While the shadow of uncertainty cast by Brexit indicates a tricky and unreliable year for UK tourism as a whole, there are still impactful actions you can take to give your visitor attraction marketing the best chance of success. Forecasts from VisitBritain predict 2020 will be a record year for inbound tourism to the UK, provided the government ‘get Brexit done’ with a deal that prevents messy border queues and associated disruptions, while Brits are expected to embrace the staycation and make the most of what the UK has to offer. Here are my top 5 UK visitor trends for 2020 and how you can leverage each to inform your marketing strategy.
Rise of the micro-cation
Hot on the trail of last year’s microgap trend, the micro-cation is 2020’s take on the traditional mini-break and the working millennial’s new trip of choice. Defined as a leisure trip that lasts four nights or less, the micro-cation enables millennials to balance limited annual leave, budget considerations, and family commitments with shorter escapes throughout the year rather than the classic summer blow-out.
Why not hone in on this lucrative market by creating itineraries and packages designed to suit a short break with a visit to your attraction being the focal point? Just remember that the millennial bracket now includes those up to 38 years of age, often with young families of their own — tailor that short and sweet offering accordingly.
Focus on unique experiences
As chronicled in our 2019 trends post, the experience economy continues to boom, demonstrating travellers are happy to splash the cash on unique moments and memories they won’t find anywhere else. UK attractions need to work this to their advantage by digging deep into their everyday programme to pinpoint and develop exclusive events and activities that will grab the attention of big spenders and encourage investment. Think interactive, authentic add-on experiences involving local culture, cuisine, and locations that stand out — and charge a premium for that extra mile.
Memberships move beyond transactions
The traditional ‘travel to find yourself’ school of thought is on the turn as consumers seek more than personal transformation and a sense of fulfilment. Choosing to spend their hard-earned pennies on organisations and attractions that are in line with their values on accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability, travellers are subscribing to memberships for more than discounts. Instead, memberships are moving beyond transactions to enhance a sense of family, loyalty and purpose-driven focus.
Use your visitor attraction marketing to showcase any positive social or environmental work that you do, and demonstrate how membership supports the cause. By treating loyal visitors more as stakeholders, you can create an ambience of unity and positive purpose, making it much more likely your members will stick around.
European tourist numbers are down
Brexit strikes again as European holiday-makers lose more enthusiasm for UK travel with concern about the uncertainty of travel arrangements and policy changes affecting the market since the fateful referendum. However, while visitor numbers from the continent might wane, it’s important to note they are still high, so don’t make the mistake of discounting our European brethren completely when it comes to your visitor attraction marketing. Especially considering that those Euros are going much further in the UK at present.
The Americans are currently the highest value tourists for UK attractions to consider, with visitors from New York and California representing a third of all visits from the States. With a propensity for visiting our nation during the significantly more balmy summer months, appealing to and attracting this lucrative market should hop to the top of your to-do list. The number of Chinese visitors also continues to grow, so I would urge attractions and tour operators to ensure resources are adapted to suit the Chinese market as well as develop a smart digital strategy to cater to this audience.
Increase in domestic travel
Domestic tourism and the staycation nation is likely to increase significantly in 2020, due to (you guessed it) Brexit and the weaker pound on the continent. There’s also the added consideration of the unexpected UK heatwaves of the past couple of years, tempting locals to stick around and soak up the sun. Cash in on this trend by redoubling your efforts on domestic marketing, working out where in the country your visitors are travelling from and developing enticing campaigns to target these areas. Highlight the ease of travel, the fantastic value, and the one-of-a-kind attractions on offer right on the consumer’s doorstep, and prove to your domestic audience that they don’t need to go abroad for a memorable and enriching experience.
The winds of change may be whipping at the UK tourism industry, but there are still ample opportunities for visitor attractions to capitalise on the latest trends. For a little extra help, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0117 440 0500 today.
Anthony Rawlins is the Founder and CEO of Digital Visitor and has over 15 years experience in crafting digital and media strategies. He has worked with businesses across the tourism industry, including UK and international DMO’s, global travel companies and attractions. At Digital Visitor, Anthony is responsible for service innovation and works alongside the agencies biggest clients to shape their strategies and to target hard-to-reach audiences.
Anthony speaks at major industry events across the world, sharing his insights and providing thought leadership content. His personal passion is communicating the UK ’s travel offering to the ‘EasyJet generation’, many of whom have travelled the world but have never explored the UK.