The Tourism Company
 
Events listings - hints and tips for tourism destination websites



Events often drive day visits and trips by residents and so can be very effective promotional tools for destinations wanting to boost visitor numbers. Below are some pointers on how best to display events information on your website:

  1. Include event highlights on your homepage. Including details of selected forthcoming events can be a good way to introduce changing content to your homepage
  2. Include a link to full events and whatís on information from your homepage. A prominent link from your homepage will ensure that users can quickly access event information
  3. Pay attention to the event search interface. If you have, or plan, a searchable database of events, take care to ensure the search interface is flexible and easy to use. Amongst the features you should consider are:
    • Categories: Make sure you have a range of categories that users can search on (e.g. music, family events, theatre, opera, sports etc) but not too many
    • Time periods: Many people look for events at the last minute. Offer the ability to search for events taking place over a range of periods including today/tonight, this weekend, next week and next month as well as during specific time periods
    • Major versus local events: Offer users the option of viewing a list of major events. Users wanting more community based events can be offered a fuller list of whatís on
  4. Offer people the option of browsing events and searching: Some users will want to look through a list of events of all types, whilst others will have a more detailed view on what they want to search for. Providing for both types of user will maximise the effectiveness of your event information.
  5. Provide descriptions, not just titles. Many events will mean little to a potential visitor based purely on the title of events. Include a brief description along with the event search results
  6. Develop a centralised events database. If you work within a local authority, you may well find that there are a number of event databases used by a variety of departments and/or external bodies. Rather than create your own event database (which can be time-consuming to maintain), work with these other departments to create a centralised database of events information. If this is not possible, seek permission for your site to access the most useful event database and display the results on your pages. Also, itís also worth remembering that sending your event information to UK Datapoint will ensure that your events information reaches the wider web audience
  7. Offer a regular events info e-newsletter. The last-minute nature of event decision making makes it a good option for providing regular emails to users about forthcoming events. A weekly email of up and coming events can be an effective marketing tool. If possible, offer the option of events tailored to peoplesí interests. If this is not technically feasible for you, create a number of different event e-newsletters and allow people to opt in to the ones they want

Case Study - Time Out London website

Time Out's London website is not strictly a tourism destination website but the way it presents events information puts into practice many of the recommendation listed in this section. Below we provide a few screenshots and reasons why it works so well.

Screenshot of Time Out London's homepage with events search box highlighted

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Other notable features include
  • Avoids using calendar and instead uses simple terms such as days of the week etc
  • Offers advanced search
  • Offers ability to sign up for events by email