National promotional opportunities and other issues

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England. Although widely circulated the opportunities to participate in VisitEngland Autumn promotions may have passed some destinations by? The majority do involve partnership arrangements that I appreciate may preclude engagement from many destinations because of, say revenue impacts of covid-19 and/or because of the need to service core destination marketing activity from within already limited budgets. Nonetheless, it is worth looking at the opportunities, some of which close soon. One at least, the PR opportunity, is entirely free to enter and needs no more than a suitable good news story for Autumn, Winter or beyond, making it open to all regardless of practicalities like budget, the scale of the destination or staff resource: https://www.visitbritain.org/be-part-our-domestic-marketing-campaign-escape-everyday

Wales. The ongoing campaign, Love Wales love taste continues into September: https://businesswales.gov.wales/foodanddrink/LoveWalesLoveTaste . The more cautious and somewhat later opening for most hospitality businesses in Wales is supported by among other things, the Promise/Addo campaign: https://www.visitwales.com/promise .

I am not yet aware of the details of any Autumn, October half term or Winter promotion plans. Given Visit Wales’ well-established track record on UK domestic promotion, I would be very surprised if there were none, or none to follow soon. Notwithstanding of course any restrictions or delays that may be imposed by the Welsh Government’s slightly different approach and timetable to reopening of Welsh businesses and the Welsh economy to that applied within England. I’d welcome any update on marketing plans and campaigns from colleagues in Wales and /or Visit Wales as the situation develops.

General opportunities. From a forward planning perspective the next major domestic tourism event or opportunity is the October half term, traditionally a holiday period which is as, if not more, popular with domestic outbound international travel than it is with domestic holidaying. However, these are far from normal times.

The bulk of education authorities in England and Wales appear to have selected Monday 25th to Friday 30th October with those in Scotland opting for one or other of the two preceding weeks. Add to this the vagaries of variations allowed for English academies and in the private schools sector and you have a main window, that still falls within the last two weeks of October, with the peak for most being from Saturday 23rd October through to Sunday 1 November, inclusive. Do please check your own local and main source market areas dates, don’t rely on my rough and ready national assessment!

There is sill a number of obvious uncertainties involved in this year’s October holiday, varying from: the prevailing domestic and domestic outbound market conditions, through potential unknowns in the education sector, to the UK’s covid-19 status at that time. Nonetheless, I would like to start to get a better feel from a wider group of colleagues about how they are viewing the October half term from the perspective of differing markets, different business sectors and differing businesses types (day v staying, short break v longer holiday, self-catering v serviced etc.). The aim is to identify what the key threats and opportunities may be and how best, if at all, you feel these might be minimised or exploited to greatest benefit by centrally coordinated actions, whatever you think the could or should be.

It may be a little too early to be making hard and fast decisions about late October but equally it will soon be far too late to start formulating and pushing for the delivery of effective coordinated action or activities, particularly if these are around shared marketing approaches, national marketing messages or some similar communication piece. Your views on the threats and, in particular, opportunities and the best means of fulfilling them, would be welcomed.

Please do share your thoughts and comments

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