VisitBritain is poised to launch a new interactive advertising campaign in the US in partnership with Expedia promoting the regions of the UK as well as London.
The latest promotion is part of a long-term three year deal the tourist board has struck with the global OTA to exploit its reach among potential visitors worldwide.
VisitBritain has worked closely with Expedia since the 2012 London Olympics and has been a pioneering destination working with the OTA’s Media Solutions advertising and promotions division.
VisitBitain has identified eight ‘Great’ source markets for its GREAT campaign backed by the #omgbritain hashtag and aimed at increasing visitor numbers to 40 million a year by 2020.
Carol Dray, commercial director for VisitBritain, was invited to present the work the body is doing with Expedia at last week’s annual partner conference in Las Vegas.
A new TV ad featuring the attractions of London Scotland, Wales, Manchester and Cornwall, was shown. There is also an online interactive version that allows views to toggle between destinations.
Dray said: “To be honest our funds are limited and we really needed to be working with people who have got cut through. We cannot do it by ourselves.”
VisitBritain said it has previously focused on the inspiration-phase of the booking funnel but that this was “not giving potential visitors a reason to come to Britain today or tomorrow”.
“Working with Expedia can really work through the funnel in different ways, most importantly through conversation amplifying the experience.
“It’s all about the data, about how you interpret and use the data,” said Dray who added that this was also helping the organisation in product development and targeting key audiences.
“We need to use data, we need to have a consistent relationship and we need to be talking to the right people and have a greater focus on targeted audiences.
“We have different challenges in the eight ‘Great’ markets, so using data is absolutely key.”
VisitBritain is pioneering bringing rail into online booking platforms with Expedia, which last year struck a deal to use SilverRail’s SilverCore technology.
The tourism board also soft launched a content hub on October 2016 for the US Germany and French markets.
Dray said this typified a new test and learn approach and early results were fantastic with a 25% increase in passenger numbers recorded and 28% more room nights booked.
“The one challenge we have is we have to crack advocacy,” said Dray, “there is an opportunity there and I have no doubt we’ll crack it.”