In the Spotlight Interview with Destination Bristol

12th February 2020

Categories: Our News

Back by popular demand is our 'In the Spotlight' series of DMO interviews which we last featured a few years ago. 

To kick start our 2020 series we've had a chat with Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism at Destination Bristol.  Kathryn explains what Bristol means to her, the destination's plans, challenges for the future and her experience of working with Simpleview... the solution and the team.

What do you love about Bristol?

I love the fact that Bristol is truly unlike any other destination.  There is such a diverse range of neighbourhoods, each with a different feel and character.  The independent spirit is thriving, but it is one that is collaborative, and everyone genuinely wants to work together for the good of the region.  The city has a challenging history and it is inspiring that this narrative – the story of everyone’s Bristol – is being told.

What three words would you use to describe your destination?

Innovative, unorthodox, creative.

Are there any facts which visitors don't know about your destination generally?

There are probably so many.  Bristol is a bit modest!  My favourites include that we are a UNESCO City of Film and the city region is frequently used as a film location.  Only Fools and Horses was filmed here as well as a wide range of period drama and sci-fi! It’s also the home of Aardman Animations.   Also, I love the things that were invented here – Ribena, the solid chocolate bar, the Plimsoll line, Concorde …

Which of the world's destinations do you admire the most for their marketing strategy?

I love what Portland, Oregon have done with their food and outdoors work which definitely influenced our work.  If you haven’t seen the Travel Oregon 360 then you really need to. New Zealand and Sweden always do great things. And I particularly love the Tourism Australia’s Super Bowl Commercial from 2018, which is a bit niche but very funny.

What do you perceive to be your biggest challenges for the future?

Sustainability and climate change will have a huge impact on the way people choose to travel. As well an innovation in technologies such as electric flight, we are looking at more immediate responses and where people can choose our region to maximise existing travel networks, support local suppliers and reduce their footprint while in the destination, whether by food choices or making it easier to give up plastics.

What are your favourite elements of Simpleview functionality (both from the DMO's and visitors' perspective?)

The flexibility of the CMS platform makes developing new content areas straightforward and the relationship between data in the PMS and the outputs in the CMS means that we can be innovative in developing digital campaigns without it being so onerous on the small team.

How do you see social media evolving (and how you use it) over the next few years?

At present we focus on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (as well as YouTube and Pinterest, but less so) but there will undoubtedly be new platforms.  Limited resources make it difficult to respond to immediate trends and much as we’d love a series of filters and to have a team producing Tik Toks, we have to be sensible about who is looking at the platforms.  We will remain flexible and use channels to continue to distribute content.  Social media referrals to the website are increasing, and we try to continue to innovate.  

Does your destination have a sustainable tourism strategy in place?

We are continuing to develop this as it is part of our core message.  Bristol was the European Green Capital in 2015 and so sustainability has been at the heart of most of our work.  It is a key part of our destination management plan.

What has been your most successful (or favourite) marketing campaign to date?

We tend to deliver more traditional campaigns against key seasonal periods, with more content led campaigns through development of evergreen content, rather than short term pushes.  I really liked our last summer campaign which included a launch event with influencers, media and businesses.  It was a gorgeous day and we had some fabulous photos.  As always, we had phenomenal support from businesses which make it extra special.  I am particularly proud of our work on developing food and drink content, which is ongoing, especially our Food Friday blog posts.

I am also proud of the creation of Experience Bristol and Spooky (now Haunt) Bristol as these began as conversations within the team to try and create better opportunities for the businesses we work with.

How do you see the expectations of your visitors evolving over the next few years?

In 2018 we won ‘rising Star Destination’ from National Geographic and I am not sure how much longer we can continue to be the ‘Rising Star’.  As Bristol is recognised increasingly as a visitor destination, so people will expect more.  There is a phenomenal amount of hotel and infrastructure development happening and so we have to support as well as ensuring we give smaller businesses the opportunity to have their voice heard, supporting them to develop and grow.  Distinctiveness in the marketplace will be everything.

What do you particularly like about working with Simpleview?

Having worked with the team for more than 15 years, I like the fact that we can continue to challenge them with ideas and suggestions and that we always receive an overwhelmingly positive response.  The Simpleview team are always helpful and it is very much a partnership. It has also been important for us to listen to the Simpleview team where they may have suggestions as to where we might improve.  Constructive criticism is useful when it comes from the experts.

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