Website Development Programme 2021-2022
The Website Development Programme aims to provide support to experience providers to develop or enhance their websites and digital presence; through the provision of a digital audit and website development plan - that will then be used to support business recovery & growth.
The digit audit and website development plan will look at a wide range of support, including: search engine optimisation; booking engine development, optimisation of mobile and smartphone platforms; provision of the right content; and the use of right tactics to capture sales.
The Programme opens on Wednesday 25th August 2021 at 3.00pm. Expressions of Interest closed on Wednesday 8th September 2021 at 3.00pm.
- To ensure that individual websites are optimised in line with recommendations from the Digital Audit/Website Development Plan - in order to create positive first impressions, retain interest, enhance engagement on the site and drive enquiries and revenue
- To improve the quality of online content across a range of tourism experience providers in Northern Ireland in line with the new Embrace A Giant Spirit experience brand.
- To increase the Northern Ireland experience offering online by developing sites for those operators who have little or no digital presence
- To support tourism experience providers to market and sell their experiences in a post-COVID-19 environment by recognising transformed demand; visitor desire to visit differently and book differently; and the need for timely and clear communication of changes and updates
- To ensure mobile optimisation
- To improve conversion rates
- To provide structured support and guidance to experience providers to enhance their online analytical capabilities and ongoing website optimisation
What Assistance can I expect?
Successful applicants to the scheme will receive:
- A Digital Audit and Website Development Plan – All eligible applicants (subject to available funding) will undergo a structured review of their website or will receive suggestions for the development of their website (if they don’t have a digital presence); and will receive a Website Development Plan. This review will cover a range of areas including design and content.
- 1 to 1 Mentoring Support All eligible applicants (subject to available funding) will get direct 1 to 1 mentoring and support based on their Website Development Plan.
- Financial Assistance* Based on the findings within the Digital Audit and Website Development Plan, some applicants will have the opportunity to submit a full application to apply for financial assistance towards eligible costs to develop their website (as set out in their Website Development Plan).
Who Can Apply?
To apply, you must be an existing experience provider, operating in Northern Ireland. The programme is open to the following sectors:
- Private Sector: Companies and other legal entities and individuals
- Public Sector: Commercial and non-commercial semi state organisations and local authorities
- Voluntary / Community Sector: Community and not for profit bodies including companies limited by guarantee. Applicants from this sector will be required to have a Charity Number as evidence that they qualify for this status.
The programme is focused on tourism experience providers and the following businesses and websites are ineligible under this programme:
- Accommodation businesses, with the possible exceptions outlined at Minimum Eligibility Criteria (point 1)
- Festivals and Events
- Sports Clubs
- Business start-ups, with the possible exceptions outlined at Minimum Eligibility Criteria (point 2)
- Local authority or destination management tourism websites
- Visitor Information Centres
- Community / Voluntary information websites
- Shops, restaurants, cafes, etc.
How to Apply
This is a multi-stage approach, with applications made online on Tourism NI’s flexigrant system: https://tni.flexigrant.com/
Stage 1: Expressions of Interest and Applicant Selection.
All applicants were required to complete an Expression of Interest. The closing date for Expressions of Interest was 3.00pm on Wednesday 8th September 2021.
Stage 2: Digital Audit and Website Development Plan.
Once the Expression of Interest forms have been assessed, those which scored highest within budget availability will proceed to this stage of the process.
Following the completion of these two stages, some applicants will be asked to proceed to Stage 3 of the programme, where funding may be available to implement the Website Development Plans.
*Please note, the programme is limited in terms of budget to support all requested mentoring and capital enhancements. Applicants will be selected through an application process and, where demand exceeds budget, will be prioritized in line with potential return on investment and need for development.