Ipswich to host Destination Digital tourism and hospitality conference

From left, Chris Chamberlain from HTK, Vicki Cole from Crafted and Helen Dodman from Ipswich Central

From left, Chris Chamberlain from HTK, Vicki Cole from Crafted and Helen Dodman from Ipswich Central, the three organisations behind the Destination Digital conference. - Credit: Archant

The company behind the delivery of the Ipswich town centre Business Improvement District project has teamed up with two local digital specialist to stage a conference on online marketing for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Ipswich Central is working with customer relationship software company HTK and digital agency Crafted, which are both based in Ipswich, to stage the Destination Digital event.

The conference, to be held on Tuesday, June 9 at The Jerwood DanceHouse on the town’s waterfront, will focus on maximising loyalty and repeat business by making the most of digital marketing.

It will be chaired by Martin Evans, a member of the Hotel Marketing Association national committee, with Steve Dobson, co-founder of Go Unusual and author of Unusual Hotels, as keynote speaker.

He will explain how social media, database and viral marketing have been key to the growth of his business which, through GoUnusual.com offers advice and ideas for places to go, things to do and places to drink and eat.

Other speakers will include representatives from west Suffolk-based highwire forest adventure company Go Ape, on creating a content marketing strategy, Crafted, on using search marketing to attract consumers pre-visit, and HTK, on insight-driven marketing for guest loyalty, repeat business and direct bookings.

There will also be a panel discussion featuring marketers from Old English Inns (part of Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich alonside the speakers from Go Ape, Crafted and HTK.

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The confermed forms part of the Drive Digital forum for online marketing knowlege which was launched by Ipwich Central, Crafted and HTK last year.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “Drive Digital focused solely on Ipswich in 2014, but it is important that, as the county town of Suffolk, Ipswich leads the way. We are delighted to partner with two of Suffolk’s leading online marketing providers to deliver this event and look forward to an informed and fun session.”

Chris Chamberlain, head of marketing at HTK, said: “Rapid changes in digital technology have transformed the marketing landscape, creating new opportunities and challenges. The ability to build and grow effective customer relationships through digital channels is now central to success.

“In the hospitality and tourism sector, this means understanding what each customer wants and needs in order to deliver amazing guest experiences and encourage repeat visits. We’re looking forward to sharing best practice and hearing from some of the regions best-known brands at the forthcoming Drive Digital event in June”.

Ian Miller, chief executive at Crafted, added: “East Anglia is home to some fantastic hospitality and tourism brands doing great things with their digital marketing, with Go Ape, the New Wolsey Theatre and Old English Inns being just three of these.

“This conference aims to celebrate that success and provide an opportunity for brands in the sector to learn from each other. Online marketing is constantly evolving, but we hope that sharing expertise at Drive Digital events will help businesses to stay ahead of the curve and generate the best results for their brands.”

Places at the conference cost £20 per person plus VAT. To book, visit www.drivingdigital.co.uk/.