January 2024 Trade Update
Latest trade update from the team
18 January 2024
Looking ahead to 2024
With so much to look forward to this year, we're excited about 2024. A number of new air routes gives us the opportunity to market to new audiences, the 80th anniversaries of the D-Day landings and Liberation Day in 2024 and 2025 respectively means we'll be working closely with Festung to celebrate our heritage, and Guernsey will host a stage of the BoatLife Angling Championship, providing us the opportunity to tap into a huge angling audience.
Extending the season remains one of our key strategic aims for 2024 - but that does not mean we are neglecting the rest of the year – far from it. We saw some successes with this in 2023, with increased occupancy, compared to 2022 and pre-Covid, in the months outside of the traditional summer season. Our other key strategic aims included lowering the average demographic, while holding on to our older repeat guests, encouraging visitors to spend more and stay for longer. Data we collected via our marketing and the exit survey during 2023 tells us we are making progress in these areas, which is encouraging.
The new year brings with it new creative, and we've been developing ours to further focus on authenticity, showcasing real people doing real things alongside our stunning island backdrops. Our 2024 creative is now available for you to download and use in your own promotional material.
Tourism Development Fund
As you may have already seen, the Tourism Development Fund has now been decided and we are excited to see how plans progress. We have already started working with the successful applicants, each of which represents the chance for us to grow our visitor economy, something we are looking forward to working with them on.
Plans are already underway with many of these organisers to make sure we get the most we can out of each of these opportunities, for this year and going forwards.
As a recap, last year, the Economic Development Committee allocated £150,000 to be used as a one-off Fund, presenting an opportunity for groups and individuals to apply for funding for relevant projects that may not be able to go ahead without a little financial help. To read more about those who were successful, click here.
New Routes for 2024
Guernsey will benefit from five new UK routes and a new Paris route in 2024. This means the Islands of Guernsey will be more easily accessible to new audiences across the UK as well as the French capital.
To make the most of these new connections we are working closely with Aurigny with joint campaigns that target those who know – and also don’t know – the Islands of Guernsey, via digital and social media campaigns, print, tv, out of home and radio.
For a reminder of what those new routes are, read the blog here.
This month, we’re excited to welcome a new French PR partner. Paris-based firm TQC, who specialise in tourism and travel, demonstrated a sound understanding of our marketing requirements with a well-researched proposal that was tailored to our 2024 and 2025 focuses, and were therefore selected as our preferred bidder. With more than 25 years’ experience, much of which is relevant to smaller destinations such as Guernsey, we are confident they will provide the energy and know-how required to further build the VisitGuernsey brand in the French Market.
We’re very much looking forward to working with them to promote our routes, including the new Paris flights, to develop our visiting journalist programme with a range of relevant press and influencer trips, and to communicate with and grow our existing French consumer database.
Shoulder Month Occupancy
We saw some encouraging signs through Quarter 4 of 2023. Our data shows that October occupancy was at 51%, an increase of 3% on 2022 and a slight rise compared to 2019, which was 50%.
November made for more interesting reading with occupancy at 41% - an uplift of 8% on 2022 and 10% on 2019. An encouraging sign that, by both targeting the shoulder months with our marketing and working collaboratively with partners to make the most of events and activities in these traditionally quieter months, we are making a positive impact.
Occupancy data for December is currently being analysed and will be confirmed in February's mailer. The predicted occupancy figure is 37%, an increase of 3% on 2022 and 11% on 2019 which finished at 26%. January prediction is 28%, which is currently in line with 2023, and an increase on both 2022 (21%) and 2019 (19%).
All of this activity does not mean we are neglecting the summer months – quite the opposite. We are acutely aware that August has been difficult for the past few years – a month that many would say has previously looked after itself. Changes in how people holiday and increased financial pressures have seen the visitors that would ordinarily visit remain static, or slightly diminish. We have specific targeted campaigns as part of our 2024 marketing strategy to encourage growth in this month.
We have a number of cost effective ways you can boost your visibility with prospective new customers. By partnering with VisitGuernsey, you can take advantage of our knowledge, statistics, surveys and research as well as accessing our already engaged audiences across digital, social media and mailers.
Partnership Packages for 2024 include;
• Benefitting from featured listings on our website
• Sharing your offers on our social feeds
• Opportunity to advertise your business on a blog
• Space on our consumer emailers that are sent to our email database
Thank you to those who have already been in touch to enquire and to make bookings. Whilst spaces for Q1 are now filling up, we do have some availability left. This is the perfect time to get your messages out to new potential customers.
Please get in touch with Jo if you have any questions and to book your package.
Boxing Day Campaign
In last month's mailer we mentioned our Boxing Day campaign. A series of four short videos which ran on social from Christmas until the New Year, focusing on encouraging people to cast aside Christmas indulgence to find #ThatIslandFeeling.
We're pleased to report that the campaign was highly successful, with visitors to the website up 53% when compared to the same period in 2022. Page views also went up by 74%, and CTR (click through rate) increased by 16.45%. Encouraging figures, and a strong start to the year as we prepare to launch our main 2024 campaign across digital and social media platforms, in print, out of home, tv and radio.
It's a new look for Guernseytravel
Guernseytravel, one of our most established tour operators, recently launched an updated website alongside a new logo to reflect their expertise and local knowledge. Guernseytravel have been arranging tailormade breaks to the Islands of Guernsey for over 40 years. View the new look and feel here.
Film Premiere in London
Last August we were approached by Cameron Ashplant, a local film maker, with a request to support the London-based premiere of a locally produced film, ‘The Last Flamingo of the Red Summer Sunset’. Six months on, the film is just a few weeks away from premiering at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. Among the confirmed attendees will be high-profile UK film producers, directors, distributors, and several top location scouts, who have scouted for the likes of Great Expectations, Jurassic World, and Bohemian Rhapsody, to name a few.
The opportunity to introduce the film, and a 30-second advert (viewable below), which showcases the diversity of our island’s scenery will precede the main event. It is perhaps worth noting that The Last Flamingo of the Red Summer Sunset was filmed entirely in Guernsey, yet is set in late 1800’s America, which highlights what the island has to offer in terms of varied backdrops.
On the day of the premiere, the large black and white readograph above the Prince Charles Cinema, which is one of the most iconic marketing boards in the UK, and which sits above an area that sees an average daily footfall of 250,000, will read ‘Last Flamingo Prem | VisitGuernsey’. There will also be digital poster boards outside the cinema displaying VisitGuernsey adverts, and VisitGuernsey staff have been invited to introduce the film, to promote Guernsey as a viable location to British TV and film location scouts.
New Team Members
Finally, we're hugely excited to soon be welcoming two new members to the team. Jo Dyer and Lorenzo Crispini, both of whom have a wealth of marketing experience, will be joining us during the next month. We're very much looking forward to seeing the value they'll both bring to the team, as we embark on what will be a busy and exciting year. Very finally, we couldn't sign off without giving a special mention to Paul Belben. Paul, who worked for VisitGuernsey for nearly 20-years, has embarked on a new challenge with a move into the private sector. We know that Paul worked with many of you over the years, and are sure you'll join us in wishing him all the best in his new role.
As always, we are on hand to help and support in any way we can, so if there is anything that we can help with, please do get in touch.
With thanks, the VisitGuernsey team.