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					    Bwrdd Croeso Cymru
        Visit Wales

Strategic Marketing Action Plan

         5th draft – 3rd July 2007

1.   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                              4

2.   INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE                                       11

3.   SITUATION ANALYSIS                                             15
     3.1   Image of Wales                                           15
     3.2   Environmental and Trend Analysis                         16
     3.3   Wales SWOT Analysis                                      17
     3.4   Competitive Context                                      19

4.   THE CHALLENGE                                                  21

5.   OBJECTIVES AND TARGETS                                         24

6.   STRATEGY                                                       25

           Challenge # 1: Increasing Positive Awareness of Wales    21
           Challenge # 2: Attracting Valuable Visitors to Wales     21
           Challenge # 3: Punching Above Our Weight
     6.1   STRATEGIC PRIORITIES                                     25
           6.1.1 Strengthen the Wales Brand Image                   25
           6.1.2 Encourage Growth from Less Seasonal Markets        26
           6.1.3 Improve E-Marketing Capability & Performance       28
           6.1.4 Make Wales More Accessible to Visitors             29
           6.1.5 Improve Targeting & Focus Resources                31
           6.1.6 Increase Visitor Spend                             32
           6.1.7 Improve Brand Experience - Customer Journey        34
           6.1.8 Improve Competitiveness of Individual Businesses   34
           6.1.9 Develop Effective Marketing Partnerships           35
     6.2   ATTRACTING VISITORS                                      37
           6.2.1 Market Mapping                                     37
           6.2.2 Geographical Market Selection - Overseas           39
           6.2.3 Market Segmentation                                42
           6.2.4 Independent Explorers                              42

            6.2.5    Activity Enthusiasts                       44
            6.2.6    MICE – Business Tourism                    48
            6.2.7    Events                                     49
            6.2.8    In-Wales Market & Day Visitors             50
            6.2.9    The Wales Brand                            51
            6.2.10   The Marketing Mix: Channels & Techniques   54

      6.3   SERVING VISITORS’ NEEDS                             58

      6.4   MAKING IT EASY:                                     59
            For Visitors to Access Information and Book Wales

      6.5   Maximising Impact: Marketing Partnerships           62

8.    RESOURCE ALLOCATION                                       67

9.    RESEARCH AND EVALUATION – Measuring Success               68


            Appendix 1: Action Plan
            Appendix 2: SWOT Analysis
            Appendix 3: Competitive Intensity Analysis
            Appendix 4: Competitor Benchmarking
            Appendix 5: Overseas Market Selection Criteria
            Appendix 6: Event Selection Framework
            Appendix 7: Partnership Roles


VISIT WALES Marketing Mission:

“To strive for excellence in the marketing of Wales
and so help to ensure that we realise our tourism potential.”

1.1    Current Situation

The Welsh tourism industry relies primarily on UK domestic visitors, supplemented by
higher-spending overseas visitors. UK visitors represent 90% of all visits and 83% of all
overnight tourism spend. Our strategic approach of targeting the regions and segments
with the highest potential for Wales in the UK, coupled with a limited number of targeted
overseas markets, has helped us exceed our targets to increase visitor spend in Wales.
Wales has sought to differentiate itself from its main competitors by a clear focus on
appealing to “independent explorers” of all ages. It has also focussed successfully on
promoting Wales as a destination for activities, short breaks and events, particularly large
scale sporting events, such as those held at the Millennium stadium and the 2010 Ryder

During the last five years the image of Wales has improved in the UK, primarily as a
result of press coverage of Cardiff’s regeneration and adventure activities and sports
throughout Wales. The appeal of Wales has increased as people discard outdated images
of Wales. There has also been several examples of small scale but significant high quality
accommodation developments which have help shift perceptions.Nevertheless, for many
British residents, there is still a lag between this outdated image and contemporary
reality. Research amongst UK prospects identified negative perceptions about Welsh
weather, food and accommodation quality as well as a feeling that the Welsh were
unfriendly. This is in marked contrast to those who have visited Wales, and to overseas
visitors in particular, who mentioned friendly people as a major contribution to their
enjoyment of their holiday. However, negative perceptions are not helped by the
fragmentation of the Welsh tourism product and residual quality deficiencies in the
Welsh accommodation sector. Wales’ natural environment and tranquillity are powerful
appeals for both UK and overseas visitors; its accessibility is a competitive advantage in
the UK market; and, significantly, overseas visitors perceive Welsh culture as positively
differentiating Wales from other UK destinations.

1.2    The Challenge

Visit Wales faces the challenge not just to build on our product strengths and successes to
date. We must also attempt to remedy product deficiencies and increase positive
awareness of Wales. While many of our potential visitors are seeking an escape from
their busy metropolitan lives to a more relaxed pace when they travel, we must not fall
into the trap of presenting Wales as a scenically attractive backwater. We must convey
the message that Wales offers plenty to do, whether city culture or rural activities, in a
contemporary service-oriented environment. We must also strive to bridge the gap
between non-visitors’ perceptions of Walesand those who have visited. who are
potentially our best ambassadors. We therefore need to attract more people to try Wales,
as well as encourage previous visitors to return.

Our main targets will be those visitors who will be most valuable to Wales. We have
interpreted their value in terms of the amount they spend, the time of year they come, the
businesses they support throughout Wales, and their willingness to “tread lightly”.

But we are not alone in trying to attract these peoples’ attention. We operate in an
increasingly competitive world, where our main competitors are bigger, better known and
better resourced. Our goal must therefore be to punch above our weight and outsmart
them, because we cannot outspend them. This is where our “Challenger Brand” approach
has been successful in delivering a competitive edge. It will continue to be the lifeblood
that breathes dynamism into our marketing activities.

This “Challenger” mentality is key to Wales’ future as a tourism destination. It underpins
not just our approach to marketing, but the way we need to think and behave as a small
nation that has to punch above its weight to compete in the international arena. It is
throughout central to this strategy and supplies its energy.

Our aspiration is to be seen as the “New Zealand of Europe” By this we mean 5 things:

          A natural, friendly destination that appeals to travellers with an
           “independent explorer” mindset, whether they are motivated by adrenalin
           activities, an interest in our culture or the desire to “chill out” in a relaxing
           atmosphere with contemporary facilities and enviable service standards.
          Being respected for our clear-sighted, focussed, consistent and effective
           approach to marketing Wales, as well as for our engaging, stimulating
           marketing campaigns.
          Exuding the ambition and self-belief vital for progress.
          Punching above our weight to overcome the constraints we face as a small
           country, in the way that New Zealand has used brand clarity and focussed
           marketing to overcome its remoteness. Our “challenger” approach will be
           critical in doing this.
          Becoming the European leader in responsible tourism, recognised
           worldwide. We want people who come to Wales to “tread more lightly” than
           anywhere else in Europe, in terms of their impact on the environment.

              Environmental and social responsibility will be appropriately balanced with
              the need to economically sustain communities

Our ability to achieve this, and particularly to punch above our weight, depends not just
on a clear-sighted and committed approach to marketing Wales, but it also requires an
adequate level of marketing investment.

1.3       The Strategy

Purpose and Context

This Strategic Marketing Action Plan (SMAP 2) aims to guide marketing activities in
pursuit of the strategic vision and aims outlined in the Tourism Strategy for Wales
(“Achieving Our potential 2006-2013”). Section 5 “The Roadmap - Strategy and
Actions”, outlines our strategic priorities and key actions. The rationale behind our
strategic thinking is explained further in section 6 “The Rationale”, and backed by
evidence in the Appendices.

