Bath Independent Hospitality Association (BIHA), Bath Area Self Catering Association (BASCA) and Visit Somerset create new Partnership   

07 Dec 2020

Bath Independent Hospitality Association (BIHA), Bath Area Self Catering Association (BASCA) and Visit Somerset create new Partnership   
Business Briefing
PRESS BRIEFING - ‘EMBARGOED' UNTIL Monday 7th December at 00:01
Bath Independent Hospitality Association (BIHA), Bath Area Self Catering Association (BASCA) and Visit Somerset create new Partnership 
Bath's two Independent accommodation associations, Bath Independent Hospitality Association ('Stay In Bath') and the Bath Area Self Catering Association 'Bath Self Catering’ are to join forces with Visit Somerset, the Official Destination Management Organisation for the county of Somerset in an effort to support the Independent Bath business sector, in a cost effective and proactive manner, helping to find new market opportunities through Visit Somerset’s extensive digital marketing experience.
Harry Tedstone Chair of Bath Independent Hospitality Association (Stay in Bath) has said:  
“As a membership organisation of 30 years standing, we have been overwhelmed by the goodwill and " can-do” attitude of those we have worked with successfully over the years. This new collaboration with Visit Somerset will enable us to create equality of opportunity for Bath’s many small independent businesses, through the use of cutting-edge technology, normally only available to large corporates, and will help us to put the independent sector of Bath at the forefront of the visitor experience in Bath!”
More about the relationship
The relationship will include the launch of a new micro site for Bath, new accommodation booking facilities, supporting new industry low commissions at 1% for accommodation and restaurant booking, together with a brand-new experiences platform, currently with 54 experiences - many of which are in Bath already. If this is not enough - Visit Somerset can announce the launching of a new Artificial Intelligence and Big Data strategy, based on e-commerce technology, so that finally consumer marketing decisions will be based on fact and not assumptions. The aim within 12 to 18 months will be to launch a personalisation strategy, so that Visit Somerset can create meaningful relationships with its million users annually.  
As part of the planning, Visit Somerset will be supporting and expanding the reach of the successful Bath Reward Card sponsored by Bath Building Society. The card’s dynamics will be extended into deeper Somerset, including many core attractions and hospitality venues. This will come online later in 2021.  The card’s first development will be to move towards a digital infrastructure, through mobile phones, Android and IOS. 
      John Turner the CEO of Visit Somerset has said; “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership in an effort to support the wider Bath Independent sector - connecting Bath with the wider Somerset economy. Our objectives are to increase dwell time for Stay in Bath and Bath Self Catering members, through an integrated digital marketing strategy, that finally we are unveiling after 3 years of Research and Development. This will be mirrored with supporting members to connect experiences and accommodation, with things to do opportunities beyond Bath into greater Somerset, which as we all know has a vast array of great things to see & do. Secondly we want to increase overall ROI for members of Stay in Bath, Bath Self Catering and more of the Independent business sector in Bath allowing them to enjoy marketing exposure through Visit Somerset's expanding digital channel integration. All this in collaboration with our digital experts at Simply Zesty, Staylists, Beyonk and Euopean partner, Instaroom".  
John went on to say; "We are going to be taking on the online travel agents (OTA’s) finally, using Advanced Technology to create a level playing field for our consumers to make more informed decisions on how and where they book. This will support our BOOKING DIRECT campaign – which looks to claw back some of the £100 million commission that the OTA’s take from accommodation providers annually, neither helping our national tax revenue, as the majority of the of the OTA organisations are off shore, nor our hard-working accommodation providers, who lose endless revenue in commission. With our help local accommodation providers will be able to start not only earning their income in Bath and Somerset, but also re-investing it into their local community by keeping their money in the local area. This will undoubtedly help support Bath Independent businesses become better prepared for the future, that has already arrived.
Alison Curran, Chair of Bath Self Area Catering Association has said:
We are delighted that this new partnership will allow our members to benefit from working with innovative technology companies and Visit Somerset to promote Bath’s vibrant Independent sector. As a director of Visit Somerset, a Community Interest Company, I hope this partnership will demonstrate what can be achieved when innovative thinking combines with modern technology for the benefit of the local community.
Staylists.jpgDavid Graham, Staylists Chief Commercial Officer, commented, “We’re elated with our impending partnership with Visit Somerset, Stay in Bath and Bath Self Catering, who share our user-centric approach. Innovation, guest insights and AI are at the heart Visit Somerset’s dynamic new website, while Staylists booking technology maximises the user experience. Given the current climate, this collaboration ensures Visit Somerset’s commitment to small businesses and the local economy.”

For further details contact:  
Harry Tedstone Chair of Bath Independent Hospitality Association (Stay in Bath)  01225 920520/ 07595427270
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