Insider Knowledge, firm hired to run Love Weston tourism website for Weston-super-Mare town council stops trading
A COMPANY – appointed by town councillors at a cost of £12,000 to boost tourism in Weston-super Mare – has ceased trading.
Weston-super-Mare Town Council appointed Cornwall-based firm Insider Knowledge last summer on a three-year contract to launch the new Love Weston website and provide glossy tourism brochures each year promoting the seaside resort.
The town council put in £10,000 for the project while the Weston Town Centre Partnership gave £2,000.
As part of the deal, Insider Knowledge agreed to plough £9,000 of its own resources into the project.
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It was agreed the firm would recoup its costs from advertising sold on the site, and when those costs had been covered, revenue from advertising would be split 60/40 in the town council's favour.
The Love Weston website and accompanying brochure went live in November with 10,000 copies promised.
However town council officials were told last week that Insider Knowledge had ceased trading and administrators appointed.
The Love Weston website is still live and the final brochures, many of which have already gone out to customers in the post and to the tourist information centre, are to be collected this week.
The town council had expected to receive £12,000 in revenue from advertising from the website as part of the contract during the financial year of 2013/14.
The cash would cover the costs of its initial investment and surplus money would then be spent on further projects to boost tourism.
Now the town council, which owns the Love Weston website, is considering short-term measures to ensure the operation of the site while it looks for another provider to run the site, produce future brochures and sell advertising on the site.
A town council spokesman said: "Towards the end of last week it became apparent that Insider Knowledge was experiencing cash-flow difficulty. The company has now ceased trading leaving Weston Town Council's investment of £12,000 and Weston Town Centre Partnership's investment of £2,000 in jeopardy.
"Negotiations are taking place to restructure the already completed web and magazine work with an alternative supplier."
The town council hit on the idea after learning about a similar initiative being run by Insider Knowledge for Newquay Town Council in Cornwall.
It is hoped the brochure and website would attract more visitors to the resort.
North Somerset Council used to produce a similar brochure many years ago with a print run of around 100,000. But this was scrapped as the authority tried to save money.
Plans to design an app packed full of information about the town which people can download to their phones or other hand-held devices will be put on hold until a new provider can be found.
Each year North Somerset welcomes nearly 6.5 million visitors, most of them to Weston, who bring in £369 million to the local economy.