The West Sussex coastline is one of the most stunning in the country, enjoying mild, sunny weather much of the year. Being but a short hop from London and many inland towns and cities, it's unsurprisingly a mecca for all sorts of watersports activities, from wreck diving and freediving, to stand-up paddle, windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing and sailing.
In spite of the coastline's popularity, and the general awesomeness of watersports, this sector - like hospitality and other leisure and tourism services - needs to think about marketing and promotion in the face of both domestic and international competition.
Moreover, whether we're talking watersports gear sales and rental, group and private tuition, sailing club membership or local B&B provision, these are often small businesses, employing relatively low numbers of full-time, year-round staff.
The watersports sector in particular is extremely operational and hands-on. There is always a lot of last-minute tweaking and adapting the offering to tides, weather, water and wave conditions and meticulous attention to the health and safety of participants.
That means that for many tourism-related activities, it's often difficult to sit down for any length of time to decide how to grow the business.
The solution: business breakfasts
The 8:30 - 10:30 business breakfasts set up by Sam Smithson (above) in conjunction with Experience West Sussex are helping watersports operators and tourism-related small businesses (including B&Bs, cafes, concessions and other visitor experience providers) to focus in on key elements of their business in ways which give focus and clarity to burning issues, without detracting too much from the day job.
Unlike regular networking events, there is significant synergy to be had in sharing insights and expertise which are focussed directly on the tourism sector.
The digital marketing breakfasts
For watersports providers, sitting at a laptop or fiddling with a phone to 'do marketing things' is about as incompatible with the sand, salt and sea as you can get! But it is of course the most widely used way that people hoping to get out on the water will access the information they need.
Whilst many of the West Sussex watersports businesses might do well from passers by who are already on the beach with a couple of hours to spare, a swimming costume and a towel, the challenge in growing these watersports businesses lies in being as visible in a digital world as they are with their kites, boards and vivid fluttering flags on the seafront.
Similarly, for those involved in other aspects of hospitality and tourism, things like stock orders and booking requests are always going to feel like a higher priority than driving the business forward. So what to do?
The two-hour breakfast sessions, by Disquiet Dog's Richard Bradford will look at:
- Knowing where to start, what matters and what doesn't
- Setting realistic targets for marketing tasks and planning to make a difference
- The online world and today’s audience needs
- The new sales and marketing funnel and how it works with digital
- What Google needs
- What social media needs
- Keywords and content
- How to do digital without it taking all your time
- Getting the fastest possible return.
How to book your place
The events are open to any West Sussex business or organisation working in tourism or watersports. The breakfast sessions will be repeated in Worthing and Chichester:
Tue, 19 November 2019
08:30 – 10:30
21-22 Marine Parade
Thu, 21 November 2019
08:30 – 10:30
Chichester Yacht Club
About the All on Board Strategy
The Coastal West Sussex Partnership is a business-led partnership which is spearheading the strategic development of the coastline, through a range of outstanding initiatives.
These range from building business confidence to improving workforce skills, and lobbying for better infrastructure, homes and employment spaces.
Having spotted the opportunity to support the watersports sector in particular, the All on Board project was created to focus on putting West Sussex businesses firmly on the map as an active and growing watersports hub of national and international significance.
Get involved with All on Board
You can follow All on Board on Instagram and Twitter and you can also sign up to the newsletter which groups together the best of news and events related to the All on Board campaign + everything else happening in the sector.