Season's Greetings & 2020 Review

6th December 2020

Categories: Our News

Well it's been a year like no other but as 2020 draws to a close it's a good time to reflect on what we've all achieved by working together and start planning ahead as we continue to navigate a course to the recovery of our industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly created challenges for us all but it's been encouraging to see how our DMO clients across the globe have worked tirelessly to keep their visitors and providers engaged and supported.  We can see distinct phases, from the first lockdown at the outbreak of the pandemic, when our destinations were focused on supporting their local businesses and keeping front of mind with their visitors, to more recent initiatives when tentative moves were made to welcome back visitors, with an initial focus on residents and local markets once the restrictions were lifted.

Throughout the year it's been inspiring to see our destinations continuing to invest and innovate by redeveloping sites, committing to new technology and formulating new strategies to support their audiences so that they can hit the ground running when the time is right. 

Here's a snapshot of some of the year's key events:

Making their debut...

Our first new site for 2020 aimed to inspire visitors with a sense of adventure to consider the African destination of Lesotho, the Kingdom in the Sky for a totally unique experience so we hope the resulting site delivered a compelling proposition. 

A bespoke site for the Isle of Man set out to leave visitors in no doubt that the destination has something special to offer, with its contemporary design, expansive videos and impactful imagery. 

We completed our trio by adding Christchurch to our portfolio of South Coast websites, following our development on the Bournemouth and Poole destination sites. 

A project for our friends at Acorn Consultancy was a diversion from our usual destination site focus but the versatility of our technology allowed the company to showcase the global reach of their clients over the last 21 years.

The brief for Visit East Yorkshire was to deliver an immersive experience to act as an antidote during the crisis, with stunning video and imagery to showcase the area’s beauty and wealth of potential.  We think we managed to pull it off.

Our template solutions continued to be a hit with our DMOs too.  In May we launched a major project for Visit Eastbourne utilising our Tourism Pro solution for the main visitor site, plus two dedicated channel sites for the Eastbourne Airshow and Conference Eastbourne and five events-themed sites.  Visit Colchester opted for the Essentials platform to seamlessly blend its thriving 21st century offer with its fascinating historical connections.  Meanwhile, the beautiful destination of Looe in South East Cornwall also tasked us with the development of an Essentials site to help the area to boost its online positioning and exploit its commercial potential.

And as we close the year, we've got the timely launch of our bold new site for the Outer Hebrides, featuring messaging themed around lifting the spirit and hopes of better times ahead.  The new go-to guide for Visit Essex has also been unveiled, together with some festive virtual events sites for Diwali and Christmas Markets in the Lake District & Cumbria and Peak District & Derbyshire.

Look out for more updates in the New Year on our newly launched sites for VisitRjukan, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and Portsmouth.

In the pipeline…

We were delighted to secure a major national project with Tourism Northern Ireland, which exploits Simpleview's full armoury of technology, including the development of the main tourism site, a golf channel site, a site dedicated to the destination's 'Embrace a Giant Spirit' experience brand and a MICE (meetings, events, conferences and events) business tourism site.

Visit Greenwich will promote the destination's unique offer to both the leisure and business markets in a quest to attract more visitors, motivate them to stay longer, spend more and return with their friends.

Visit Oldham’s refreshed new look will be a fundamental element for raising its profile and the ability to share product data with Visit Manchester is a great example of cross-DMO collaboration.

Visit Gloucester’s Tourism Pro site is currently in development and will replace their existing Essentials site to take the destination to the next level.

And finally the launch of a new site for the spectacular destination of Harstad in the North of Norway is imminent…

Campaigns in the spotlight...

We’ve seen lots of examples of our DMOs being innovative during the year and making the most of opportunities to promote their destinations to local markets predominantly. VisitLiverpool, Alto Piemonte Turismo and Go New Forest all had particular success.

VisitLiverpool’s ‘Love your Liverpool’ campaign sent out the message that summer wasn’t cancelled, it was just different. Local residents were encouraged to rediscover their city and support the local economy, with independent shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, museums and galleries all jumping onboard to galvanise support.

Meanwhile, Alto Piemonte in Italy was able to offer ‘buy one night, get two nights free’ vouchers and as a result generated an increase of over 8000% in visitor sessions to their site.

We had an opportunity to catch up with Anthony Climpson OBE, CEO at Go New Forest in September to find out how the destination had adapted its site to continue to engage with residents, members and visitors during the pandemic, with a resulting surge in website visitors and bookings and improved relationships with its members.

On standby for an events comeback...

The Simpleview CRM solution has continued to gain momentum throughout Europe as more conference bureaus prepare for the recovery of the events market.  

We had a chance to catch up with Liverpool Convention Bureau to find out more about their experience of using our solution.  Although it continues to scale with the organisation, it was great to see that increased efficiency for managing enquires, reporting and general improvements in relationships with partner venues were already being achieved.

Meet in Cheltenham was looking for a solution to manage every aspect of their sales and services processes so the Simpleview CRM fitted the bill and was complemented later in the year by the development of a new Meet in Cheltenham Microsite to support the recovery of the town’s vital business tourism market. 

Continuous innovation…

In June we announced the integration of TXGB (Tourism Exchange Great Britain) with our DMS and revealed how it will help our DMOs play a leading role in the recovery of their local visitor economies by generating bookings with their providers. Since then we’ve introduced the ability for our DMOs to include ticketing for their bookable attractions, with the first implementation just completed.  Look out for an update in the New Year...

In order to be able to identify opportunities for new development and streamline the new product launch process, we created the new role of Account Strategist a few months ago and appointed former Senior Account Manager, Sarah Harrington to the position.  

Looking to 2021...

As we approach 2021 we're feeling cautiously optimistic.  With vaccines in the process of being rolled out, there's light at the end of the tunnel at last and hopefully the projects that we've implemented (and those currently in progress) plus the support and guidance provided during 2020 have placed our DMO clients in the best place for a swift recovery and rebound. 

We would like to thank you all for your support throughout the year and wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2021. 

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