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Minutes of BBT meeting – 31st January 2012, Buckland Hall

February 8th, 2012

Attendance: Nicola (Punch) Maughan (Director General), Elizabeth Jeffreys (Chair), Alison Kidd & Peter Williams (The Prospectory), Martin Fleming (Buckland Hall), Brian Post (Ty Tal B&B), Carl Durham (Black Mountain Activities), Gwen & Idris Jones (Penydre Farm Holidays), Katy Smith (Smithy’s Bunkhouse), Caroline Danby (Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages), Anna Heywood (Drover Holidays), Amy Mackintosh (Swan at Hay), Sharon Birch (Glasbury OEC), Catherine Maggs (Brynich), Geoffrey Marshall (Brecon Cathedral), Seamus Keays (The Allt B&B), Richard Lewis (Middle Ninfa), Julie Dawson (Westview Guesthouse), Mick Collins (Outdoors@Hay), Liz Matthews (Aberhyddnant Farm Cottages), Francis Lawson (YHA Llwyn-y-Celyn), Laura Miles (Felin Fach Griffin), Sue Collins (Ty Gwyn B&B), Gary Evans (Hawk Associates/SWOAPG), Elaine & Zoe Williams (Usk & Railway Inn), Ceri Scott Howch (Coity Bach Farm Cottages), Frank Marr (AMA), Sheila Jenkins (Cantref Coach House), Leanne Jenkins & Rachel Morgan (Welsh Venison Centre), Patrick & Rose Vyvyan-Robinson (Alltybain Farm Cottages), Clare Wright (School Annex), Jeff Calligan (Mountain & River Activities), Deborah Haylock (The Angel Hotel), Davina Hogg (Penpont), Janet & Olivia Williams (Pilgrims), Bill Richards (Tourism Research & Marketing), David Hedley Williams (Grange Guesthouse), Mary Davies (Pyscodlyn Caravan), Diana Blowfield (Courtyard Cottage), Ivan Langford & Hilary Davies (Langford Training), James Hitchings (YHA Wales)

Apologies: Jillie Gardner, Huw Dulea, Mark Callaway, Ty Llew, Sue Shaw, Kevin Walker, Cathey Morgan, Tony @ The Bell, Phil Park, Nicola Newhams, Zena Davies, Pat James, Dawn Farnworth, Pam Bell.

Agenda Points

Elizabeth welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked Martin and his team at Buckland Hall for hosting the meeting. There have been many success stories recently; BBT has been awarded £5,000 from The Tourism Society to support their development and work with in – area partners on what is required for an effective Destination Partnership. BBT member Penderyn Distillery has received 2 Gold awards for their whisky at the prestigious World Whiskey Masters 2011 and a Gold award for their gin in the Worldwide Gin category at the 2011 International Wine and Spirit Competition – the spirit industry’s “Oscars”.

BBT update:

Forthcoming events:

Good Business Sense Seminars:
…..Sustainable tourism equals good business management –

Thurs 16th Feb – Running a ‘Good’ Hospitality Business
For Hotels, B&Bs and Guesthouses
10am – 3pm, Llansantffraed Court Hotel, Abergavenny

Tues 21st Feb Running a ‘Good’ Attraction Business
10am – 3pm, Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre (The Mountain Centre), Libanus

Tues 28th Feb Running a ‘Good’ Self-Catering Business
10am – 3pm, The Barn at Brynich, Brecon

Further dates to note for your diary include:
Tuesday 6th March Renewable Energy: A Gentle Introduction
Venue TBC

Tue 20th March Renewable Energy Master Class
Venue TBC

Book via Nicola.Senior@breconbeacons.org

Visit Wales Roadshow – Innovating Tourism Together:

6th February, The Elephant & Castle Hotel, Newtown
9th February, Ty Newydd Hotel, Penderyn

Speakers include LJ Rich from the BBC Click Team and an afternoon of optional workshops including Clare Birt of Vibe PR with practical Marketing tips, David Edwards with a Cheese Tasting Masterclass and a visit to Penderyn Whiskey to find out about VAQAS (Grading for attractions).

Newtown event – Book with Rhian Watt of Tourism Partnership Mid Wales
rhian.watt@tpmw.co.uk
Penderyn event – Book with Alice Brown of Capitol Regional Tourism via www.capitalregiontourism.org/skills

Support available for tourism:

• TISS (+ Building for 2012)
Visit Wales 0845 010 8020 ….tiss@wales.gsi.gov.uk
http://wales.gov.uk/topics/tourism/investsupport

Sustainable Powys
tourism.trade@powys.gov.uk 01874 612281
Advisory day – 20thFebruary, 9.30 -1pm – Usk & Railway Inn, Sennybridge
21st February, 9.30 – 1pm – Media Resource centre, Llandrindod Wells

Business Support:
www.business.wales.gov.uk/newsletter

• Punch requested accommodation businesses to submit their monthly occupancy to Visit Wales as these figures are then disseminated to destinations. The figures help partners to better understand how the area is performing – to register to receive the monthly emailed forms – email occsurvey@tns-global.com.

• The leaflet distribution service is beginning again for 2012 on the 8th of Feb and the drop off points are listed on the BBT website www.getactive-beacons.co.uk/news.

• Tourism Week is starting 27th February & BBT are planning to host Kirsty Williams AM & William Powell AM on Friday March 2nd at Penderyn Distillery for a tour and Q & A session.

