Discover Reading, the Capital of the Thames Valley

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Simpleview has delivered a new, best-in-class website for the vibrant, metropolitan town of Reading to help to drive inward investment and visitor tourism.

Located on the River Thames and Kennet & Avon Canal, Reading was known for its beer, biscuits and bulbs in the industrial revolution and is now home to the UK's iconic Reading Festival and a growing arts and culture community boasting some of the best entertainment in the country. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Reading’s Economic Recovery Strategy, Powered by People, was launched by Reading UK in 2020,  focusing on rebuilding the town’s economy and supporting local businesses over the subsequent months and years.  A large part of the strategy focuseds on enhancing Reading’s reputation as a great place to live, work and do business, ultimately helping the destination to raise its profile.

To help achieve their objectives, Reading UK tasked Simpleview with the development of a robust website with an exceptional user experience, providing a more effective marketing tool to promote Reading as a first-rate destination for both visitors and businesses alike.  Simpleview’s Tourism Pro platform provides the optimum solution, with comprehensive features and functionality, plus the option to add more as and when required. 

The site’s design and content has been influenced by a recent review of Reading’s place brand, focusing on Reading’s story, its visual identity, tone of voice and brand positioning. 

Biscuit Town 2022 is prominent on the homepage, celebrating 200 years of Reading’s amazing biscuit heritage.  In 1822, one of the most famous names in baking, Huntley & Palmers biscuits, began life as a small baker’s shop in London Street, Reading.  Within 40 years, the company that created the Nice biscuit, Gingernut and the Bath Oliver was exporting its goods across the globe and Reading became known as Biscuit Town, home to the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world with cakes and biscuit names still known today. 

The Tourism Pro solution acts as an effective promotional platform for Reading’s busy year-round events programme too, featuring not only Reading’s headline festivals but also homegrown seasonal events including arts and exhibitions, DJs and clubbing, dance and film events.

The team has also worked hard on populating the site with content to reflect the quality of Reading’s shopping offer, from shopping centres and department stores to independent shops, plus food, drink and leisure facilities offering opportunities for shoppers to refuel.

The site leads on Reading’s visitor offer but a seamless link to the business offer will be provided via Simpleview’s industry channel site which is due to go live in July. 

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK comments: “Our new Visit Reading website represents the first phase of a new digital and place brand marketing drive, as part of our wider plans to showcase Reading’s exciting visitor offer.

Simpleview’s Tourism Pro platform has allowed us to significantly improve the user experience and navigation, as well as enhancing the functionality to better target our audiences. With listings for accommodation, things to do, shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as inspiration and tourist information, we’re confident the new site will become the go-to resource for people visiting Reading - be it for work, leisure, study or coming to see friends and family.

We look forward to continuing to work alongside Simpleview as we deliver our new business-focussed channel site this summer, with the aim of showcasing Reading as a first-class business destination, supporting the local economy and helping to attract inward investment to the town.” 
 

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