Home > Council and Democracy > Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider an update on Tourism Performance, including the Destination Marketing Campaign’s results from 2018 and plans for 2019.


Mr Philip Welsh, Head of Tourism and Communications, presented the Tourism update on performance and trends within the visitor economy. Ms Kate Shane, Head of the Blackpool Cluster of Merlin Attractions, was also in attendance to discuss the ‘Blackpool Has It All’ marketing campaign and answer questions from the Committee.


Members asked Ms Shane for Merlin’s view of the ‘Blackpool Has It All’ campaign, of which it was the Council’s main partner in delivering. The campaign involved a television advertisement aimed at attracting families to Blackpool. The advertisement would appear on STV in Scotland between June and July 2019 and in the north of England July to August 2019. Social media and press advertisements would also be utilised to support the campaign.


Ms Shane informed the Committee that Merlin regarded the campaign as a success and had recorded consistent average growth of 3% and an average gross increase in revenue of 6% over the past five years the campaign had been running.


The use of accredited hotels as partners was questioned by the Committee, and what percentage of hotels had some form of accreditation. Mr Welsh responded that VisitBlackpool worked closely with the accredited hotels, of which there were over three hundred in Blackpool. He also informed members that Council supported advertising had been used to direct visitors to these hotels. However Mr Welsh also stated that some hotels did not seek accreditation and used other forms of review including tourism websites such as Trip Advisor.


Members queried the use of the Omnibus and STEAM surveys to monitor tourism performance and trends and asked if further detail could be provided on their methodology. Mr Welsh responded that the Omnibus Survey was a service commissioned by the Council where a list of specific questions regarding Blackpool were asked to approximately 5,000 adults. The results then could be used to determine a variety of trends such as numbers of visits, why visits had been made and the lengths of stays. Mr Welsh informed members that STEAM was a larger national survey that covered all visits to the resort which used a wide number of indicators to measure visits. The STEAM survey results had not been provided as part of the report but would be available for the second performance update scheduled for later in the year.


The Committee also discussed how the footfall figures contained within the report had been gathered and what they were used for. Mr Welsh responded that footfall was recorded by a number of cameras situated across the town. He also explained that these cameras did not measure the exact number of people but movements. Therefore a single individual could pass one camera a number of times and each would be counted as a separate movement. This meant that the measures of footfall should not be used to determine the numbers of people in Blackpool at any given time but used to monitor trends that could then be compared annually.


Members asked if the origin of visitors to Merlin attractions could be determined. Ms Shane responded that the majority of visitors came from Lancashire, Manchester, Warrington, Bolton, the Midlands and Scotland. This had been determined from the postcodes used to purchases passes to attractions online. The Committee queried previous issues with gathering data on Scottish visitors to Blackpool and if these had been resolved. Mr Welsh responded that some data had been gathered in Blackpool by interviewing visitors on the promenade which had been regarded as inadequate but more robust data had since been gathered to reflect the number of Scottish visitors to the town. Ms Shane added that advertising campaigns had targeted resources at Scotland as it was considered an important market for visitors to Blackpool.


The source of data to determine increased visitor figures was queried by the Committee. Mr Welsh responded that hard data such as purchase of rail and tram tickets had been used.


The Committee also discussed business tourism to the Winter Gardens. In response, Mr Welsh explained that members of the tourism team had travelled to events in London to promote Blackpool as a destination for businesses to hold events. Members asked that information about business tourism be included in future tourism reports.


Mr Welsh also informed Members that significant other work to attract visitors was undertaken outside of the ‘Blackpool Has It All’ campaign by businesses such as the Pleasure Beach and the Sandcastle Waterpark. Merlin also had an independent marketing campaign as well as co-operating with the Council run one.


The Committee asked what had been done to attract local residents to attractions. Ms Shane responded that Merlin offered a membership card for its attractions to Blackpool residents. The card allowed discounted access to its attractions across the year. Mr Welsh also informed members that Blackpool Zoo operated a local membership scheme that had over thirteen thousand local members. Various other business were also stated to have offers available to local residents.


The Committee agreed that information about business tourism be included in future tourism reports.

Supporting documents: