Creating value through partnerships
We work in partnership with a range of organisations across the public and private sectors to maximise government investment, provide strong returns for our partners and grow the value of tourism to Britain.
Over the past year, we have built deeper, longer-term strategic commercial partnerships, working on a wider range of activities and across the full breadth of the consumer journey. At the same time, we have continued to build our relationships with our strategic partners – London & Partners, VisitScotland and Visit Wales and English destinations – trade associations and public diplomacy partners to deliver sustainable growth in the volume and value of inbound leisure tourism and business events across the nations and regions of Britain.
Deepening our commercial partnerships
This year we secured £13 million in cash and marketing-in-kind support, through our partnership activity.
In Europe, we addressed regional and seasonal spread with key European partner’s easyJet, Expedia and P&O. Activity focused around specific regions in Britain. For example, with easyJet we also partnered with Bristol and Newcastle Airports and the associated Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs). With P&O, we extended the partnership to put the spotlight on Wales, in collaboration with Visit Wales.
Building on experience of working with Expedia globally, we have developed a partnership with C-Trip in China. With 60% market share and the ability to facilitate the entire travel process, they were an ideal partner for promoting travel both to and through the country.
Meanwhile, in the US, we successfully delivered a tripartite with British Airways and America Airlines targetting millennials. We also partnered with the regional gateway of Manchester to support the new direct Virgin Atlantic routes from Boston and San Francisco. This year also saw the launch of a partnership with Birmingham and surrounding regions promoting England’s heartland.
Other airline successes, included a three-year partnership with Etihad in APMEA to build tourism from the Middle East.
British food and drink was a focus in China and the USA and in partnership with Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department for International Trade (DiT), we linked the tourism and export messages to reach a wider audience, successfully aligning cross government funding and attracting commercial investment from British Airways.
We also initiated six strategic partnerships with Destination Management Companies (Abbey Tours, JAC, Hotels& More, E-Voyage, AC Tours and Angela Shanley) to support Discover England Fund projects.
£13million in cash and marketing in kind support was secured by our commercial partnerships this year.
Extending our reach through effective partnership engagement
We have a structured and effective process of engagement with our strategic partners – London & Partners, VisitScotland and Visit Wales. They are represented on our British Tourist Authority (BTA) board, we have annual business events and leisure business planning sessions and we convene regularly to share best practise, plan and deliver joint activity through the Britain Tourism Strategy Board, British Marketing Board and six expert to expert ‘inter-boards’.
Outputs in 2017/18 ranged from the development of a High Level Marketing Plan for 2017/18 which set out how the boards can work together to deliver sustainable growth, delivering an innovative and jointly funded influencer campaign “24 hours in Britain” and the inaugural MICE mission to China.
We also stepped up our engagement with our public diplomacy partners - the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), DIT, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and British Council in London and overseas. We developed and implemented an engagement plan with three distinct aims:
- Raising tourism’s profile and acting as one Her Majesty’s Government (HMG): Ensuring that the value of tourism is understood and recognised and that VisitBritain acts as part of the Ambassador’s / High Commissioner’s team in our overseas markets;
- Mutual Support: Extend our reach and impact through working with PDPs, while supporting their soft power agenda;
- Problem Solving: Collaborate strategically to build a shared agenda around common challenges and opportunities.
Our bi-annual English Destinations Forum encouraged the sharing of best practice in destination management and our regular coastal and rural destination steering groups enabled more effective engagement and support for coastal and rural destinations.