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Building a Tourism Strategy for a Town

Understanding the steps to take to attract Tourists

The Challenge:  Balbriggan is a seaside town in North County Dublin.  It was very badly hit by the recession in 2008, losing many of its industries, retail and hospitality units leaving the town struggling economically and socially.  A group of the townspeople wished to explore how they could make the town more attractive to tourists, gaining valuable footfall and income to boost the trade in the town.

 

What we did:  The work was carried out over two morning sessions with a group of people from businesses in the town and the local Council under the leadership of the local Councillor.   During the sessions we identified

  • Where were the target markets to attract Tourists from eg. Dublin City, Northern Ireland, Tour operators
  • Who are the types of tourist they wished to attract eg. Families, Sports events, Cultural enthusiasts
  • What are the Tourism Assets of the town and how could they be grouped to build a picture of activities attractive to each market segment
  • Who the stakeholders are that would be involved in developing the Tourism product and a communication plan to get their buy-in
  • The roles and responsibilities of the members of the group
  • A financial model for the strategy
  • What the marketing communications plan should look like including what they wanted the brand of "Balbriggan" to be associated with and how they were going to share the material.

 

The outcome:  The group had

  • Clearly defined the economic objectives of the tourism Strategy, namely to increase annual visitors by x%, increase the number of people employed in hospitality and retail and the consequent revenue they could expect to bring in to the town as a result
  • Identified the key pillars of a brand strategy for Balbriggan – 6C’s Culture, Countryside, Castles, Coast, Cuisine and Children and the words, colours and attributes that they would use to develop the brand
  • A Complete list of attractions and how they could be used individually and as a package to attract the desired target audience
  • The actions that would need to be taken to put the tourism strategy into place, such as maps, improved road signage, connections to other organisations such as Failte Ireland that could help with promotion.

 

The Benefit:  The group understood the essential components of the Tourism Strategy, the decisions that needed to be made and the actions that would need to be taken to get the Tourism strategy underway.  They had defined the components of the brand for the town they wished to create, as well as the content for the marketing communications plan for their target audience.  They also had the content to support their vision to bring to other stakeholders to get their input and buy-in via an internal communications plan.