Destination marketing for a leading visitor attraction during a protracted recession was always going to be a challenge. Whilst the economy has prompted a growth in people opting for ‘staycations’ or holidaying at home, achieving the optimum product offering, pricing and positioning against strong competition would be critical to increasing footfall and secondary spend at the attraction.
WTWS was engaged to augment the skill set of the client’s existing marketing team, bringing the specific expertise required to conduct the necessary research and marketing activity. This included conducting market research to inform and define a marketing strategy that would address the challenges ahead and drive long term revenue and profit growth.
With complex requirements from the total commercial budget, marketing had taken a back seat for some time. Marketing plans were superficial and built on anecdotal perceptions of the target market rather than insight borne out of primary research.
The first step was to undertake a comprehensive situation analysis to gain a clear view of the organisation’s target market, current positioning, product offering and marketing communications programmes.
Primary market research was commissioned to provide an understanding of visitor demographics and their expectations of a visitor attraction. In addition, a competitive analysis looked at the choices available for both tourists coming to the area and for locally based visitors.
Working as an integral part of the client’s marketing team and equipped with data from the market research, we were able to review each element of the organisation’s offering including ticket sales, onsite catering, retail facilities, memberships, experiences and sponsorship.
A thorough analysis of the market research data pointed the team to a multitude of opportunities to grow short-term revenues and, looking further ahead, to focus on loyalty and customer lifetime value. Specific opportunities were identified including; the on-site product offering, seasonal income variations and driving off-site revenues.
Demographic profiling of visitors to the attraction uncovered some unexpected and significant information to that which had underpinned previous marketing activity. These findings were contrary to the team’s preconceptions and provided the basis for realigning the product offerings onsite and a subsequent increase in visitors’ secondary spend.
When looking at highly seasonal revenues, the temptation is to focus investment in growing off-season income to ease cash flow. However, our research showed that a greater return on investment (ROI) would be achieved with a less obvious approach. By maximising the returns during the high season peaks and ‘shoulder month’ traffic, rather than the troughs, a significantly greater ROI has now been delivered.
The third key area of focus was to broaden the offering to appeal to a wider, domestic and international geographic area. This activity looked at the lifetime value of both local customers and tourists. The result has been a significant increase in revenue streams from new products, specifically through targeting customers segmented by location.