Destination Marketing Website
Paul Funnell, IT Manager at the BBNPA and project sponsor for the new destination website on behalf of the Brecon Beacons Marketing Coordination Group (BBMCG) updated the meeting on the progress re the destination website. A company called Rippleffect have been appointed and will work with the BBMCG and One Bright Space who will provide the mapping elements of the site to produce a visitor facing website for the NP bringing together the re-purposed visitor information from the BBNPA site and the business information. The collaborative nature of the partnership of the group has enabled more money and skills to be brought to the project.

The website will include tourism businesses details, area information Ripple Effect have lots of creative ideas and are eager to work on the project and the website will be accessible for mobile phone and tablet use. It is planned that businesses will have direct control of their information on the website.

Roger Hunter has been employed as Project Manager for the next 6 months to take the project to launch date (1st June) and to iron out the detail following the launch. As part of the development stage he is hoping to speak to a small number of visitors to gauge the kind of information they want when they research holidays and trips to the area and asked businesses if they could offer contact details of visitors who would be prepared to talk him – Roger will issue an introductory email for businesses to send to visitors.

There will be weekly updates available via e-mail and the website is expected to go live on the 1st of the June

Roger Hunter can be contacted on Roger.Hunter@breconbeacons.org

BBT PR
Frank Marr reported the PR/media activity in 2011 and the plans for 2012. In 2011 Alexandra Marr and Associates (AMA) attended a number of national events including the National Cycle Show, World Travel Market and Welsh Tourism Conference. Over 13 press trips have been organised and press releases and relationships have been created with the national and regional newspapers and publications as well as with businesses who are prepared to host journalists.

More press trips are planned for 2012 including with the Independent, Lonely Plant guides and the Disability Magazine, plus they are in talks with a number of other magazines and journals. Early 2012 activity will focus on the Crickhowell Walking Festival and the Canal Anniversary.

Late deals are a good way to get into media, so anyone with last minute availability or special deals should send details to AMA. Any story ideas, images, promotions, blog content or press releases should also be sent to the Marrs.

breconnews@gmail.com

Cycling & Mountain Biking Strategy

Anna Heywood reported on the recent consultancy work she had undertaken on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA)

The project was entitled – ‘MTB/Cycling Champion’ the purpose of which was to support the development of the cycling offer in the Brecon Beacons in collaboration with local business clusters already developed under COLLABOR8 and to be done by helping clusters deliver the actions identified in the Cycling & Mountain Bike Strategy May 2009.

During 2011the work included informing businesses and individuals in the hub areas about the mountain biking product and to look at new ways for businesses to update content on the Brecon Beacons Mountain bike website. Feedback from the hub businesses has also been collected. The existing 14 mountain bike routes have been mapped online so businesses can pass on the route information to visitors in both a paper and online format.

The routes have been adopted by local people so that they are ridden on a regular basis and the condition of the route and any access or way marking issues can be identified and dealt with.

The need for pre-planned road routes have been identified and the BBNPA is developing GPS downloadable information on these.

Abergavenny has also been suggested as a hub, although a recent meeting to develop this was not well attended.

A FB page has been created

www.facebook.com/pages/MTB-Brecon-Beacons/241848795878542
Anyone who has a Facebook account can add photos and write on the wall.

A public feedback form about the hubs has been created and is accessible via :- http://tinyurl.com/6sq9thp

B-Bug project Update

Alison Kidd updated the meeting on the B-Bug trial which explored a green alternative to the car and tested whether visitors would use them.

There have been difficulties with insuring the B-Bugs for on-going use but Zurich Municipal has now provided a group insurance for the B-Bugs allowing them to continue to be used. A B-Bug Cooperative (BBC) has been set up to cover the costs in the insurance. Ideally five businesses are sought who will act as renters of the bugs to visits in the 2012. Anyone interested in the project please contact Alison direct alison@prospectory.co.uk.

Social Networks in the Brecon Beacons

Frank Marr reported that Google Hotel Finder has just been launched which aims to offer a similar service to Trip Advisor. It works in tandem with Google Places and any accommodation business registered with Google Places will be able to be shown in the finder. Essentially a search system Hotel Finder adds in reviews, accommodation summary, maps, costs and accommodation details. Hotel Finder will be expanded into activity providers and things to do soon.

The Brecon Beacons has a Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebreconbeacons and businesses should comment and post on here as much as possible.

For those who Twitter #BBTourism or #BreconBeacons are used.

There is also a Brecon Beacons blog http://breconbeacons.wordpress.com – if you would like to contribute to this please get in touch via breconnews@gmail.com

BBT is hoping to source funding for some one:one / drop in sessions for businesses and will email a list of proposed subjects for businesses to prioritise. There might need to be a small charge levied – TBC

Next Meeting
BBT 2012 meeting dates:
- Wednesday, 28th March 2012 – AGM – to include a trip to Brecon TIC

Tourism In Action Conference:
- Tuesday, 13th March 2012 – Theatr Brycheiniog

Brecon Beacons Tourism – leaflet distribution

December 13th, 2011

Every month BBT travels the area delivering local leaflets to local outlets. If you would like to have your leaflets delivered please contact the office via info@breconbeaconstourism.co.uk

The places that we call at can be seen here: Proposed leaflet drops 2012.

Please note however that we are not guaranteeing that your leaflets will be left here every month but will be left on the agreement of the owner of the site and in amounts that they ask for.