The Need for Change

Two seismic changes in the external environment stress the need for an evolution in our
marketing approach:

         Electronic Marketing: Technological advances since SMAP 1 have shifted the
          balance of power in favour of customer choice and thrown open new
          communications channels to us. This has made it easier for potential customers to
          access information on, and book, Wales, as well as for us to identify and
          communicate with them. It has also enabled consumers to demand, and us to
          provide, much more personalised communication.

          We can now reach many more potential customers, both nationally and
          internationally, than we could ever afford to reach before. And we can profile
          them, target our messages to them and communicate with them much more
          cost-effectively. We can also drive them closer to a sale than ever before by
          providing links to Wales tourism products that they can purchase either on-line
          from Wales tourism providers or through off-line means.

          We therefore need to adopt innovative electronic marketing techniques, and
          customer relationship marketing in particular, as quickly as possible. This is
          essential in order to both target and service our potential visitors effectively. It is
          also essential in order to maintain our competitiveness, particularly in relation to
          our main UK competitors who are investing heavily in this technology.

          This shift will require us to develop new skills, retrain many existing staff, and
          assign new responsibilities within existing teams.

      Responsible Tourism: Concern for the environment has rapidly become a
       major concern for both consumers and government. People are increasingly
       expressing a desire to minimise their carbon footprint in their everyday lives and
       travel choices. Government targets to address climate change add force to this

       However Tourism is not carbon neutral. We must therefore try to attract those
       visitors whose economic contribution is greatest and whose environmental impact
       is lower. We must also encourage the development of more “green” products
       and effective environmental management schemes. And we must incorporate an
       assessment of the relative carbon footprint of different market segments in our
       marketing planning – when we select whom we wish to attract to Wales.

       We must also sharpen up our own business processes to deliver improvement in
       this area. Most significantly we will adopt an “e-marketing first” approach. This
       means favouring e-marketing over paper-based solutions within the bounds of
       market tolerance. But it also means minimising waste, more recycling, reducing
       unnecessary meetings and more effective planning to minimise travel.

       Responsible tourism also means choosing to develop the type of tourism that
       makes the greatest contribution to Wales’ social and economic development.
       This requires a judicious balance to be struck between the environmental impact
       of tourism and its contribution to host communities’ social and economic

Two other factors underpin the need for change:

      Changing Market Trends: Travellers are becoming more independent,
       demanding better quality and value for money - expecting more for less,
       encouraged by the no-frills airlines and budget hotels. They are also taking more,
       but shorter breaks, which they increasingly purchase on impulse, thanks to the
       internet. They take part in more active holidays; expect good food, comfortable
       accommodation, and excellent service in the short time they have to enjoy their
       break. And they want to escape their busy lives and recharge their emotional
       batteries somewhere that is different, appealing and culturally authentic.

      Political Environment: Changes in the Welsh Assembly Government and the
       structure of WAG delivery bodies should enable a more streamlined and joined-
       up approach to promoting Wales – especially through improved linkages between
       tourism, inward investment and trade.

Market Priorities

We have prioritised the markets that we will tackle according to their potential to deliver
against our objectives, within available resource levels. This involves focussing on a
limited number of markets in order to maximise our impact, while also spreading our
risk. Our major focus must remain on the UK for the sake of both volume and greater
contribution to extending the season. However, we will also spread our risk by employing
cost-effective methods to tackle a limited number of overseas markets that offer real
potential. After the UK, our main international focus will therefore be on growing traffic
from the, Germany and the Netherlands, most of whom are likely to be repeat visitors
to Britain.

We will maintain our successful approach to leisure market segmentation in the UK and
overseas, based on appealing to “independent explorers” of all ages as the type of
people who would most enjoy Wales, spread the word to like-minded friends and return.
We will however keep this approach to segmentation under review and remain alive to
the possibilities of merging this lifestyle approach to segmentation with other value-based
and demographic models.

We will also target niche markets that offer Wales a disproportionate return on
investment, such as:

           Adventure activities: because they offer both growth potential and an
            opportunity to extend the season throughout the country. Our recent
            experience suggests that they can also contribute considerably to modernising
            the image of Wales amongst a younger audience. Their lifetime potential for
            repeat visits is also considerable.
           Meetings, incentives and conferences: because they offer the opportunity to
            attract high spending visitors, mostly outside the main season. Research also
            suggests that many delegates tend to return on leisure visits with a partner.
           Events: because large-scale events not only attract business during the event
            itself, but they also reach a wider audience and can contribute to the long-
            term image of Wales, not just for tourism, but as a destination for business,
            inward investment, education and sport. This is particularly so when the
            event reinforces the Wales brand and the image of Wales.

              Marketing Mix

We will use the most appropriate marketing techniques in each market. The marketing
mix in each market will be dictated by the nature of each customer segment, local
circumstances - what works best there - and available resources, which will be allocated
according to the relative potential of each market segment.

Our long-term aim is to maximise both the short-term return on our investment while at
the same time building the Wales brand for the future. We will continue to undertake
high profile brand building activity above-the-line in our main market, the UK through
TV advertising, backed by highly targeted PR, e-marketing, and below-the-line

Our overseas marketing also needs to be highly targeted. Whilst we need to build the
reputation and brand image of Wales in selected markets, we need to recognise ,we have
to use limted resources wisely and focus on focus on PR and lower-cost, but highly
targeted, below-the-line consumer and B2B activity.

We have constructed a market prioritisation model to guide our, and our partners’,
marketing planning across different overseas markets. It will be important to balance this
planned approach to investment in overseas markets with a flexibility that enables us to
take advantage of unforeseen opportunities that arise during the year, where the
opportunity cost is marginal. Our ability to do this will depend on budget levels.

A major change we need to make in our marketing approach is the development of
customer relationship marketing (CRM) and use of e-marketing in our marketing mix.
Our “e-marketing first” approach will drive this transformation in our approach to the
market. However, trial and investment is required in set-up costs before CRM can prove
its real value.

The merger of Visit Wales within the Welsh Assembly Government offers an opportunity
to help generate synergy by developing and driving the Wales brand consistently
through all sectors, from tourism through exports to inward investment.

1.4       Partnership

We will work with the following key partners to maximise impact for Wales from our
combined resources wherever possible:

         Regional Tourism Partnerships (RTPs): RTPs main role to date has been in
          contributing to, and implementing, the national tourism strategy at regional level.
          They have focussed on galvanising the local tourism industry to develop the
          Welsh tourism product and prepare it for market, and in linking local tourism
          operators with marketing opportunities, such as those offered by Visit Wales. In
          future RTP,s will be given clearer guidance in terms of their role in delivering
          VW priorities.

         Welsh tourism industry and Wales local authorities: We will advise Wales-
          based operators and local authorities on market trends and visitor needs and
          provide opportunities for them to reach their markets cost-effectively (e.g. via
          Prydain, Tramor, , web links, marketing campaigns). We will also work with
          them to increase exposure for Wales (e.g. through hosting visiting travel writers
          and tour operators).
         UK based incoming tour operators: We will encourage UK based inbound
          tour operators to carry an increased range of Wales product in their
          programmes - via networking opportunities provided through membership of,
          and attendance at, UKinbound and other key trade events
         Overseas outbound tour operators: We will stimulate their interest in
          packaging and selling Wales in their programmes.
         Visit Britain (VB): Visit Britain has a statutory duty to promote Wales. The
          extent of this varies by market. It will be entirely up to us to promote Wales in the
          “agency model markets” of Germany, Holland and Ireland. We will keep VB
          overseas information staff updated about the Wales tourism product, participate in
          appropriate VB international marketing campaigns, subject to budget, and ensure
          Wales receives appropriate and just coverage in VB activities. We will develop a
          service level agreement with VB, which specifies the services VB will deliver on
          behalf of Wales in each market.
         International Business Wales (IBW): We will seek areas of synergy with IBW,
          where we can increase impact for “Wales plc.” through adding a tourism
         Welsh Brands: We will identify opportunities to work with appropriate non-
          tourism brands to achieve brand extension and strengthen impact for Wales. Our
          aim is to reinforce Wales’ sense of place through association with appropriate
          products, such as food producers and outdoor clothing manufacturers.

