Summary of activity from Visit Dorset to support the Dorset visitor economy - 2022

Website Development

  • Delivering a programme of ongoing development on our website - first in the UK to launch on the Simpleview US platform (Aug 21).  Also managing a schedule of content creation and contract management to ensure that we make use of all the new site functionality available to us. 

  • As part of the tender specification, ability to offer partner organisation microsites (mini websites under the main Visit Dorset site umbrella); currently managing sites with Lyme Regis and Sherborne Town Councils. 

  • SEO development strategy in place providing in depth reports, structured guidance on content development and monthly health checks to ensure the site’s continued growth and success. 

  • Annual web visits of over 2.1 million (Jan – Dec 2022), although this is a decrease of 24% on the previous year this is a similar pattern to other DMO websites. Marketing plans are in place to continue to raise the profile of Visit Dorset in 2023.   

  • Implemented ‘Crowdriff’ into site - a software platform which sources Dorset imagery directly from social media, keeping the site authentic and engaging.  Dynamic content also added which displays information specific to the website visitor’s previous site use. 

  • Digital Asset Management solution implemented; a cloud-based platform which is used internally as an efficient storage solution for our photos and videos and externally for efficient distribution to media partners, members and stakeholders. 

Business Support 

  • Reduced membership fees by 20% to support businesses during a difficult period of recovery from the pandemic alongside the start of a time of economic crisis. 

  • Regular e-newsletters to members and wider business groups across Dorset summarising COVID-19 legislation and 4 Step Plan and available funding sources. Circulated resources including posters, signage and information about when to use 111 to support Dorset Hospital’s A&E services. 

  • Dorset Business Twitter account @VisitDorsetBiz (2340 followers) Visit Dorset and Visit Dorset LinkedIn account (237 followers) promotion of training, marketing and business networking opportunities for Dorset tourism businesses. 

  • Promotion of training for tourism businesses including recruitment, business development, funding applications and digital skills. 

  • Promotion of Dorset’s late availability, special offers and additional feature advertising 

  • Conducted regular business impact surveys to enable Dorset business to voice their concerns about the stability of their business during the pandemic and cost of living crisis and shared consumer insights information to help businesses to forward plan. 

  • Online booking connectivity improvements include linking with TXGB to enable online booking connections with over 200 booking systems and distributors. 

  • Sponsored the ‘New Tourism Business’ category for the 2021/22 Dorset Tourism Awards and presented to successful businesses at the Awards Celebration Event. Assisted with promotion of the awards scheme throughout the year.  

  • Promoted English Tourism Week, Small Business Saturday and other national initiatives 

  • Attended tourism forums, Chamber and BID meetings to understand the difficulties facing sectors of the economy linked to tourism and feedback to government via the GSW Tourism Partnership 

  • Virtual event held for members highlighting ways in which they can take advantage of their Visit Dorset membership to help them navigate the current financial climate. 

Marketing & Promotional Campaigns

  • Successful spring campaign with Crowd marketing agency ‘Put a Dorset Spring in Your Step’.  Campaign ran from March to May on Facebook and Instagram. Targeted at young families, young professionals and empty nesters with 2 sets of advertising carousels per market segment.  Business members Hive Beach café, Monkey World, Silverlake plus others were featured. Campaign generated 2.5 million impressions and over 16k website clicks with an average CPC of £0.40  

  • Joint campaign with Camp Bestival team to install approx. 300 train card panels across the southern railway network to promote the festival and Dorset.  (Thameslink/SWR/Southern). Plus competition and joint e-newsletter promotions. 

  • Ran a continuous social media campaign using targeted paid adverts designed in-house alongside a Pay Per Click campaign to drive summer bookings. Ability to be reactive to external factors (i.e. cost of living, fuel prices) and produce adverts that were seasonal and topical. The campaigns were cost-effective with an average CPC of £0.20.  

  • Produced a summary guide to Visit Dorset campaigns throughout the year and invited businesses to work with us to support our activity via their own channels using marketing assets provided by us. All part of encouraging business support and involvement to aid ongoing visitor economy recovery. 

  • Continued to collaborate with our corporate communications team and colleagues from Dorset AONB on the Dorset Council visitor management campaign ‘Promise to Love Dorset’.  The content was hosted on our Visit Dorset website and a targeted digital marketing campaign ran on our social channels. The campaign was put forward and won a national communications award for ‘Best use of Research and Evaluation’ 

  • Increased promotion of cycle routes and cycling breaks in Dorset in preparation for Tour of Britain Dorset stage. Official sponsor of event and visitor information and support provided to Dorset Council colleagues working to host event.  

  • Produced a reduced print run of our Dorset Days Out fold out map leaflet with free promotion to existing Visit Dorset attraction and activity businesses to aid recovery. 