Winter PR success stories!

December 12th, 2011

All the hard work by Alexandra & Frank Marr is beginning to pay off – not least because of the growing willingness of businesses to help on recent press trips. Giving journalists a good and varied experience means they are far more likely to do a good write up – the individual business gain hugely and the whole area also reaps the benefits of the overall profile – thanks to all that have helped

The recent trip hosting Dutch journalists has resulted in a November article in Reiskrant

Online there are two articles:

Reiskrant 1

Reiskrant 2

Western Morning News December 2011 coverage

Western Daily press – December 2011 coverage

Hay-on-Wye – Birmingham Post November 2011

Online Visitor survey – mid year report to November 2011

November 30th, 2011

Mid year report from the online visitor survey available here with the free text comments from the same report here

Minutes of BBT meeting 29th November 2011 – Talgarth Mill

November 29th, 2011

Attendees: Nicola (Punch) Maughan (Director General), Andrew Fryer (Deputy Chair), Carol Williams (BBNPA), Alison Kidd & Peter Williams (The Prospectory), Nia Harries (Buckland Hall), Susie Gaskell (Priory Mill Farm), Michael Cunningham (Erwood Station Craft Centre), Brian Post (Ty Tal B&B), Linda Groves (Old Radnor Barn B&B), June Scarbourgh (Carno Farm), Carl & Annette Durham (Black Mountain Activities), Jeff Calligan (Mountain & River Activities), Mark Soanes (Call of the Wild), Gwen & Idris Jones (Penydre Farm Holidays), Katy Smith (Smithy’s Bunkhouse), J & Marianne Cahill (Lletty Cottage), Caroline Danby (Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages), Anna Heywood (Drover Holidays), Fiona Walker (Llandovery Chamber of Commerce), John Lilly (Dragon Electrical Vehicles), Steve Sharp (Merryfields Barn), Amy Mackintosh & Paul Caldicott (Swan at Hay), Rhian & Ryan Thomas (Llangorse Rope Centre), Susie & James Suter (Gliffaes), Tom Hadfield (Visit Wales), Sharon Birch & Jon Everington (Glasbury OEC), Catherine Maggs (Brynich), Patrick Vyvyan Robinson

Apologies: James Hitchings (YHA), Nicky (The Hours), Gary Evans (SWOAPG / Hawk Associates), Ty Morwydd, Brecon Mountain Railway, Williams Welsh Walks, Elizabeth Jefferys (Chair), Richard Tyler (BBNPA)

Welcome & Talgarth Mill – the project:
Andrew Fryer welcomed everyone to Talgarth Mill and Alison Meachum introduced the Mill project. Since the Talgarth Mill was featured on the Village SOS TV programme 13,000 people have visited the Cafe and Mill. The aim of the business is to provide local jobs for the community and help the regeneration of the town. The mill employs both part time and full time people. The cafe operates as a franchise operation. As well as operating as a tourist attraction there are school groups who now visit for educational tours and these are proving very popular. There has been a positive knock on effect for the rest of the town. There are a number of volunteers involved whom include college students to retired people. All of the gifts sold in the shop are made by local people and there is also cooperation with the other local Village SOS winner Myddfai whose products are also sold in the shop.

Carol Williams, Tourism Growth Officer from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority reported on some of the other tourism work that has been happening in Talgarth. ‘Destination Talgarth’ has been supported by Collabor8 funds and has the remit is to improve the tourism offering in the town. Their work has included improving the Talgarth website and creating walks in and around the town as well as producing a town map listing what else people can do locally. A food leaflet has been produced and more has been more made of the local mountain bike routes – Talgarth has the only ‘Black Killer Route’ in the Park. Also a Talgarth calendar was created, which has sold very well. The new Rural Alliances fund will hopefully continue to work with Destination Talgarth once the Collabor8 funds end.

BBT update:
• The Brecon Beacons Marketing Coordination group has appointed Peter Gill & Associates (a Cardiff company) to complete the branding consultation for the area.

• The brief for the destination website is live on Sell2Wales with interviews planned for the first week of January 2012. The finished site is anticipated in June 2012. This new website will bring together the BBNPA visitor content with the business website. Decisions are still to be made about:
– User reviews
– Online booking
– Social media platforms
– Business profile categories

Press & PR breconnews@gmail.com
Alexandra & Frank Marr require ideas and images for a Brecon Beacons advent calendar. Hoping to produce a short blog post every day before Christmas. Most inventive ideas and best images will be featured. Christmas and wintry ideas……
They also require late availability and offers over the Christmas / New year period and any events – offers get mailed out every Monday.
October Press & PR Report :
Dutch journalists hosted for 4 days – 9 businesses helped
Fromers guide – 4 day itinerary planned
MTB journalists hosted for 2 days
Coverage:
3rd October – The Independent travel section – Hay-on-Wye Walking Festival
5th October – The Times – Special Offer
15th October – full page feature in the Times on great converted barns to stay
21st October – The Mirror – Monmouthshire Walking Festival
In addition the Marrs fielded 32 press requests: The types of requests being fielded are ‘Biking in the Brecon Beacons’, ‘Bushcraft’, family holidays, cycling trips, foraging trips, Green accommodation in the BBNP, most obscure tourist sites, Book towns, luxury accommodation with unique interiors, best country escapes, Halloween events, best Christmas accommodation, yoga weekends, affordable ideas and accommodation for half term, pet friendly accommodation with good images, remote hideaways, retreats….

