Case Study: Wales Tourist Board - Wales targets year-round visitors

Brand: Visit Wales Client: Wales Tourist Board Brief: To attract more visitors to Wales outside of the summer season Target audience: Families, independent explorers and activity holidaymakers Budget: £1.5m Agency: Partners Andrews Aldridge

Challenge

Wales Tourist Board wanted to promote the country as a year-round destination and drive bookings for holidays. Many people visit during the summer months, but Wales struggled to attract visitors in other seasons. The Tourist Board also aimed to increase yield in the UK market and strengthen people's relationship with, and understanding of, Wales. Many visitors tended to see it as a destination for active holidays only. It was also facing competition from other destinations in the UK and city breaks abroad.

Strategy

Wales Tourist Board wanted to build a relationship with its potential customers, rather than alienate them with impersonal tourist board information.

It identified three target audiences: families, those who enjoy active holidays and the independent explorer. It aimed to appeal to these prospects through their attitudes and behaviour, rather than through lifestage or demographics.

"Wales is not blessed with big brand hotels," says David Stephens, UK consumer markets manager for Wales Tourist Board. "We wanted the creative and media to sit side-by-side with those people who don't follow the herd, and appeal to customers by talking to them about Wales and what it represents."

Execution

With agency Partners Andrews Aldridge, Wales Tourist Board developed an integrated campaign which was mailed out to a target audience.

- Direct mail: Three packs were mailed to half a million people. Creative for the family pack centred around sandcastles, road directions were used for the independent explorer, and a bike in a car boot was used for the active holiday audience. Another pack aimed at the independent explorer focused on the different types of mud in Wales and its uses.

- Inserts: Between four to five million were produced for consumer magazines, national and regional press.

- Online: Banners and skyscrapers were used to drive people to the Wales Tourist Board website www.visitwales.co.uk.

"The campaign was not based on age or job, but on the consumer's mindset," says Steve Aldridge, creative partner at Partners Andrews Aldridge.

The campaign highlighted what Wales has to offer visitors, and used a tone of voice that was real, humorous and friendly. "We didn't want anything pre-planned," says Stephens. "For the autumn, we stayed away from a representation of a golden season and focused on mud in terms of face packs, car rallies and clay pottery."

The results

The campaign generated 500,000 enquiries, against a target of 400,000, at a cost of £3.50 per response. This equates to a 15 per cent response from its database. This is the highest level achieved by the Tourist Board. Of those lapsed visitors, 35 per cent responded. Respondents to the campaign were asked to complete a questionnaire, exploring their attitudes and holiday preferences.

Wales Tourist Board will carry out a modelling programme next year to define best prospects, enabling it to produce more personalised campaigns.

"We've cracked our target audience," says Stephens. "We've created an emotion in our work that has triggered similar feelings among our customers."

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