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May 2024 Trade Update

Latest trade update from the team

02 May 2024

From campaign updates to agent training, event support and familiarisation trips, we have plenty of exciting updates to share with you this month.  

If you would like more information about anything in this newsletter, or if there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the VisitGuernsey team and we will be delighted to assist you. 

Campaign update - out of home advertising live across the UK

At the end of April, our out of home campaign went live across 151 sites in three key departure points – Birmingham, London (City/Gatwick) and Bristol – with tailored campaigns highlighting the ease of travel from each location.  

Each campaign has four different creative executions and will be seen on static digital posters at bus stops, and on short digital film poster sites for rail and Waitrose.  

It is estimated that the campaign will be seen by more than 25 million people. To view the campaign, and details of our full 2024 marketing campaign, click here

An example of a roadside static display in Bristol.

Quarter 1 review and upcoming travel bulletin

At the end of each quarter, we review how our marketing has performed and what, if any, changes, adjustments or additions we need to make going forwards. This report gives insight into who we are targeting and how, as well as Q1 performance. Our topline PR activity is also outlined. 

Later this month, we will publish the Quarter 1 2024 Travel Bulletin, which we will also send you via email.

Travel trends

For an overview on how UK residents are booking holidays, where they are going and how far in advance they're booking, this Travel Trends document may be of interest.  

The report also tells us what UK residents are looking for, what may be preventing them from booking, and shares upcoming trends; all useful intel to influence the marketing of your business. 

New history and heritage layer now live on the VisitGuernsey app

Ahead of Liberation Day and the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we have launched five new history and heritage themed routes in the VisitGuernsey app.  

These new routes are part of a two-year focus for VisitGuernsey on our WWII heritage, culminating in the 80th anniversary of Liberation Day next year. Themed around subjects such as invasion, occupation, and liberation, the five routes comprise three walking itineraries, a cycling itinerary, and a driving itinerary.  

App users will be able to explore some of the most historically significant spots on the island, brought to life with video content from local residents recalling their war-time experiences. ‘Now and then’ images are also available in the app, showcasing the dramatic contrast between World War II and present day.  

New information boards have been installed along each route, with QR codes linking to more content on the VisitGuernsey website so that users can be truly immersed in the site they are visiting. As per the existing walking routes within the app, local businesses have been added as waypoints along each of the routes.  

The new routes will be promoted as part of ongoing History & Heritage themed press releases distributed to UK media, shared across VG’s social channels via a series of promotional videos and as part of the visiting journalists programme, which this year sees heritage-specific activity. 

Next week we welcome a history-themed press trip with titles including War History online, National World (syndicated across 70 regional UK titles) and Reach PLC (Daily Mirror, Daily Express and the Daily Star) and, over Liberation Day, History Alice will be in the Islands creating content for her social media account.

Alice has 1.6m followers who are highly engaged, with approximately 250,000 interacting with each of her posts – presenting a unique opportunity for us to get in front of a new and relevant audience. 

Alongside digital and social content we have created a WWII history-specific page on the VisitGuernsey website which has, to date, had a reach of 105,000, and more than 500 reactions, comments and shares. 

Please encourage your customers to download the VisitGuernsey app, which is available free from the Apple App store and the Google Play store.  

New information board installed outside the German Occupation Museum. 

Liberation Day plans

As we enter the final stages of organising and supporting the programme of events and activities for Liberation Day, we are also looking ahead to the 80th celebrations next year, which promise to be even bigger and better.  

We’ve worked closely with multiple organisations to co-ordinate this hugely significant date in our calendar, and as ever, a wide variety of events have been planned, including the cavalcade, music and entertainment at Castle Cornet, family activities in town and a 1940s-themed concert on Crown Pier. A number of out-of-town events are also being held, so there will be plenty for everyone to enjoy. Full details can be found on at www.liberationday.gg

Next year’s 80th celebration will represent an even greater opportunity to promote our islands’ unique history and to get involved. Please get in touch if you have a Liberation Day offer or package we can promote for 2025. 

Occupancy latest

Occupancy stats for March 2024 were 43% for Guernsey, which compares to 39% for March last year. Predicted occupancy for April is now looking on a par with last year, with May slightly ahead and June very slightly below. As we know, booking patterns are still short but we will be looking at adding in June-specific targeted digital campaigns in addition to the always-on marketing campaigns to encourage bookings. 

Long-stay guests accounted for 9 percentage points of the 43% occupancy in March, based on responses from 51 accommodation providers, representing 61% of all accommodation units in Guernsey. 

As a condition of your boarding permit, all accommodation providers are required to complete a monthly occupancy survey, which is sent out via email. We’re keen to continue our high response rate, which helps us to better understand occupancy trends for all types of accommodation providers across the Bailiwick, so please accept this as a reminder of the survey’s importance.     

