VILN Tourism BID Achievements
VisitInvernessLochNess Tourism BID was developed to build on the strength of the local tourism industry by bringing Loch Ness, Inverness and the surrounding area together as one destination to better compete with other destinations nationally and internationally.
Following the ballot in March 2014, good progress has been made by the organisation towards achieving the aims of the 5-year Business Plan. Details of the progress are outlined in our annual update presentations which can be viewed by following the links below.
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Below are listed some of our key TBid achievements to date, for your reference.
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Visit Inverness Loch Ness – Key Achievements
- Securing £2M for the international marketing of Inverness & Loch Ness by VisitBritain. Make no mistake, Danny Alexander, the Sec. to the Treasury in 2015 would not have been able to ring fence this money for the area in the budget if the organisational structure of VILN was based on voluntary membership rather than the BID legislation.
- Having secured the £2M, the second achievement has been for VisitBritain to maximise the benefits to the area of this spend through close collaborative work with VILN. They have provided the marketing skills, VILN have provided the local knowledge and facilitated activities in the destination. The aim of the campaign is to generate ROI of 9:1 and generate an additional 2.03M tourism spend in the area. Measuring the ROI is extremely difficult but based on the reach of campaign activity we know that the campaign activity to date has been very successful. Some key statistics:
- 2016/2017: Social media reach in all markets was far in excess of targets: Germany – target was 250K reach, actual 1.28M. France – reached 1.42M. Netherlands – reached 365K
- Overall the PR & Media campaign reached 7M, there were 45K competition entries and 152K visits to the I&LN landing page on VisitBritain
- Since the campaign began in 2015 we have facilitated 40 + trips of bloggers/influencers/ media to the area with over 170 attendees
- Since the campaign began in 2015 we have been able to attend 10 international travel trade events at which we have had over 480 appointments
- VisitBritain bringing the Social Travel Summit to Inverness in 2016. Without the close collaborative working between VILN and VB this would never have happened. It brought 48 of the world’s top influencers to the city for three days. The hashtag #STSInverness generated more than 54 million ‘opportunities to see’ across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (source: Brandseye.com, period: 1 Sept. – 10 Oct. 2016), with a reach of 5 million Twitter accounts alone. This equals an advertising value in excess of GBP 700 thousand (source: Brandseye.com)
- Securing £250,000 of additional funding for completion of the South Loch Ness Trail. Completion of the trail later this year will enable the marketing of a ‘Loch Ness 360’ trail for walkers, with potentially massive economic benefit to not only Loch Ness but the wider area
- Delivering Knitfest 2016, the first international knitting festival to be held in Inverness. The event attracted over 1100 people from over 20 different countries and had an estimated economic impact locally of £450,000. Knitfest was passed to private operators for 2017 and with public sector backing based on the success of 2016, the event looks like becoming a mainstay of the Inverness event calendar in September
- Achieving World Host Destination Status. In May 2017 Loch Ness & Inverness became only the second destination in Scotland to be awarded this prestigious status thanks to the work of VILN and member businesses who undertook the customer training programme. To achieve the award VILN ran 22 day courses over a 14 month period, 240 persons undertook the training and 53 businesses in the area were, as a result, awarded World Host status
- Establishing a strong online presence for the destination. The website visitinvernesslochness.com presently averages over 30,000 unique sessions per month. (when established in 2015 the average was less than 12,000 per month) The VILN Facebook page has presently over 31,000 followers.
- Establishing a strong destination presence at VisitScotland EXPO. In 2018 the VILN stand, promoting Inverness & Loch Ness will be 60msq. with 9 members on the stand. In 2017 at EXPO VILN won two awards – Best Destination Area and Most Effective Stand for Doing Business
- Securing long term funding support from the public sector to ensure that VILN has not only been able to employ a Business Tourism manager but also that the destination thus now has a presence at all major national and international BT events promoting the area to conference and event organisers. BT is worth almost £2B to the Scottish economy, and for the first time Inverness is getting a share of this lucrative market. Since July 2016 VILN has assisted 20 event/conference organisers of which 11 have subsequently come to Inverness
- Producing a simple ‘What’s to See and Do map’ that everyone wants! There are countless maps available for visitors but only one that really meets visitor requirements in the destination. One that shows who and where all the attractions/restaurants etc are in the area and how long it takes to drive/walk to them! In 2017-2018 160,000 were printed. The map is also self sustainable with funds from a limited amount of advertising.
And delivering on what we said we would do!
- Marketing: delivered on 8/11 activities specified in the Business Plan
- Business Tourism: delivered on 4/4 activities
- Business Development: delivered on 5/7 activities
- Access & Infrastructure: delivered on 2/3 activities
- Events & Festival: delivered on 2/4 activities
- Act as voice for the local industry on issues of concern: Brexit, Inverness Artworks Project, the Castle Project
Where we have not delivered there have been good reasons why not.
And of course we have delivered on all additional activity associated in particular with VisitBritain but also the Digital Tourism Scotland Programme.
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