1.5       Evaluation and Measurement

We will aim to build methods of measuring our success into all campaigns. This should
not, however, lead us to doing only what we can measure. Where direct measurement of
return on investment is not possible, but where there is an obvious long-term benefit
(such as PR), we will construct intermediate output measures aimed at measuring our
effectiveness. We will also work with partners to assist in measuring business generated.

The main measures we will use are:
      - Additional spend generated
      - PR – advertising value equivalence

 A new framework will be introduced that better evaluates the impact our marketing has
across each stage of our marketing communications model. It will be developed to
measure more effectively the on line part of marketing as well as to evaluate the impact
of more traditional media. It is planned that there will be a simple, easily understood set
of “top level” KPIs with more detailed information behind them for planning purposes.

1.6    Resources

Our marketing activities will be tailored to our budget allocation. This plan is based on
the assumption of an annual marketing budget of circa £20m during the lifetime of this
plan. Any budget allocation below this level will have severe impacts on the scope , reach
and frequency of marketing activity ,and of course on competitiveness and the potential
for growth.

However, regardless of our budget allocation, we have significant new human resource
needs. These are most evident in the need for new skills to drive e-marketing forward,
structural flexibility to maximise synergy, and knowledge management systems to
capture expertise and experience.


Success over the next five years will depend on continuing to modernise the image and
reality of Wales, by encouraging the industry to keep pace with service quality demands
and create innovative new products, while our marketing must remain imaginative,
powerful, focused and cost-effective.

We need to advance our digital marketing aspirations as quickly as possible in order to
remain competitive. We must seek to reduce our print and traditional marketing costs,
while retaining a judicious balance between traditional and electronic marketing
according to market tolerance. This will require investment in new systems as well as
new skills.

Our main role is to build the Wales brand and create a desire to visit Wales, which the
Wales tourism industry can capitalise on to achieve sales. This requires a clear
understanding of the links between brand-building and tactical marketing activities, and a
stronger recognition of the opportunity to drive potential customers closer to a sale,
largely through web links, innovative content management and customer relationship
marketing. It also requires an astute and honest approach to partnership marketing that
ensures complementary, but not overlapping, deployment of our respective resources.

Proclaiming our intention to become Europe’s leading responsible tourism destination
is ambitious. It will set a direction behind which all of Wales can unite. It will raise
Wales’ profile and help us compete for tomorrow’s visitors.

Finally, we must constantly monitor and evaluate the success of our marketing so that
we are continually learning and improving our marketing impact and effectiveness.
Our ability to achieve this will depend on the level of our marketing resource – both
human and financial.


2.1    Purpose

This Strategic Marketing Action Plan is a new “roadmap” for growing Welsh tourism
over the next 5 years (2007 – 2012). It is a guide for the Visit Wales marketing team to
follow in developing their individual departmental marketing plans.

It aims to deliver against the strategic targets identified in the Tourism Strategy
“Achieving Our Potential”. Most marketing activities will address the strategic priorities
relating to the “Branding” objective in AoP, with some also addressing the “Quality”,
“Access” and “Partnership” objectives.

Section 5 “The Roadmap - Strategy and Actions”, outlines our strategic priorities and
key actions. The rationale behind our strategic thinking is explained further in section 6
“The Rationale”, and backed by evidence in the Appendices.

2.2    Context

The first WTB (now Visit Wales) Strategic Marketing Action Plan was published in the
wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, foot and mouth disease, collapse of the Berlin Wall and
early days of the dot.com revolution in 2001. It has served Welsh tourism well. It set out
targets and a clear direction for us to follow in attracting visitors to Wales. It recognised
Wales’ strengths, but more importantly the country’s relative weaknesses, which required
a nimble, dynamic and highly focussed approach for Wales to compete effectively on the
same field as our bigger, better-known and higher-resourced competitors.

Since then many changes have taken place in the external economic, social, political and
technological environment that affect both the demand for travel to destinations such as
Wales, as well as the way in which travellers’ demands can be satisfied. There have also
been changes in travellers’ behaviour, in the Welsh tourism product and in Welsh tourism

It is therefore time to review and revise our strategy.

2.2    Importance of the Visitor Economy

The visitor economy plays a major role in the overall health of the Welsh economy. It
makes a positive contribution in both urban and, especially, rural areas. Tourists spend
over £3 billion a year in Wales, equivalent to £8 million a day. This divides roughly as

        UK staying Visitors          £1.7 billion (52%);
        Overseas Visitors            £0.3 billion (9%); and
        Day Visitors                 £1.3 billion (39%).

  Approximately 100,000 people in Wales are employed in tourism. This represents
   approximately 9% of the workforce.
Shld we use GVA figs here?

More significantly, the economic activity required to support these visitors stretches well
beyond the traditional tourism industry, creating widespread benefits that trickle down to
local levels throughout the visitor economy. It supports a wide range of jobs that would
not exist without tourism – from jobs traditionally perceived to be in tourism, such as
chefs, coach drivers and guides to jobs not normally associated with tourism, such as
printers, plumbers, truck drivers and web developers. The impact of visitors to Wales in
creating opportunities for employment, as well as economic and community regeneration
throughout the country is therefore potentially substantial.

That is why Visit Wales is vigorously competing for visitors who will contribute towards
sustainable economic and social development at both national and local levels throughout

2.3    Budget Assumptions

This strategy has been drawn up on the assumption that Visit Wales will have £20
million to spend on marketing Wales in 2007/8. It assumes that Visit Wales will receive
an equivalent amount* in each subsequent year of this strategy, to 2012/13.

* This is calculated on the basis of costs in June 2007. It assumes that this amount will
increase in line with inflation each year (primarily UK, but also taking likely inflation in
priority international markets into account). It also assumes no exceptional cost increases
(i.e. beyond retail price index rises) in any major item or service purchased over the
strategy period (2007 – 2012). It also assume no major external disasters which will
impact on Wales Tourism performance [ e.g. 9/11 and foot and moth and which may
necessitate special recovery funding.

Any variation from this budget level will require a review of this strategy to re-establish
priorities in light of the revised budget.


3.1    The Image of Wales

For many UK residents and most overseas visitors to the UK, Wales is a relatively
unknown destination with few obvious distinguishing features. Those who have a passing
knowledge of Wales still find it hard to articulate what Wales offers in relation to its main
competitor destinations, such as Ireland and Scotland. For some, particularly older
people, there is a lag between contemporary reality and the out of date stereotype
characterised by memories of heavy industry, coal, steel and “How Green Was My

For those who have dined in today’s Cardiff Bay, stayed in a stylish country or coastal
hotel, played a round of golf at the Celtic Manor Ryder Cup course, surfed the Gower or
careered down the Dragon’s Trail on two wheels, this sounds preposterous. However, it
does serve to demonstrate very starkly the competitive environment in which Wales must
fight for attention. It also highlights the need for Wales to make every penny count
through highly targeted marketing that is ruthlessly focussed on those markets that offer
the greatest potential for Wales. And, particularly at a time of declining resources, Wales
must not only focus ruthlessly, but it must also outsmart its competitors because it
certainly cannot outspend them.

