Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beach Races 2011

I walked into Margate to watch the beach races this afternoon, which was entertaining and with a good turn-out to watch the competition.

More interesting perhaps, from my point of view, was how the Old Town was using it rather like an informal 'dry-run' for the opening of the Turner Contemporary next month. Lots of people wandering around taking in the new shops, eateries and galleries, several of which will be opening soon. I noticed that 'The Greedy Cow' which opened last week had a family enjoying their lunch in the sunshine.

The Harbour Arm looked quiet with the action on the beach  but I'm sure that will change as the day passes and the tide comes in.


Michael Child said...

Simon it doesn’t look very well attended from the pictures and I am wondering if this is to do with the publicity and most especially the publicity on the council’s website.

I note that it doesn’t appear in the events on the council’s homepage, I did fiddle with the council’s website and failed to find any mention of it.

I am sure you will have plenty of reasons why this important event isn’t splashed across the top of the council’s website and isn’t even mentioned on their homepage and doesn’t seem to appear on the council’s sister, Visit Thanet Site, the truth of the matter is that Thanet could do with some good publicity.

The fundamental problem with both of the council’s sites is that they don’t seem to prioritise events at all, either by then being on this weekend, or by say the beach races being of more significance say than the St Laurence Churchyard tour, April, May and June all of which feature on the councils homepage at the moment.

Could I make the suggestion that the events section of the council’s homepage be managed by one of the council’s tourist officers?

DrM. said...


I explained the process to Don who also commented on his weblog. I believe its been explained to you before in some detail.

There's a difference between council events and third-party events. The council doesn't run a tourism website but takes a feed from a separate organisation which does. Third parties are free to provide all their details and information for inclusion on this.

I admit there could be a more streamlined and 'joined-up' way of doing things but that would involve a significant expansion of resources, staff and costs at a time when the opposite is happening and in fact more of the publicity machine is being outsourced to organisations like Visit Kent which have the resources to do this

Anonymous said...

and they wonder why they loose all the top events to other resorts???

Readit said...

Justification of the status quo based on lack of finance is all very well, but I think what both Don and Michael were trying to point out is, the TDC publicity machine is failing these events and also the Thanet tourist revenue stream. It needs an overhaul or complete outsourcing to a competent organisation.

Will the opening of the Turner Contemporary get a mention on TDC website,I wonder?

DrM. said...

It is what it is I'm afraid. It comes back to what people think are council is 'obliged' to do and what it tries to do when it has the funds available.

These are quite different and the public after 15 years of central government largesse, are understandably quite confused.

Michael Child said...

Simon to me it looks like the council takes our money and spends it on an expensive series websites to promote Thanet and tell us what’s on

Then we have the a major tourist event, the beach races, the event doesn’t seem to get publicised in any meaningful way on the internet and yet a whole series of minor events, some of which don’t actually happen for months are promoted on the council’s homepage.

Now I know if I make a fuss about this, eventually one of the IT officers will tell me this event was actually publicised here the point that they don’t seem to understand is that only being able to find something if you know that it’s there, it doesn’t constitute publicity.

The wretched page doesn’t have any meaningful keywords for search engines to find.
You have a business and when you put the words “aerial advertising” into Google and people can find your business, this isn’t because you have spent a fortune on your website, it is just because you have written the site correctly and put in appropriate keywords.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Sorry Simon to chime in along with Don, Michael and the others but I do think there has to be a way to get better exposure to these and other events. I fully understand that the Council has limited funds but I do continually seem to find out about things happening in Thanet on the day or after the event.

Given the ability to blog these days and with several groups in Thanet and community based projects could there be a part of the TDC site where these people could post news of upcoming events? The posts would need to be moderated no doubt but if people can post text / pictures etc it would take the strain off the poor TDC webmaster. As long as TDC placed a prominant link to it on the main page you surely would be able to provide a service on s shoestring.

DrM. said...

It's a good suggestion Rob and one for the future.

I mentioned earlier that online tourism is managed elsewhere and that TDC links in to an information provider. Visit Kent is another example.

Clearly tourism is an important facet of what takes place here but we need to remember that a council exits to provides a series of statutory services and that anything else is a 'nice to have' .

Over time, everything and anything delivered by local government can always be done better, particularly as the pace of technology accelerates and I've a keen interest in seeing this happen.

Readit said...

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, colour televisions and automatic washing machines were considered luxuries, now they are considered necessities of life.

Computer services will rapidly become necessities of life, if they haven't already.

Local government should decide if it is there to provide only basic services and charge accordingly, or if it wants to get involved in the "nice to have" arena, then efficiency and value for money must be top priority.

ascu75 aka Don said...

Simon I have slept on this issue and I am still very upset that the Visit Thanet website failed to mention it anywhere. I understand all you have said about outsourcing etc, but I would be happier with no web presence than the appallingly bad way Visit Thanet goes about its promotion of events. What I cant understand is how many council officers have been involved in this event surely hso and a licence for the event I saw diggers on the beach did they just turn up and decide how best to set up, I doubt it . TDC has been closly involved in this and other events and failed in thhe publicity. I am not talking thousands for the TDC officer to pick up the phone or heven forbid he use e-mail and let VISIT THANET KNOW WHAT THE RIGHT HAND IS DOING. I am sorry Simon it is a sorry state of affairs when you still want full business rate and cant be bothered to place a two line mention on eith TDC'S in house website or Visit Thanet.

DrM. said...


It doesn't work that way I'm afraid.

The average council provides some 600 services to the public and Thanet enjoys a high approval rating from its customers and most recently praise from its auditors. So while you may believe that some things can be improved, as they always can, let's not forget that the organisers of this particular event would have reached out to their own constituent audience through their own channels and local publicity is also available to them. It appeared to be a great success and while the internet remains an increasingly useful channel, it's one of many.

Constructive criticism is always welcome but let's not slip into the trap of certain local bloggers who wake up almost every day with a story on how they believe the council is deficient. The facts prove otherwise and local government has to be judged by the bigger picture of what it delivers and observers like your good self should recognise that change can be slow because its governed by well-defined process and by the availability of funding.

DrM. said...

I suspect that some readers may be confused between the TDC website and the visit Thanet website at

In any event I had a word at the tourism meeting this morning and I will encourage more visibility on the TDC site for VisitThanet for those looking for tourism information in the wrong location

Ken Gregory said...

I hate to sound like I am rallying to the support of Simon, but this was a great event, well attended, and a treat to watch. Just the thing that Thanet needs.

itmike said...

I think it was a good event and was well attended. I went to
Margate in the evening and it was still buzzing. The people who put on these events have only to ask to ad a link to their own website or to provide information and they will do so. I know this from my own experience with them.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was there and saw loads of people at the beach side and quite a few in other parts of Margate that are usually empty. If you weren't there, I'm not sure you have a useful opinion to share.