Family Trails for Town Centres

Summer Trails for Town Centres –

A Case Study

 

Earlier this year Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) decided to research trails for town centres in order to create an even greater experience for their residents and visitors.

May 2017 – Initial Brief from Kendal Business Improvement District-

  • Plan and design 6 Trails (4xChildren’s; 1xHistory; 1xEvening Trail).
  • To run from mid July-mid September 2017.
  • Incorporate all businesses in whole BID zone.
  • Utilise the “Kendal Branding” designed in previous BID initiative.
  • Link in with 3 town centre umbrella installations.
  • Trail maps to be FREE to participants.
Read more articles about this case study on town trails for town centres in issue 17 of Place Magazine
Read more about Felltarn Trails and other articles and stories like this in this month’s Place Magazine

Kendal BID initially contacted Felltarn Friends with a general idea for children’s trails for town centres, specifically around Kendal. A map required designing in a fun and interactive style to engage with local families and visitors to the town. The objective of the trail would be to boost footfall around the entire BID zone and encourage interaction between the general public and a wider range of businesses than they usually visit.

After a very enthusiastic brainstorming session, it was decided that Felltarn Friends would create 4 children’s trails on 2 separate maps, a history trail for those interested in the culture and unique character of Kendal, and, to boost the waning evening trade in the town, a night-time trail featuring the range of bars, pubs and eateries available to visit once the shops are closed.

As Kendal BID were to undertake the installation of 3 beautiful, bright, eye-catching umbrella displays in town-centre locations over the summer, Felltarn Friends were asked to incorporate the umbrella theme into the children’s trails to reinforce the attractions.

 

Phase 1: Information Gathering and Planning.

One of Kendal's Family Trails for Town Centres
Take Kendal’s Boozy Beer and Wine Trail
  • Contact all BID members to gather numbers for participation.
  • Offer advertising opportunity.
  • Plan routes to include all interested businesses.
  • Give all BID members opportunity to devise a Trail Treat.

Throughout June, Felltarn Friends contacted every BID member to request their participation in the Summer trails for town centres. By ‘participation’, it simply meant authorising a picture to be placed in the window of the business. Each picture would be no larger than approximately A5 in size, and either be an umbrella symbol to find and tick off a list, or a poster denoting the route of the trail.

The business owners had the option to participate or not, and were also given the opportunity to place a free advert for their business on one of the trail maps (first-come-first-served basis.)

Felltarn Friends proposed an additional feature – the ‘Trail Treat’. Again, this was optional, but allowed each business the chance to engage with trail participants with a unique special offer of their choice. Trail Treats ranged from 20% off a photoshoot at Paul Holland Photography, to free lollies at Todds of Kendal, a high-five at Costa, a pen at NatWest Bank and a portion of chips or soft drink at Fish Express. In total, 42 businesses across the BID zone offered Trail Treats across the 6 trails.

All pubs, bars and restaurants were given the same information, and notified that they would all be featured on the Evening Trail.

With over 140 businesses requesting participation in the trails, it was then possible to plan the trail routes and decide where to place the umbrella symbols for children to find.

 

Phase 2: Design.

An example of a children's trail for town centres
Whilst parents are one the Booze Trail why not encourage to children take a trail of their own
  • Children’s Trails for town centres to be in a recognisable ‘Felltarn Friends’ style.
  • 10 umbrella pictures to find in windows and tick off on the map.
  • Highlight all eateries open during the day.
  • Highlight play areas and picnic places.
  • Include advert for Swipii (previous BID initiative)
  • Include activity page on reverse.
  • Include advert for Kendal Gift Card (previous BID initiative) and weekly competition to win one.
  • History and Evening trail designs to be unique and appealing to mature demographic.
  • Include adverts for local businesses.
  • Include advert for Swipii (previous BID initiative).
  • Include advert for Kendal Gift Card (previous BID initiative) and weekly competition to win one.
  • Include trail-relevant fun-facts and information.

 

A map of the BID zone was designed from scratch and the trail routes plotted out. Our Trademark Felltarn Friends design style featured In the Children’s Trails for town centres maps, however we wanted something unique for the Evening Trail and a more traditional feel to the History Trail.