On a positive note several changes have taken place in the last few years that have
improved both the image and awareness of Wales. Cardiff’s regeneration, and
particularly Cardiff Bay, have received extensive UK-wide press coverage; Wales’
reputation as an activity holiday destination has grown at a time when the demand for
activity holidays is increasing. (Visit Wales’ activity marketing has helped Wales punch
above its weight in this area..) This has substantially contributed to modernising Wales’
brand image.

Visit Wales adopted a “Challenger Brand” approach in an attempt to differentiate Wales
from its bigger, better-known competitors and to outsmart them. A survey of media
coverage over the last few years suggests movement in the right direction: Wales has a
“cooler” image than before. This has largely been driven by Cardiff’s regeneration and
rural “adrenalin activity” products, such as mountain biking, hiking, watersports and
other adventure activities.

3.2    Mega Trends

There has been a profound change in consumer motivation and behaviour. In
particular, there is profound need to “get away from it all” and to use travel and holidays
for discovery of places, of cultures and of self.

A “Futures Project” undertaken by the Henley Centre for the former WTB identified
the following key drivers in relation to tourism to Wales:

           Consumers’ Time: Consumers lead increasingly busy lives and try to fit in
            as much as possible, leading to last minute planning, more short breaks etc.
           Affluence and Well-being: Higher disposable incomes leading to higher
            spending on experiences and a desire for more than just “good health”.
           Connected Society: Consumers are more confident at using technology for
            everyday tasks, including keeping in contact with each other.
           Gateways: Consumers are car dependent, particularly when holidaying in
            Wales and the UK, leading to potential access and congestion issues.
           Skills Gaps: An abundance of small operators in Wales leads to a vicious
            circle of low margins, lack of investment and training and low prices.
           Brand Development: While some seek reassurance in brands, others shun
            big brands in favour of individualised consumption.

Since this study, there is rapidly emerging evidence that growing concern for the
environment and government action to combat climate change will assume increasing
importance in peoples’ holiday decision-making. This may inspire a switch from short
breaks overseas to taking more at home for some people, or for the third and fourth short
breaks per year to be taken at home.

(A detailed analysis of social, technological, economic, environmental and political
trends affecting tourism to Wales is included at Appendix 2)

3.3 SWOT Analysis

Key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the development of Welsh
tourism are:

Strengths: Wales has a beautiful unspoilt landscape and extensive seascape that forms
the core of its offer to visitors. It has a strong sense of its own identity, expressed through
its culture, language, people, history and built heritage. This conveys a sense of
authenticity, which is increasingly becoming the holy grail for many prospective
holidaymakers. The image of Wales has been modernised through greater exposure and a
variety of factors, such as Cardiff’s regeneration, the country’s growing reputation as a
mecca for adventure sports, and the application of the Wales challenger brand. Access
from Wales’s main markets in the north, mid and south of England, including London, is
good – ideal for short breaks. In short, Wales offers what an increasing number of UK
and international visitors want: a distinctive, authentic experience that is culturally
different, natural, environmentally attractive and relatively uncongested, with
contemporary standards of accommodation and cuisine and, for some, the opportunity to
participate in a range outdoor activities from gentle walking to more extreme sports, such
as mountain biking, surfing and coasteering

Weaknesses: Wales’ weaknesses lie mostly in the areas of perception, fragmentation
and inconsistent product quality. While recent years have seen considerable
improvement in accommodation standards and restaurant quality, with some outstanding
examples, standards are not consistent throughout Wales. In order to compete effectively
to attract more visitors, there needs to be an increase in the number of good quality
establishments throughout Wales. The tourism industry in Wales is characterised by
small, largely independently owned establishments. While this is in many ways a
strength, it does mean that Wales is denied the marketing and distribution benefits
available to larger, national group businesses. Research regularly shows that UK visitors
have a disproportionately negative view of the weather in Wales and, for some, a
perception that Welsh people are less welcoming than others in the UK. This is in marked
contrast to overseas visitors’ favourable perceptions of the Welsh. But the main weakness
is a low awareness of Wales and what it can offer the visitor. This is weakest in
international markets, but also something that requires persistent attention in the UK

Opportunities: As is evident from the “Strengths” identified above, Wales offers a
range of strong appeals for leisure, business and day visitors. It is a connoisseur’s
destination that offers an experience that is becoming increasingly sought after. Trends
amongst UK and European visitors are going Wales’ way (e.g. authenticity, natural
environment, escape from busy metropolitan life and congestion). The growing
demand for outdoor activities, the quality of Welsh activity operators that can supply
them, and the proximity to main markets, enables Wales to position itself as Britain’s
most accessible activity destination. But Wales also offers the relaxation and,
increasingly, quality standards sought by an ageing population that has the disposable

income to indulge its “travel addiction”. Our main opportunity lies in attracting those we
have defined as “independent explorers”, whose mindset, lifestyle and travel motivation
offer a disproportionate opportunity for Wales, compared to other market segments in the
UK and overseas.

Increasing concern for the environment offers Wales an opportunity to develop its
“green” credentials and aim to become Europe’s most environmentally responsible
tourism destination. The 2010 Ryder Cup offers a unique opportunity to profile Wales
internationally and bring Wales to the attention of a new audience.

The internet and rapidly evolving e-marketing techniques offer an opportunity to
communicate more cost-effectively with most of Wales’ markets.
The merger of Visit Wales within the Welsh Assembly Government offers an
opportunity to maximise impact for the image of Wales by driving the Wales brand
consistently through all sectors, from tourism through exports to inward investment.

Threats: The main threats come from the competition: bigger, better-resourced
competitors in the UK and Ireland and an increase in travel to long-haul destinations, as
well as an increase in new destinations that were previously off-limits (e.g. EU accession
countries, developing countries), which also satisfy the motivation for escape,
authenticity, and active holidays or relaxation in a natural environment.

Longer-term threats may lie in economic fluctuations, rising oil prices, lower pensions
and less disposable income as people save more to address their pension deficit. The
fragmentation of tourism providers in Wales is also a threat in that, while internet and
mobile connectivity offers major new opportunities to reach global markets, it moves at a
pace that can be difficult for small and micro businesses to keep up with.

Failure to position Wales as an environmentally responsible destination, backed by
genuinely “green” products and effective environmental management schemes, could
increasingly threaten to undermine the appeal of Wales as a tourism destination. Threats
exist too from potential government measures aimed at reducing/controlling
greenhouse gas emissions, such as aviation tax and road tolls. Airfares would have to
rise considerably to reduce demand and aviation tax would only be one contributory
factor. Nevertheless, when added to other holiday costs in an already relatively expensive
country (UK), this could lead to a loss of competitiveness that would favour other
countries over Wales (and the UK). Road tolls, however, and any other factor that might
increase motoring costs, pose a greater threat to Wales, given that most visitors (c. 80-
90% of UK visitors, who represent 90% of the total market) travel to Wales by car.

A further threat exists if Wales fails to maintain competitiveness at all critical points at
which the visitor interacts with the Wales brand – from initial website enquiry to the
welcome in Wales. This is particularly important with respect to accommodation
standards and food quality, which are critical for short breaks. Clearly a major
organisational threat would be the failure of Visit Wales to retain and recruit
appropriately skilled staff; or if marketing resources were insufficient to enable Wales
to compete effectively against our main competitor destinations.
 (A detailed SWOT analysis for Wales is included at
 Appendix 2)                                                                              17
3.4       Competitive Context

The Competitive Set

Wales, in common with all other destinations, faces competition from destinations around
the world, as well as from other items of consumer spending, such as home
refurbishment, second homes and luxury consumer goods. Arguably the competitive
situation is event stronger today that in 2001 at the outset of the last SMAP. Credible new
destinations are emerging such as Slovenia,and Estonia increasing numbers purchasing
holiday properties at the other end of low cost flight routes. However, perhaps our closest
competitors are those that, in consumers’ minds at least, share relatively similar
characteristics with Wales. If we can identify where Wales sits in relation to those that
are competing not just for a share of consumer holiday expenditure but also for their
attention as a destination for our core segment - “independent explorers” - then we can
identify how to differentiate Wales from our closest competitors. This will enable us to
develop appropriate creative messages and select suitable media. And it will underpin our
efforts to develop a competitive edge for Wales, aimed at outsmarting our bigger and
better-resourced competitors.