• The BBT Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebreconbeacons is a place for local businesses to join in the ‘conversations’ and post images and ideas – it is also where the weekly offers are posted

http://breconbeacons.wordpress.com There are plans to improve the blog in terms of SEO work and content.

BBT Member Benefits:
• BBT leaflet distribution is proving useful to BBT members and is being reviewed for 2012 when a new price list and routes will be issued.

• Pavey, a well respected insurance company is still offering discounted rates to BBT members (details will be sent out with renewal notices)

Grants & support
Details of all tourism support is hosted on www.getactive-beacons.co.uk/news

Tourism Investment Support Scheme (TISS) Visit Wales 0845 010 8020 ….tiss@wales.gsi.gov.uk
http://wales.gov.uk/topics/tourism/investsupport

Sustainable Powys – grants available
tourism.trade@powys.gov.uk 01874 612281

Business Support:
www.business.wales.gov.uk/newsletter

BBT Member Fees 2012
The proposed member fees had been mailed to all BBT members before the meeting with the request for any objections to be raised by November 25th. None had been received nor were there any objections from the floor. These fees will therefore form the basis of the 2012 renewals.

The rise was to help support the added opportunities that businesses are now getting to profile themselves on the blog and facebook pages as well as the chance to send offers and stories out via Alexandra Marr. The new destination website will also significantly enhance the profile that businesses will have by the end of the year.

Hay Walking Festival – follow up report

Anna Heywood reported back on the first Hay Walking Festival which happened in early October this year. The idea for the festival came from feedback received from the 2009 town questionnaire which showed that the most people were coming to Hay and walking but that normally the town was only known as the town of books.

The Festival was at a time of year when normally business was slack. There were 23 walks plus talk and events. The themed walks were the most popular. The publicity worked very well and the event also used existing Hay events. 280 walk tickets were sold, out of a possible 315 showing very good take up levels. There was very good feedback from participants, 60% of the participants were from the Hay area – the remainder from further afield. 2012 will see it extended to a 5 day festival and will be held on the 11th to 15th October 2012.

B-Bug project – summary report

Peter Williams reported on the B-Bug trial which ran over the Summer and explored the issue of travel in the Beacons. From a Beacons wide transport study conducted in 2010 it was shown that people staying in the Beacons often travel quite long distances while on holiday. When they won the Green Dragon’s Den at Hay Festival in 2010 two B-Bugs was developed.

The B-Bug aims to explore a green alternative to the car and to see if visitors would use them. An electrical charging network was created around the Beacons and the B-Bug made people think about their journeys and how to keep their trips local and using local businesses.

While not a car replacement it does work well as a short car journey replacement. It offers a fun alternative and actually had an impact of behaviour and travel patterns.

It is hoped that the B-Bugs might become a regular sight in the Beacons in the future – difficulties with regard to insurance & hiring the vehicles is being researched. See the presentation – here

Technology and the Tourist

Tom Hadfield, Regional Digital Strategist from Visit Wales introduced the Digital Tourism Business Framework Partnership (DTBFP), which is reviewing the use of technology in Wales and educating people on how to improve the offering here. It is also a grant programme for businesses in convergence areas.

Visitors to Wales have a high expectation of what they can do when they arrive via smart phones, notepads and websites going forward need to anticipate this. There are new technologies like QR codes which could be incorporated quite easily into the tourism industry. Concerns were raised that in a rural area where there is intermittent broadband and mobile connectivity not only were our visitors not accessing what they need but that businesses are unaware of the opportunities they could be offering online. Any queries re innovation and support can be directed to Tom. The Powys RDPfunds will help Powys businesses with an IT review and Medwrn can be encouraged to match some of the courses being offered under the scheme in other areas.

Tom’s presentation can be viewed here

tom.hadfield@wales.gsi.gov.uk 07896 917 077

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/yourism/digital/?lang+en

BBT 2012 meeting dates:-
Tuesday, 31st January 2012
Tuesday, 27th March 2012 – AGM

Tourism In Action Conference:
- Tuesday the 13th March 2012

Reach for the Renewables – buying club for Photo Voltaic Panels

October 5th, 2011

Llangattock Green Valleys (LGV) is a community run not-for-profit in the National Park which has recently had significant success in reducing their carbon Footprint. (see www.llangattockgreenvalleys.org). They have recently launched a new programme – Reach for the Renewables – which initially is offering Photo Voltaic panels at a very affordable price through a buying club. This is something many members of the Tourism Community might be interested in pursuing.

Details are here: Llangattock Green Valleys FAQ (1)

Llangattock Green valleys RFTR Residential Leaflet (1)

LLangattock Green Valleys RFTR Commercial Lealfelt (1)

If you are interested in getting a survey do make contact via solar@llangattockgreenvalleys.org.

Since British Gas carried out the first solar PV installs in Llangattock last autumn, solar panel wholesale prices have really come down but this is not often reflected in the quotes from commercial installers. In addition the power output of panels has increased (up from 175W to 230W for the same size panel) and the inverters (which change the current from DC to AC) are now running at efficiencies up to 97.8%.
The offer is delivered with a partner – Fuseland Renewables Limited. They’re a reputable and experienced company based in Bristol, they’re committed to delivering quality products and high levels of service, and they have offered market-beating prices.

