Maximising the power of digital

Creating inspiring content
Increasing engagement
Driving bookings
22m
Our new website VisitBritain.com consolidates our award-winning platforms in one site, achieving a combined 22m page views this year

From transforming our digital offer so we meet the challenges of today’s landscape, to reaching more users with more relevant content, we refined, focused and strengthened our digital approach in 2015/16 to increase engagement and drive bookings.

 

Transforming our digital approach for international audiences

Our visitbritain.com homepageOur award-winning digital platforms for both consumers and industry have long played a key role in our global marketing strategy, helping us to cut through the crowded digital landscape. In an increasingly competitive digital world, 2015/16 saw continued progress with our digital transformation programme, as we worked to renew our existing websites with a single platform to help entice overseas visitors to book a break in Britain, encouraging them explore our nations and regions further.

Our new consumer website visitbritain.com launched in March 2016, bringing together content from the existing website, our blog and LoveWall, all of which achieved a total of 22 million page views in 2015/16. A responsive, intuitive site, visitbritain.com showcases destinations to an international audience, inspiring travel by sharing the breadth of things there are to do across Britain and providing practical information about how to do them.

Driving quality traffic through improved usability

home page of our visitengland.com websiteThis year we also built on the strengths of our consumer website visitengland.com, providing visitors with ideas for family holidays, short breaks and days out in England. To showcase our campaigns and destination information, we developed a series of topical hubs, themed around popular activities and main break types such as music and the countryside. We also carried out usability changes and an acquisition drive to increase quality traffic to the site with results already showing a 521% increase in organic visits compared to last year, a drop of 16% in bounce rate to our English destinations page and a growth in acquisition of visitors from organic search to our new topical hub pages of over 50%.

 

Supporting industry to attract domestic and international visitors

Home page of our travel trade websiteA source of powerful tools to support, advise and connect with the sector, the website continues to provide valued information on domestic and inbound tourism performance, customer insight, marketing opportunities and resources for destinations and businesses of all kinds.

2016 also saw the launch of our new VisitBritain international trade website and supplier directory, offering the travel trade free insight, advice and support building packages and itineraries for their customers. The site also enables UK tourism suppliers to promote their businesses, adding imagery and social media links to paint a fuller picture of what they have to offer.

 

How our digital activity worked to promote Britain to international audiences in 2015/16
  • 22 million page views across VisitBritain consumer channels
  • Nearly 390,000 video views on our YouTube channel
  • Over 148 million people reached through our international social channels
  • Nearly 19 million emails sent to our international consumer database
VisitBritain Facebook
Reaching international audiences on social media
Working with influencers in the GCC
Our popular VisitEngland Instagram channel
Increasing engagement with England content

Delivering content that connects

In an increasingly digital world, we’ve used our communication channels to broaden our global reach and refine our domestic offer, giving users more of what they’re looking for, where and when they are looking for it. With this in mind, we shifted our digital strategy from driving people to our websites to reaching potential customers in their digital spaces, delivering targeted, valuable content hinged around our key messages. Part of this shift was building domestic advocates for England and international advocates for Britain – to amplify our messages across their own social channels.

Understanding and connecting with overseas visitors

Tweet featuring ShakespeareAs part of our international strategy, we used data and analytics to discover how, where and what customers were consuming, to create, curate and distribute relevant content for every stage of the customer journey. Working with partners including Expedia, the Premier League, British Airways and Disney we connected rich content with opportunities for bookings across our campaign activity – inspiring visitors in key markets to read, watch, discover and book.

Delivering relevant content, we also steered the conversation online through thematic social media takeovers. From promoting the destinations behind Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, inspiring people to engage and share their Wimbledon experiences to encouraging 007 fans to choose Britain – the home of Bond – for their next holiday, we increased the consumer reach and engagements across our international channels to amplify campaign activity.

We also used this digital insight to ramp up consumer engagement as part of our flagship #OMGB - Home of Amazing Moments campaign. Working with the national tourist boards, London & Partners and destinations, we captured visitors’ imaginations, encouraging them to share images of their own amazing moments in Britain across social media using #OMGB.

#NothingNicer campaign artworkFor example, in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), we worked closely with influencers to harness the power of social media and social celebrity in the region, inspiring GCC nationals to explore London and more of regions of Britain. Dovetailing with trade engagement and tactical activity, the digital element of this Dunes and Countryside campaign contributed to over 600,000 engagements, over 1.5 million organic video views across Instagram and YouTube and over 200% increase in followers of our GCC Instagram channel.

We also teamed up with popular Chinese actor Hu Ge, who has over 48.4 million fans on Weibo, to promote Britain as a world-class tourism destination by sharing some of the amazing moments he has had in Britain and why he thinks it is a GREAT destination for Chinese visitors through China’s leading social network.

Social media iconsAcross our own social media platforms too, we continued to generate and share content that allowed us to engage with our target audience ensuring they felt like part of a connected community. We are strongly positioned to continue to share inspirational content with our international audiences on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, WeChat and Weibo. This year we saw significant increases in our followers in many of these spaces this year, with a 150% boost on Instagram, a 20% boost on Weibo and a 12% boost on Twitter.

Our domestic social media channels also saw significant growth. After implementing a revised social strategy, focusing on curating content, engagement was up 170% on Instagram with followers growing by 20,000 since July 2016. Plus the effect was felt on Facebook with engagement up 64% and 53% on Twitter.

 

Creating content to captivate domestic audiences

homeofamazing.com home pageOur domestic digital activity focused on encouraging people to take holidays at home, as part of the £2.5 million #OMGB – Home of Amazing Moments campaign. From inspirational images and competitions on our campaign hub, homeofamazing.com, to inviting people to share their own UK holiday special moments across social media using the OMGB hashtag, we built anticipation and captured interest.

Following the flooding in early 2016, we partnered with the industry and transport networks to encourage domestic and international tourists to visit areas of Britain that were now open for business following the recent flooding. And we extended the invite across social media too to boost bookings to flood-affected areas during half-term and the Easter break by sharing their own images via social media using #OpenforBusiness.

Our social channels joined our activity to showcase England’s garden product to domestic and international audiences as a part of our Year of the English Garden campaign. Aiming to inspire additional or extended overnight visits during 2016, the tourism industry and consumers were invited to share their experiences or events using #GardensofEngland.

How our digital activity worked to promote England to domestic audiences in 2015/16
  • Over 6.7 million visitengland.com page views
  • 11.5 million people reached through our social channels
  • Nearly 200,000 video views on our YouTube channel
  • Nearly 6.4 million emails sent to our consumer database
We used data and analytics to discover how, where and what customers were consuming, to create, curate and distribute relevant content for every stage of the customer journey.