After “hygiene” factors, such as quality of accommodation, cuisine, service and plenty to
do, are taken into account, surveys show that four key elements are important in a holiday
destination for the sort of people who appreciate what a destination such as Wales has to
offer. These are:
            Culture/history
            Nature/space
            Authenticity
            Friendly people

Our closest competitors, in both the UK and overseas markets, who offer these are:
           Scotland
           Ireland
           Cornwall/Southwest England

As evidence of this, there are some striking similarities in approach when comparing
Wales against Ireland and Scotland in particular:

         Many of our brochures, to an untutored eye, look very similar, promoting nature,
          outdoors, culture, history and friendly people.

         Our target markets, and assessment of their motivation, are interchangeable:
          “Sightseers and culture seekers offer the best prospect in relation to revenue,
          product fit and regionality. They are more likely than average to tour around the
          country and take in sights outside the main metropolitan centres” (Tourism
          Ireland Marketing Plan 2006).

          Knowledge of our countries amongst potential visitors is extremely limited, even
           for our better-known competitors: “ Many overseas consumers lack a clear
           picture of what there is to see and do on a holiday here” (Tourism Ireland
           Marketing Plan 2006).

          We are all using similar marketing techniques and striving to maximise the
           power of electronic media to provide consumer-driven information and drive
           sales: “The website is being designed to ensure that potential and repeat
           customers receive world-class information services. Consumers will be easily
           directed to our on-line partners’ electronic purchasing services for the full range
           of available products, packages, flights and ferries on any of our 24 sites in 14
           languages.” (Tourism Ireland Marketing Plan 2006).

Competing Effectively

The four most important weapons available to any destination in challenging its
competitors are:

           The product: Continual improvement in Wales’s tourism products will be
            essential, firstly to maintain our competitive position, and more importantly to
            attempt to gain a competitive edge in key product areas.

           The brand: Strengthening our core brand attributes and consistent presentation
            of our brand values by VW and all Welsh stakeholders will be important to
            achieve impact amongst our core target segments. Ubiquitous application of a
            “challenger” brand mentality will be critical in differentiating ourselves from
            our bigger, better known and higher-funded competitors.

           Marketing investment: A good product and a strong brand are of limited value
            if they cannot be communicated effectively to potential customers. The
            difference between mere awareness and high visibility for a strong brand and
            good product lies in the level of marketing investment and calibre of skilled
            people. Our resources are inevitably less than those of our bigger competitors.
            We cannot therefore rely on maintaining our competitive position through a
            similar level of marketing investment per visitor.

           Human resources: None of this is possible without experienced, skilled people
            who have a good understanding of Wales’ UK and international markets,
            extensive marketing experience and a sound knowledge of Wales and the Wales
            tourism product.

           Conclusion: In the absence of a competitive marketing budget, the main
            weapons at our disposal (over which we have most control) are therefore: astute
            application of our brand through the most cost-effective deployment of our
            available marketing budget by experienced marketing professionals. Marketing

agility and surprise, not unlimited funds, are the means at our disposal to
outsmart and outperform our competitors.


5.1     Objective

Our headline objective is to grow the value of tourism in Wales by increasing visitor
spend by 6% by 2012.


5.2     Targets

The direct impact of Visit Wales’ marketing activity is hard to measure. This does not
mean that we will not attempt to measure our effectiveness. Nor does it mean that we will
only do what we can measure. Setting targets, and measuring what we can, is important
in determining how effective our marketing is.

We have differentiated between those activities, whose impact on our headline growth
objective is measurable (“impact targets”), and those whose contribution is measurable
only in terms of return on investment per activity (“output targets”). Output targets are
important to enable us to measure the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns, but they
cannot normally be directly linked to our headline growth objective, because they fall
outside statistical confidence limits, or constitute a valuable, but statistically insignificant,
contribution to the much larger objective.

Work is progessing on identifying the right mix of measures which in addition to
demonstrating how well our campaigns have performed historically also act as diagnostic
indicators which will help shape and refine campaigns. The output targets below reflect
current thinking in terms of the elements of our activity, linked to our communications
plans, that we need to better understand. We will test how we move to recording these
outputs in a cost effective and accurate way.

Impact Targets

We have calculated the impact targets which the marketing activity can deliver against
      various budget investment scenarios over a 5 year period. The figures are based
      on past performance. At lower budget levels we sacrifice visibility and longer
      term competitiveness in order to protect short term return on investment. However
      there is little doubt that the efficiency of short term campaigns will increasingly
      erode without high impact brand support.

At the £20m, level despite the higher budgets available to our key competitors we can
        meet the bold additional spend targets and continue to improve Wales’
        competitive position.

Output Targets

      Campaign Awareness
      Campaign Response
      Emotional Proximity
      Conviction to Visit
      Value per Respondent
      Advocacy/net promoter
      Percentage Conversion at Each Stage of Decision-Making Process

This section sets out our strategic priorities and how we will address them.


Four guiding principles will underpin our strategy. These are the need to:

             Increase positive awareness of Wales
             Attract valuable visitors to Wales
             Punch above our weight in a very competitive marketplace
             Emulate the success of the best in the business

Guiding Principle # 1: Increase Positive Awareness of Wales

This requires continued development of the Wales brand and its consistent application
by Visit Wales in our marketing campaigns. It also requires the Welsh tourism industry
and all Wales stakeholders in every industry sector from tourism to inward investment,
manufacturing, exports, education and sport to understand, buy into, and apply our Welsh
brand values wherever applicable in their own marketing activities, so that Wales is more
consistently visible. This should be more achievable since the merger of the former
external-facing promotional organisations – Visit Wales, Welsh Development Agency,
Wales Trade International and International Business Wales (IBW) – into the Welsh
Assembly Government.

It also requires adequately funded and effectively targeted public relations and
marketing campaigns to compete against our bigger, better-resourced competitors.

Guiding Principle # 2: Attract Valuable Visitors to Wales

“Valuable visitors” are those who contribute most to our strategic objectives as a result of
their visit to Wales.

We derive value particularly from those who spend more, stay longer, come at a time
when we most need them (e.g outside the main season) and spread the benefits they
bring throughout Wales. We also derive value from those whose visit provides not just
employment prospects for our people, but which also contributes towards sustainable
businesses, new skills development and the development of businesses that reinforce
the Wales brand. Those who “tread lightly” (in environmental terms) and still spend
significantly – high value, low impact visitors – will become disproportionately valuable.
We will increasingly factor visitors’ carbon footprint into our marketing planning, in
order to identify potentially valuable visitors.

Guiding Principle # 3:
Punching Above Our Weight in a Very Competitive Marketplace

If we are to achieve Wales’ tourism potential we have to acknowledge where we are now.
This means accepting some hard truths:
            We have a low market share, which is under pressure.
            Competition is intensifying.
            In comparative terms the resources at our disposal will always be limited.

As a small country with limited resources we therefore have to find ways of punching
above our weight. The two routes open to us to achieve this are:
           Partnership
           A “challenger mentality”

This aspiration should guide our thinking and focus our minds on squeezing every
possible ounce of competitive edge.


