OxLEP Business – which operates as the Growth Hub for businesses in Oxfordshire – is set to hold the second of its ‘Digital Skills for Oxfordshire's Visitor Economy’ launch events in Abingdon on Monday (16 January), following a successful launch in the north of the county earlier this week.
This new range of support – delivered by OxLEP Business through the Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme – is set to equip eligible Oxfordshire Visitor Economy businesses with the confidence, knowledge and skills to transform their businesses and make better use of digital solutions within their operations, reducing reliance on staff, whilst increasing promotion and customer spend.
Support on offer includes: webinars to help businesses ‘offer visitors more’ by making connections with potential partners to collaborate, ‘Managing Customer Experience and Maximising Return on Investment’ workshops – set to help businesses look with fresh eyes at their customers experience and utilise technology that is both sophisticated and accessible to optimise their Return on Investment, along with the opportunity for a free digital assessment and follow-up implementation support.
The assessment and follow-up support element of the business support on offer is set to consist of a baseline survey, followed by a 30-minute discovery call on what digital solutions are currently being utilised, followed by recommendations on further solutions that could be adopted.
Following this, recipients will also have access to up to two hours online or on-site with an expert to help them to implement those solutions – which could include basic training for staff.
Through engaging with the support on offer, Visitor Economy businesses can expect to gain the following:
- Support with leadership development, helping develop skills, train staff and embed digital solutions to ensure your business can thrive
- Access to new knowledge and confidence to help you plan for your business’ future
- Information about the range of digital solutions that can support your success
The second of the two breakfast launch events – taking place at Milton Hill House in Abingdon – is set to provide an opportunity for eligible Visitor Economy businesses to understand the breadth of the support on offer, to ‘book-in’ for that support, and to make wider connections with similar businesses. This comes after a launch event for the digital skills provision in the north of the county took place at Bicester Hotel Golf Club and Spa earlier this week (Monday 9 January).
Businesses eligible for the support include any trading within Oxfordshire that are part of the Visitor Economy sector – including museums, businesses operating in hospitality, arts and culture organisations and independent retailers.
The ‘Digital Skills for Oxfordshire's Visitor Economy’ support offering is a key component of the Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme, which was set up last year to back the sector’s ongoing re-emergence from Covid-19 through a variety of positive interventions allowing the strengthening of the sector post-pandemic, whilst maintaining and retaining consumer confidence for the industry.
Other elements set be delivered through the wider Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme include: a series of strategic marketing campaigns being delivered by both Experience Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Tourism Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), development of a Visitor Economy Vision and Action Plan for the county over the next few years and grant funding available via the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme (now closed for applications).
OxLEP secured funding for The Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme via the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund.
Helen Brind – Growth Hub Manager at OxLEP – said: “The Digital Skills for Oxfordshire’s Visitor Economy’ support offering being delivered through the Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme demonstrates OxLEP’s commitment to supporting businesses, following what has been a particularly challenging period, especially for sectors such as the Visitor Economy.
“Back in November, one of our partner DMOs, Experience Oxfordshire, published ‘The Economic Impact Report for Tourism in Oxfordshire (2021)’ – showcasing a significant recovery in the volume of visits to the county and related expenditure compared to the year prior, but indicating that there is still a long way to go before the sector returns to pre-pandemic levels.
“I would encourage any businesses operating within the county to sign up to Monday’s launch for this digital skills initiative and find out what support may be available to them, how they can access this and what they are set to gain from engaging with the programme.”
For more details on what support your business may be eligible for, businesses can fill out OxLEP Business’ Business Support Tool – which takes just 7 minutes – and from which you will receive a bespoke Business Support Action Plan, detailing the appropriate next steps you may wish to take in your business support journey.