Folkestone Mum Quietly Running Tourist Information Website For Last Four Years

About The Author of Folkestone Tourist Information

So I’ve decided to come out from the closet and tell everyone what I’ve been doing and why for the last five years.  Why now?  I’ll come to that later.

When I started Folkestone Tourist Information, I was on maternity leave waiting for the arrival of offspring no.2.  My objective was to provide a website where tourists researching their trip to our lovely part of the world would have a good starting point to what we have to offer.  From our lovely beaches, including Sunny Sands, the sandy beach we have near Folkestone Harbour, the award winning coastal park with an adventure playground that’s beyond most childrens’ dreams in terms of fun and variety.  I also added the basics such as parking, hotels, restaurants and cafes to show them that they’ll be well looked after when they get here. The website has been steadily evolving since then.

Do I Get Paid for Doing This?

No, not at the moment.  I do receive a very small income from hotel bookings via the site, but it doesn’t even come close to covering the expenses and time I invest.  I do it because I love Folkestone and I believe that Tourist Information is an essential part of the recipe for the putting Folkestone and the surrounding areas on the map as a great British staycation.

What’s My Main Job?

My main job is what makes this website possible. I help local people save money on their bills.  When I joined the club I personally saved £700 per year on my household bills and I get a real kick out of visiting a customer and seeing their face light up when they realise how much more they’re going to keep in their pocket every month.

The commission I get from this work frees me up to spend more time out and about snapping gorgeous pictures of the area, liaising with key organisations like The Creative Foundation and Folkestone Festivals, and creating useful and engaging articles about Folkestone.  The more customers I introduce to our club, the more time I can spend promoting Folkestone.

Joining the club is great for you because you’ll be saving money on things you’re already buying, and you’ll also be directly supporting m
y volunteer work on the website.  It’s a win-win! You can get started by either calling me on my mobile (right) or entering our amazing National Win-a-Mini Competition.

 

Why Did I Do It In The First Place?

I feel very strongly that the presence of a single website providing an overview of tourist information would enhance the good work of The Creative Foundation in attracting tourists. Also, the arrival of the fast train in Folkestone was very exciting, and a single website listing all the reasons to visit Folkestone (or even relocate to Folkestone), would further benefit the area and the people who live and work here.  Visit Kent are doing a great job for the whole of Kent, but when the website called Discover Folkestone was shut down and diverted to the wider Visit Kent website (understandably due to austerity measures) I felt Mobile Logo copy copythat this was a great loss to Folkestone and our residents.  Hopes for a brochure for visitors also evaporated at the same time. (Update: Folkestone Town Council are shortly going to be publishing a substantial paper brochure about Folkestone – we await this with great anticipation!)

I set about to “Put Folkestone on The Map” which is why I chose a map pin for my logo.

What Else Have I Been Up To?

The Facebook Page Folkestone Events & Things To Do has been running for a few years letting people know about local events.  The focus here has been for Folkestone residents rather than tourists coming from afar.  Recently a new Facebook group has been launched called Folkestone Events and I’m currently working with the owner Laura to set up a feed from her Google Calendar into this website which will enable us to combine our efforts to promote Folkestone’s Events.

Why Tell Everyone Now?

Because I want to take it to the next level and make our website even better and I shouldn’t do it alone.  If I ask for people’s help then the content on the website will be more varied and appeal to differing types of tourists.  By having more people working on our Facebook Page, things won’t grind to a halt when I’m not available.

Finally, I get quite a few emails from people thinking that the website and Facebook Page is run by one of the local authorities and I’d like to cut back on receiving these.  I’m a volunteer – pure and simple. I can also send them a link to this page and it’ll explain everything!

How Can You Help?

So glad you asked!  I’ve thought up many ways that people can help, either directly or indirectly.  Have a look below and see if there’s something you’re up for:

Folkestone Residents

Enter the Win-A-Mini Competition and not only will you be entered into the national prize draw, I’ll also give you a call to offer you the opportunity to save money and join the club!

 

Folkestone Event Organisers

Please create your events on Facebook via your own Facebook Page and then they’ll automatically import into the website.  The first time you do it, check back later in the day to see that it’s appeared on the Folkestone Events page.  If it hasn’t happened then I’ll need to set up your feed.  Drop an email to me via the Contact page and I’ll sort you out.  It’ll happen automatically from then on.  🙂

Folkestone Web Designers / Writers

I’d love to hear from web designers who could lend a hand with the mobile usability of our website and the template of the Events page.

Writers – please donate articles about things to do in Folkestone.  Have a look for your favourite thing about Folkestone on the website, if it’s not there, then please help by providing tourist information for Folkestone. Send me a pic of you and what you’re writing about, so that I can credit you for your contribution!

Education Providers – if you’re running a tourism course then I’d love to work with you in getting articles by your students published as part of their course work.

I’m also looking at an App at a later date… get in touch if your skills are a match.

Folkestone Hoteliers

Consider sponsoring the website for a reasonable annual fee or become one of my business energy or telecoms customers.  In return I’ll add your phone number, remove the booking.com affiliate link from your listing and you’ll save money on your energy bills and keep more of your profit in your pocket!  If you’re not already on the website, drop me an email via the Contact Page.

Everyone Else

Make sure you Like and follow our Facebook Page and if you’ve got a great idea you’d like to contribute and have the time to make it happen, drop me a line and let me know.

My Plans For The Future (stuff I don’t have the budget for at the moment…)

These are a few things I’d love to do, but would need financial support or technical volunteers to achieve:

  1. Expand the range of tourist information to bring it in line with Shepway’s Tourist Development Plan.
  2. Amend the content of the information to include more focus on Heritage, Art, Families and Countryside
  3. A mobile app for tourists with attractions, hotels, cafes, restaurants and points of interest.
  4. A brochure for tourists which can be made available across town, in the tourist information centre and in hotel rooms. (pending the release of Folkestone Town Council’s brochure)
  5. Employ a person to work on the content, though I realise that it’s probably a long way off.

Drop me a line if you can help with that, items 1 to 4.  It’s a bit early for No.5!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Roodhardt
Utility Warehouse Distributor & Folkestone Enthusiast


Support My Work

Folkestone Utility Warehouse Distributor

You can support my work and save money on your bills at the same time.  My customers typically save between £300 and £500 per year.  As an Independent Distributor of the Utility Warehouse, I can save you money on your Gas, Electric, Phone, Broadband and Mobile and get you cash-back on high street AND online purchases.

Find out more about Utility Warehouse Here on my official distributer page and watch the Joanna Lumley video who explains why our service is Absolutely Fabulous!
Call me on my mobile (right) screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-14-38-35to make an appointment.

How You Can Help

Event Organisers

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-14-44-35

Please create your events on your own Facebook Page and then they’ll automatically import into the website. The first time you do it, check back later in the day to see that it’s appeared on the Folkestone Events page.

If it hasn’t happened then I’ll need to set up your feed. Drop an email to me via the Contact page and I’ll sort you out.  It’ll happen automatically from then on.

Volunteering Roles

social-media-volunteer-300x300

Web designers, mobile app designers, writers, photographers and social media experts… do get in touch!