Photo credit: Visit West (Aerospace Bristol)

Visit West, the Local Visitor Economy Partnership for Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire, has teamed up with b2me Tourism Marketing to launch a platform that enables local tourism businesses to learn and network with the travel trade.

The objective is to assist businesses in collaborating more efficiently with the travel trade, which is the most effective way to attract international visitors to their offerings.

Travel Trade Ready provides a combination of learning through video and a comprehensive jargon buster. A series of short tests analyse how a business aligns against ten key criteria from a variety of buyers that they may like to work with. Travel Trade Ready is a unique and powerful tool.

Once businesses have received their analysis score and advice, they will be able to build trade-friendly marketing materials directly on the platform that can be downloaded, shared, or updated at any time. The platform also allows tourism businesses to search for, and be searched by, suitable buyers to develop working relationships.

Photo credit: Visit West (Roman baths)

Overseas visitors stay longer and spend more. Most of Visit West’s international marketing activity centres around the travel trade where we ensure our region is included in itineraries and therefore bookable for inbound tourists. Travel Trade Ready will enhance the number of easily bookable products for the industry, increasing the attractiveness of our destinations to the travel trade and their clients.

Visit West is building on an extensive programme of additional activity over the last year to promote the destinations in the West of England region both in the UK and oversees, including attending some of the world’s largest and most important travel trade events.

Kathryn Davis, Managing Director and CEO, Visit West said: “Working with the travel trade is a critical part of the work of Visit West, as it not only connects local businesses with real routes to market, but raises the profile of the region and our destinations. Our aim is to demystify the process of working with B2B operators, and support businesses locally to work with the supply chain to grow business sustainably, ensuring a strong regional visitor economy.”

Mike Newman, Managing Director, b2me Tourism Marketing said: “Travel Trade Ready supports any business looking to work more effectively with the travel industry. At a pace that suits them. Businesses will learn as they go and can get practical advice from real buyers on the reasons why things like commission are so important. The entire process from registration to building their trade focussed marketing materials takes less than ten minutes, and the platform is available for testing or updating their marketing information 24 hours a day.”

International staying visitors spent more than £400m in the Visit West region in 2019, a figure that dropped to £87m in 2021. This includes spend in retail, food and drink, accommodation, travel and entertainment supporting our high streets, towns and cities. VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2023 estimates 35.1 million inbound visits to the UK, 86% of 2019 levels and 18% higher than levels seen in 2022. Its forecast for overseas visitor spending in the UK this year is £29.5 billion, a projected record high for annual inbound visitor spend.

Local businesses operating within the visitor economy who would like to attract international visitors are encouraged to take the first steps with Travel Trade Ready.

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