It is amazing how much goes on in Dorset! Heritage, literature, performances, museums, art… it is a wealth of culture that both attracts people to live and work in the county, and acts as an important driver for tourism, in that it gives visitors an impetus and reason to visit.
Over the last few months, we have been asking how tourism companies can learn more about these events and use them to draw in new visitors, making their stay in the county more memorable, and encouraging extra spend.
Where the connection sometimes fails is simply timely knowledge of what goes on in the county and when.
Culture+ Tourism Year Planner
What seems to be needed is a product to which tourism employees can refer without ploughing through leaflets and brochures, one that is easy to understand given that many tourism employees have English as a second language.
As a result, we have developed a simple wall-chart for tourism businesses, one that can be placed on the wall in staff rooms or behind reception desks, or kept folded as a reference document anywhere where customers and visitors might request information. This first version concentrates particularly on cultural festivals of all kinds, including food.
Download your free wall-chart planner here
What are the off-peak tourists doing?
One interesting result of this piece of work is that it clearly shows how these events are concentrated in the summer period. While this is not surprising many of the events are all or partially outdoors, it does beg the question ‘what are the off-peak tourists doing?’
This is particularly true of the period between Christmas and the beginning of April.
Should cultural organisations be prepared to exploit this period more?
An example of good practice can be found in Cornwall, where the Cornwall 365 project promotes the message that the county has something for everyone on every day of the year, no matter what the weather.
Dorset has just as much to offer, and it is up to the cultural sector to create and promote products to tourism businesses, so that they then pass on information to visitors. This of course has benefits for everyone – the visitor’s experience is enhanced as recommending local events is good customer care; and events themselves benefit from larger audiences and increased spend.
Image: The Shell by Bournemouth Pier as part of Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival, 2012.