Visitor Experience and Marketing Officer
Judy joined the local authority just under a year ago as the Councils Visitor Experience and Marketing Officer and has brought a fresh approach to tourism in Worthing.
With the aim of bringing marketing in line with the changing demographic of the town - successes to date including developing a good relationship with visitor related businesses, introducing the new Discover Worthing branding, the launch of the new Discover Worthing website.
At the weekend you'll generally find Judy outdoors - swimming in the sea, cycling or walking on the South Downs.
11th August 2017: Berlin, Copenhagen, Barcelona & now Worthing - welcome Donkey Bikes
You've heard all about them - you've seen them dotted around the town (they're bright orange so you can hardly miss them). Yes, we are proud to announce that Donkey Bikes have now officially landed in Worthing.
Joining a star studded line up of cities including Berlin, Barcelona and Copenhagen, Worthing has joined the bike sharing revolution with this 24/7 app based Bike Hire scheme.
already we've smashed through the 100 user mark. If you haven't already taken one of these little beauties for a spin then - what are you waiting for? These bikes are brand new, super comfortable and easy to ride and yours for only £6 for 2 hours.
Even better if you pick up a copy of the Worthing Herald during August (next week) you'll find a discount code for a further 25% of the hire cost.
To unlock and book your bike simply download the Donkey Bike app and turn on your Bluetooth - the bike locations will pop up on the map - the Lido, Pavilion Theatre, Steyne Gardens and Windsor Road Shelter.
Choose how long to want hire the bike for - 2 hours, 4 hours or longer, as you please. Once you've put in your personal and card details, to unlock the bike simply follow instructions and hold your phone to the bike lock and with the wonders of technology - bingo! you're away ...
As locals you'll know how great Worthing is for cycling but if you are stuck for ideas we've put lots of inspiration on the Discover Worthing website, with routes to suit all abilities and appetites - west to the West End Café or east to Shoreham and up to Bramber Castle or onwards to Brighton.
Don't forget the prevailing wind generally blows from west to east but if you run out of steam you can always pop your bike on the train home! Simples!
4th August 2017: Instant success in connecting with millennials
Welcome back to my blog about life looking after tourism in Adur & Worthing.
One of my main jobs is to make sure that people know what amazing things our area has to offer.
That means reaching out to people in all sorts of ways, whether it's online, through the media, posters at train stations or other forms of advertising.
In last week's blog I looked at the continued importance of more traditional methods of tourism marketing for those groups without internet access.
Whilst this is still an important area of work there is no question that the digital revolution of the last 10 years has transformed the travel industry at every level.
Millennials - those aged between 18 and 34, who are now officially the largest generation in history, have grasped the 'digital bull by the horns' and when it comes to travel and tourism they relish the choice and independence they now have when it comes to making travel decisions.
For destinations like Worthing, joining the digital revolution is crucial to changing perceptions and meeting new audiences head on.
With 97% of millennial travellers posting their travelling experience on social networks, the importance of linking in with the opportunity to inspire and influence is there for the taking.
New for Worthing's visitor economy in 2017 and with an ever growing number of followers is the Discover Worthing Instagram feed.
Instagram has become the go-to platform for visual storytelling and now has a worldwide community of 500 million people.
For Discover Worthing, Instagram offers an opportunity to curate content - images of independent art, outdoor activities and foodie hotspots link with 2017 national travel trends and allow the town to speak for itself.
Encouraging local people to use #DiscoverWorthing enables visitors and residents to tell the story on our behalf.
If you haven't already then do follow us on Instagram and when you're out and about enjoying Worthing life don't forget to spread the word and #discoverworthing.
Follow us at this link - www.instagram.com/discoverworthing/
Image: Discover Worthing Instagram web page
28th July 2017: Visitor information in a changing landscape
Welcome back to week three of my blog.
In week one of my blog we recognised the changing demographic of Worthing. Invariably as the demographic of the town's residents changes so too does the demographic of its visitors.
While Discover Worthing is embracing new younger audiences the importance of traditional older visitors to the town cannot be underestimated. For these groups and those without access to smart phones and tablets the importance of traditional tools, such as printed leaflets and guides and a good bit of real life customer service, cannot be underestimated.
In an increasingly digital age and with the demise of the traditional Tourist Information Centre, meeting the needs of these groups can be challenging.
But work to improve visitor information provision for these groups both at the planning stage of their visit and in the destination is now underway.
Steps in the right direction include a user survey recently undertaken by the councils' contact centre staff to evaluate calls to the Tourism Golden Number.
