VisitBrighton celebrates city's tourism successes
Over 100 people from 60 local businesses gathered last night (6 October 2014) to celebrate some of the city’s tourism successes over the past year. The networking event, hosted by VisitBrighton, the city’s official marketing tourism arm, was held at the Verano Lounge, Western Road, Brighton. A round-up of the unit’s sales and marketing activity to-date was presented by Howard Barden, BHCC’s head of tourism and venues.
Brighton & Hove attracts over 8.5 million visitors a year and tourism contributes an estimated £780 million into the local economy.
VisitBrighton works to promote the whole city as a visitor destination, both nationally and internationally, and currently has 430 businesses signed up to its partnership scheme which costs from £180 a year.
Partnership benefits include PR and marketing support from the VisitBrighton team, and a dedicated page on the VisitBrighton website which last year drew in over 2 million unique users. Many of this year’s VisitBrighton partners were also featured in 100,000 copies of a new Mini Rough Guide to the city - produced by VisitBrighton in conjunction with Rough Guides.
All subscription money is used to market the city through campaigns and press trips. So far this year, VisitBrighton has organised over 100 press trips which has resulted in press coverage with an advertising equivalent value (AVE) worth in excess of £4.5 million.
Titles such as the Huffington Post, Sunday Times, Irish Independent, Telegraph, Guardian Online, Daily Express, and Times of India have featured a raft of partner businesses including Terre a Terre, Brighton Pier, Drakes Hotel, the Sea Life Centre, Coal Shed, Bills and Komedia.
Upcoming campaigns include a dedicated micro site, www.christmasinbrighton.co.uk to promote the city for winter breaks and Christmas shopping and a countryside micro-site promoting the city as a base from which to explore the coast and countryside. The team is also already working with national tourism units VisitEngland and VisitBritain to capitalise on the Rugby World Cup matches being held in Brighton next September which will raise the city’s profile to potential visitors both within the UK and overseas.
Since January 2014, VisitBrighton Convention Bureau has won 54 conferences and meetings which will bring in excess of 30,000+ delegates to the city and deliver £42m in economic benefit on their arrival; a 17% increase on 2013.
Geoffrey Bowden, BHCC’s chair of economic development and culture, said: “It’s great to see so many representatives from local businesses at these events, which are there not only as a networking platform but as an opportunity for partners to share their ideas and questions with the team face-to-face.
“As most people are aware, council funding from central Government is reducing dramatically over the next four years and this will place even greater emphasis on collaborative working in the future.
“The good news for tourism in Brighton & Hove is that the council already has a strong vehicle in VisitBrighton and the partner scheme is a great example of successful, collaboration between the public and private sector. We now have more members than ever before at the half way point through the partnership year and this is something we will strive to strengthen for the benefit of the whole city going forward.”
Earlier this year the latest statistics from Tourism South East’s Economic Impact of Tourism Study showed that the city’s tourism industry had continued to prosper despite bad weather and a sluggish national economy. Trips where visitors stayed overnight hit 1.4m, up five per cent and the total number of visitor nights spent in the city rose by 7.5 per cent to 4.8m.
Figures released in May by the Office for National Statistics put Brighton as the 8th most visited town for city breaks; 50,000 more overnight visitors stayed overnight in 2013. ONS statistics also showed the city as the country’s most popular seaside destination for overseas visitors and in September (2014) readers of Conde Naste Traveller magazine voted Brighton and Hove the ‘Best UK city for restaurants and bars’ – ahead of London.
VisitBrighton is the official destination marketing body for Brighton & Hove and it is part of the city council. VisitBrighton.com was established to provide tourists with details of where to stay, what to see and where to visit during their stay. The website also provides exclusive offers and discounted rates on attractions, entertainment and accommodation.
Annual Partnership fees start from as little as £180 for a shop or £200 for a restaurant and members of North Laine Traders Association, Brighton Marina, Churchill Square, Hove Business Association, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), & Portas Pilot London Road, receive a 20% discount on their fees. New small businesses, less than 12 months old, also receive a 50% discount on their partnership fee.
Partners are invited to a range of networking events and launches throughout the year and can promote their special offers, run competitions and post guest blogs on the VisitBrighton site. Member businesses can also secure a listing on the VisitBrighton app, and city map - which is widely distributed around the city and at Sussex-wide tourism centres and Victoria Station.
Razak Helalat, owner of city centre restaurant, The Coal Shed, says: “I’ve been a VisitBrighton member since 2011 and have found working with the team to be immensely beneficial. We also get a lot of trade from tourists who have discovered us through the VisitBrighton website.
“The partnership scheme is very good value for money and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any business in the city, whether new or established. In fact I‘d go as far as to say, if you’ve not checked out what’s on offer you’re missing a trick.”
VisitBrighton Convention Bureau
VisitBrighton Convention Bureau promotes Brighton & Hove as a place to hold meetings, conferences and business events. The Bureau works on behalf of the whole city and offers impartial support to event planners throughout the organising process. For more information, see www.VisitBrighton.com/conferences