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Marketing Liverpool Gains Insight into Local Opinion Thanks to Visitor Research

Marketing Liverpool has undertaken extensive research into local residents’ thoughts and feelings on reopening the city’s visitor economy after lockdown.

We undertook the research on behalf of Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN) to understand how local residents feel about visiting restaurants, retail, cultural venues and visitor attractions as lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted.

One of the first destinations in the UK to undertake such research, our team conducted a survey aimed at local residents along with two virtual focus groups. The resulting insights will help support the city’s recovery plans.

2322 people took part in the survey, 75% of whom came from Liverpool City Region postcodes with females and those over 35 being the most prominent responders. 80% of those surveyed can’t wait to return to Liverpool’s cultural venues, visitor attractions, restaurants and bars but almost half admitted they were still anxious about taking non-essential trips even when lockdown is lifted.

The overwhelming majority said that restaurants would be one of the first places they would visit with 68% of people saying they would visit them within the first 6 weeks of them being open, a timeframe which is considerably shorter than national research.

With health still being the most important factor to consider, over 80% of people said they would welcome some sort of national accreditation scheme to prove a venue is following official Government guidelines and procedures. Limits on customer numbers, regular cleaning, social distancing rules and hand sanitiser stations all came out as crucial elements for when venues open for customers.

Of those surveyed, around half are looking forward to visiting the city’s visitor attractions with 60% eagerly awaiting being able to return to the city region’s cultural venues. Almost half of the respondents who took part in the survey said they would be using public transport (train or bus) to rediscover the city’s visitor economy. 

Donna Howitt, Chair of LVEN marketing group said:

“The results of the survey help to provide a real optimism for businesses and attractions that rely on the visitor economy. 

Whilst safety must remain of paramount importance, we look forward to rebuilding visitor numbers, starting with local audiences who play an important role in getting their region back on its feet.” 

The virtual focus groups revealed that people were looking forward to returning to a whole host of venues and locations with the iconic waterfront and cathedrals two of the most popular options…shortly followed by the hairdressers!

Our Director Chris Brown explained how we will use the results of the research to form the basis of our future work:

“Liverpool is and will continue to be a very popular tourist destination but in recent months we have shifted our work from promotion to supporting the Hospitality and Tourism sector during what continues to be a very difficult and challenging period.

“Health will always be our number one priority but as we move slowly out of lockdown and the city begins to reopen it’s crucial that we understand exactly how our local residents feel. These will be some of the very first people to use our visitor economy and their opinions will help form our campaigns and work for months to come.”

Marketing Liverpool intends to undertake the resident sentiment survey on a regular basis in order to help shape future messaging and will be actively working with partners to progress exciting new initiatives like the Liverpool Without Walls initiative.

You can read an executive summary of the survey results by clicking here.

You can download a PDF copy of the below infographic to share across your channels by clicking here.

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