Growing the visitor economy & attracting inward investment
A comprehensive new website to showcase Harrogate and the surrounding areas
Harrogate came to us with the following objectives:
- Improve the experience of using the site for our older audience
- Increase the amount of younger users to encourage engagement with the location and surrounding area
- Improve visibility of content for all users
- Simplify the engagement on devices for all users.
- Create a dedicated website for conference venue and business tourism in Harrogate
- Build an online audience through the creation of target pages for key search terms around conference/venue booking in Harrogate
- Generate and track enquiries for venue booking for members and partners listed on the Events Harrogate website
- Make it easy for users to search, refine and enquire about availability through intuitive multi-faceted criteria search tools such as venue type, number of delegates, venue layout and additional services.
Two websites, one CMS
The Visit Harrogate website had an established audience when the client came to us and broadly the brief was to protect and add to the audience and search authority the site already had. The Events Harrogate website was a brand-new site, identify its shortcomings and look for opportunities to increase visibility and attract new audiences. We had data to work with and used this to inform our thinking in conjunction with the client brief.
The Events Harrogate website was brand new site, with no established audience or ranking in search engines. We configured the DC Conference Venue Search module to provide the functionality required around venue searching and built a shortlist and enquiry feature which allowed users to create a shortlist of venues and send a single enquiry to multiple venues - with all the data being tracked in the background.
To avoid duplication of data and efficiency of use, both sites run from one centralised CMS, and our DC Conference Venue module provides a set of fields in the CMS which can be populated to drive the content on the frontend of the Events Harrogate website for any business providing venue facilities - meaning 'one business record' in the CMS serving multiple uses and avoiding bloat in the system.
Driving user engagement to aid visitor conversion
Without alienating the current 45+ audience the Harrogate team were keen to increase engagement with younger audiences. Our industry knowledge informed us that to do this we needed to drive more personalised experiences, giving each niche audience initiative, fast and easy access to content which meet their own specific requirements. We introduced several different content discovery tools to achieve this.
Using the DC Global Categories module, which groups together content from across the site into thematic interests, users can quickly get to all content related to a particular theme including businesses, events, blogs, and itineraries.
By adding the DC Location Categories module we’ve been able to create landing pages of each of the key locations across Harrogate to showcase the businesses, events, offers, blogs, and itineraries. Not only has this made it easy for users to see what is on offer in each location it also provides target pages for search traffic related to these locations.
The introduction of the DC Itinerary Entry Type feature provides users with a searchable database of pre-built itineraries to help inspire their visit. Itineraries can be filtered by thematic interest and by location as well as ordered alphabetically or by most recently added.
A password protected members login portal, and publically accessible events submission
Harrogate has over 500+ members and partners across its Visit and Events sites. Many have multiple businesses, and several have listings which span both sites. There is only small marketing team with responsibility for the website. So, adding the DC Business Login module as part of their package was an easy decision to make for Harrogate.
Each member has their own login which provides access to make content submissions for the website, with all content passing through a strict moderation and sign off process by the Visit Harrogate team before being published on the website.
The importance of events to the Harrogate region is well established, and the client wanted to ensure the site has the most comprehensive listings listing possible. So, in addition to the DC Business Login they added the publicly accessible DC Events Submission module to their package so that event providers who are not members can submit events for inclusion on the website. Again, all held in moderation for approval before being published on the website.
Modules installed include
DC Global Categories Module
DC Public Submissions
DC Interactive Destination Map
DC Location Categorisation
DC Business Login
DC Itinerary Entry Type
DC Tiered Membership Structure
- 39% of audience is between 18-34 - an audience Harrogate used to find it difficult to engage with and key success metric for the new site
- 50%+ of audience visit an event listing on the website - demonstrating the power and importance of comprehensive event listings and helping to inform campaign messaging
- The Search Results page is the 4th most visited page on the website - demonstrating how important inituitive search functionality is to the audience
- Facebook is the second largest source of referral traffic to the website, behind Google, but above direct traffic - demonstrating the importance this channel plays in driving users to the website, whilst post engagement is higher with Instagram it doesn't make it into the top 10 for referral traffic
- Turkish Baths, Harrogate regularly receives the largest number of outbound clicks from the website each month, alongside Betty's Tea Rooms - demonstrating the importance of these two attractions to the visitor economy
- Outside of Yorkshire & The Humber the East Midlands and The South East are responsible for the highest percentage physical visitors to Harrogate. 10% come from the East Midlands and 8% from the South East - an important insight for where to target tourism campaigns.
- 18% of venue searches result in an enquiry direct to the venue
- Featured venues generate x5 more enquiries than standard listings
- Venue Type is the most used filter, with 'Historical Building' the most used venue type filter
- Capacity is the second most used filter, with 'Less than 10' the most used capacity filter
- 86% of searches are UK based enquiries
- 14% of searches are from outside of the UK, with 6% coming from the USA.
"It was clear to me that DestinationCore had solved several of the problems we were facing daily with both their core platform and the add-on modules they had developed. It’s always felt like they are one step ahead of the industry - understanding the latest consumer trends, and working on solutions pre-emptively. The relationship we have developed in our time working together is positive, forward-thinking and solution driven."
John Light, eCommerce
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