Suffolk: Wish you were here? Tourism campaign targets 50,000 Londoners with postcard drop

The Curious County

The Curious County - Credit: Contributed

TOURISM bosses in Suffolk are targeting well-heeled Londoners as part of their Curious County campaign.

About 50,000 postcard packs designed to entice families, young couples and empty-nesters with disposable incomes were sent to homes in the capital via The Guardian newspaper.

The Visit Suffolk-run campaign, whose website receives half a million visits each week, has also put up posters at Liverpool Street station as part of its bid to increase its share of the lucrative staycation market and tempt Londoners away from long weekends in European resorts.

Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, said: “I think Suffolk hides itself a little bit, in terms of its branding. The campaign is about raising the profile of Suffolk amongst its competition such as Devon or the Lake District who have distinct and highly recognisable brands.

“We want Suffolk to be at top of mind when Londoners decide on a staycation.

“Suffolk is highly accessible from London, offers great value for money, good quality product and everything you could want in a destination: beautiful beaches, pretty villages, cultural and heritage gems etc.”

She added: “Competing for the European destinations is a key part of the message, but equally staycation is part of it.”

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The postcard packs consisted of a number of cards concertinaed together, with the leading card carrying the Curious County branding, images of Suffolk and the address of the campaign’s micro-site.

Other postcards details of key sponsors and hotels - including the TA Hotel Collection Limited who operate the Crown in Woodbridge and the Swan at Lavenham, Gough Hotels who operate the Angel in Bury St Edmunds and the Adnams-run the Swan and the Crown in Southwold.

Ms Bond said she believed Guardian readers were the Curious County’s key demographic.

She added: “We want to get people who are fairly affluent and want to try new things. The demographic for The Guardian is about people who love travel and they like to experience cultural things, experiencing products. It fits that market really well, that’s why we went with them.

“The message is about getting people to know about Suffolk and come here and stay longer.”

Ms Bond said the 14-week Curious County digital campaign is intended to generate conversation by using characters to engage different parts of the demographic. Cherry and Dexter represent the pre-family market, the Hegarty family represent those with children, while the Roger and Rosemary Frobisher characters are designed to entice with the “empty-nesters” who have a “high disposable level of income and love their culture.”

More than a month into the campaign, the micro website is receiving half a million visits each week and the average reach to London audiences through Facebook is about 280,000 each week.

Ms Bond said the distribution of the postcards last Saturday cost about £800, although there were other costs involved including, creative and printing.

She said: “Visit Suffolk is a private/public sector led initiative. But marketing campaigns are solely funded by the private sector. This highlights the pro-activeness of Suffolk’s tourism businesses to back a campaign they clearly believe in, which is rather admirable and encouraging in tough economic times.”

Keith Brown, chief executive of Visit East Anglia said: “I think the competition for the domestic traveller is very hard and we need to be more creative to attract them to this part of the country as opposed to anywhere else.

“The campaign is an example of how we can do that by being very creative and by using social media channels in a smart way that we hope will appeal to people who haven’t come here before but are willing to give it a try.

“I think we’re looking for people normally go to mainland Europe for long weekend to Barcelona or Tallinn or somewhere like that. Our proposition is we’ve some great places to stay and interesting places to see so why not stay closer to home?”

The Curious County campaign, which is also targeting people in Cambridge and the East Midlands, is due to end on May 21.