Give me a sign

Pretty high on the list of irritating things for most venues is the seemingly arbitrary nature of most tourism signage. Many give up and simply accept what they’re given. Few understand the rules governing entitlement and who’s responsible for, say, motorway signs, and who’s managing other road and pedestrian signage.

My advice is, get involved. Get very involved. Start with your local tourism agency or council. The motorway signage is the responsibility of the Highways Agency. Find out about their policies and check when they’re planning a new round of changes. Expect costs somewhere but view it as a sound investment as not only do well placed signs offer high profile advertising of your business but also improve your customer’s experience and appreciation of your business. Be warned, those highly desirable motorway signs will probably cost thousands rather than hundreds of pounds but for larger attractions these can still represent a good investment.

Brown and white signs are generally considered for destinations that are defined as a permanently established attraction or facility which attracts, or is used by, visitors to an area and is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours.

Lots of well-placed signs direct happy excited customers to your door (road signs, unlike pedestrian alternatives, are designed to send them to the nearest public car park). Visitors will feel you’re more important if they see highly visible, ‘official’ road signs with your venue’s name. It’ll reduce the number of complaints saying they can’t find you. Don’t just rely on Satnav, GPS and/or brochure directions. Also, make sure you’ve provided lots of additional information on your website about car parks, times and pricing.

I’d suggest you add AA or RAC signage to your menu of marketing options for launches and events.  Allow a couple of months’ lead-in time. They’ll supply a proposal and a price for a series of signs to your car park and advise on letter size for optimum visibility. Think about the wording and the dates you’d ideally like the signs installed and for what period. Ensure out-of-date signs are removed as the negative perception of your business’s efficiency will outweigh the name check.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport together with the Highways Agency and a host of other partners such as VisitEngland, the Department for Transport and local authorities, are currently engaged in a review of tourist signage. My expectation is that this very necessary rationalisation and standardisation of signage will take many years. In the meantime, I suggest you get cracking on your own signage strategy to get out there and get noticed.

Major Road Tourism Signage
AA Signs
RAC Signs