The key concern in hammering out the deal has been to get a great product at a great price for members. The starting prices for all system sizes are extremely competitive, with added discounts for volume – the more people who take part, the more everyone benefits.

The first bundle closed after two weeks having been fully subscribed. They are currently looking for the next 50 people to take part in second bundle. If you are interested in joining the second ‘bundle’ of schemes or subsequent bundles, which will begin installation towards the end of October, please read the attached documents and submit a Expression of Interest form to arrange your free survey.

You will find a link to the Expression of Interest form on the third page of the leaflets above under “Next Steps”. Upon receiving your completed Expression of Interest form you will receive an e-mail to confirm safe receipt of your form, upon which an initial desktop analysis will be carried to judge the viability of a scheme on your available roof space. With a positive initial desktop analysis result LGV will then make contact with you to arrange a detailed site assessment upon which a formal quotation will be generated for you and detailed information about your solar PV system will be provided.

Grants, support & courses available for businesses – 2012

September 30th, 2011

Powys are offering the following grants:

Sustainable Powys scheme: Sustainable Tourism Powys Presentation

Sustainable Tourism Powys is running a series of FREE Tourism Business Events in February on the following topics:-
• Taking bookings & payments online – Explore a number of available booking & online payment systems options including guest link. The presentation will cover the booking systems and their suitability to the tourism industry, available payment solutions and their costs and suitability to the tourism industry, website integration, managing an online booking & payment solution and other relevant subjects.

• Reducing costs through renewable technology – A beginners guide on how you can green there business and become more sustainable by reducing costs through renewable technology. The presentations will include the following subjects: What renewable options are available, a brief overview of how they work, what are their benefits, what are their costs and how are they cost efficient. Explanation on grants vs FITS.

You will also discover the support and funding opportunities that are available through the Sustainable Tourism Powys project.

14th February 2012 – 9.30 till 1pm Antur Gwy, Builth Wells
20th February 2012 – 9.30 till 1pm Usk & Railway Inn, Sennybridge
21st February 2012 – 9.30 till 1pm MRC, Llandrindod Wells

If you are interested in attending you can book your place via www.tourismpowys.org, by emailing tourism.trade@powys.gov.uk or telephoning 01874 612281

Resilient Powys scheme: Resilient Powys

The Tourist Investment Support Scheme (TISS) is available for tourism businesses: see http://wales.gov.uk/topics/tourism/investsupport or call Visit Wales 0845 010 8020, email tiss@wales.gsi.gov.uk See also this presentation: Tourism Investment Support Scheme

‘Building for 2012’ is a short-term, fast-track initiative which forms part of the Tourism Investment Support Scheme (TISS). This new initiative will support micro, small and medium sized tourism businesses in Wales who are investing over the winter months in capital expenditure improvements to raise quality standards in preparation for 2012. The Building for 2012 initiative is open to tourism SME businesses, anywhere in Wales.To qualify for Building for 2012 funding, projects must be delivered by March 31, 2012.
In cash terms, it will normally be up to £25,000, up to 40% of eligible costs. This is a higher intervention rate for a limited period, with the usual rate for TISS support being circa 25%. The minimum support is £5,000. However, larger projects will not be excluded that meet eligibility rules and can complete by March 31st 2012. It’s quick and easy to apply. All you need to do is complete an introductory questionnaire and if you’re successful we’ll ask you to complete an application form. We’ll be able to give a quick decision, usually within 10 working days. Further information on Building for 2012 available online.

Welsh Government’s Regional Centres – These centres are available for other business advice see: Regional Centres in Wales

TPMW often run courses close to the Brecon Beacons keep an eye on their website:

Capitol Region Tourism also offer courses for businesses in the south of our region – see link

Gallu offer training for businesses in the western part of our region – see link

The Welsh Government Regional Centre Service based in Brecon offer support for businesses – the local contact is Daniel Gale Tel-: 01874 622 632 Or e-mail dgale@anturbusiness.co.uk

Minutes of BBT meeting – September 20th at Myddfai Community Hall

September 22nd, 2011

Attendance: Nicola (Punch) Maughan (Director General), Elizabeth Jeffreys (Chair), Alan Bowring (BBNPA), Nick Englefield (Beacon Park Boats), David & Ros Steel (Kite’s Nest Holiday Cottage), Marianne Cahill (Yew Tree Farm), Jane Donald & Lucy von Weber (SWWTP), Helen Jones (TPMW), James Hitchings (YHA), Cathey Morgan (Theatre Brycheiniog), Ceri Scott Howell (Coity Bach), Clare Wright (School Annex), Alison Kidd & Peter Williams (The Prospectory), Anna Heywood (Drover Holidays), Fiona Walker (Llandovery Chamber of Commerce), Hugh Davies (Myddfai Trading), Katy Jenkins & Hannah Spedding (The Glynhir Estate), Helen Rees (Tan Yr Eglwys)

Apologies: Kevin Walker, Carys Hewitt, Gary Davies, Mountain & River, The Grange G/H, Martin Smith, Kim Jones, Ian Andrews, Rose Vyvyan-Robinson

Agenda Points

Welcome
Elizabeth welcomed everyone and thanked Myddfai for hosting the meeting and congratulated them for creating such an inspirational building. It has been a good summer for the Brecon Beacons in terms of profile with both Myddfai and Talgarth being on prime time TV as part of the Village SOS challenge. The importance of celebrating events which is one of the things the Beacons do best was highlighted. The Abergavenny Food Festival had been impressive and the Llandovery Sheep Festival is the next one on the calendar with the Hay Walking Festival and Brecon Arts week in October

