With UK tourist attractions and leisure venues now in full swing for the 2024 season, and ahead of English Tourism Week taking place 15-22 March, how do you ensure that your venue will attract new guests as well as those all-important repeat visitors? 

This season is expected to be particularly competitive with hospitality and leisure operators all over the UK vying for their guests’ additional spend, particularly as they try to recoup after the disastrous downpours of last summer.   

Last summer’s wet weather hit the home tourist industry hard (July 2023 was awarded the dubious accolade of being one of the wettest on record), but with an eye on this coming summer, how can you prepare to welcome visitors come rain or shine?  Research has shown there is a direct correlation between rainfall and a drop in visitor numbers 48 hours later – whether it rains on the day or not. Cost of living pressures this year will inevitably mean quality, value for money and memorable experiences will be key factors in guests’ spending decisions – but understanding the ever-changing consumer behaviour trends is also critical to interpreting and responding to consumer demand.  Equally importantly, you also need to be able to shout loud and hard about what you’re offering to ensure that your messaging doesn’t fall on deaf ears. 

Whether your USP is purely heritage or whether you’re opening something that’s new and highly innovative, we can help communicate that message loud and clear. 

There are some basic building blocks that you can put in place to ensure you’re able to capitalise on opportunities throughout the year.  Creating a seasonal calendar of events helps give attractions consistency – every year there’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, summer holidays, Halloween, Bonfire Night – and these ready-made themes are just ripe for hijacking to make them your own.   Keep it authentic though and make the most of your offering but also be realistic about what you can put on.  Visitors have high standards and would rather see an attraction host fewer events and do them well, than run many and see them done badly.  

And while it may sound obvious, timing is everything so make sure your seasonal events are perfectly coordinated with your area’s school holidays – there’s no point putting on extra mid-week offerings if children are still at school. 

Repeat visits are critical to long-term, sustained success – but how do you keep your audiences engaged? You can of course build on the success of a previous event, but visitors will re-engage if there’s something new to see or do.  

 Offer visitors something that is free or exceptional value for money – for example, many attractions offer a Rainy Day guarantee which keeps visitors excited about returning and helps build a long-term positive experience in the transaction. 

Innovation and a USP will also help ‘lock in’ visitors.  These don’t necessarily involve high-level investment or construction programmes; Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk for example kicks off February half term each year with its popular Poo Trail which not only plays on children’s sense of humour but is educational, entertaining – and completely authentic to its heritage 

Our work alongside several high-profile UK leisure attractions – from stately homes to adventure playgrounds – embraces all of the above and typically comprises a powerful and bespoke mix of highly-targeted, results-orientated, strategic trade and consumer media communications incorporating the most effective elements of traditional, digital and social media.  This approach, coupled with our deep understanding of the challenges – and opportunities – facing tourist and leisure attractions in 2024, all lead to some powerful PR. 

As we celebrate the start of the season with the all-important Easter holiday approaching, we hope everyone in the visitor attractions sector has a very successful 2024.  

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