We will seek opportunities to work with our stakeholders in the tourism industry and
beyond to maximise the impact of our combined resources and effort. This means
understanding both when it is appropriate to work together as well as when our efforts are
best directed separately at our respective target markets. This is about identifying mutual
objectives and applying our respective strengths in a complementary way to achieve

With regard to the tourism industry, it is about creating opportunities for Welsh tourism
businesses to reach their markets cost-effectively; encouraging the Welsh tourism
industry to work with us - for instance to host appropriately targeted journalists and tour
operators; and encouraging them to reflect Wales’ brand values in their own marketing
materials. It is also about conveying our knowledge on market trends, customer
preferences and future development needs to the Welsh tourism industry so that they can
become increasingly competitive by providing the product standards and service quality
that our visitors want.

With regard to other Welsh stakeholders in industry, inward investment, exports,
education and sport, it is about encouraging them to apply Wales’ brand values in their
own marketing communications wherever appropriate, as outlined in Challenge #1 above.
This also requires us to support their promotional activities on behalf of Wales with
suitable destination material (e.g. displays, DVDs, website links etc.) wherever
appropriate and affordable.

We will identify opportunities to work with appropriate non-tourism brands to achieve
brand extension and strengthen impact for Wales (e.g. Howies - outdoor clothing; Princes
Gate – mineral water; Real Crisps; Rachel’s – dairy products; Blacks – outdoor

equipment). Our aim is to reinforce Wales’ sense of place through association with
appropriate products. Our emphasis will therefore be mostly, but not exclusively, on
Welsh-originating products.

Challenger Mentality

A challenger mentality recognises that merely doing the same as our competitors will not
change the status quo. We need to outsmart the competition. We need to be innovative
and take reasonable risks. We have to use our paid-for communications as an aid to
generate additional positive media coverage of Wales. We need to do fewer things but do
them extremely well.
Finally, everyone in Visit Wales must believe in, and display, challenger behaviour.
Whilst the culture in which we operate may at times reign in ambitions, we must have the
conviction to undertake only those activities that make a real difference. And, critically,
we need to communicate with all our key stakeholders to convince them of the benefits of
our approach, enthuse them, and persuade them to adopt a challenger approach wherever
they can.

Guiding Principle # 4: Emulate the Success of the Best in the Business

Our aspiration is to be seen as the “New Zealand of Europe” By this we mean 5 things:

          A natural, friendly destination that appeals to travellers with an
           “independent explorer” mindset, whether they are motivated by adrenalin
           activities, an interest in our culture or the desire to “chill out” in a relaxing
           atmosphere with contemporary facilities and enviable service standards.
          Being respected for our clear-sighted, focussed, consistent and effective
           approach to marketing Wales, as well as for our engaging, stimulating
           marketing campaigns.
          Exuding the ambition and self-belief necessary to move mountains.
          Punching above our weight to overcome the constraints we face as a small
           country, in the way that New Zealand has used brand clarity and focussed
           marketing to overcome its remoteness. Our “challenger” approach will be
           critical in doing this.
          Becoming the European leader in environmentally responsible tourism,
           recognised worldwide. We want people who come to Wales to “tread more
           lightly” than anywhere else in Europe, in terms of their impact on the


What Are Our Top Priorities?

If at the end of the period of this plan we have genuinely improved the competitive
position of Wales, we will have had to have made progress in improving Wales position
and performance in respect of the following strategic priorities

    1.   Strengthen the Wales Brand Image
    2.   Encourage Growth from Less Seasonal Markets
    3.   Improve E-Marketing Capability and Performance
    4.   Make Wales More Accessible to Visitors
    5.   Improve Targeting and Focus Resources
    6.   Increase Visitor Spend
    7.   Improve the Wales Brand Experience at All Points of the Customer Journey
    8.   Improve the Competitiveness of Individual Welsh Businesses
    9.   Develop Effective Marketing Partnerships

And we will take the following action to achieve them:

Strategic Priority # 1: Strengthen the Wales Brand Image

This is about punching above our weight in the national and international marketplaces
and building a long-term brand for Wales.

        Present a Positive Brand Image - We need to build on the successful brand
         research and development work already undertaken. We need to convey Wales’s
         brand values consistently in our marketing communications in a way that is
         motivating and credible to our target markets.

        Integration Across All Communications Channels – We must ensure that Wales’
         brand values are effectively integrated into all our marketing communications and
         customer contact points (from TV advertising through media relations to on-line
         campaigns, websites, publications and tourist information centres)

        Ensure Brand Synergy - We need to ensure that the tourism industry understands
         and supports our brand values, and applies them wherever appropriate in their
         own marketing communications. We must also work closely with colleagues in
         WAG to ensure that there is a consistency and powerful synergy in the
         presentation of the Wales brand across all major sectors, from tourism, inward
         investment and business to sport and education. We must also ensure that tourism
         brand values are incorporated in, and influence development of, the wider Wales
         brand strategy as it evolves.

      Wales Brand Guidelines – Ensuring brand synergy will require the development
       of Wales brand guidelines for tourism and non-tourism marketing partners. These
       should explain clearly and simply how to apply Wales brand values in their own
       marketing communications.

      Wales Brand Map – We need to develop a brand map of Wales that shows the
       main Welsh icons, places and themes from a visitor perspective. This should also
       comprise a Welsh brand architecture that encourages sub-national brands to be
       mutually supportive of the national positioning, while still enabling them to
       differentiate themselves from each other.

      Build the Brand while Achieving Sales – We need to drive short-term business for
       Wales while at the same time strengthening awareness of Wales as a destination
       through strongly branded campaigns. We have been successful in outperforming
       our main competitors in raising brand awareness of Wales in the UK through TV
       advertising. Success in our main market, the UK will depend on maintaining and
       increasing these awareness levels through strongly branded marketing campaigns.

      Evolving the Brand – As consumer tastes change and the Wales product
       improves, we need to keep the Wales brand fresh. We need to research, refine and
       adapt our key messages so that we remain in step with consumer desires. This will
       be most critical in the creative interpretation of our brand values and resultant
       brand messages.

      Branding through Events and Other Brands – Thinking “outside the box” is the
       basis of our challenger brand approach. We need to be alive to cost-effective
       unconventional opportunities to extend the impact of the Wales brand through
       events and non-tourism brands.

      Maximise the Ryder Cup Opportunity - We need to take advantage of Wales’
       hosting of the Ryder Cup in 2010 to extend brand recognition and impact in
       international markets, particularly the USA. And we must plan to maximise the
       legacy impact of the Ryder Cup post 2010.

           (See also Strategic Priority #9:Develop Effective Marketing Partnerships)

Strategic Priority # 2: Encourage Growth from Less Seasonal Markets

This is one of our most challenging priorities. High seasonality reduces business viability
and discourages investment in product improvement and training. This results in a
decline in the fabric of the product and diminishes the status of the industry. Extending
the season can often make the difference between sustainable and unsustainable
businesses. Currently Wales is highly dependent on the peak months of June to
September (with 63% of UK and 67% of international visitors during these months),
although the pattern of both UK and overseas visitors has begun to spread a little more
throughout the year recently.

Given the nature of the British climate and other factors, it is inevitable that there will be
an uneven flow of tourism revenues into Wales. However, the recent increase in British
domestic breaks1, and increasing awareness of product and service quality improvements
and a greater variety of activities, attractions and things to do throughout the UK, suggest
an opportunity to continue to develop leisure business in the shoulder seasons. Events and
business tourism, particularly conferences, also offer an opportunity to attract business
outside the main season.

