LYME Regis Town Council has agreed to modernise its marketing strategy and throw out its traditional holiday guide.
In a bid to better promote the town to visitors, councillors have agreed to focus their efforts on a new, interactive map that would be linked to a website and app that could be used on mobile devices.
This would take the place of the traditional holiday guide, produced by the council for many years and posted to potential visitors, last year costing almost £25,000 in total.
Speaking at last week’s Tourism, Community & Publicity Committee meeting, Wes Dowell of the Lyme Regis-based design and marketing agency Coastline Creative, encouraged councillors to embrace a 21st century digital aspect in its marketing strategy.
Putting forward a proposal backed by committee chairman Councillor Jeff Scowen, Mr Dowell suggested that the council produce a fold-out A2 map, as well as maps in key areas of the town, such as car parks, which would feature sections focussing on different parts of the town to create a trail.
The map would be linked to a website and app via QR codes – special barcodes that you can scan with mobile phones.
He said this would help visitors to explore the whole town, promoting key features, events and featuring “fun, quirky videos” to encourage them to step off the usual tourist trail, learn more about its history and engage with local businesses.
Mr Dowell said the project could be “really eye-catching” and “completely different to what other towns are doing”.
The map, website and app would also provide advertising opportunities to cover some of its costs, as does the traditional guide.
Mr Dowell said the cost of the project would be less than the traditional guide, but was prevented from giving specific figures because the council would have to go out to tender for the project.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE, said he was “very much in favour” of the idea and described the traditional guide as “dead”.
“It’s tired, it doesn’t do the job, it’s of the 1970s and we’ve got to move on,” he added.
“I don’t believe it produces value for money for this town.”
Councillor Michaela Ellis, however, said she was concerned that the new map would not target people who were still deciding where to book their holiday, like the current guide, which is posted out to potential visitors.
“It’s a supplement to the guide which people can use when they are in the town,” she added.
Councillor David Ruffle said a traditional holiday guide was how people booked their holidays “50 years ago”, adding: “This is the modern age this is how we should be working.”
It was agreed to go forward with the new proposal, and the council will now seek to obtain three quotes for its production with a view to it being introduced prior to the 2020 season.