Ten tips for the successor to Welcome to Yorkshire to help grow the county’s tourism industry – Philip Bolson
I am deeply passionate about the tourism sector. More than all the people. Their tenacity, their creativity and their humanity.
The visitor economy touches most of our lives most of the time – often we don’t know it because we’re just attending a meeting, having a coffee, meeting a potential client or just spending a day with someone who cares to heart.
Every day, I talk to people in this sector. Those who invest, own, manage, are on the front line or aspire to work there.
The sector deserves a champion. A champion with a top table seat, not a footnote. We know the sector is in trouble.
My challenge is simple: are the decision makers brave enough to put it at the top of the agenda?
Below I outline my “10 point plan” to help “decision makers” get it right:
1. Go out and talk to people: visit, understand and show that you care. From the small café to the large hotel, from the trader to the large food producer.
From start-ups to big brands.
Developers and investors, don’t trust questionnaires, surveys, desktop reports, or what you think you know.
2. Involve young people in the discussion and decisions: Talk to those who have had the courage to start their own business and those who work there. They are the future and not us. You ignore them at your peril!
3. Find the right person to lead a new organization: Don’t hire someone who only has experience in the public sector.
If you do, you will fail.
Find someone who has significant experience in the visitor economy.
Creativity, ambition, the ability to share a compelling story, and someone who will “get things done” should be high on the list of job descriptions.
4. Get serious about the sector: not only in terms of economic value, but also how the sector supports the “custody” of buildings and the countryside, and especially the wider health (mental and physical) of people. people who work there.
If you’re serious, you’ll need an organization and someone at the top table ‘banging the drum’.
5. Make it an organization of influence and lobbying: Perception of the sector remains poor.
Government, local authorities, media, teachers and parents all need to be educated and influenced.
For example, the need to push for a permanent reduction in VAT, to improve infrastructure to get people to work, to reduce business tariffs, to help those who teach understand what really needs to be taught or facilitate access to subsidies for B2C companies.
6. Be very clear about what this organization is not: often a good starting point. For example, it is not about promoting individual businesses, cities or towns, or just being a marketing organization.
Amplify but don’t. If you think it’s just marketing, find an agency to do it and save some money.
7. Make the process transparent: share with us the plan, journey and “learning” as the review progresses.
I encourage you to act quickly, ask for help, keep it simple, and seek a new perspective.
The industry is waiting, the industry needs someone to cover their backs.
8. Develop a simple strategy: Of course, this cannot be done in detail until an organization is formed, but simple questions must be answered “in principle” – why does this organization exist , what is the organization’s vision, what will it do, how will it do it, who does it report to and how will its success be measured?
It should be clear, compelling, action-oriented and measurable.
9. Make it relevant: Any organization that is created must reflect the sector it represents – now and in the future.
It’s in terms of people, energy, ambition, diversity and the very essence of what it is.
Don’t spend a lot of money on it.
The skill, the culture, its “essence” will come from within – assuming you have it in place to succeed.
10. Be brave: Now is not the time to lack ambition or underestimate the size of the opportunity.
Find a way to create something truly authentic, impactful, and most importantly, loved.
The Welcome to Yorkshire team is gone, some may return.
It is also an opportunity to completely refresh yourself.
I’m intrigued by what happens next.
Who leads this discussion, who is around the table, what are they talking about, who has the last word?
We need to know, and I hope these 10 points will help Yorkshire leaders – and the wider tourism industry – do the right thing.
Philip Bolson led the Welcome to Yorkshire’s Ambassadors program and runs the business coaching firm Mr B Hospitality.
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