BBT Update
Punch updated the meeting on the BBT’s current work:
www.breconbeaconstourism.co.uk continues to do well. 17,324 website visits in the month of August 2011 (all time high). All the main Brecon Beacons websites are coming together (BBNPA, Powys CC, BBT) to form one destination website – hopefully this will be in Spring 2012

• The Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thebreconbeacons) has 1,378 followers and the blog (http://breconbeacons.wordpress.com)also acts like a website with new tabs being added. Guest bloggers are constantly needed

• The PR & Marketing has been working well and as an example in August they fielded 25 media requests, produced 5 lots of weekly offers and have had press releases used in daily newspapers. Please continue to send news and offers to breconnews@gmail.com – Halloween, Guy Fawlkes, half term, Christmas input is required

The Brecon Beacons Marketing Communication Group (BBMCG) has been developing its branding and this will help the new website

BBT leaflet distribution is proving useful to BBT members and has been included as a member benefit. Next run October 4th

The Tourist Investment Support Scheme (TISS) is available for tourism businesses: see http://wales.gov.uk/topics/tourism/investsupport or call Visit Wales 0845 010 8020, email tiss@wales.gsi.gov.uk .

Information on this and other tourism support is being presented at a day event called : ‘Support available to tourism businesses in Powys’ at the Media Resource centre, Llandrindod Wells, Friday, 23rd September . To attend telephone: 01874 622 632, E-mail: dgale@anturbusiness.org.uk

• Powys is reporting on it’s grant scheme ‘Sustainable Powys’ on Wednesday 28th September:
10.30am – 12.00pm – Peterstone Court Hotel, Brecon
1.30 – 3.00pm – CRiC, Crickhowell
To attend email tourism.trade@powys.gov.uk 01874 612281

Feed in Tariffs (FITs) available from the Government:

www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business/Business/Local-Authorities/Funding/Feed-in-Tariffs
FITS are reducing in March and solar energy companies are getting increasingly busy – now is the time to act.
Welsh Government Regional Centre Service are running an Environmental Focus Days with advice on
- viability – position of roof
- calculation of costs
- size of system
- pay back times and how much you will earn back over the next twenty five years
The business specialist can also outline the benefits of conducting such a project such as the use of the power you will generate, fuel bill savings and also property investment as it will add value to the property it is operated from. The business specialist can also help you to plan out the financial side of the project, taking into account aspects such as cash flow and funding.
Brecon – 6th October – to attend telephone: 01874 622 632, E-mail: dgale@anturbusiness.org.uk
• The Regional Centre in Carmarthenshire has nothing currently planned but their contact details are 01267 242385
fs4b@carmarthenshire.gov.uk if businesses want to make contact to be kept informed

• Visit Wales has had its Business Survey results from its summer survey and it is showing a mixed summer. Caravan & camping sites have done well whereas hotels and guesthouses have had a tougher summer.

• The Brecon Beacons How’s Business Survey will be coming out soon for tourism businesses to fill in, allowing a more focussed view of this years’ business levels

WTA conference – 7th November, Llandrindod Wells. To register www.wta.org.uk

Myddfai Hall
The Myddfai Hall and shop is the end result of a 10 years struggle to create a project to help prevent the decline of the Myddfai community and village. The project used the physicians of Myddfai as the focus and the brand that has been developed from that has become widely recognisable even after this short period.

The trading arm will help sustain the community hall & is now selling to over 90 outlets in Wales; some are fairly large such as The National Trust and CADW points. The community arm of the project is the hall, which has been built very sustainably. It has been designed to be the heart of the community, acting as a venue for all the community events.

The TV programme ‘Village SOS’ has created an increase in the on-line sales and shop visits. There has also been enquiries about the business model the partnership used by other community groups thinking about doing the same sort of initiative.

The Llandovery Sheep Festival & Llandovery Partnership Initiative

Fiona Walker reported on the 2nd Llandovery Sheep Festival, which is on 24th & 25th September and has been successful in its aim to increase footfall to the town at the shoulder period end of the season. The festival was developed from the Love Llandovery initiative, which started 18 months ago and has been central to creating a community pride and enthusiasm for the town. www.llandoverysheepfestival.co.uk

‘What can the Geopark do for your business?’ – Alan Bowring, Geopark Officer at the BBNPA

The Geopark status has been a designator for the west of the Beacons for 5 years and has been hugely important in developing the information and understanding of this vitally important area.

The Geopark produces a Geopark newsletter on a regular basis providing information on the area and businesses and venue in the area.
The Geopark also produces leaflets on the area, the newest ones in the set are ‘Llandovery – Building Stones Geo-trail’ and ‘Garn Goch Geo-trail’.

One of the initiatives Alan is working on at the moment is creating itineraries with businesses in the area highlighting facts and things to see about the Geopark. Anyone who is interested in developing or hearing more about these itineraries should contact Alan.