We will address seasonality through careful target selection, relevant product
development, effective partnership marketing, event creation and the overall branding
and imagery within our marketing communications. We will use the following tactics to
extend the season:

       Market Selection and Prioritisation - We will focus on markets with a greater
        propensity to travel outside the main season, such as nearer markets (the UK,
        Germany and Holland) and more resilient market segments: empty-nesters and the
        early retired; discretionary business tourism; repeat visitors; activity tourism.

       Marketing Communications - Wales will be positioned as a destination that can
        attract visitors year round. The main emphasis will be on the UK where we will
        position Wales as an ideal destination for short breaks and additional holidays.
        Our marketing will focus on extending the existing spring and autumn seasons, as
        offering the most realistic opportunity, rather than attempting to develop the
        winter season with limited resources.

       Events - Events can provide a reason for people to visit at non-peak times of the
        year, where the event drives the travel decision. We will pursue the Events
        Strategy, which will help to even out the peaks and troughs of demand.

       Encourage Businesses to Remain Open Longer - We will seek to encourage
        flexibility in pricing that will attract visitors outside the peak season. We will
        encourage initiatives and incentives with trade partners to boost revenues in the
        shoulder seasons. And we will communicate our shoulder season marketing
        intentions to our trade partners, in the hope that this will give them confidence to
        consider opening longer.

Strategic Priority # 3: Improve Digital Capability and Performance

We need to develop e-marketing skills and integrate e-marketing much more as a
mainstream marketing technique.

 68% (22.4m people) of UK holidaymakers took a break in UK/Ireland in 2006
(AXA Research, Oct 2006)

   “Digital Marketing First” – A New Way of Thinking” - While e-marketing should
    not be viewed in isolation from other more traditional forms of marketing, we
    need to transform our thinking and develop our skills rapidly to exploit the current
    and future potential of e-marketing channels and techniques. In particular, we
    need to:
      - Review our e-marketing capacity (skills, processes etc.)
      - Ensure e-marketing is fully integrated into all our marketing campaigns, as
      - Adopt e-marketing as our marketing “default drive”

    In the early stages, this is as much about triggering a culture change in our
    approach to marketing as achieving marketing impact.

   Maximise Digital Marketing and Distribution Opportunities - This is about
    providing excellent information through our website to move potential customers
    closer to booking, as well as leading them to businesses with whom they can
    book. It is also about understanding our customers better and targeting them more
    effectively with destination information and offers that suit their specific needs,
    particularly via CRM and website content. We will monitor new distribution
    channels that are continually developing and seek to maximise the opportunities
    that e-marketing channels offer to:
        - provide information to our potential visitors;
        - profile our customers, identify and satisfy their needs
        - drive our customers as close to booking as possible, through web links to
            tourism businesses;
        - personalise our marketing;
        - help our industry to communicate more effectively with their potential

    We need to capture valuable data on interested consumers and permit them to
    “dynamically package” their information requirements. This will enable us to
    continually improve our eCRM approach. profile them and personalise our
    marketing to them, as well as to identify others with similar interests whom we
    can usefully target as “new business” prospects. We must also provide clear and
    easy links for them to book suitable tourism products with commercial operators,
    not Visit Wales, so that their initial interest can be driven as close to a sale as
    frequently as possible.

   Content-Rich and Highly Interactive Website – We should aim to develop the
    best, most customer-friendly destination website in the UK. This will require us to
    develop an information-rich, imaginatively presented Visit Wales website that
    reflects Wales brand values, is quickly accessible and easily navigable, with
    inspiring, reliable content. We need to develop an innovative content management
    strategy and exploit the opportunity of customer-focussed innovations, such as
    social networking/user generated content, video-streaming and other innovative
    techniques, as they emerge.

   On-Line Image Library – We need to develop further the on-line image library for
    our own and stakeholders’ use, as well as for external customers, such as travel
    editors and tour operators.

   Website Links – As well as providing links from VisitWales.com to other useful
    information sources and commercial operators, we must ensure that our site links
    into the wider e-marketing of Wales, with appropriate links (e.g. to trade, inward
    investment and other national sites), thereby reinforcing the national marketing

   Mobile Marketing – Although still in its infancy and likely to be more suited to
    individual businesses wishing to target visitors after they have arrived, we should
    monitor mobile marketing developments. At the least we can communicate
    opportunities to Welsh tourism businesses. Ideally, we will be able to link visitors
    to businesses, thereby enhancing both the visitor experience and increasing
    potential revenue in Wales.

Strategic Priority # 4:
Make Wales More Accessible to Visitors (website, booking and routes)

Stimulating consumer interest in Wales is only part of our role. In order to ensure interest
turns into business, we have to make it as easy as possible for visitors to get here, book
somewhere to stay and find the information they need to make the most of their visit. We
need to address the following aspects of access to and within Wales:

          Improve Access and the Perception of Access – Much of Wales is relatively
           accessible for a large swathe of the English population, most of whom prefer to
           drive when taking short breaks. It is also relatively accessible by train from
           London. However, this is not always perceived to be so. We must therefore
           emphasise the proximity and ease of getting to Wales for our UK markets.

           Direct international access to Wales is limited, with most European visitors (apart
           from Irish visitors) arriving by ferry in the south of England and others by air via
           Heathrow, Gatwick etc. We must work with Cardiff Airport to help attract more
           viable UK and international flights directly into Wales. Similarly, we must seek
           opportunities to attract traffic via Liverpool, Manchester and Heathrow airports,
           as well as via ferries from Ireland. In particular, the encouragement of a direct
           transatlantic route from the USA into Cardiff Wales Airport would help to build
           the brand for Wales and bring more credibility to selling Wales in international

        Although we have no direct control over air, road or rail routes to Wales, we can
       enhance access to Wales for visitors in three ways:

       -       We need to identify obstacles to access and draw them to the attention of
               policy makers, planners and others whose remit covers these areas;
       -       We will work with transport operators and others to promote awareness of
               Wales’s accessibility, thereby improving perceptions of the proximity and
               short time needed to get to Wales;
       -       We will explore the potential of establishing a route development strategy
               with WAG, aimed at attracting direct air services into Wales.

          Access within Wales – Mid and west Wales take longer to reach from their main
           markets. We will identify obstacles that hamper travel within Wales and, where
           possible, engage with the appropriate authorities and transport operators to
           identify infrastructure improvement needs.

      Improve Customer Access to the Product – Lead times for booking holidays and
       short breaks are decreasing rapidly. Weekends away are now often an impulse
       purchase. It is vital that, in conjunction with the industry, we develop
       mechanisms through which customers can gain information about and book
       products quickly and efficiently. Direct links from our website to commercial
       product operators will be critical to achieving this. This is addressed above
       (Strategic Priority #3: Improve E-Marketing Capability and Performance). We
       need to work with the travel industry in Wales to help them present their products
       in a way that makes them easily accessible, flexible and capable of being
       dynamically packaged by potential consumers. The main aspects of our role will
       be to ensure the industry understand changing consumer trends and demands and
       to provide routes to reach potential visitors though links from our website.

      Information within Wales – Visitors receive information on what to do, where to
       go, where to stay etc. from a range of sources during their visit to Wales (e.g.
       TICs, hotels etc.). With the emergence of mobile technology, plus the rising cost
       of producing, distributing and supplying information in Wales, we need to
       understand better how visitors might access what types of information. This calls
       for an information distribution strategy review to identify who should provide
       what type of information with what aim.

Strategic Priority # 5: Improve Targeting and Focus Resources

We need to understand our markets clearly and target our resources without placing all
our eggs in one basket. In order to optimise the return on our marketing investment, we
will apply the following principles:

      Focus Our Resources – We need to target our limited resources on markets and
       segments that offer the greatest potential for growth, whilst retaining valuable
       business from traditional markets that may be in long-term decline. We have
       learnt much about the motivation and concerns of our major UK and international
       markets from consumer research, which we can apply in our future marketing.

