3rd August, 2022

Client Spotlight: Pinnacle Growth Group Supports the Rural Tourism Collaborative Experience Programme

by Team Pinnacle

Pinnacle Growth Group recently completed work on the Rural Tourism Collaborative Experience Programme (RTCE), a project funded by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Beginning in March 2021 and concluding in March 2022, the programme focused on the Royal Hillsborough and Moira areas, aiming to increase footfall, sales and overnight stays for food and drink related visits, along with footfall to associated events. It was also intended to create a strong foundation for stakeholder engagement.

Pinnacle Growth Group were appointed to project manage the programme and employed the 5-stage approach: preparation, engagement, research, development and reporting. The consultancy began by carrying out all preparation for the new programme, including compiling an audit of all quality producers, potential partners and those who could benefit from the new offering.

Following a subsequent agreement of key stakeholders and documentation, Pinnacle Growth Group engaged with stakeholders, suppliers and potential participants to introduce and secure buy in for the new programme.

This engagement phase included an extensive period of stakeholder research to identify existing gaps within the food & drink and accommodation sectors, as well as potential opportunities. Pinnacle Growth Group completed a detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis to aid decision making and development within the area specifically so that the new programme would meet existing needs for a range of businesses.

The development phase involved the creation of packages intended to increase economic activity, along with the creation of an attractive and engaging brand identity and a focused public relations strategy and marketing plan which targeted audiences in both NI and ROI. This activity included digital and social media support, including cross-population, media interviews, content promotion, display marketing, collateral activities, influencer activity, and prize giveaways to address the digital gap.

In addition to this, 12 good news stories were placed in the media, 5 social media influencer trips were organised and 4 events were recommended to drive tourism to the area.

These communications activities aimed to change the perception of the food scene in Royal Hillsborough and Moira, with the right branding, messaging, and marketing initiatives to resonate with the target audience.

Along with the provision of marketing support to Royal Hillsborough and Historic Moira stakeholders, Pinnacle Growth’s project management saw the creation of a series of 12 ready-made itineraries designed to increase footfall, dwell time, sales and overnight stays in the target areas. Pinnacle Growth facilitated introductions to tour operators to sell these bespoke itineraries.

Three networking events were organised to facilitate the formation of positive relationships between key stakeholders and the client, with working groups formed to encourage collaboration between businesses in Royal Hillsborough and Moira.

Partnerships were established among stakeholders. For example, a restaurant offered discounted rates to visitors sent from local accommodations. A Champion from both the accommodation sector and food and drink sector was identified to assist stakeholder communications and ensure continuity of working groups. In total, 99 businesses were contacted across all streams, and 40 stakeholders were recruited to the programme.

To ensure programme success, Pinnacle Growth Group also researched and reviewed previous support delivered by the client to assess effectiveness, the value to businesses and wider communities, and alignment to LCCC’s strategic goals. This ensured the new programme identified and addressed all existing gaps found in the client’s support to local businesses in the food and drinks and accommodation industries, supporting the development of positive relationships. Solutions found to address the gaps included a guide on ‘how to effectively use social media’.

Throughout the programme delivery, Pinnacle Growth Group provided monthly updates and quarterly reports to the client. The final reporting stage of the project entailed the delivery of a detailed report providing a complete overview of the RTCE programme. The evaluation report also outlined recommendations and an action plan for the provision of additional support to the client.

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