This note consists of two parts: observations on the background to domestic campaign, especially in England, it then gives detail of how destinations can get involved wherever they are located in Great Britain or Northern Ireland:
Political and policy dimensions. I was surprised to find that whilst most destination based colleagues are aware of the latest VB/VE domestic campaign launched on 12 September, not all fully appreciate the unstated implication, in England at least, that this highly focused, digital and social media campaign and its one target segment is by default the national tourist board’s only current major domestic marketing effort. For England there is no other coordinated, domestic national tourist board campaign, let alone any campaigns aimed at any other key segments. Outside England, while also benefiting directly from the new VB/VE domestic campaign, the other Home Nations have the freedom to market domestically within the UK as they and their Governments see fit. All are choosing to do so because they regard the domestic and within that, by volume, the English based visitor as one of their industry’s primary markets.
These observations are in no way intended as a criticism of VB/VE or anyone else but rather as a simple reminder of the realities of current Westminster based policy and funding constraints. If destination and their local business partners think these policies are in any way flawed, then it is up to them to jointly and separately work towards influencing policy change at Government level, whilst in parallel supporting VB/VE’s and their sterling efforts undertaken on our behalf. This is certainly what British Destinations is aiming to do on our member’s behalf and it is largely why the first part this note is being written as a reminder of the policy issues. It all too easy to be unintentionally negative about what is being done (when its excellent) and seemingly blaming the messenger (who are blameless), when the real concerns lies with what else really should be being done and the fault, if any, lies with some higher authority.
VB/VE in common with everyone else has resource issues and they are largely directed by the Westminster Government, via DCMS as to what they have to achieve and what they can and can’t do to achieve it. In these circumstances the current VB/VE domestic campaign is designed to target a very specific market (16 -34 year olds); a market where there is an evidenced market failure and one where a nationally coordinated, digital and social media efforts might make the most impact within the limited resources allocated through them to that campaign. In that light it is a sensible use of VB/VE resources and the thought process, messaging and target audiences behind it all are difficult to fault.
If English destinations want to see VB/VE’s undoubted marketing expertise directed at other domestic segments, or more often, or on a larger scale then it isn’t VB/VE that needs to be persuaded but rather DCMS and the Westminster Government. Neither is it a simple ask, as in effect we want Government to resource VB/VE appropriately for all the tasks they are asked to perform domestically and internationally, rather than reallocating ever diminishing funding between tasks as priorities change. It also involves encouraging DCMS, the Westminster Government and, in particular, Treasury to reassess the ingrained view that public money spent on promoting and supporting domestic tourism within the UK largely acts to displace spending on tourism and/or other goods and services around the UK economy. I.e. there is no net gain and therefore no real economic justification to do it. Our efforts to get domestic tourism recognised politically and economically as an engine of economic redistribution within the UK, rather than as just another economic active could in time be central to this process.
Get involved with the campaign. If as a destination you are not already involved in VB/VE campaign then perhaps you should be. This is the VB/VE brief:
The campaign targets the ‘lost generation’ of young people from Great Britain and Northern Ireland and encourages them to take a holiday at home. Statistics show that 16-to-34 year olds took almost 1.4 million fewer holidays at home last year compared to a decade ago.
Using social media influencers and travellers from overseas to highlight the amazing moments and experiences that can only be had on a holiday in the UK, the campaign is being promoted across digital and social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) and through dozens of digital billboards throughout the UK. Online traffic is then driven to a hub on www.visitbritain.com/jointheworld (link is external) featuring blogs and user-generated content showcasing seasonal events, activities and experiences.
You can also get involved by uploading images of amazing moments in your destination or of your product on social media using #lovegreatbritain and #loveUK for the chance to feature on the hub.
The campaign is run in partnership with the national tourism organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and tourism businesses and destination management organisations across the UK.
This is the sixth year that VisitEngland has run a campaign to boost domestic tourism and get people out exploring the UK.
For further information visit the Join the World- Discover the UK page on our website.