VisitBritain plans to evolve its website into the “Google” for British tourism, according to chairman Christopher Rodgrigues.
The move would entail VisitBritain working more closely with regional development agencies and tourism bodies to provide a common web platform for consumers to find out information.
Rodrigues, speaking during British Tourism Week, said: “We have to evolve into a Google for Britain. Having multiple competing platforms with data that is not inter-operable is missing an opportunity. You ought to be able to search the nation [online].”
Holidaymakers wanting to take a golfing break, for example, currently need to go to different sites to find out about regional facilities and suitable destinations. “We need to persuade fellow regions to migrate to a common operating standard and in time a common platform,” he added.
Rodrigues said the national tourism body’s promotions, marketing and advertising worldwide already builds aspiration to visit but that holidaymakers needed help with geography and specific costs when researching online. This would also mean working more closely across all suppliers, such as accommodation providers.
He added: “If you research customers and find out what they want, once they have got that aspiration offline, then they need help with the geography, general destination or specifics. That’s when they want to know about value and that has to be clear.
“We do not want to compete with businesses with promotions but give customers a line of contact into these businesses [suppliers]. We need to work with suppliers to have a customer-orientated evolvement of our site; hopefully a common platform for customers to slice and dice data. We would love to be able to aggregate more value.”
Rodrigues envisages VisitBritain’s site as allowing more experience-led searches and offering information on all events taking place nationally. He added: “Events will drive travel, particulary the shorthaul [overseas] markets. What we are trying to do is to be increasingly consumer friendly so that we help them make a decision on when and where.”