My parents came to visit recently, and as they have a car, we were able to explore more remote places of interest: over the last few days we’ve visited Charleston (the country retreat of the Bloomsbury Group), Berwick Church, Lewes Castle, the Anne of Cleves House, and numerous other picturesque little villages including Alfriston.
At the start of their visit, we only knew about Charleston and Lewes Castle – so how did we end up discovering so many other interesting places? Through the power of cross-promotion.
This flyer, Next Stop Alfriston, was on the tables in the Charleston cafe. They’ve used a very simple diagram to show nearby places of historic interest, along with an attractive photo on the front, while on the back of the flyer they sold advertising space to businesses from Alfriston. If you’re a more remote rural attraction, it wouldn’t be difficult to produce a series of these flyers, highlighting to tourists that there’s a lot to see in your area, while selling the space on the back to cover your costs.
On a tour around Charleston, where every surface is covered in murals or tapestries, the guide made sure to tell us about Berwick Church, which Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant had been commissioned to decorate, despite not being religious themselves. We made a detour to visit the church, then returned later on for a concert, following which we ate dinner in the village pub. We’d never have spent money in the local economy of this tiny village were it not for the enthusiastic encouragement we got at Charleston – and now I’m recommending the experience to even more people.
At Lewes Castle, we were told about discounted entry to Anne of Cleves’ House while they were having building work done, so we called in there as well.
We were also delighted with the free tourist map of the town of Lewes, which was cheerfully coloured and had line drawings of all the places of tourist interest. This was given to all visitors for free, and was again paid for by selling advertising space around the outside of the map. Does your town, city or village offer maps like this, and have you noticed the benefits of being included? You can track the numbers of visitors who active using the maps by running a discount offer on the map for people who come to your venue.
If you have any other successful strategies for drawing tourists in to your venue, please share them in the comments!