When Napoleon exited the field at Waterloo 200 years ago…
A MAJOR SUCCESS FOR THE REGION this year (2014) has been the eventhub What’s On websites. Between the 4 websites, they’ve notched up over 754,478 views across the region for the period covering 1st January to 5th November 2014. There are 4 regional sites covering Devon, eastdevonhub, southdevonhub, middevonhub and dartmoorhub (another 3 due shortly for North Devon, West Devon and West Dorset).
RAISED EYEBROWS: Understandably, when the team at Devonshire mention these figures to people, there are raised eyebrows – you do hear all sorts of guff about the internet, so we decided to enlist the help of our friends at the Honiton Visitor Centre, with Heidy Radford (manager) helping us to independently verify these figures from our web server using analysis software. And YES, Heidi fully confirmed the figures – phew! (Photo: left, Charlotte, eventhub manager, and right: Heidi Radford) (2014 finished on over 860,000+ views.)
GOOGLE SCATTER MAP RESULTS: What the team at the Devonshire are most proud of, is the sheer use that everyone’s getting out of this platform. For instance, public browsers clicking show heavily across Devon but also strongly across the South, with strong appearance around London, across the Midlands and even into Scotland and Ireland. This indicates that usage is not just restricted to Devon residents, but also visitors researching their trip to Devon. What’s great is that there are now over 5,000 organisations (at mid May 2015 & still growing rapidly) using this platform to promote their events across the 4 regional hubs. Being on mobile, tablet and desktop helps enormously, as does being at the top of searches for What’s On in these regions.
SHARING EVENT DATA: Our belief is that sharing event data benefits everyone and we currently provide filtered data to about 9 different website partners. For instance, in Honiton alone, we provide ‘Honiton area’ event information to both the Honiton Chamber of Commerce website and also to the Visit Honiton website. This means that any organisation adding events into the eventhub for the Honiton area, will also benefit by having their events appear simultaneously in any partner website where we share data. We’re currently developing a widget, so that organisations adding events into the eventhub to promote them, can have these appear in their own website, simultaneously – essentially a content management tool for your website. Incidentally, if you wish to become an eventhub partner and take advantage of an events feed, please make contact – it’s free. Just call Nigel on 01395 513383
FUNDING BASE AND ETHOS: The eventhub has been solely funded by Devonshire magazine – receiving no external funding whatsoever.
Nigel said “our remit was to gather event information for magazine What’s On listings, but also I’d long wanted to rationalise the process of event promotion in order to allow the whole community to benefit, both by giving organisations the ability to promote their events on an equal footing with the larger organisations and also by ultimately bringing this information to the greater community – residents and visitors alike. Over the last decade, I’d often been online many times to find out What’s On for the weekend, only to be disappointed with the fragmentation resulting from organisations promoting their own events through their own websites – basically there was nothing out there to enable all these events to appear in a single, easy to browse place”
Nigel also commented: “the platform we’ve developed is highly sophisticated, but the end user sees none of the technology driving this platform. The eventhub has been designed and programmed from the ground up – the benefit being that we can add any functionality we consider necessary in the future, meaning it’s a totally open platform, so there’s none of the liability of redundancy if we’d tried adapting a mainstream CMS driven system for our purposes. The other great attribute of the eventhub is that it gives any organisation the ability to have total control over their event promotion, they can change or postpone dates immediately by logging in and editing their events directly – they’re not dependent on a 3rd party to make these changes, so they are totally empowered.”
FEEDBACK: here (note – figures have not been updated for some time)
THE TEAM RESPONSIBLE: The eventhub project has so far taken 3 years of hard work, but Nigel Jones (MD at Devonshire) says that the success justifies all the hard work and dedication. He says:
“three quarters of a million views in 10 months means the eventhub is really motoring now, but there’s more to do yet, with new West Devon, North Devon and West Dorset eventhub websites scheduled shortly.”
Nigel also said “The team here get a great buzz just thinking of all the people using and benefiting from this free-to-use platform – exciting times to come. I’d also like to thank all those ‘positive’ people who believed in this project – there were may sceptics, but bit by bit, they’re converted to this totally flexible solution.”
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT: By mid June 2015, the reskin and rebrand of the eventhub website will have been carried out. The reskin addresses ease-of-use issues that we’ve become aware of over the last 18 months, one being the login. Development began in Oct 2014, although testing changes is a lengthy and expensive process. The rebrand will include a new eventhub cartoon branding figure, a cleaner, more centralised interface and new functions including the ability to add an image to each event, see here.
Functionality – we have exciting developments to release alongside the reskin, the major being remote administration for eventhub regions.
1) Remote regional hub administration: You may notice that dartmoorhub has the Dartmoor Magazine on the head banner. This is because they’re now an eventhub publisher partner and will shortly be able to log into the publisher console to administer their dartmoorhub to carry out a range of functions, including downloading events from the website for their magazine listings. The new development that’s taken place over the summer (not released yet as we have to test extensively) will allow remote publishers to run their own regional eventhub websites, enabling them to download event data for their publications, ultimately giving organisations even greater event exposure in other regional magazines.
2) Enhanced event promotion: The ability for organisations with important events to appear at the top of the listings and also to display corporate branding and event based branding can be important. This will be a paid option, and will appeal to many organisations wishing to give their event the best chance of attracting strong visitor numbers.
3) Spooling into the NEW Devonshire website – an ultra-high-quality portal for Devon. We’ll be able to promote premium events through this portal at will, ensuring rich event data for browsers. We’re particularly keen on bringing Devon’s important cultural events to a large UK audience.