Alan is eager to engage with businesses and hear what they would like to have or become involved with the Geopark, contact Alan on:
Alan.Bowring@breconbeacons.org

‘Reviews – good, bad or ugly?’ – Lucy von Weber, South West Wales Tourism Partnership
Lucy has recently completed a dissertation entitled ‘Tourism SMEs and electronic word of mouth: perceptions, practices and issues of consumer trust’….basically on online feedback and electronic word of mouth, ‘user reviews’! People are increasingly becoming swayed by and trusting online reviews and looking at on-line comment. People will be reviewing businesses whether we want them to or not. In tourism and holiday terms Intel reports that 4 out of 10 holiday makes use of on-line reviews, one of the most well known is TripAdvisor which has been around for 10 years. However recent bad press for this site in particular is causing concern. Reviews however are on most holiday sites, Google Places, Facebook…. Lucy researched how tourism businesses are dealing with reviews and are interacting with on-line media and reviews. It is important for tourism businesses to monitor on-line feedback and reviews. It is important to respond to both negative and positive reviews. Lucy’s dissertation can be viewed here:User Reviews Lucy von Weber Research

Next BBT Meeting: - 29th November

Minutes of BBT meeting 28th June 2011

June 29th, 2011

Attendees:
Nicola (Punch) Maughan (Director General), Elizabeth Jefferys (Chair), Catherine Maggs (Treasurer), Idris Jones (Pen-y-Dre Farm), Sue Collins (Ty Gwyn B&B), Peter Williams and Alison Kidd (The Prospectory), Mark Lloyd & Nicola Smith (Monmouthshire County Council), Mark Soanes (Call of the Wild), Andrew Fryer (Wern Watkin), Susie Suter (Gliffaes), Bill Richards (TRAM), Susan Walker (Monmouthshire Walking Festival), Michael Cunningham (Erwood Station Craft Centre), Gary Evans (Hawk Associates & SWOAPG), Frank Marr (Marr Associates), Peter Cole (CRT), Helen Jones (TPMW), Jenny Taylor (Abergavenny & District Tourism Assoc.), Liz Mathews (Aberhyddnant), Alistair Kirk (Craig-y-Nos), Laura Miles (Felin Fach Griffin), Clare Wright (the School Annex), Maggie Hinde (Sleeping Giant Cottage), Ceri James & Caroline James (Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottage), Sharon Birch (Glasbury House OEC), Hilary Lipscombe (Old Rectory Barn), Jeff Calligan (Mountain & River Activities)

Apologies: James Hitchings, Geoffrey Marshall, Fiona Walker, Rose VR, Martin Smith, Colin Evans, Becca, Martin Flemming, Mary Adams, Ryan Thomas
Agenda Points

Welcome & Sense of Monmouthshire Toolkit
Elizabeth welcomed everyone to St Mary’s and handed over to Sandy Greenslade from Adventa to introduce the newly updated “Sense of Monmouthshire” toolkit. This toolkit it has been updated from a 1995 version and will be available to download from their website to help businesses develop their sense of place. It includes a self-audit section.

The toolkit includes several themes including people, Welsh language, food and drink amongst others. It also acts as a portal to a range of other websites and information sources which can help access Monmouthshire specific information. It will be available to tourism businesses via the Made in Monmouthshire website as a members log-in. Training is available for businesses either to individual business or as a workshop event. The team are looking for feedback on what format would best suit businesses and whether training is likely to be needed to launch the project – any comments to be sent to sandy@adventa.org.uk

BBT Update
Punch reported on the BBTs current work
• Still maintaining a good website presence. Dutch and Belgian visitors to the site have increased

• BBT monthly leaflet drops continue; businesses can use this to distribute their marketing leaflets. New rates on application. There is also a new independent service delivering leaflets into the Wye valley & Forest of Dean www.tourismleafletdistribution.co.uk

• The Brecon Beacons Marketing Communication Group (BBMCG) has been grappling with the long term implications of the destination work. The BBNPA visitor information will now be held on a separate visitor website to the main authority website.

• The Brecon Beacons Travel Challenge is active and anyone can take part in the challenge this summer. www.travelbreconbeacons.info/events-and-special-offers

• Rural Develop Grants are available to tourism businesses in Powys under the project Sustainable Tourism Powys:
1. Business Development – intervention rate 70% up to £2,500
2. Sense of place – intervention rate 70% up to£5000
3. Activity & wildlife tourism – intervention rate 70% up to £10,000
4. GTBS – intervention rate 50% up to £5000
Contact – tourism.trade@powys.gov.uk
• In Monmouthshire there is support as well as grants available – contact rdp@monmouthshire.gov.uk

• Regional Centre Services (formally Flexible Support for Business) are offering a range of support sessions offering Equality & Diversity Health Checks – businesses need to have these in order to access RDP funds. Tel No: 03000 6 03000

Media & PR Update
Frank Marr introduced the work that Alexandra Marr & Associates have been doing for the BBMCG. They are constantly promoting stories and offers about the area to the media and need stories, quirky tales and offers to continue to be sent. As much as possible is also used on the various social media channels. Contributors to the blog are welcome and comments / likes on the facebook page all help:

http://breconbeacons.wordpress.com http://www.facebook.com/thebreconbeacons

A Youtube channel is in development and businesses who have videos of their businesses should send in their links.

