As HS2 edges closer to becoming a reality, towns and cities along its proposed route are naturally benefiting from investment and regeneration. The same thing has happened with Crossrail. New rail lines mean more footfall and more footfall means more opportunity for businesses. Businesses, we have it on good authority, are big fans of opportunity.Good transport links are, of course, key to the success of destination-based businesses, like residential or leisure schemes. If they’re not easily accessible, they simply won’t get visitors. Of course, accessibility is only half the battle. Not only do people need to be able to get to a destination easily, they need to know about it in the first place.
Here’s where destination comms comes in, incorporating aspects of destination marketing and destination PR. All of these things really just boil down to telling people about your hip and happening place. So, listen up Leeds, Toton, Crewe, Wigan et al. Here’s how to make sure people know about all those shiny new destinations in your shiny new regeneration areas!
Talk of the town
You might be trying to attract a new crowd to a regenerated area (right Wigan?! With that fancy new performance venue you’ve got planned?!) but don’t forget those who are already there. Public consultation events, where residents and business owners can speak to the development team one-on-one help locals to buy in to the plans, feel part of it and even help shape what it will look like further down the line.
Power of the press
Some places that are set for regeneration are stuck with historically negative stereotypes (mentioning no names). Changing people’s perceptions of areas doesn’t happen overnight, but building a steady profile in the media can start to reshape those perceptions.
Work out what is that will make your place special or unique. Maybe your development was built on the site of an old prison, or your new airport on the site of a 7,000-year-old alien interplanetary spaceship launcher. These interesting details are the hooks that news stories can be built around, with the subsequent publicity able to be used to help paint a positive picture of your destinations, town or cities.
Stats and figures
Regeneration will usually involve numbers…lots of numbers. How many years will it take? How much will it cost? How many jobs will it create? How much investment will it bring to the area? How quickly can I reach point A from point B? You’re how much over budget?
It can all be a lot to take in – but it can also tell a great story. Those sort of stats can be the basis for press releases, infographics and videos, all of which can help to get your message across to the people you want to speak to in an easily absorbable format for today’s tech savvy audiences.
Show off what you’ve got
Having a positive media profile is a great position to be in, but sometimes seeing is believing. You can show off your destination by hosting events, such as for networking, food festivals or gigs. You can also show off your venue to people who might not be able to visit, using CGIs, virtual reality 360s, videos and images. These add extra interest to a journalist or the general public, rather than just a stand-alone news items.