Brighter Side

Latest news, views and photos

the boathouse, Bradford on Avon Marina

My latest project has been to help launch the newly refurbished boathouse in Bradford on Avon.

This was formerly the Beef and Barge which had closed a few months ago. Although in a prime spot looking over a marina filled with narrowboats, the pub had struggled and was in need of a major refurbishment.

Fortunately, the new owners of the nearby Widbrook Grange Hotel saw an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands!

I have worked with the hotel for some years and was asked to set up a holding page for the new pub and then a full website for launch.

Social Media Strategy

In addition, I set up their social media profiles and managed their online marketing in order to create a buzz ahead of the launch.

With a new refurbishment, there is a ready made story. I visited every few days, took photos throughout the process and posted them online. Countdowns to the reopening, 10% off vouchers and a steady release of news all helped to generate a buzz.

It was interesting and rewarding to see how the Facebook Page grew so quickly. Clearly there was a willingness amongst the local community to see the pub re-open and lots of excitement at seeing the refurbishment happen.

Within one month, we grew Facebook likes to over 1500 by the opening (way ahead of our target of 1000). Admittedly, we did spend some money on Facebook Ads but they were targeted on the core audience and the high levels of engagement proved that the adverts were working.

Twitter wasn't quite so popular. However, it did reach people (in particular local businesses and journalists), that were more active here than they were on Facebook; and so it was important to cover both platforms.

Email Marketing

I also designed their email newsletter templates and we devised a 10% off voucher to encourage sign ups. This was publicised via Facebook, Twitter and the website and succeeded in substantially growing the number of subscribers.

"Everyone knew about it"

Chris, the General Manager, reported that when they handed out flyers in the centre of Bradford on Avon a couple of weeks before the opening, everyone had heard about the boathouse reopening.

Why was the marketing activity such a success? 

Because it was a multi channel approach. It encompassed both traditional marketing and online marketing. Traditional marketing activities included:

  • Banners were put up outside the pub - as it is situated on the road between Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon, it was very visible to lots of people. 
  • Local press - articles were published in the Wiltshire Times, the Community website and Local Life (where they ran a competition and included a recipe from the menu).
  • Flyers, with vouchers which encouraged people to try the menu in the first few weeks of opening, were handed out in town and distributed to local businesses.

This multi channel activity demonstrates that social media does not make traditional marketing redundant, but compliments it. 

The good news is that the pub was fully booked over the first weekend and continues to be very popular.

The boathouse is a welcome addition to the Bradford on Avon pub and restaurant scene and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to its successful launch.