11 May 2017
Google is offering the local businesses and residents of Brighton free digital skills training with its pop-up ‘Digital Garage’ on Friday 12th of May. Held on British Airways 360 between 10am and 5pm, experts will deliver workshops specially geared to helping tourism and hospitality businesses train their staff on the digital tools needed to attract more visitors.
The tour began this May in partnership with the NCTA, VisitEngland, The British Hospitality Association and UKinbound, to ensure small businesses have the right skills to help market the appeal of the British coast. Further workshops around the coast will take place in September with destinations to be announced later this summer.
With most travel bookings starting with online research, digital skills have become essential to understanding a customer’s purchase journey. For example, studies show that 84% of leisure travellers haven’t decided on an accommodation provider when they start planning a trip. Since they still have an open mind about where they’ll go and who they’ll book with, tourism businesses have the perfect opportunity to use digital tools to inspire and influence potential customers about their destination.
Samantha Richardson, NCTA director praised the initiative saying: “The coast is the most visited overnight holiday destination for UK residents but has a significant unrealised potential. Digital skills can be a real barrier to growth for some small businesses and this welcome investment from Google will go a long way to helping small businesses enhance their digital skills and ensure that they remain competitive in a global marketplace.”
A recent survey found that four in five Brits admire the coast for its ‘beautiful, unspoilt beaches and coastline with lots of natural beauty” yet more than half have not visited the British seaside in the past three years. This shows a real opportunity for hospitality businesses and tourist centres to use the power of online tools to find new visitors, take advantage of the recent boost in ‘staycations’ and even think about how to encourage more overseas visitors.
Google’s Digital Garage initiative has already helped give more than 150,000 people across the country the skills to succeed in a digital world with many small and medium businesses reporting growth boosted by digital skills.
Commenting on the coast initiative, Google Managing Director UK & Ireland, Ronan Harris said: “Digital is having an increasing impact on our everyday lives. As a result, Google’s Digital Garage mission is to provide useful digital training as well as confidence online for those who may have at first felt quite lost within this new digital age. It has never been more vital for tourist-heavy coastal areas to become well equipped online. We want to support the ongoing regeneration of the town and believe that by harnessing the power of online tools, hospitality businesses and tourist centres will be able to find new visitors and encourage more tourism from overseas.”
Google’s Digital Garage employs experts to provide one-to-one mentoring and workshops to anyone interested in learning or furthering their digital skills. This can range from restaurant owners to B&B operators, pubs, cafe owners, and larger hotel chains – everyone working in a visitor-facing business.
If you’re interested in signing up for Brighton, visit the full schedule and registration page g.co/BrightonGarage.
 Source: Google/Ipsos MediaCT Travel 2016 - Hotels for Leisure GB