Despite a six-percent rise in international visitors to Britain over last year, VisitBritain late last month announced that it is making a $4 million marketing push to consumers under a campaign, entitled "Be a Brit Different," in an effort to entice both new and repeat visitors to come to the region.
"Even though we saw our figures rise, since 9/11, Britain's share has been falling," says Alex Paul, outgoing director of travel trade for VisitBritain, the national tourism organization that aims to promote England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. "We're just trying to reengage the American traveler, and present ourselves in a different light."
VisitBritain is looking to top that by encouraging consumers
to look at regions beyond the City of
VisitBritain's first ad is focused on
Castle Howard also features a playground and 1,000 acres of gardens. This summer, a jazz concert will take place there on July 29 and a classical music concert on August 18.
"It's just a way of trying to connect with the
Paul explains that the consumer push will come first, followed by an agent outreach this fall. "We will come out with ways for agents to get involved with the campaigns," he says, declining to give further details. "There is a desire for VisitBritain to approach the market in a different way and it's important that we show results before we approach the trade, so that they are able to see the success of the campaign."
VisitBritain will look to agents for ideas on how the
organization can serve the industry better. Paul will be moving to another
position within the company, so agents can contact Amanda Dempsey, director of
consumer marketing, with ideas until a replacement is named. In the meantime,
more consumer marketing will be done. "If we want to continue to have
strong support of the travel trade, we need to demonstrate to consumers that
they're going to have more of a value proposition in
And so, VisitBritain's new campaign is a mix of old and new. Advertisements will continue to feature such British icons as Big Ben and the London Eye, but also will increase the usage of the Union Jack, the country's flag.
Advertising will be placed in both print and online in such
diverse publications as Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Budget TravelOnline.com and NYTimes.com. E-mail newsletters
will mirror the advertising campaign and spotlight key campaign partners like
Virgin Atlantic Airways. To generate buzz about
"It's very comprehensive," Paul says, noting that the site offers travel tips and cultural differences agents' clients should be aware of. Agents soon also will be able to find information on operators offering alternative tours in the coming months on the agent-focused portion of the web site.
In fact, increasing competition from such emerging
"The American traveler is looking for more adventure;
their ambitions are far wider," Paul says. "The change is very
welcome, because there is some very good competition out there, and we want to