Look out for the email at the beginning of each month (please also check your junk mailbox) and if you don’t currently receive one, let us know. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is vital for helping us plan our marketing activity.

Working together to maximise events hosted in Guernsey

Last week Guernsey welcomed teams from around the globe for the World Bowls Indoor Championship. VisitGuernsey has been in close contact with organisers since last year, helping to support in many ways, from securing competitive accommodation rates to providing welcome bags for all those taking part. In tandem, the Tourism Management Board also supported with funding for the Vin D’Honneur where we met some of the visiting teams. 

With more than 100 competitors on the Island, and more than 100,000 estimated to be watching the Championship online over the course of the week, it was a great example of how working together – prior to, and during these events – can maximise the opportunity for Guernsey. 

These last two weeks have also seen the beginning of the Guernsey Literary Festival, an event now well-established and well-regarded in the Literary Festival circuit. Again, the Tourism Management Board supported the event and VisitGuernsey worked with Festival organisers to ensure guest speakers see as much of the Island as possible while they're here.

At the request of Festival organisers, we were delighted to facilitate a trip for Michel Roux and his wife to Herm for a tour of the Oyster beds, which has resulted in some great content for us to use. See our blog article here.

Trade insights

We regularly catch up with trade partners and have received some interesting feedback which may be useful when planning – particularly for 2025. Our trade partners have reported: 

  • An increase in enquiries for twin centre holidays for both this year and in 2025. 
  • Demand for heritage holidays, particularly over the 80th anniversary of Liberation Day 2025.  
  • Increased interest in specific heritage activities and tours. 
  • A continuing late booking trend for 2024. 
  • Guernsey as popular destination for couples. 

Added value on tours and package holidays making a difference, with strong appeal to customers. 

Cruise update

Guernsey was represented at the world’s largest event for cruise line executives and suppliers of cruise services last month - Seatrade Global - as part of the Cruise Britain pavilion.  

We met with large and small cruise lines to discuss calls into our islands now and in the future as well as the new pontoon plans. 

Meetings were held with Silversea, Explora Journeys, Ritz- Carlton Yachts, Carnival Cruise Line, Four Seasons Yachts, Viking Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Scenic & Emerald Cruises, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, and Mystic Cruises. 

Excursion trends 

We continue to see luxury brands looking for unique, exclusive excursions to offer their guests.  

This exclusivity could be achieved by adding an extra element to a current tour, or developing a new offering. As examples, a local Food Tour and an Occupation Tour (including site visits not normally accessible to the public) have both been created this year. 

If you have any ideas for new excursion offerings or are looking for more information, please get in touch with us at cruiseguernsey@gov.gg to discuss. 

Premier off-island training

As part of our ongoing collaboration with Premier Holidays, Josephine Ferguson presented at two travel agent training events in Norwich and Huddersfield with Premier Holidays, Sarnia Hotels Guernsey, Red Carnation Group, Aurigny, Blue Islands and VisitJersey.  

More than 100 travel agents attended in order to learn more about the Channel Islands.  

Following these training events, Premier Holidays report increased bookings and positive feedback from agents, who benefit from meeting local reps with a wealth of local knowledge.  

Feedback from France

Last month we welcomed the first of our French journalist trips for the year, with a group from Grazia, The Good Life, Yonder, Paris-Normandie, and Marie France, making use of Aurigny’s new direct flight from Paris.  

Fortuitously the weather played ball, and the group enjoyed a tailor-made itinerary that included Hauteville House, a day in Sark, meeting Art for Guernsey, a sunrise swim, and plenty of the best food the island has to offer.  

Feedback from all five journalists has been excellent, particularly on the warm welcome they received from industry and locals alike. They also reported that the the quick flight, scenic cliff walks, and good food would appeal to their readers. In case you missed it, ITV broadcasted a report on their evening news show on 15 April, which you can view here.  

This trip is part of a wider programme of PR and marketing activity to support Aurigny’s new Paris route. We’ll share the coverage – which is due to be published this month – in next month’s mailer.


Visiting French journalists in Sark

Familiarisation visits

In April, agents from Hay’s Travel and Love Holidays in Liverpool joined a press trip in celebration of the new air route. They were impressed with our history, culture, and the ease of the direct flight. 

For the first time, “My own travel”, a small luxury tour operator based in Germany, also visited the islands. They really enjoyed their time in Guernsey, Herm and Sark, and will be adding the Channel Islands to their portfolio going forward. 

Last week, we also welcomed 40 agents from Rotterdam and Groningen with tour operator Sunair. The group visited Herm, enjoyed walking and coach tours, and visited accommodation.  

Experiencing the islands first hand on these visits has proven to be worthwhile, with agents’ sales increasing after visiting. 

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.

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