Harrogate International Centre announced that its operations brought in £180m for the local economy during the 2010/11 financial year. Management attributed the results to its marketing and sales strategy.
HIC’s Head of Sales and Marketing; Alison Griffin, said: “Our success in the last financial year would not have been possible had we not adopted a range of new and exciting marketing strategies. We knew the challenges that the industry was facing because of the global recession but were determined to create more opportunities for business by being creative and optimising our marketing and sales avenues. We decided to go that extra mile by taking a few risks.”
Strategies adopted included making extensive use of social media; re-engaging with lapsed clients via a DM campaign; organisation of fam trips for buyers and the press and engaging a professional PR agency (which led to a trebling of media coverage).
“At every step we have promoted the town along with the venue,” said Griffin. “People don’t just come to Harrogate for the venue – there is far more here on offer and we continually try to present a cohesive and developed offering to potential clients.”
The HIC has continued to invest in new facilities with two new event halls due to open later this year.
On average, the venue hosts 150 events and attracts in excess of 290,000 visitors each year.
The Stroke Association recently chose the HIC as the venue for its annual conference for the next three years (2012-14). Griffin says the event could be worth a total of £6.6m to the area.
The venue, however, lost the Chartered Institute of Housing Annual Conference and Exhibition to Manchester Central this year. The event had been held in the town for a quarter of a century.
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