Big Plans For Scilly’s New Tourism Website

simply scilly website 2013It’s too early to measure whether the new official tourism website is increasing enquiries and bookings, but the Council tourism staff say it has the flexibility to keep up with the latest online innovations, unlike the site it replaced.

The Simply Scilly website was revamped in December and when fully developed, will be able to interact with social networks like Twitter and the photo sharing site, Flickr.

A set of videos commissioned following £12,000 grant investment are also embedded in the new site, which will accommodate YouTube video uploads.

But staff accept that there are still some teething problems though.

Fran Grottick has written to the TIC with examples of how the search facility appears to be faulty. When she searched for St Mary’s accommodation, for instance, Tresco’s New Inn was returned as a search result.

Sophie Hughes says the TIC team are keen to iron out any glitches in the site and want locals to check their entries and flag up what may need tweaking.

The Tourism and Business Partnership, the public and private sector body replacing Island Marketing and Island Tourism, was established around a year ago and has officially taken over the tourism marketing role. But revamping the official website has been managed by the Council’s TIC team.

Julian Pearce says this is due to an existing contract with South West Tourism, which doesn’t finish until later this year, and the fact that the partnership has a lot of other activities to organise.

He said the Council has provided a good platform that the partnership can build on in the future.

The website has been live for just under a month and Julian says it’s too early to say if it’s resulted in increased activity and viewings.

Christmas and January have traditionally been the time when people start to book holidays for the summer, but Julian says that pattern has been changing over the last few years, with more people booking later.

But the videos on the site have already reached over 10,000 viewings.

Julian says future plans will see the introduction of a private Tourism and Business Partnership members’ forum, where issues and grievances can be aired in a password protected area where the visitors can’t go.

Meanwhile the delayed Tourism and Business Partnership newsletter is expected to be distributed soon.

On December 3rd, chairman Chris Gregory told us he has signed off the final proof before it went to the printers.

4 Responses to Big Plans For Scilly’s New Tourism Website

  1. Louise Graham January 9, 2013 at 5:18 am

    It is with great interest that I follow developments vis a vis our tourist industry and our Island community and economy in general.
    Given that more than 85% of economy is based on tourism it is quite astonishing that the councils energies have been so totally unfocused on this over the past few years.
    The demise of the helicoptor has been coming for some years, knowledge of the unreliability of the grass runway at Lands End in wet weather is not a new phenomenon although the higher rainfall averages maybe. (Although the effects of the Greenhouse effects have been flagged up for decades by environmentalists.)
    Issues with the St Marys airport and runway (which is under council management) apparently came as a complete surprise to councillors
    We have not had a Tourism Officer for the past two years and now it would appear that this position will not be filled for yet another.
    Is it a coincidence that ‘numbers’ were down during 2012 or a result of not having a tourist officer working to promote our Islands during this difficult economic time?

    Given that all our jobs in Scilly (including those working for the council) depend on tourism surely hiring a high calibre Tourist Officer should be one of the highest priorities. The new tourism partnership reported that despite advertising the position and interviewing they could not agree on a suitable candidate. Surely, you re-advertise instead of sharing the work out to staff who are already over stretched.
    It appears that the Good Ship Tourism that carries our livelihoods in its hold is a leaky ship foundering in stormy seas – with no Captain.

  2. Afraid to put my name January 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    What’s the point in having a world class website, when we still have third world travel links?

    I bet the North Pole has a cracking website as well.

    • al January 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Exactly. Everyone understands that the cost of Travel to the islands has become increasingly daunting but now visitors have to face what only looks like chaos with the unreliability of Lands End, the axing of services to Southampton and Bristol together with the inability to communicate accurate and up to date information about delays. This needs remedying quickly.

  3. Stavropol January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    They really need to spend big on some seriously good SEO company with proven results in south west tourism. It is by far the most productive form of advertising, through google etc. Our business would have struggled to exist with out it.