Improving visitor destinations through best practice
One of the key underlying principles of all tourism operations (whether local authority, private sector or DMO based) is to provide high quality, cost effective tourism services. Performance management and assessment are key elements of a successful and effective operation.
Understanding your own performance and having the opportunity to compare it with other similar destinations, learning both from what has and hasn’t worked, provides destination managers with a sound basis for informed planning and decision making.
British Destinations manages and runs the annual Destination Intelligence survey, the only comprehensive benchmarking service in England and Wales. This gives destinations the opportunity to monitor their performance year by year and to compare it with others. The survey, which has now been running for more than 10 years, aims to capture the key destination data which is considered necessary to understand, monitor and manage performance and evaluate sustainability. This is supplemented by information from VisitEngland’s Destination Intelligence System providing a detailed picture of each destination. The process of collecting data around tourism spend, TIC and website performance, and environmental impact; comparing this with other destinations and sharing best practice allows destination managers to understand all the elements of their operation and help them develop relevant high quality services.
To back up the survey, participants also have access to a library of advice sheets developed by industry experts covering all aspects of destination management.
The data intelligence survey has developed over a number of years in line with the changing tourism landscape and to meet the evolving requirements of destination managers. In 2013 the survey was aligned to the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) which is being developed by the European Commission. Once this comes fully on stream it will allow for the comparative benchmarking of destinations across Europe. The ETIS indicators will also be adopted by VisitEngland as part of the implementation of their Wise Growth Action Plan.
Managing and making sense of tourism intelligence
Blackpool is obviously a place where we are very concerned about visitor statistics to the extent that we gather a plethora of statistics – some being driven by the Council’s Data and Research team and some coming from a marketing and event angle. The need to be consistent and to spend ever reducing resources wisely was our ambition. But who could we turn to in order to know what happens elsewhere, what is best practice and offer an impartial view about what would be best for Blackpool?
I contacted British Destinations and was offered excellent advice over the phone and by e-mail about who to contact and where to go for additional information. This alone would have helped us to focus and save money. But additional support was provided by British Destinations Chief Executive, Peter Hampson, who facilitated a workshop for all the various parties with an interest in the town. He provided an excellent foil and a level of knowledge that enabled our differences to be dealt with in one short session. The outcome for us has been a saving in costs of £7,500 per annum and a far more consistent message that works both from a member information point of view and for the new Marketing Team to understand more about our target markets. This contact alone more than justifies our subscription to British Destinations.
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Borough Council
Access the Destination Intelligence website from the drop down menu on the Destination Intelligence main menu tab above, or from here.