. We invited comments about the site and had a great day interacting live to feedback. There was a prize draw of a Flip video recorder drawn from the tweets of the day.
•    Get Inline with Online Marketing Seminar at Stanley House.
No, this wasn’t our top tips on roller skating but the last of a successful series of digital marketing events designed to help tourism businesses in Lancashire progress online. Topics covered included blogging, SEO, online booking and the National Tourism online network. See October for the next incarnation of this event.

•    Visit Lancashire Facebook fan page started
We’ve been active on Facebook for a while now and thought it was time to create a fan page rather than having a group. As a fan you’ll be able to follow much of our activity in one glance. Many comments predict Facebook sliding down the same slippery slope of MySpace in 2010. Personally I believe it will still be a valid voice for the year.

•    Set up of industry website
After a few months of tweeting it became clear that we had alot to say – and not just to consumers. So we thought we’d decide to speak to our businesses on Twitter too. So far so good – 364 followers and thanks to those who ask us some interesting and challenging questions.
•    Set up of industry blog
Alongside the industry tweets we also set up a blog. The blog is designed to give tourism businesses an insight into the work we are doing at the Tourist Board and also to give top tips on industry news and digital marketing . With over 400 views a month it seems our topical treats are hitting the mark.
•    Release of J’aime la Tour – Blackpool viral video
What could we possibly say about this that hasn’t already been said? Watch it here for the goosebump effect. 12 awards and counting… nuff said!

• nominated for Travel Mole web award.
It was great news to be nominated by this tourism industry online community. Unfortunately we were pipped to the post for the award but it gave us a real spring in our step. I’d heartily recommend entering awards for this very reason (I’d suggest the LBTB Tourism Awards 2010)

•    Go Ape Social Media
We were approached by Wolfstar PR to be part of the Go Ape blog influencer project. We gathered a crew of people together who were all bloggers/tweeters and general social media fans and went for a great day at Go Ape Rivington. After alot of adventure we came out with some tweets, 12 blogs, 19 videos and over 100 photos plus some info on Facebook. All these went out into the wonderful world of the Internet to help Go Ape reach their new audiences. We are looking for attractions to work with in Lancashire in 2010 for more of the same…..

• receives its most ever visitors in a month
75,500 unique visitors! Also those visitors are spending more time per visit and looking at more pages each time they visit AND returning more times. Blackpool Illuminations, The World Fireworks Championships, World Volleyball and Lancashire Hotpot were the most popular search terms resulting in a visit to the website. If I tell you we would love to break the 100,000 visitor mark in August 2010 it would be really ambitious but doable?

•    Consumer survey conducted on
To do our planning for 2010 the most accurate way was to find out what the visitors think and what they would like to see as improvements. We were pleasantly shocked by the amazing results. So we’re planning for the tweaks which will be live by the end of this year.

•    Social Media Conference at Towneley Hall
After the successful series on Get Inline with Online Seminars we thought that it was time to move it on. Time to introduce some excellent speakers to talk about Social Media and it’s rise and rise. Thanks to the businesses that attended and have adopted some good practices since. Due to excellent feedback we will be hosting another of these in 2010.

•    375 visitors click on to from Lancashire Day tweets
We scheduled an early tweet for Lancashire Day on November 27th and it’s a good job we did! Over 200 people has clicked onto our website before 9am. Amazing. We’ve got some exciting events for Twitter in 2010 and would love to be generating this sort of traffic through to the websites of our businesses. Talk to us about your ideas…..

•    New branding guidelines implemented on
Consumer branding for VisitLancashire was adopted and reflected in the images and editorial of
•    Polling booking engine integrated on giving visitors a comparison online booking tool for Lancashire and Blackpool
Just before we ‘break up’ for Christmas this new development will go live to make it easier for visitors to get a real-time price overview of prices for their stay and to remain on to book. Watch this space!
•    Visitlancashire present at the Don’t Panic Strategic Social Media Conference as an example of best practice.
Being invited to speak amongst such auspicious names as McCann Erikson, The Guardian and The Conservative Party about STRATEGIC Social Media as a shining example of best practice was very exciting for us. As you can see, LBTB has embraced the rise of Social Media and is trying to stay at the forefront of developments. It seems that our practical talk about the nuts and bolts of what we do went down a storm. As a result we are taking Lancashire to London in April to show some London businesses how it’s done.

So it’s been a year of rapid website change, huge increase in editorial content, improvement of accommodation and event records, the upkeep of 2 blogs & 2 twitter accounts,  a youtube channel, a Facebook fanpage and a new industry website in the offing. An exciting, interesting and exhausting year. We hope that your business has benefited from some – or all – of this activity.

See you in 2010 – the year that will see the death of marketing.

Join us for the ride.

Sarah Lundy