Intro

The English Tourism Social Media Index is an annual league table of the 126 tourism bodies in England, ranked according to the best use of social media by their official social media channels.

Of the 126 tourism bodies analysed, 32 are counties and 94 are towns and cities within nine regions of England.

The English Tourism Social Media Index – part of a wider Social Media Index which was launched in 2013 – is compiled by measuring the social media performance of each tourism body based, not just on an algorithm, but research from a team of five people who looked at nine social networks. The data was then analysed by a panel of four judges who presided over the final results.

Produced by PR and social media agency Umpf in association with HolidayLettings.co.uk, the Index includes an overall table of 126 English tourism bodies ranked first to last, a counties table, plus nine additional tables showing rankings based on nine regions*.

The overall winner of the inaugural English Tourism Social Media Index is VisitWiltshire (see case study, below), just ahead of Visit Cornwall and Visit London in second and third places respectively. In the counties table, VisitWiltshire was again the winner, with Visit Cornwall placed second and Visit Norfolk ranked third.

Congratulations to the tourism bodies who topped the nine regional tables for best social media performance: North East – Visit Northumberland; North West – Visit Manchester; Yorkshire & The Humber – Visit Leeds; East Midlands – Visit Peak District & Derbyshire; West Midlands – Visit Forest of Dean & Wye Valley; East of England – Visit Norfolk; London – Visit London; South West – VisitWiltshire; South East – Visit Thanet.

*126 tourist boards were analyzed. Organisations that didn’t have dedicated social channels to tourism were discounted from the list.

Photo credit St Ives credit Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall

Table

Click the white buttons for the full English Tourism Social Media Index ranking of all 126 English tourism
bodies and the county specific table. The blue buttons represent the rankings region-by-region.
The documents will open into printable PDFs.

Overall League TableCounty Table

Methodology

There are three elements to the methodology, with a maximum score of 100 being attainable. The first element (which accounted for 70% of the total score) was a full analysis of each tourism body’s social channels. The analysis uses data from 23rd January – 13th February 2015.

Scores given at this stage took into account the breadth of official social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Vine, LinkedIn and Flickr. The scores also took into account community growth, as well as engagement on Twitter and Facebook, all weighted fairly to reflect the number of fans or followers the accounts already had.

Other considerations at this stage included a score for the breadth of multimedia content posted on Twitter and Facebook, including video, images, audio, official apps and external links.

The second element to the methodology was the judges’ scoring. Judges marked each tourism body and the combined total from the judges was averaged to give a final additional score for each team. This element accounted for a maximum 30% of the total scoring.

The final element to the methodology was the implementation of ‘Red Flag’ penalties: 2.5% was deducted from the final score for each social media malpractice, including duplicate content, failure to use hashtags, idle periods of four or more days, as well as repeated spelling and grammar mistakes.

This grand total was used to rank the tourism bodies in the 2015 English Tourism Social Media Index.

Case Studies

VisitWiltshire

VisitWiltshire is the overall winner of the English Tourism Social Media Index. Home to the Stonehenge and Avebury monuments, the south west county is also popular amongst tourists for its rolling countryside, country houses as well as destinations such as the historic city of Salisbury.

Outperforming the competition, VisitWiltshire achieved one of the best data scores due to their breadth of social channels, high engagement across the various social platforms and the responsiveness to their communities. The tourist board attained top marks for engagement across both Facebook and Twitter, with the content produced clearly in tune with their fans’ wants and needs.

In addition to achieving a great score in the algorithm-based section of the methodology, judges said VisitWiltshire showed a diverse range of content, from the creation of their own videos, to the sharing of bespoke images and links to third party content. The panel was also impressed by the tourist board’s strategy implementing the #timeforwiltshire hashtag across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, achieving great, shareable, user-generated images and content.

Finally, although not ground-breaking activity, the regular updating of cover photos, keeping the social channels fresh for their fans, struck a chord with the judges. Their overall understanding of social media and responsiveness to their communities, in particular on Twitter, cemented VisitWiltshire’s place as winner of the inaugural English Tourism Social Media Index.

Visit Mancheter

Leading the North West table, and placed 21st in the overall index, Visit Manchester scored consistently well in the algorithm and impressed judges with their breadth of social channels and the creative content used across its different communities.

Visit Manchester achieved a perfect score for its use of social channels, with the organisation present on all nine tracked channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Vine, Pinterest and YouTube. The tourist board’s data score was boosted with great response and engagement rates on its Twitter account – moderators clearly take the time to reply to their community.

Judges also noted the variety of content produced for different audiences. The image-led Walk of the Week post on Facebook and Twitter was praised for the use of its own hashtag (#WOW) and the championing of lesser-known public walks in Manchester. Combining this more family-orientated content, with the latest student and youth-related events showed Visit Manchester understood the diverse demographic of its communities.

The panel thought Visit Manchester demonstrated excellent channel community management, ensuring they get the basics right – a task more difficult than it appears with such a wide breadth of social accounts.

Visit Cornwall

Visit Cornwall is the runner-up in the English Tourism Social Media Index, placed just behind the winner VisitWiltshire in the overall, south west and counties tables. Known for its beautiful beaches, dramatic coastline and culinary delights, Cornwall is one of England’s most popular tourist destinations.

In the algorithm, Visit Cornwall achieved top marks for engagement and fan growth on Facebook and Twitter. The organisation was additionally one of only a small group tourist boards who secured no red flags for replication of content, spelling or grammar mistakes, hashtags or periods of inactivity.

Judges were very impressed with array of content utilised to promote the destination. Bespoke videos, showcasing some of the best views of Cornwall, were given a twist by incorporating tweets from their communities, which included the hashtag #lovecornwall.

The excellent use of sharing third party content was also praised by judges, with Visit Cornwall regularly re-posting images, events and links from not only their communities, but relevant news sources from the region. When promoting news from their own sources, such as visitcornwall.com, the content was curated by third parties – including local journalists and bloggers.

The panel believed this rich content strategy, combined with fantastic engagement across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, secured Visit Cornwall’s second place in the inaugural English Tourism Social Media Index.

Judges

  • Samantha Mayling

    Travel Weekly

    Samantha is the acting editor of travelGBI, which is part of the Travel Weekly Group. With a keen interest in social, she has been a journalist for 25 years and has reported on the travel trade since 1996.

  • Saskia Welman

    HOLIDAY LETTINGS Judge

    Saskia is PR Manager for Holiday Lettings, the UK’s busiest vacation rentals site, owned by global giant TripAdvisor. Saskia has worked in PR and communications for over ten years, specialising in online coverage.

  • Matthew Balmforth

    Senior Account Manager, Umpf

    Matthew is a PR and Social Media Account Manager at Umpf with a keen interest in digital marketing within the travel sector. Matthew has experience across a broad range of domestic and international travel clients and was nominated for the CIPR PRide Outstanding Young Communicator Award 2015.

  • ADRIAN JOHNSON

    Founder & MD, Umpf

    Adrian is the founder and MD of PR and social media agency, Umpf. The agency is the 2015 Social Media Agency of the Year (PR Moment Awards – North). Adrian launched the Social Media Index in 2013 and overseas all the indices covering Sport, F1 and English Tourism.