The story of our organisation really begins with our consumer-facing site, creativetourist.com, which, back in 2007, we were tasked to create as a means to showcase Manchester’s vibrant cultural offer. The project brought together the nucleus of what became the Creative Tourist Consults team and we have kept the site running ever since, helping connect thousands of people with cultural happenings in Manchester and across the North.
2-years ago we gave creativetourist.com a much needed relaunch, taking away many of the site’s more magazine-like opinion pieces and instead focusing on a structured approach of events and venues to make up a series of more usable guides. Although initially a bit of a shock to the system, our readers and partners responded well to the new never-mind-the-bollocks-here’s-what’s-good approach.
A couple of years on from the relaunch, creativetourist.com is reporting its best ever results, reaching an all-time high for traffic in September 2018.
The site is powered by Culture Hosts, our collaboration and listings platform, which allows our editors to pull event data into creativetourist.com from the content which partners share with us on Culture Hosts. It’s a win-win. This approach gives the editorial team more time to focus on getting content on the site and makes it easier for our partners to share with us (and others) what’s on. Partners’ events enjoy all the benefits of Culture Hosts, such as being shared direct with visitmanchester.com and with front of house Culture Hosts in hotels and visitor centres across the city.
We are blessed with a talented team of editors who work well with our sales team to develop long-lasting relationships with partners from across Manchester and the North. We have managed to keep creativetourist.com adfree by creating affordable packages for artists, venues, promoters and even shops, bars and restaurants to help promote their venues and events.
We’ve worked on big projects like Manchester International Festival and Liverpool Biennial, producing full campaign packages as well as weekend city guides, and also with partners with more limited budgets, promoting events in local libraries, schools and even coffee shops.
In total, we have covered nearly 2,500 events since the relaunch with an average click-through rate of around 13%, well above sector averages. These results are impressive and improving year-on-year, testament to our belief that working with carefully-selected partners via a mixture of free listings and paid-for posts can develop trust with our audience. Our posts are always written independently, while we can’t guarantee that everything we preview will turn out to be brilliant, we won’t work with partners who we don’t think can be brilliant.
One of the big contributions to the successful relaunch of creativetourist.com was our partnership work with the Northern Festivals Network and Wild Rumpus, which, though an Arts Council England Strategic Touring Fund, helped us to secure an editor and launch our families section to promote family-friendly cultural events. During that 2-year funding period, we have featured nearly 350 family events with a click-through rate of over 14%. Since establishing itself as a valuable asset to partner venues, we will be continuing to promote family things to do in Manchester and the North.
The audience for creativetourist.com is smaller than regional news websites, but with a team passionate about their content and a good relationship with our partners, we have created something which really does get our readers interested in what our partners are doing and, ultimately, helping them get bums on seats.