Hand-drawn sketches of each pub and bar featured on the Evening Trail which also incorporated fun alcohol themed facts and a mini-directory of all places in Kendal to eat in the evening. Every type of eatery in the BID zone was included from fast food outlets to independent bistros and restaurant chains.

The History Trails for town centres combined photographs, drawings, facts and information about the town, and the route incorporated 18 specific points of historical interest around the BID zone as well as encouraging participants to explore the town’s alleyways and yards.

The Kendal Branding (a previous BID initiative) was included on all the trails to ensure design continuity not only for these trails but also to tie in with other initiatives in the town and strengthen the message that Kendal has lots to offer.

 

Phase 3: Print and Distribution.

Download an example marketing document for these trails for town centre
Download the Kendal Trail Marketing document here
  • 6000 (1500 of each trail) to be printed.
  • Locate approx. 30 locations to be pick-up points (in and outside the BID zone).
  • Distribute trail maps to all pick up points.
  • Replenish pick-up points regularly throughout the duration of the trails.

The initial print run of 1500 copies of each trail map (A3 folded to DL size) was covered by the project fee. The BID provided leaflet holders and approx. 30 mostly BID members – shops, cafés, hotels and visitor centres agreed to be ‘pick-up points’.

Felltarn Friends organised getting the relevant umbrella pictures into the correct windows for the Children’s Trails, as well as the Trail Treat signs.

A local printer in Kendal was selected, and once delivered, Felltarn Friends joined forces with the BID manager to get the maps out to all the pick-up points for the start of the summer holidays.

After just 2 weeks, it became clear that a second print run was required, and a further 10000 trail maps were produced.

Felltarn Friends and the BID manager worked together to coordinate the replenishment of the pick-up points to ensure all were kept well stocked.

 

PR and Marketing:An example for a prize point for trails for town centres

  • Advertise the trails prior to launch across the South Lakes region.
  • Design flyers for school children.
  • Design banners for social media.
  • Design flyers for businesses to place on countertops.
  • Advertise in local publications.

Administrators for the Visit Kendal website were given relevant information to create new pages and downloadable versions of the trails. A direct link was set up to use on advertising material.

Flyers were designed by Felltarn Friends, one for the Children’s Trails and one for the History and Evening Trails for town centres. The Children’s Trails flyer was distributed to all primary schools in the South Lakes region. Both flyers were distributed to businesses across the BID zone and further afield to place on counter tops.

Kendal BID Manager sent out a Press Release to local publications, including an image of the flier artwork. Articles appeared in the Westmorland Gazette newspaper and Local Choice magazine.

A social media campaign was launched across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, utilising hashtags that were also advertised on the trails and flyers.

Local bloggers picked up on the trials after their launch and independent articles and posts were produced, as well as regular activity across social media platforms in the form of post shares, photo uploads and discussions.

 

Feedback and Testimonials:  Don't forget your umbrella when taking trails for town centres

The number of trail maps needing to be replenished in each of the pick-up points showed an average total of 1500 maps per week over the 9-week duration of the trails, split relatively evenly across the 4 maps.

Verbal feedback from trail participants to Felltarn Friends and BID businesses was all positive. Parents were happy that there was something fun for children to take part in, and with 4 different Children’s Trails it meant they could come back time after time. The umbrella theme and link to the displays was commended, as was the trail design style.

Kendal TIC had one of the fastest turnovers of trail maps, particularly the History Trail as tourists to the town found it a great way to explore and learn about Kendal.

Due to a well-documented lull in recent years in night-time trade in the town, the Evening Trail was deemed a well needed and fun way to encourage people into the bars, pubs and restaurants. The unique design style using sketches of all pubs and bars was a huge hit, with some locations asking for framed copies of the trail map.

BID businesses were inundated with extra footfall from the trails to the point that they ran out of their Trail Treat giveaways! Business owners and managers commented on the obvious increase in shoppers, browsers and awareness of their business. The trail concept in general was commended as a very good way to promote what Kendal has to offer throughout the BID zone.

The BID manager and board were very pleased with the planning, design, implementation and outcome of the trails project. Statistics from the Visit Kendal website show an increase in visits to the site during the first month of the trails up by almost 500% on the previous period, with 3400 visits to the trail pages.

Felltarn Friends have since been commissioned to create a Christmas Trail for Kendal BID, and have had interest from other BIDs regarding trails for their towns.

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