You’ve booked your leave, scoured the web for inspiration, shortlisted the best options and deliberated over the main contenders. Now it’s time to choose your holiday destination. It’s going to be the best time of the year, so you’d better get it right.
Instead of trawling through endless website pages, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you clicked a button and your perfect itinerary popped-up right in front of you? VisitLiverpool’s new ‘Liverpool. Do it your way’ campaign aims to do just that, giving people tailored suggestions without lots of questions. Marketing Liverpool’s Digital Manager, Jess Cavendish tells us more.
“We’re looking to quickly trigger people’s feel-good receptors and get straight to the heart of what appeals to them by exploring the emotions people want to feel on their holiday and what their passions are.
“Visitors to the ‘Do It Your Way’ landing page on the VisitLiverpool site move emoji sliders up and down to indicate how cultured, indulgent, adventurous, excited or relaxed they want to feel during their stay. The page then automatically reconfigures to present them with attractions, hotels, bars, restaurants and experiences that are tailored for them.
“Liverpool City Region attracts just about every type of visitor imaginable and this new function has enabled us to showcase our visitor economy products in a new way that’s useful to all types of visitor. But the truth is that people’s moods and the things they feel like doing change and this is all about making Liverpool an easier choice.
“The site isn’t just a resource for potential travellers, it’s also a resource for holiday makers during their stay and if people feel in the mood for some adventure or relaxation, they can simply adjust the emoji slider for new, up-to-the-minute suggestions all on one page.
PRESENTING A GREATER CHOICE
Whilst Jess admits that the new website navigation is unlikely to replace the more traditional top menu navigation of the VisitLiverpool site, she believes that greater choice and fast, easy to find options are where the destination marketing industry is heading.
“What we’ve witnessed over the last few years is the emergence of new types of traveller that don’t necessarily fit into the standard, cookie-cutter classifications that many destinations still use for their suggested itineraries.
“There’s so much more choice today, across almost all industries and people want that reflected in their holiday too. People are so much more complex than their age range or personal situation.
“It’s not so much about labels and fitting into a single group as it is really understanding the individual. People can surprise you. My six-year-old niece loves afternoon tea and my 60-year-old neighbour has just been skydiving. Defining markets helps, but you can’t lump everyone into a single, set group anymore.
CHARACTER LED CONTENT
Real people, sharing real stories, deliver real, genuine insight. ‘Liverpool – Do It Your Way’ is designed to engage visitors through actual, real-life testimonies that place a higher value on experiences than places.
“The heroes of this campaign are not models, or actors, or people being paid to read cheesy pre-prepared lines, that have been through a PR wringer. They’re people’s honest, unfiltered reactions to Liverpool and it’s so much more impactful to hear this is people’s own words.”
Four 30-second films were produced to tell the individual stories of Kyami, Michelle, Barbara and Mik and Kelly and Lee and thier family who each share ‘Liverpool their way’ by showing people a selection of their most beloved places in the region.
“Kyami is a musician from New York, who just brims with positive energy, Lee loves to travel with his football-mad family of four, from Birmingham. Michelle is one half of a culture loving couple from York and Mike and Barbara are a retired couple, who are loving the extra time their empty nest gives them.
“These people’s experiences are all very different, they each have a unique relationship to the city that begins to show its diversity in a natural, organic way. It’s not your bog-standard showreel of products, it presents individual stories of visitors real-life Liverpool holiday.
‘Liverpool – Do it your way’ is currently featured across the Google Display Network (GND) through a suite of online adverts that are targeted to specific demographics, across multiple social media channels. The adverts concentrate on a single, stand-out shot, designed to wow people and generate clicks.
“This city region is home to some of the most striking and beautiful places in the UK. Awe-inspiring places that create those lasting memories that make a holiday special. We demonstrate that the region is very ‘instagramable’ through beautiful, creative and aspirational photography and footage that draws visitors in and showcases the city in a very desirable way.”
DATA DRIVEN SUCCESS
A key component to any good marketing campaign is measuring success and Jess believes that in today’s data-led marketing world, demonstrating and attributing this success is just as important as achieving it.
“The ultimate conversion for us is visits. Are hotel bookings and visits up? How do they compare to last year? What worked well and how can we amplify this. These are all questions that destination marketing professionals need to ask on a regular basis. Demonstrating and attributing success is an essential part of understanding it and replicating it in the future.
“Last year was a huge year for Liverpool, as the city celebrated the ten-year anniversary of our 2008 ‘European Capital of Culture’ recognition and ‘Liverpool – Do It Your Way’ is helping us build upon last year’s success.
“Compared to the same period in 2018 website pageviews have increased by 15 per cent, with time spent in the site increasing by 20 per cent, which is fantastic. Alongside this, 18,000 website products have been added to online itineraries, our GDN ads have had more than 15 million impressions and our films have been watched over 600,000 times across social media.
“Quantitative metrics like this are great for year-on year and month-on-month comparisons, but I’d also like to start to look at qualitative data too, particularly around perceptions of the city as a potential visitor destination and the impact our campaigns have on this. Richer data tends to give you so much more insight into the thinking behind people choices and what motivates them, that can be incredibly valuable in this sector.”
Given the campaign’s clear focus on the critical importance of choice, Jess believes that is has significant scope for expansion, by continuing to explore the region’s offer, presenting new itineraries for new, distinct markets.
“New and emerging classifications of tourists have given us whole new markets to tap into. The recent growth of sustainable, food, wellness, experiential and ‘bleisure’ [a fusion of business and leisure] markets demonstrate how visitor demographics and their needs are changing.
“Liverpool has such a strong and diverse offer that the city region can easily attract these new markets, so I think this campaign could have real legs and continue to develop, whilst retaining ‘Do It Your Way’s’ ability to personalise suggestions and help visitors plan a holiday that’s tailored to them.
“For us, it’s all about putting ourselves in the mindset of visitors and really understanding our market. What’s important to our target market? What are they looking for? How are their needs evolving and how can we best show how the Liverpool City Region can meet these needs?
“Few things are more exciting and important to people that their holiday. Campaigns like ‘Do It Your Way’ helps us show people how what an incredible destination Liverpool City Region is, for lots of different people, turning online clicks into real-life tourists. We want Liverpool to be the clear, indisputable, holiday of choice. That’s what we’re here for.”