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An end-of-financial-year statistical review of the Islands’ Partnership’s destination marketing initiatives for the Isles of Scilly has demonstrated healthy improvements compared with the 2014/2015 year. The VisitIslesOfScilly.com website continues to play a huge role in Scilly’s marketing efforts, increasingly supported by email marketing, social media channels and brochure distribution.

For the Visit Isles of Scilly website, there was a 14.5% increase in the number of users in 2015/2016 compared with 2014/2015 to 430,128 in total. The number of sessions increased by 17.7% to 661,890 in the same period. Of these sessions, 72% came from organic searches, i.e. not from advertising initiatives, compared with 69% in 2014/2015. There was a marked increase in the number of brochure requests direct from the website – up 41% in 2015/2016, with 11,707 forms completed.

Mobile friendly websites now essential

For the first time last year, the use of mobile devices to access the website surpassed those using a laptop or desktop: 53% compared with 48% in 2014/2015. This trend is anticipated to accelerate further and more rapidly in the near future. For individual accommodation providers with listings on the Visit Isles of Scilly website, there was a 49% increase in 2015/2016 over 2014/2015 in the number of accommodation enquiries. In total 7,669 accommodation enquiry forms were submitted last year.

Social media, email marketing and brochure distribution have all played a key role in supporting the website and driving traffic to it. Recipients of the monthly Visit Isles of Scilly consumer email have increased by some 20,000 in the last 12 months; in March the emailer went to some 47,000+ recipients – all “qualified” names on the Isles of Scilly database who have requested to know more about Scilly or who have entered competitions run by the Islands’ Partnership. In total, Visit Isles of Scilly email campaigns last year generated 26,066 visits to our website, up 38% on 2014/2015.

Social media meanwhile, and in particular Facebook and Twitter, has also generated a 2.8% increase in traffic to the Visit Isles of Scilly website – to 14,599 visits in the last 12 months. Facebook “likes” increased by 61% to 10,866 by the end of March 2016, @ScillyTIC followers grew by 30% to 2,837 followers, and @VisitIOS 61% to 3,636 followers.

In the first quarter of this year, some 12,000 Isles of Scilly brochures have been distributed to individuals requesting it, and a further 3,000 have been distributed strategically via Tourist Information Centres. Furthermore, a few hundred have been distributed at overseas marketing shows, trade events, or used for PR purposes and amongst partners etc.

“Our destination marketing initiatives continue to work very well for Scilly and for our member businesses," says David Jackson, Executive Director, Islands’ Partnership. “In the last 12 months, the IP has worked hard to enhance further our proposition for Scilly - extended the channels, and created new content and refreshed videos for our website, putting in place highly targeted PR and advertising, new research and insight and, of course, our year of festivities. “Search by availability” functionality for VisitIslesofScilly.com is about to be introduced, too, as well as new templates to improve content further.”

Businesses to get individual reports

Starting this month, the Islands’ Partnership will also provide members with individual quarterly reports and performance statistics for their business advertising listings on the Visit Isles of Scilly website and a comparison with the website’s overall performance. “We are keen for business members to understand the power and true value of the Visit Isles of Scilly website, whilst also helping them to make the most of what consumers are looking for,” concludes David.