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Taking inspiration from Kent’s businesses

You don’t have to break the bank…

Long gone are the days when the local tourist information office or a travel guide book were the first ports of call when planning a day out.

Appealing to mobile-mad millennials has rewritten the marketing rulebook and Kent has some impressive examples of innovative visitor destinations doing some great stuff with limited resources.

A few weeks ago I attended Visit Kent’s first Tourism Awards at Drury Lane’s Theatre Royal, as a corporate sponsor for the Lasting Impression Award.

I was delighted to be in a room with so many inspiring Kent businesses who are really thinking imaginatively about how they can market their business.

Tourism attractions in Kent

We love Kent and are delighted to have been able to support our county’s tourism businesses during our (almost) 25 year agency history.

My team all understand a lot about the county’s tourism scene, from a professional and personal perspective, and we have the pleasure of counting the likes of Eurotunnel, Visit Kent, Ashford Borough Council and Canterbury City Council as tourism marketing clients.

One of the enterprising businesses I met at last week’s award is St Mary’s Church in Fordwich near Canterbury, one of the Churches Conservation Trust’s ‘Champing’ locations.

Who would have thought you would be able camp by candlelight in a church, these days anything is possible! But it shows that being bold and thinking differently can really make a difference to what you can offer.

The beauty of the Champing initiative is that those behind it make a lot out of very little or no marketing budget, but by offering a really special and appealing experience they have attracted the attention of the media – The Guardian and BBC’s Countryfile included.

Elmley Nature Reserve’s Shepherds Huts, the launch of the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham, glamping at Port Lympne are other great examples of Kent businesses extending their offer and diversifying.

And our Hello Herne Bay campaign is pulling together an absolute wealth of hidden gems to be found in the East Kent town – its emerging art scene, Alice in Wonderland themed cafe, Meet the Maker vintage fairs, its independent cinema and so much more. Watch out for an updated case study on this soon from our very talented designer and go-to Kent coast expert Kelly.

With limited marketing budgets, my recommendation is always to drive exposure using online influencers – I’m talking bloggers, vloggers, Instagram. Social media is a cost effective way of extending your reach and can have an immediate impact.

Make sure your website is up-to-date and optimised for mobile – you’ll literally switch people off without it. It doesn’t need to cost megabucks either check our PB Lite websites which are amazing value and so quick to get up and running.

Miranda presenting the Lasting Impression Award at Visit Kent’s Tourism Awards

And why not invite a travel journalist to come and visit your attraction or stay at your venue? If they like it, they’ll write a review that might lead others to visit too.

Most importantly, tell your story and show off what makes you unique!

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