COOL rural tourism business toolkit

The COOL rural tourism business toolkit has information and advice for rural tourism businesses of all types, sizes and stage of development.

It was developed by Hidden Britain as part of the COOL Tourism Project with the support of Norfolk Trails and the European cross-border co-operation Programme INTERREG IV A, France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Disclaimer - This toolkit cannot address every specific need. You should tailor the guidance or use it alongside your own research.

Explore the key elements of your business, incorporate them into your business plan and provide a solid basis for moving on with the rest of the toolkit. 

Topics covered in this section include

  • Effective business plans
  • Analysing your business
  • Researching your market
  • Assessing your performance
  • Understanding your customers
  • Developing your brand
  • Financing your business

Download Part 1 - Getting started

This section will cover communication basics and then expand on several key channels, offering tools and tips to make them more effective for you. The focus is on how you can do more for less. All the ideas are very low cost or free and designed to ensure you get the maximum benefit from every communication you make

Topics include

  • Building a marketing plan and messages
  • Assessing opportunities
  • Effective websites and social media
  • E-newsletters
  • Public relations
  • Print
  • Word of mouth
  • Experiential marketing

Download Part 2 - Communicating effectively

Running a successful enterprise involves a wide range of business disciplines – from business planning, finance, IT, operations and people management, through to market research, sales and marketing.

Topics covered in this section include

  • Networking
  • Finding Partners
  • When to seek formal advice
  • Developing joint offers
  • Working with other brands
  • Sales missions and events
  • Working with Destination Management Organisations
  • How to get started as a destination

Download Part 3 - Working together

Local distinctiveness is what makes one place different from another - the landmarks and sights, the landscape, wildlife, built heritage, traditions, food, festivals, myths and language. 

Topics covered in this section include

  • Understanding your place
  • Defining what’s special
  • Using local distinctiveness
  • Introducing new ideas
  • Making the most of wildlife, landscape and local products
  • Encouraging car free visits
  • Creating itineraries
Download Part 4 - Local distinctiveness

Maximising your profitability year-round and keeping your costs down are the two best routes to future-proofing your business. 

Topics covered in this section include

  • Addressing seasonality
  • Making savings on energy, waste and water
  • Calculating carbon emissions
  • Green accreditation
  • Adapting to climate change
  • Quality and welcome
  • Sourcing and buying
  • Training

Download Part 5 - Saving money and sustainability