Gaining a better understanding of user profiles and types of enquiry will ensure that in future staff can be armed with a toolkit of FAQs, accommodation listings, printable events guides etc. - making life easier for staff and hopefully resulting in happier customers.
Work is also underway to improve Visitor Information Points. These play a vital role in providing information particularly to older visitors.
Making existing facilities more user friendly is key, but with shrinking resources the importance of building relationships with other venues in the town happy to hold visitor information is equally important.
Ensuring entry points such as the station and Stagecoach office are covered and that accommodation providers are armed with Discover Worthing leaflets and guides means visitors can start planning their visit the moment they arrive.
Work has also now started on a new Visitor Guide for Worthing - ensuring this is both inspiring and informative but not so dense as to incur enormous postage costs will be a fine balance.
The Visitor Guide will be the jewel in the crown of our printed toolkit and will be distributed across South East England and beyond. Keep your eyes peeled for the launch for the Discover Worthing Guide this autumn.
21st July 2017: Changing perceptions of Worthing
Welcome back to week two of my blog.
I thought this week I'd write about an overarching theme of my job as Visitor Experience and Marketing Officer which focuses on changing perceptions of Worthing, in particular promoting the town to new younger audiences.
Replacing the old Visit Worthing branding with Discover Worthing has been a key element of this.
Starting from a blank sheet to create a new logo can feel daunting, but following consultation with local businesses and working closely with the designer, I have to say I'm really pleased with the way the new Discover Worthing branding has turned out - it is everything I wanted it to be: simple, clear, bold, modern.
Prior to the launch of Discover Worthing (DW), Visit Worthing had been the council's visitor branding for many years. The importance of phasing out the old brand and bedding in the new one cannot be underestimated and takes time and commitment.
Building brand awareness (the extent to which a brand is recognised by potential customers, and is correctly associated with a particular product) is key.
Since the official DW launch (alongside the new website at the end of May) I've been working on spreading the word.
Events are a great high profile way to promote a brand and if you made it along to this year's Street Velodrome you'll have seen the DW branding on trackside banners and competitors shirts.
Following discussions with accommodation providers we've also just printed DW bookmarks which will be included in room information packs for guests - a simple low cost idea which points visitors to the Discover Worthing website on arrival. Work is also underway to improve DW signage and branding at the Visitor Information Points.
Do also keep an eye out for DW advertising on platforms up to London.
Again big, bright, bold these display the branding alongside images linked to our summer campaign - family stand up paddle boarding, walking on the South Downs and Kitesurfing all tell a story about Worthing as an outdoor active, family friendly town with fresh air, space, sea and the Downs.
Talking of South Downs - if you haven't been to Cissbury Ring recently put a date in your diary and get up there. It's perfect for a picnic, with far reaching views down to the sea, wild ponies and, if you are into foraging, look out for the tiny but delicious wild raspberries tucked away in hedgerows.
14th July 2017: Discover Worthing and 'Donkey Bikes'
Hi! I'm Judy. I started as Visitor Experience and Marketing officer just under a year ago and have grasped the opportunity to start a fresh with the councils tourism offer. Creating new connections has been key to uncovering a real sense of pride and energy in the town - my role is about harnessing that energy and creating a collective brand identity that shouts “This is Worthing - come and explore” ... and puts us back on the map.
They say variety is the spice of life and when it comes to work I reckon that's definitely true - my role is so diverse but it's the opportunity to be creative and to put new ideas in the practice which is most rewarding.
In May this year we unveiled the new Discover Worthing branding and website.
Last week to keep the ball rolling we launched 'Donkey Bikes' (Thursday, 29th June 2017), the first town on the south coast to get an app based bike hire scheme up and running. The bikes are a joy to ride - bright orange, massive comfy seat - make you feel like Mary Poppins.
So - launch day and nothing like a live radio interview at 7.40am to get your day started - I get a thumbs up from 12 year old daughter Flossie who it turns out has been earwigging at the door. “You did talk rather a lot mummy she says”!
We get some great PR from the launch and particularly chuffed that local business reps turn out to endorse the launch - collaborative working is fundamental to the success of all this work.
Supporting the needs of existing businesses is an equally important element of my job - I spend much of the afternoon chatting to a guest house owner, providing support and advising her of possible ways to bring her marketing in line with current on line trends.
A last minute place in Brighton's 1.5km Swim Round the Pier rounds off the week - don't think I've swum that far since I was about eleven - a shiny medal make it all worth it !
Photo: Tara Page, Emily Wilson and Zara Black recreate 'Wish You Were Here' to help launch Worthing's new bike hire scheme
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