The Islands’ Partnership is pushing October breaks with special holidays, family half-term offers and travel deals in a bid to lengthen and strengthen Scilly’s visitor season.
It follows “Super September” whereby events have been organised and promoted for three of the four weekends – the Scilly Sea Swim Challenge and Russell Kane performing with Kernow King on Saturday 6th September, the Tresco & Bryher Food Festival on 13th/14th September and the Autumn Walk Scilly weekend 19th – 21st September.
With bookings already looking stronger for September, the Islands’ Partnership has worked with Isles of Scilly Travel to come up with some excellent travel deals for October – including flight and boat deals for couples throughout the month, and Kids Go Free at Half Term with two adults on the Scillonian III. This will no doubt be a popular move, too, with the many bird watchers who like to travel in October, as well as suiting those visitors coming on specially themed holidays including Creative Writing and Paint Scilly. And for the families wishing to travel at half term with the minimum of stress, they’d be hard pushed to find anything better so close to home!
All the details can be found on our Visit Isles of Scilly website.
IP members are being warned of a scam currently circulating which involves potential guests attempting to pay for self catering accommodation by bankers draft in Euros. Accommodation providers receive a considerable over-payment in the form of what appears to look like a genuine Euro Bankers Draft. It is an over payment due to the fact that the “company” for whom the “guests” work is paying for the entire holiday, including expenses, and the owner is asked to deduct payment for the accommodation (and flights) before transferring the “change” – i.e. their expense money – into an agent’s account to deal with the “paperwork”.
Members are being advised not to accept bankers drafts, and that if they do not take credit or debit cards, then to opt for PAYPAL or BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Service) as the safest and most efficient ways to receive advanced payments for Self Catering accommodation.
Memberships to the Islands’ Partnership are now due for renewal. The Islands’ Partnership Report for 2014, the Membership Application Form for 2015 and the Marketing Rate Card for 2015 will be delivered to your door by close of business on Friday.
If you have any queries regarding membership renewals, joining up for the first time or your marketing requirements, please do call us on 01720 424036, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into the office. We will have an open door to our office for the next two weeks – from Tuesday 26th August to Monday 8th September, inclusive.
The deadline for the completed forms to be returned is Monday 8th September. After that, we will not be able to guarantee inclusion of accommodations listings and advertorials in the 2015 Isles of Scilly Brochure.
A marketing survey undertaken by the Islands’ Partnership earlier this year has revealed that more than 4 out of 5 (81%) of our visitors chose to check out our website first and foremost to access information about the Isles of Scilly. Their second port of call – highlighted by 51% of respondents – was the website of their selected accommodation. 29% of respondents said they also referred to the new Isles of Scilly brochure for information and of those, 73% viewed it online. Nearly half of the respondents (48%) were regular Facebook users.
Articles read in newspapers and magazines, and coverage on TV programmes also proved persuasive, whilst the reputation of the Isles of Scilly and/or previous visits were the biggest influencers to those looking to come to Scilly.
In terms of what stood out in our marketing efforts, many respondents referred to the photographs demonstrating the beauty of the islands as the best overall promotional tool!
When asked how we could try to do things better, amongst the many comments, cheaper and more accessible travel options came out as a high priority as did the need for online accommodation availability and booking, more dog-friendly accommodation, and a wish not to change Scilly too much!
The survey was activated in February. The Islands’ Partnership asked accommodation sector members to email the survey to people who had confirmed bookings for this year, ensuring that the results were influenced by current marketing initiatives. There were 232 respondents in total, enticed by the prospect of winning £250 – a prize fund of £500 was put up by the Star Castle Hotel. The two winners were selected last week: Jane Luxton from Exeter and Karen Cox from Derbyshire.
“This survey came about because we wanted to understand better our visitors’ journey from when they thought about coming to Scilly to the point of making a booking,” says Amanda Pender, Tourism Coordinator, Islands’ Partnership. “Whilst the sample size is not great, the data is indicative of what we are hearing ‘on the street’ and there is also a great value in the free-ranging comments that were offered at the end of the survey. The new Visit Isles of Scilly website is fast becoming the bedrock of our marketing efforts, making it an invaluable tool for all businesses on Scilly, supplemented by our social media and PR efforts. The new brochure has also proven to be appreciated not just as a vehicle to book a holiday but also as a guide for people whilst here on the islands and as a souvenir of their stay. We are grateful to the accommodation providers who worked with us to gain this data,” she adds.
The full set of data from the marketing survey is available in the members’ only section >Industry Reports & Business Matters > Surveys > Marketing Survey
Scilly’s first ever Walk Scilly Weekend is taking place 19th – 21st September and details have now been posted onto the Visit Isles of Scilly website: www.visitislesofscilly.com/walkscilly
The weekend of themed and guided walks, plus a wine tour and an opportunity to experience seal snorkelling will be complemented by fine music from Duo Prospero and the Isles of Scilly Folk Group on two of the three evenings.
“We’re delighted to be hosting a Walk Scilly Weekend for the first time,” says Tourism Coordinator, Amanda Pender. “The success of this year’s Walk Scilly Week in April encouraged us to launch a special pocket-size autumn event enabling visitors to explore more of the islands with some of the most popular of our Walk Scilly guides. This is an invitation for walkers to make the most of Scilly in the autumn when our landscapes are bathed in gentler hues and birds migrating south begin to put in an appearance on the islands.”
The event is being promoted via social media, email marketing and regional public relations. Businesses on the islands are also being encouraged to promote the event, which is part of the islands’ Super September offering.
The Islands’ Partnership is promoting Super September as one of the best times to visit the Isles of Scilly – with children back at school, less busy beaches, and days that are still warm and long.
This September on Scilly is set to be extra special, as it’s packed full of fantastic events and activities.
On Saturday, 6 September, Scilly hosts the inaugural Scilly Sea Swim Challenge – 150 open water enthusiasts swimming between all the islands (approximately 15km in total) in just one day. Then, that evening, Scilly hosts two comic genii in one night – as one of the UK’s top stand-up comedians, Russell Kane, takes to the stage with his Smallness show, supported by Cornwall’s very own Kernow King.
The annual Tresco & Bryher Food Festival takes place this year 13 to 14 September 2014, celebrating the very best in local produce, producers, chefs and suppliers, with opportunities to learn about island beef rearing, sample local shellfish, ales, wines and ice-cream.
Then come 19 to 21 September, Scilly will host its first Autumn Walk Scilly Weekend, a spin-off of the hugely popular and successful weeklong Walk Scilly Festival, which takes place every April. Three days of 11 guided and themed walks cherry-picked from the most popular spring walks taking in the history, culture and wildlife of the islands, plus new trips including a guided walk to St. Helen’s, a wine tasting tour of the new Holy Vale Winery, a chance to watch the sunrise over the Eastern Isles and a seashore safari.
The month-long competition we ran with Escapism Magazine (ending 17th July) generated more than 10,000 entries (10,167 to be precise) – all names to be added to our growing database. It was one of the magazine’s best responses to any competition. The lucky winner is Euan Forbes from Cheltenham (a trainee accountant) who’s never been to Scilly before but who was inspired to enter because of our unique landscape and the fact he’d never been before yet it is so close to home! He’ll be enjoying a short break with a friend at the Hell Bay Hotel who, together with Isles of Scilly Travel, provided the prize.