Tourism campaign hailed a success

VISITORS to Suffolk last year spent �1.75million in the county as a direct result of a tourism marketing campaign by Choose Suffolk, according to an evaluation report assessing the impact of the campaign.

VISITORS to Suffolk last year spent �1.75million in the county as a direct result of a tourism marketing campaign by Choose Suffolk, according to an evaluation report assessing the impact of the campaign.

The study found that the level of expenditure by short break and day visitors who were persuaded to come to the county by Choose Suffolk's marketing activity was the equivalent of almost �5,000 a day.

The campaign, entitled “Come to Your Senses: Visit Suffolk”, involved a �100,000 multi-platform marketing campaign that ran between April and September 2009.

It was delivered by the Choose Suffolk economic development partnership, working together with Suffolk County Council, the district councils and the tourism sector, including Visit Suffolk Attractions.

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The campaign included a refreshed Visit Suffolk website, extensive wall poster advertising on targeted stations on the London Underground, e-communications via a Visit Suffolk e-newsletter, printed Great Days Out in Suffolk and Suffolk Short Breaks brochures and advertising in key magazines and newspapers.

According to the evaluation report's findings on the economic impact of the campaign it achieved a return on investment ratio of more than 17:1.

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The report was undertaken using industry standard methodology and was independently verified by Blue Republic market research agency.

Choose Suffolk's tourism manager, Alex Paul, said: “This online survey, the first we have undertaken to test the effectiveness of a tourism campaign, asked respondents who had either visited or booked with the intention of visiting Suffolk whether exposure to the campaign influenced their decision. It found that there was a particularly high recall rate amongst respondents for Come to Your Senses: Visit Suffolk.”

Two-thirds of respondents indicated that they had been to Suffolk in 2009 with a further 1% suggesting that they had booked but hadn't yet visited.

“Of these respondents 22% felt that they were 'definitely' influenced to visit, with 25% suggesting they were 'probably' influenced to visit by the campaign,” said Mr Paul “Just under a third indicated that they were 'possibly' influenced to visit.”

He added: “This was a holistic campaign, encompassing a variety of communication channels and while print medium is still popular, we're also seeing a shift towards online communication and the effectiveness of targeted activities, such as the advertising at various London Underground stations.”

Celia Hodson, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, said: “This evaluation report gives us a clear insight into the most effective channels for reaching potential visitors to Suffolk, while also revealing their patterns of spending behaviour and length of stay in the county.

“Tourism is extremely important to the county's economy and contributes �1.63billion per year to Suffolk, so it is important that we are targeting our marketing campaigns effectively, as this research demonstrates, and successfully positioning Suffolk as a premier tourism destination.”

Tim Rowan-Robinson, managing director of Thorpeness & Aldeburgh Hotels, added: “Choose Suffolk's marketing activities are an important asset to the county's tourism operators. They clearly have an impact on people who are thinking about where to visit for either a short break or day out in the UK.”

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