A training and investment programme to help Visitor Attractions and Activity Providers in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands to attract more customers by improving their websites.
Investment Grants from €3,000 up to €30,000*
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Under the banner of Project Ireland 2040 Fáilte Ireland, the body responsible for building and promoting the Irish tourism sector, have introduced a new scheme design to help visitor attractions and activity providers in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
The Website Improvement Programme offers training and investment to qualifying businesses to up their game in the online space.
Do you want your website work harder for you? Do you want your website to generate more customers? Fáilte Ireland’s Website Improvement Programme has been designed especially for visitor attractions and activity providers in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. It is a training and investment programme that will help you improve the content and functionality of your website, as well as improving your digital skills.
Fáilte Ireland are inviting visitor attractions and activity providers in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands who are interested in participating in the Website Improvement Programme to request an Expression of Interest form.
As part of the Programme, a Website Improvement Plan will be prepared for each successful applicant. Fáilte Ireland will provide training and funding to successful applicants to commission necessary improvements to their website in the areas of design and content, download speeds, mobile usability, etc. The Programme will also look to assist businesses with improving their Search Engine Optimization, driving additional web traffic and sales.
Through this Programme, Fáilte Ireland will be offering Investment Grants of between €3,000 and €30,000. Fáilte Ireland’s contribution will constitute a maximum of 75% of the eligible costs. A minimum 25% of the funding will be required by each participating business. Full details of the Programme are included in the Application Guidelines document.
How to Apply
The first step is to read the Application Guidelines for the Website Improvement Programme.
If you think you are eligible to apply, please email the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands team at IHH@failteireland.ie or we can take these steps for you firstname.lastname@example.org. The Expression of Interest form will then be emailed to you.
Once you have completed the Expression of Interest form, you should email it to IHH@failteireland.ie. We can assist with this form and make any final checks.
The closing date for receipt of completed Expression of Interest forms is Wednesday 24th July at 12 noon.
When completing the online expression of interest form, you will be required to give your consent to Fáilte Ireland and their web consultants for ‘Read Only’ access to your website analytics. This will be required to conduct a website review and see how your website is performing across key metrics.
About Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands
The Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand has been developed by Fáilte Ireland to grow the visitor economy of the Midlands. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands seeks to deliver on the brand promise outlined below.
Get active at your own relaxed pace in the natural rural beauty of Ireland’s central heartlands, along scenic waterways and walking trails, discovering what this under explored region and its welcoming rural communities have to offer.
Fáilte Ireland’s goal is to deliver on this promise at every point of interaction with the visitor. The vision for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is to deliver sustainable growth to all areas of the Midlands which will achieve real benefits for local communities and businesses and provide a focus for the protection of the environment, upon which tourism depends.
What is the aim of the Website Improvement Programme?
The purpose of the Website Improvement Programme is
to improve the web skills of operators of visitor attractions
and activity providers and to fund necessary improvements
to their websites.
86% of visitors to Ireland book everything independently
without the use of an Agent and 92% of all visitors use the
internet to research information about the destinations
they are traveling to.
As a visitor attraction or activity provider can you really
afford to have poor search visibility?
And when visitors do visit your website do you provide
the right content and use the right tactics to capture a sale?
The Website Improvement Programme is about providing you with a range of free and funded supports to help your
business thrive in the online space.
Included as part of the Programme:
The specific aims of the website improvement programme are…
This Programme is limited to approximately 40 businesses. Participants will be selected through a simple application process.
As part of the Website Improvement Programme, Fáilte Ireland will prepare a set of standards and a checklist of items, against which each participating website will be reviewed and rated. The following are examples of just some of the categories within the checklist:
Design & Content
- Overall website design
- User Experience
- Path to Purchase
- Foreign language provision
- Traffic generation
- Technical audit
- Social media
- Google My Business & Search engine ranking
- Review Sites
- User Experience
- Conversion Rates
The following are the minimum eligibility criteria that will
apply to this programme:
You must be operating a visitor attraction or be an activity provider located within the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands tourism region.
Accommodation providers are not eligible to apply. However, attractions such as historic houses that offer accommodation, in addition to guided tours of the property and are, therefore, primarily attractions, are eligible to apply.
Groups of visitor attractions and/or activity providers that have organised themselves as a network and have a website are eligible to apply.
You must not be in breach of State Aid rules with regard to De Minimis regulations or the General Block Exemption Regulations, as appropriate.
You must own the website in question. You will be asked to verify this as part of Step 2 of the process.
You must commit to the required minimum proportion (25%) of match funding. You will be asked to provide evidence that you have the level of match funding required when you are applying for an investment grant.
Are you eligible to apply?
To apply, you must be an existing visitor attraction or activity
provider, operating within the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands
region, that has an operating website i.e. the website was live
on the 1st of June 2019.
The programme is open to the following sectors:
Companies and other legal entities and individuals.
Not-for-profit bodies, including charities, trusts and companies limited by guarantee.
Public Sector Bodies
Semi-state organisations and local authorities.
Ineligible to apply...
The following types of businesses and websites are
ineligible under this programme:
- Accommodation businesses.
- Festivals and events.
- Driving or touring routes.
- Restaurants, cafes, shops, etc.
- Visitor information offices.
- Community information websites.
- County tourism websites.
- Individual sports clubs.
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