LETA Agenda | April 2018 | TIC Supplemental

  • Attendance: Susan Bingham, Jason Broughton
  • Apologies: John Tuck

We met to discuss the current issues, viability and ongoing potential of the TIC (Tourist Information Centre) for Lynton & Lynmouth.  

The TIC has been operating in Lynton & Lynmouth for many decades, with Susan played an integral part for over 25-years.  It was originally a council-funded, audited and networked TIC but over the years has become an unfunded, subsidised, cash-poor limited company operated solely by Susan.  In its hay day (2000+) it was a finically rich and thriving operation providing a central hub for accommodation bookings in the Lyn area.  

As it stands now, the ‘business’ is financially unviable. It is unable to sustain itself without rent subsidy, donations and volunteers to assist with daily operations.  The TIC has several revenue streams, but the total yield is still insufficient to ensure 100% solvency.

Accommodation Providers (APs) (Local B&Bs)Commission for Accommodation Bookings (Eviivo, B/Com)Car Parking TicketsFishing PermitsReciprocal / Affiliate Links (Marsdens, National Express, OS Maps)Travel Planning (Walking Holidays, Overseas Travel Agencies)Book & Map sales. Attraction Advertising (Posters, Website)

The most revenue comes from APs, however Susan has seen a decline in this as each provider opts out as they get more direct bookings.  During the course of the meeting it was apparent that the focus on the TIC was to gain bookings for each AP.  Its very evident that the local APs and other businesses are unaware of the additional services and support that the TIC offers.

Susan is determined to keep the TIC running with the help of volunteers, at her own expense.  

But …

What happens if Susan is no longer there?  

What are the ramifications of losing the TIC?  

What does it say about Lynton & Lynmouth if there is no TIC?

Would the local council see the Tourist Information Centre close and offer nothing in its place?


SWOT identified during the meeting, to be expanded with each meeting – as required. 

Strengths Weaknesses
•       Go-to place for Tourism for Lynton & Lynmouth
•       Ideally positioned for promoting accommodation, business, services and events.
•       Extensive local knowledge
•       Lack of funding (Government, Council, Local or Private)•       Lack of cohesion with conflicting tourism websites
•       Perception – thinking it’s a cash-rich operation
•       Not reaching out to the community for support
•       Being let down by volunteers
OpportunitiesThreats
•       Rename from TIC to Lyn Information Centre (or something like)
•       Forget the past and start again
•       Develop a strong L&L brand and reposition TIC as THE go-to place for tourism
•       Local, national and international reach
•       Become a hub for the Lyn community
•       Potential to become a charity (?)
•       Reach out for volunteers to help ‘man the desk’
•       Susan is no longer able to or closes the TIC
•       Losing focus and/or energy
•       Susan has no income from this venture
•       Local Council not supporting the venture
•       Not garnering the support of local businesses and APs
•       Empirical reasoning, not moving forward
•       Backlash from local businesses (38 fish)
•       Doing what has always been done but expecting different results.

Thoughts

  • Emotion has to be removed or sidelined if the TIC is to progress.  This would be the case with Malcolm for merging the superfluous websites and maintaining a consistent message to potential visitors.
  • What has happened in the past should not prevent or deter further attempts (at anything) being made, and remade if required
  • It’s vital the role of the TIC is repackaged and presented back the APs and local businesses if their support is to continue
  • Prepare the TIC as if it is going to be sold.  It’s quite often that most businesses are at their most well-documented and buoyant when getting ready to be sell.

Action Points

  • Susan to create a mission statement for TIC to encompass its intention **Undiscussed**
  • Susan to prepare a list of tasks that can be performed by Malcolm on the new website, with the intention of consolidating websites leaving just www.visitlyntonandlynmouth.com
    Transfer some of Malcolm’s initiatives from his website to the main website
Promote Lynton & Lynmouth (L&L) TourismCustodians of the L&L brand Central Social Media Hub for L&L (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)Encourage Direct Bookings for APsEncourage repeat visits and pass-throughs to become 2+ night staysCentral hub for the Lyn community xxxxxx Get bookings for AP’s
  • ALL to help prepare a list of 10 (or thereabouts) reasons why the TIC is vital to Lyn Tourism, making sure that ‘get bookings’ is last on the list, for example only, and in no specific order .
  • Susan to email link to new website design for L&L
  • John to get reach out to Richard Briden or D Hallet to have the L&L Scene website removed and the URL pointed to www.visitlyntonandlynmouth.com
  • Jason to send links to Susan on Lyn B&B Contacts & Restaurant Openings These could be a great documents to include in the new website, maybe Malcolm could make it more interactive etc. and make it restricted access to local businesses only. **Undiscussed**
  • Jason to start diagram to identify the main touch-points of TIC, to be added to accordingly.