VisitBritain 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 NichollsHead 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 do so by building a marketing strategy, and carrying out the marketing plan and activities. Market research is key in carrying out these tasks. Informing stakeholders, among which many local businesses, is an important aspect of this as it helps them understand how travel trends are developing in their region. It enables them to adjust to the changing market situation.
In doing the market research, measuring the impact events have on travel is vital, since they might cause a changing visitor profile or they might cause specific tourists from visiting a destination at all.
Monitoring and analysing travel trends
Around the period of the Brexit referendum, which took place the 23rd of June 2016, VisitBritain’s main focus was to analyse 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.
Being a trusted industry source, VisitBritain turned to ForwardKeys to be able to quickly paint a picture of the situation and to be able to monitor the evolving trends.
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 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 the Brexit than others. They could see this because cancellations by these markets were higher. They therefore shifted 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.
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 it also permitted 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
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, the duration, and location of their stay.