  • Jan 2022: Instagram 31.9k followers (+12% on 2021); Facebook 39.7k fans (+38% and 3.2 million reach); Twitter 18.3k followers (accounts reduced from 3 to 1 to help manage content)   

  • 13 consumer e-newsletters with an average reach of 20,000 per newsletter and an open rate of 30% 

  • Supported press and media enquiries throughout the year including I news, BBC, Telegraph, National Geographic Food Traveller, Independent, Bradt Travel Guides and assistance for promotional and feature films. 

Social Media Collaborations and Competitions

  • Regular competitions set up with industry partners and promoted through digital channels with high success rates: 

  • Mar  - Two night break at Durdle Door Holiday Park (2757 entrants) 

  • June - Camp Bestival family ticket competition (1,222 entrants) 

  • Aug - Two night break in West Bay and tickets to the AJ Bell Tour of Britain (236 entrants) 

  • Sept - Parkdean Warmwell Holiday Park Winter Wonderland competition (1,303 entrants)  

  • Oct - Dorset Photography Book Facebook giveaway with Matt Pinner (218 entrants) 

  • Nov - Kingston Lacy winter lights trail (1,199 entrants) 

  • Dec 22/Jan23 - Crowdriff competition encouraging image sharing for use on social media and website 


  • Signposting of resources, funding and case studies on the Visit Dorset Industry site to help businesses become more sustainable. 

  • Promotion of green tourism section on the Visit Dorset site including travel, accommodation, local produce, electric vehicles etc, aimed at visitors to Dorset. 

  • Promotion of ‘out of season’ campaigns to encourage visitors to take holidays/short breaks out of the main holiday season to spread visitor numbers and tackle the issue of seasonality. 

  • Improved and added new walking and cycling routes to encourage visitors to explore Dorset without their car.  

  • Collaborated with Litter Free Dorset on a business survey in January 2022 to establish baseline data regarding sustainable practices, packaging use, waste management etc. Survey analysis can be found on the Litter Free Dorset website

  • Took part in two Dorset Tourism Association workshops focussed on sustainability and transport to  bring together key stakeholders across Dorset to discuss issues affecting the visitor economy. 



  • Attended regular VisitEngland meetings with destination leads from around the country 

  • Shared best practice, data, business support and national marketing campaigns to support the government agenda for England’s tourism industry. 

Great South West Tourism Partnership (GSWTP) 

  • Fortnightly meetings throughout 2022 with tourism leads across the south west, the Head of Tourism for the Department of Media Culture and Sport (DCMS) and VisitEngland.  The partnership is key to co-ordinating regional marketing campaigns, collaborative impact surveys and effective lobbying to government for industry support.   

  • Partners continued to work to their comprehensive plan ‘Towards 2030’ on key issues affecting the industry and used this to attract funding bids from government. 

Dorset Tourism Association  

  • Regular board meetings with sector representatives highlighting the impact of the pandemic and cost of living crisis on all sectors of Dorset’s tourism industry; feedback used to support businesses, lobby and feedback to the GSWTP. 

Other key partnerships 

  • Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP); working together on Dorset wide opportunities. 

  • England’s Coast partnership, supporting coastal destinations.  Became a full member in 2022 to optimise joint marketing opportunities and support Year of The Coast 2023. 

  • Working with town councils and BIDs in Swanage, Wimborne, Dorchester, Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Sherborne and Councillors in North Dorset towns to aid recovery and build mutually beneficial partnerships  

  • Worked with the Dorset Museum Partnership on a joint package to enable museums in Dorset to feature on the Visit Dorset site whatever size or set up. 

  • Working with the Arts Development Company, Dorset Council’s appointed strategic development company for culture, to boost promotion of arts and culture through Visit Dorset’s marketing platforms. 

  • Collaboration with Condor Ferries using Visit Dorset video content onboard to promote the area to passengers. Attended Portland Cruise Excursion event and worked with Poole Port to support their cruise industry initiatives. 

​​Research and consultation

  • Supported the funding of the south west Business Impact Surveys to measure the impact of the pandemic on the whole region, identify business priorities and use to inform and lobby government and assist with DCMS consultations. 

  • Assisted with data and funded the Dorset volume and value tourism research via The South West Research Company. 

National Policy, Government and VisitEngland Reviews 

  • Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Independent Review of Destination Management Organisations: In September 2021 we submitted a Dorset Council/Visit Dorset response to this independent review of the structure of DMOs in England, working with the DTA and BCP on a co-ordinated response.  The government response was published in July 2022 and recommended to bring in a tiered approach to Destination Management in England.  Attended DMO round table events in London and Bristol to feedback on review proposals and held two meetings with BCP/DTA/DMB and officers to plan a joined up way forward for Dorset.  

  • DCMS Call for Evidence on Developing a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England: In June, submitted a Dorset Council/Visit Dorset response to this review.  Engaged with Planning, Housing, Community Protection and Revenues and Benefits teams to provide a co-ordinated response alongside GSW partners.