Brighton & Hove’s tourism website VisitBrighton.com has attracted more than a million visits this year. This is music to the ears of a flagging tourism industry but will the difference be noticed in the end of year accounts?
A million visits is a long way short of the 8 million people who actually visit the city each year but the rate of online growth is impressive at 50% year on year. And if these virtual visits translate into actual visits then the web site could do much to boost tourism and trade within the city.
The figures show that an average of more than 2700 different people are visiting the website every day. There is a golden opportunity here for retailers to link up with visitbrighton to redirect some of this traffic to their shopping sites.
The city made the shift to on-line tourism marketing at the beginning of 2005. This was considered to be a bold move at the time as a good deal of familiar printed literature disappeared entirely. However, there is no doubt that online marketing saves on costs and resources and if it proves to also be effective there will be no turning back.
The site is considered to be easy to navigate and liked by most visitors. About 92% of visitors to the site said that they were able to find the information they needed, and 91% said that their overall impression of the site was either excellent or good.
Tourism councilor Sue John says, “This is a stunning success for the city.We’re among the first cities to recognise that online marketing is the future of tourism, and our bold move to embrace new technology is paying real dividends in terms of local jobs and prosperity.”
Within the VisitBrighton website there are six ‘microsites’. As well as the main consumer section, there are also specialist sections devoted to the media, the travel industry, the conference industry and the learning English industry.
There is also a section devoted to the council’s tourism partners. In its first year of operation nearly 200 local businesses have signed up to the partnership scheme. They are benefiting from exposure on the VisitBrighton website and helping the city put together an irresistible package of entertainment, accommodation restaurant and travel options for visitors.
To make the website as user-friendly as possible an accommodation search facility has been added. Visitors can search for events by date. There are details of special offers, and of places to visit, shops, restaurants, travel and an interactive map.
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Brighton & Hove City Council