Willows

The right kind of fluffy PR

In the leisure industry, a good review can make or break an attraction, says Sarah Bartlett, PR Assistant at Freshwater.

Research from the National Farmers Union reveals that 84% of five-to-eight-year-olds would ‘love’ to go to a farm, and yet a recent survey conducted by the Linking Environment and Farming Organisation showed that one in three children has never heard a cow moo!

As population and cities grow and more people leave rural areas to enter the rat-race, the link between the natural world and our day to day lifestyles becomes ever more separate. It’s no wonder then that leisure attractions that involve teaching children about the natural world and helping them to experience the great outdoors first hand are springing up in suburban areas across the country.

One such example is Willows Activity Farm, an established attraction on the outskirts of North London which offers families acres of indoor and outdoor play, ample learning opportunities and the space (literally acres of it) to enjoy and engage with the natural world.

So too have we seen the rise of the ‘mummy’ blogger. As busy urbanites become even busier parents, many have turned to technology as a means of sharing their experience. After all, being a parent doesn’t come with a manual, and with easy access to laptops, tablets and smart phones, parents are jumping at the chance to read about the trial, tribulations and tips of other families like theirs. It is no surprise that sites such as Mumsnet have over 10 million page visits a month.

Many Mummy bloggers will go to great efforts to discover fun and educational activities to do with their children, which they then write up and discuss with others online. Other parents who follow these bloggers online often use their reviews – and other review-based websites – for advice on where the best leisure attractions are and how to keep little ones entertained in new ways.

Fertile ground indeed for those attractions seeking to lure families through the gate, however some attraction brands can be nervous about taking part in blogger reviews or offering press trips lest they receive a less than glowing review.

The key of course is for attractions to be confident that the leisure experiences they provide are high quality before they open the doors. Once secure in this, continually engaging with a growing community of reviewers and bloggers will pay dividends for the reputation of the attraction and in terms of securing third party endorsements to encourage other families to visit.

Willows Activity Farm has an excellent reputation for offering wholesome family fun with animal or natural world learning opportunities thanks to its programme of seasonal events and a dedicated communications strategy which engages key influencers such as parenting groups, bloggers and media on an ongoing basis. 

A recent example of how we helped them to maximise their relationships with parenting bloggers can be read HERE.


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