Tourism is the UK’s fifth biggest industry, but the last two years have without doubt had a devastating impact. VisitBritain recently announced an estimated loss in domestic and inbound tourism of £146 billion over the course of 2020 and 2021, the equivalent of over £2,300 per second.
The industry was the first to fall victim to the pandemic, with most tourist attractions forced to close their doors to the public indefinitely, and will be one of the slowest to recover from the losses experienced across the sector.
Despite the surge in popularity of staycations last year – where many choose to holiday within the UK rather than risk booking a beach getaway, our most iconic attractions still suffered. Even when they were allowed to reopen, most had to operate at reduced volumes to enable social distancing and new covid regulations.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom! With many attractions now open for business, and the general public ready to embrace the new ‘normal’, there’s certainly a chance for business to boom once again.
So, with 2022 (thankfully) looking much brighter than the last two years, it’s vital for businesses to communicate a clear message to consumers to let them know that they are open, and more importantly, safe to visit, in order to drive that all-important footfall.
But, how can they ensure they are doing this in the most effective way?
The impact of social media
With the majority of people glued to their phones 24/7, social media is one of the most powerful ways to reach a wide audience, fast. Take advantage of paid social to let your key target audience know you’re open and ensure engaging messaging throughout.
Harnessing influencer engagement
Collaborating with influencers will allow you to reach audiences you might not hit with traditional advertising – the right partnership could be invaluable to your strategy. Followers see their favourite influencers as a source of trusted, up to date information – and, for the most part, are consuming their posts and stories every single day.
PR and strategic media outreach
You should also ensure you’re utilising traditional and digital PR outreach in titles that are relevant to your audience, driving earned coverage to enhance brand awareness. Keep consumers informed by issuing press releases to announce exciting updates, and make sure you’re front of mind for any round up pieces that journalists might be working on.
Of course, the most important factor amongst all of this is safety. People want to know that their safety is paramount, so it’s important to communicate this clearly. Let consumers know what protocols are in place to keep them safe and make sure visitors are clear on any rules they should adhere to.
Align your messaging
What’s more, its imperative that the messaging you are sending out to consumers is consistent. Any messages via traditional forms of media must match your social media channels and website to avoid confusion.
Make the most of loyal customers
If you have an existing database of customers, ensure this is kept up to date and send regular reminders to let them know you’re back open for business as usual. Why not reward old customers with discounts and offers to coax them back? This will help to build a loyal customer base of repeat visitors.
If you’re interested in discussing how our PR expertise could help you to drive footfall this year, get in touch today.