There are various opportunities for press visits in the autumn from British and Dutch journalists – anyone prepared to host a journalist in their accommodation or offer an activity should also make contact

All contact to breconnews@gmail.com

Update from Abergavenny & District Tourism Association

Carol Williams spoke on behalf of Abergavenny & District Tourism Association (ADTA) on their recent work. The new Abergavenny Trails and Tales leaflet has been produced, which includes a historical walk around the town. A number of Abergavenny focussed itineraries have been created on a PDF but hopefully will be on downloadable web pages shortly. E-mail Carol for the itineraries. Carol.Williams@breconbeacons.org

The South Wales Outdoor Activity Provider’s Group Coordinator

SWOAPG receives funding from Collabor8, BBT, Visit Wales and provides:
• Info on the activity providers and provision in the BBNP
• A place where concerns can be raised
• A route to signing the FCW concordat
• A point of focus for the sector
• Bring people together and encourage best practice
• A hub for training
• A means of flagging up access issues
• A strong voice representing activity providers
• Supporting members

Activity providers can join the group and receive different levels of communication.

Gary updated the meeting on the current work of the SWOAPG and there have been 3 full meetings since the group’s inception. There is a steering group made up of 11 members, which makes the decisions for the group in between the twice yearly full meetings.

The group is involved in all of the relevant groups in the area, including BBT. They are also undergoing a number of surveys looking at access and usage of specific areas in the national park. Surprisingly there are a few activities which can only be done at very few sites, forcing these sites to be over used. The group aims to manage this level of usage.

Currently they are looking at introducing a late and small group bookings scheme.

From mid July onwards the SWOAPG website will list their members and provide their contact details. www.swoapg.co.uk

2010/11 Visitor Survey Report

Sean Morgan from the Lynn Jones Research Company reported on the Brecon Beacons survey at the end of the second year (in 2008/2009 BBNP was in included in the South East Wales survey; 2010 saw the survey become BBNP specific).

The 2010/11 project had 587 surveys completed from 2,000 e-mail addresses given to BBT (a 20% return on people giving their e-mail addresses (30% is more the industry level). Details of the presentation on the survey results will be sent on application and the full report will be available in mid July.

Some of the questions are being amended for the 2011/12 project and it is critical that we get more email addresses collected.

Monmouthshire Walking Festival
This is running from 22nd – 31st October – lots of different walks – stargazing, geo-caching, Nordic walking – they have a facebook page

Next Meeting
BBT 2011 meeting dates
- 20th September – Myddfai Village hall
- 29th November

Chair’s report 2010 Appendix 1 for AGM March 29th 2011

April 4th, 2011

Counting our first Inaugural General Meeting this is our fifth AGM as we report on the fourth year of Brecon Beacons Tourism’s activity and achievements. I’m pleased to report on a year of significant progress. In my report last year I referred to the ambitions we set out in the first paper we produced for our inaugural Meeting. In that paper we expressed our concern at the lack of marketing of the Brecon Beacons and we outlined our aim for the area to be recognised as a destination in its own right. In 2010 we achieved that ambition, Visit Wales confirmed Brecon Beacons new ‘destination’ status.

This enabled Brecon Beacons Tourism to receive for the first time, core-funding to support its co-ordination work with the tourism trade, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Powys County Council, the eight other local authorities in the area and the three Regional Tourism Partnerships that cover the area led by Tourism Partnership Mid-Wales (TPMW).

At the start of the year, Brecon Beacons Tourism led an informal Tourism Marketing Co-ordination Group, which included the BBNPA, Powys, Monmouthshire & Carmarthen County Councils, TPMW and Capitol Regional Tourism ( CRT). The Group commissioned a new Tourism Marketing Strategy to set the direction and provide the framework to improve and strengthen future marketing of the Brecon Beacons. The strategy was completed in November and the key recommendations included:

• To appoint a PR person/agency to generate stories and push them out through traditional & on-line media and encourage travel writers to visit the Brecon Beacons.

• To develop an inspirational and comprehensive website for the Brecon Beacons area, with stimulating themes and links to commercial products.

• To Focus on Digital marketing: a digital marketing plan (covering. content development, social media, user-generated content, search engine optimisation, e-crm), needs to be developed and implemented
Visit Wales via TPMW with CRT and South West Wales Tourism Partnership (SWWTP) confirmed £25,000 to support the delivery of the Marketing Strategy recommendations. The informal Marketing Co-ordination Group was formally constituted as the ‘Brecon Beacons Marketing Co-ordination Group and BBT signed a contract to appoint and manage the PR/Digital Marketing person to undertake a programme of work on behalf of the Group. Alexandra Marr & Associate’s were appointed in November and hit the ground running. We would like to thank them for the successes they have had so far. Punch will report on the results already achieved in her report together with an update on the important work being done on developing one comprehensive website for the Brecon Beacons which will utilise the content of the both the Brecon Beacons Tourism’s and the National Park’s websites.

In October, Brecon Beacons Tourism’s commitment to ‘actively working together’ was recognised at the “National Tourism Awards for Wales’ when we were shortlisted for the Partnership Working Award
At the end of a momentous year, I must say a huge thank you to the people who have made it happen. To our architect and driving force, Punch Maughan, to Catherine Maggs for keeping our finances in order, to Julia Blazer who has joined us to give Punch much needed support and to Alison Crawshaw for her continued help and support.

And finally a big thank you to our funders Visit Wales, via the three Tourism Partnership Partnerships: Mid-Wales, Capitol Regional, and South West Wales, to the Brecon Beacons National Park’s Interreg Collabor8 project and to Powys County Council.

And last but not least to you our members, without your support, none of this would have been possible so a very big heartfelt thank you.