End of Year Membership roundup and forward guidance for 2021

16 Dec 2020

End of Year Membership roundup and forward guidance for 2021
VS-membership_2.jpegDear Member,

As we head towards the end of a very difficult year, we just wanted to give you a really positive update, on Visit Somerset's work during these dark times, to ensure that Somerset can retain and grow its Visitor Economy in a new normal. We have heard a lot about how we have jumped headlong into a new time of digital development, as lockdowns have forced behavior change, transforming from what would have been over five years, to one, as people’s behaviors change drastically. 
It is no coincidence that we are unveiling the below details. The board has seen this time coming for some years. Our priority has always been digital, of which the planning on the below, has been 3 years’ worth of planning and strategic development.  Our objectives moving forward are simply based around the following, (below), supported by the new, 'phased', digital introductions, online and active (if not already) by March 2021. 

  • Increase Dwell time for members through integrating marketing and 'things to do' opportunities for Somerset & Bath.
  • Increase overall 'Return On Invetsment' for members for their annual membership
  • Increase marketing exposure through Visit Somerset channels in collaboration with the independent business sector in Somerset & Bath.  Seeing higher levels of engagement and returning customers.       
  • Taking on the Online Travel Agents
  • Using Advanced Technology to create a level playing field for our consumers to make a more informed decision, through greater engagement and dwell time.
  • Make our businesses as future proof as possible through digital upskilling and more effective dig.  
We haven’t been idle these last 9 months as we have continued, whilst monitoring our own future existence, to continue to serve our members, helping to future proof the County, moving Visit Somerset forward with a truly dynamic set of platforms, through www.visitsomerset.co.uk, www.visitsomerset/taunton.co.ukwww.visitsomerset.co.uk/edf and soon to be www.visitsomerset/bath.co.uk supported by our 54,500 social Media followers through, Linkedin, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram     
To that end we are delighted to be able to announce these further developments: 
Visit Somerset will be commencing work with Staylists in the coming weeks so that we can finally offer all of our accommodation members live booking through Visit Somerset. The first year we will be supporting  our members with a 1% commission fee and £3 booking fee per transaction only in an effort to begin combating the traditional OTA industries virtual monopolies More here

You will see on the site that we are now already offering an 'Experience Booking' platform that has been in operation for 8 weeks now. Work began at the beginning of the year with our provider Beyonk who have put in half million pounds of development funding into this software that we are using. Beyonk already work with the likes of GWR trains. More here

We are a Community Interest Company and as such we believe that we must strive to support our wide and diverse community. Therefore we have launched a Communities Page in conjunction with the Somerset Community Foundation. If you have any general community information that you would like publicity for, we would be delighted to support, having the information uploaded and, in some cases, pushed out on social. More on this here 

Secondly Visit Somerset is now offering a job vacancy service for all members. If you have vacancies that you would like help in publicising, then please let us know at info@visitsomerset.co.uk and we will start publicising your job vacancies, as part of your membership.  See the page here

Visit Somerset is delighted to say that in the New Year, we will be launching a new website for Bath working with our members at Bath Independent Hospitality Association and Bath Self Catering. More on this story here  

As we prepare now for the Spring and a better year than we have had currently, we want to ensure that you have as many opportunities to publicise your business to as larger target markets. We operate as part of our portfolio the EDF/ HPC site marketing Somerset and Exmoor to 25,000 workers and their friends and families - with possibly the largest Engineering project in Europe since the Second World war. More on this and how you can market this here    

Visit Somerset and Visit Exmoor would like to invite you to attend a series of workshops designed to motivate, inform and develop your leadership and strategic vision for your tourism business and the industry in Somerset and Exmoor more here      

A new partnership between North Somerset Council and Visit Somerset aims to cement North Somerset on the visitor map, more here 

We have a second new partnership with Mendip District Council now in development - See the news story here

The Launch of Visit Somerset's Big Data & Artificial Intelligence Strategy begins more here

Visit Somerset
to explore the Paranormal market as the DMO eyes up new markets to target.  more here 

Developments with our LGBTQ+ and Equality and Diversity Strategy are going to take a major step forward in 2021 as the appointment of a high profile sports personality will be announced in an effort to help our strategy of Welcoming all to the County of Somerset.  more here on previous developments and why it's so important to Visit Somerset.  ​

For anyone that needs personalised masks during this period of uncertainty supporting Goverment Policy - please #BuySomerset first and contact our new member Bath Theatrical Masketers first for all your branded mask needs. 
  • Other news in brief - we are planning post Pandemic to launch a Google Ad Word and paid social media campaign to increase our digital exposure and engagement. 
  • Early in 2021 the possibility of Visit Somerset piloting a combined accommodation and experience led booking system. 
  • Visit Somerset is also briefing into its web developers the developnment of a new E Commerce development to support our producer businesses. 
  • We are going to be employing a new Apprentice to support the increase in digital engagement 
  • A new digital consultant who also sits on our board will be joining to advise and support our social and Google Ad word campaigns in 2021.  
  • Through our relationship with Staylists and Stay in Bath, North Somerset Council and Mendip District Council we will be introducing over 600 new members to Visit Somerset - We would like to give all our new members a really warm welcome. Having such a huge diverse range of businesses through our digital platforms will really help increase our authority in Google giving our customers even more choice, reflecting one of the most diverse counties in the UK.   
  • New Webinars to support Somerset Visitor Economy will be launched early in 2021
  • Visit Somerset and Visit Exmoor will be joining forces through Somerset County Council to support and sign post businesses in the Visitor Economy in 2021 with a new exciting project supported by VESP the (Visitor Economy Support Program.) The project will look to give bespoke training related to brief 'needs analysis' that the DMO's will undertake before being sent to training providers, supporting our recovery.
  • Finally we are working as part of our data drive, to launch a Customer Relationship Management System,  with Sheep CRM, who many of you will have met at the 2019 Summer Conference at Haynes Motor Museum 2019.  Launching the project will mean that all our ongoing membership communications will be automated, all in line with GDPR regulations. We will keep you up to date as this important membership communication stratgey unfolds in early 2021.     

If you have any questions or queries, please do contact us and John or Giles @visitsomerset.co.uk 
Otherwise we wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for all your support during 2020 
We are very much looking forward to continuing preparations for recovery in 2021 and hope you can see that we are possibly better prepared than many for recovery.
Warmest Wishes 

The Visit Somerset Team     John, Giles & Toby  


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