Project Description


Monitoring and reporting on travel trends during and after the Brexit referendum

“ForwardKeys’ data is used widely within VisitBritain. It provides us with a timely and valuable picture of Britain’s inbound tourism performance and prospects, including insights on some of our key markets and regions.”

Richard Nicholls
Head of Research and Forecasting

VisitBritain’s core business objectives

As the national tourism agency of the UK, VisitBritain plays a unique role in promoting the destination. Their primary objective is to ensure sustainable tourism growth to all regions of the country. They achieve this by building and carrying out innovative marketing strategies and activities. Market research and discovering travel trends is key in carrying out these tasks.

Informing stakeholders, including many local businesses, is another important task that VisitBritain focusses on, as it helps them understand how travel trends are developing in their region. It enables them to adjust to the changing market situation.
In carrying out the market research, measuring the impact events have on travel is vital, since they may cause a changing visitor profile, or they might deter specific tourists from visiting a destination at all.

The background

Monitoring and analysing travel trends

Around the period of the Brexit referendum, which took place on the 23rd of June 2016, VisitBritain’s main focus was in analysing the impact it would have on the tourism market in the UK. The development of travel trends provided important input for local businesses. It showed them how visitor profiles might change and how they could adapt to those different cultures. At the same time, it also provided valuable input for the marketing strategy of the DMO. After the input they refocussed their marketing efforts on the source markets least affected.

VisitBritain turned to ForwardKeys, a trusted industry source, in order to quickly ‘paint a picture’ of the situation, and to be able to monitor evolving trends.

The objective

Information is key

The first step for VisitBritain was to analyse the historical data. This was done to be able to analyse the travel trends with regards to the destination. They then looked at how these trends changed after the referendum. The “on the book travel data” shows bookings that have been made for future travel dates and booking cancellations. This data provided them with insights into European travel trends as well as global travel trends.

Based on this information, VisitBritain noticed certain source markets responded more to the outcome of Brexit than others. They could see this because cancellations by these markets were higher. They therefore shifted their focus to other markets, changing their marketing strategy and planning.

As VisitBritain has access to the ForwardKeys platform, they kept monitoring the performance of the different source markets, to ensure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

The solution

How ForwardKeys helped

ForwardKeys real-time booking data was key in supporting VisitBritain’s monitoring efforts. It showed the immediate impact of the referendum, while also permitting the DMO to monitor its marketing efforts.

The detailed data on current travel trends meant that they were able to report on the performance of regions. This provided valuable input for the government and their many local tourism partners.

The results & continued work

The results

Within crisis management in tourism, it is important to act fast and be transparent. Because of the data that ForwardKeys instantly provided, VisitBritain was able to act quickly and make decisions based on facts.

VisitBritain took fast and well-informed actions. They were able to inform their government, the public and local businesses in a timely manner. This helped them define their marketing strategy, since it shows which target audiences provide opportunities or form threats.

ForwardKeys continues working with VisitBritain and now helps them to analyse the market in a totally different way. Currently, ForwardKeys provides data that helps them see new travel trends. This is done by providing data that shows where tourists come from, duration, and location of their stay.

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