      Target Our Best Prospects Effectively - We have used values, lifestyle and
       motivation data, coupled with demographic plotting, to help define our best
       prospects. Based on this intelligence we need to present appropriate messages
       supported by the right products when our potential visitors require them. We also
       need to maintain a “weather eye” on developments in segmentation methodology
       to ensure that we are both refining our target segments as effectively as possible
       and are not missing opportunities elsewhere. CRM will be crucial to sharpening
       our focus on our best prospects.

   Spread our Risk – As well as targeting those markets that offer us the best
    potential we need to spread our risk across a few other markets that offer
    reasonable return for limited investment. This means complementing our main
    market, UK leisure, with a limited number of potentially productive overseas
    markets that are cost-effective to enter. It also means targeting niches, such as
    activities, golf and business tourism, that can provide business outside the main
    season and throughout the country.

   Encourage Repeat and Attract New Visitors - We need to achieve an effective
    balance between attracting repeat business and acquiring new business. Repeat
    visitors are more cost-effective to attract back. However, we need to ensure that
    we do not tie up too much of our available resource in talking to loyal visitors.
    We need to replenish the natural attrition in our traditional markets with new
    business that will mostly be younger and need convincing with different
    messages, via different media and strong brand promotion. Through better
    understanding of our existing customers we can increase opportunities for
    improving our share of customers, cross selling and for identifying and acquiring
    new customers. Repeat visitors are also more likely than first time visitors to
    consider travelling to different, and more remote, parts of Wales as well as
    outside the main season.

   Understand Our Markets – Our market knowledge is largely based on historical
    data. While this is critical, we also need to gather intelligence and analyse trends
    that might help us anticipate how our traditional markets might evolve and
    identify new emerging markets.

   Marketing Planning: Research and Evaluation – We need to identify our
    knowledge gaps, prioritise and address them through market research, in order to
    present the right message to the right market at the right time. We also need to
    evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns so that we can refine and
    improve future campaigns as well as measure our impact against our objectives.

   Sustainability – We need to factor visitors’ environmental impact – in terms of
    their potential carbon footprint – into our selection of target market segments,
    along with economic factors. However, we need to find an acceptable balance
    between visitors’’ contribution to economic and social development and their
    environmental impact.

   Marketing Efficacy – We need to measure our effectiveness to assess what works
    best. This will enable us to improve our marketing impact. UK and International
    Marketing teams should identify where there may be areas of synergy between
    them at campaign planning stage (e.g. Activity marketing).

   Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 – We need to assess the potential – and
    risks – for Wales, so that we are prepared to take advantage of any opportunities
    and take action to minimise any risk of tourism decline during the Olympic year.

Strategic Priority # 6: Increase Visitor Spend

Growth in visitor spend requires a focus on visitors that deliver both value and volume. It
also depends on attracting visitors during seasonal troughs. And it must take into account
the need both to develop sustainable tourism as well as sustainable businesses, which
need to be sufficiently profitable to invest in the fabric and skills that higher spending
visitors require. Increasing visitor spend needs to be addressed through market selection,
appropriate marketing messages and product development. We will increase and
maximise visitor spend through the following approach:

      Market Mix – While, at face value it might seem logical to focus on higher-
       spending segments that either stay longer or spend more per day, we must also
       take into account the need to attract visitors year round, to all parts of Wales and
       visitors who will help sustain businesses that might contribute disproportionately
       to the Wales brand experience. We therefore need to achieve the right balance
       between focussing on higher-spending visitors, such as discretionary business
       travellers, golfers and international tourists, and those who may spend less per trip
       but visit in greater numbers and are spread more throughout the year, such as UK
       short breakers, activity enthusiasts and other niche markets.

       Niche Markets – For the reasons outlined in “Market Mix” above, we need to
       identify and target our best niche market prospects that Wales is equipped to
       satisfy, particularly in the fields of: golf, fishing, walking/hiking, horse-
       riding/trekking, cycling, watersports and, adventure activities, genealogy and
       culture. The opportunities presented by niche markets should be kept under
       review and marketing evolved to ensure we address the most important
       opportunities on an on-going basis.

      Media and Tour Operators - Communicating the right messages about Wales for
       each audience through the most appropriate media will be critical in the short-
       term to targeting higher-spending visitors. In the longer-term this will help build
       the Wales brand amongst new higher-spending market segments. Similarly,
       developing relationships with overseas niche tour operators and introducing them
       to higher value Welsh products will raise Wales’ profile amongst their higher-
       spending clients and also contribute towards long-term brand-building.

      The In-Wales Market – For many countries the domestic market is usually the
       largest and most committed. Although this is less significant for Wales, given the
       relatively small population of Wales and the proximity of a large swathe of the
       English population on Wales’ doorstep, our knowledge of the opportunity is
       limited. We therefore need to assess the potential, and the costs against the
       benefits, of encouraging more Welsh people to holiday in Wales more often.

   Product Development Issues – Attracting higher-spending visitors requires the
    right product to be in place for them to spend their money on. Ensuring the right
    product is in place will rely on:
       - Continually raising quality through the Quality Assurance system e.g
           Business Class
       - Identifying product gaps that will entice higher spending visitors to Wales
           and ensuring that these are prioritised within any Investment/Capital Funds
       - Growth of appropriate products for the markets we are seeking to attract, not
           just in tourism but also in other important sectors, such as food, drink and

   Messaging and Presentation – All our marketing messages and communication
    must reflect the aspirational, but still realistic, elements of the Wales brand in
    order to stimulate a desire to visit amongst our target segments.

   Closing the Sale – Increasing visitor spend relies on achieving the sale in the first
    place. We must ensure that there is a clear and easy path to convert consumer
    interest into booking in all our marketing communications (e.g. through web-links
    to appropriate commercial products from our website, links to tour operators in
    overseas campaigns, inclusion of commercial products in PR activity wherever
    appropriate etc.)

Strategic Priority # 7:
Improve Brand Experience throughout the Customer Journey

It is important to ensure that Wales delivers the brand promise to customers at all stages
of their journey – from their initial expression of interest when they access our website to
the minute they leave Wales at the end of their trip. This means ensuring the following:

      Welcome to Wales – Visitors’ first impressions disproportionately influence their
       perceptions of a country. We need to create a positive experience, with adequate
       information provision, at all major points of entry intro Wales.

      Marketing Communications – All our, and all Wales stakeholders’, marketing
       should consistently reflect Wales’ “Real Alternative” brand values in their tone,
       content and style of delivery.

      The Welsh Experience – We need to improve opportunities for visitors to
       experience what makes Wales different, particularly in terms of culture, people
       and cuisine.

      Industry Communication -We need to ensure that the tourism industry is equipped
       with the knowledge to deliver the best visitor experience (See Strategic Priority #
       8: Improve Business Competitiveness below)

Strategic Priority # 8: Improve Business Competitiveness

This is about Welsh tourism businesses serving customers effectively, so that they will
enjoy their Welsh experience, talk positively about it to friends and consider returning. It
is also about helping to ensure that Welsh tourism businesses are sustainable so that they
can continue to satisfy future visitors’ needs and thereby underpin Wales’

      Skills Application – There is a wide range of people with different knowledge and
       experience that can assist small businesses to improve their competitiveness, both
       within Visit Wales and elsewhere. We therefore need to ensure that these
       organisations are clear about their own, and each others’ roles and understand
       how their respective skills can be applied.

      Improve the Welsh Tourism Product - We need to communicate the requirements
       of our target segments to the Welsh tourism industry. We also need to work
       closely with those responsible for product development in both the private and
       public sectors to communicate market trends and identify likely future visitor
       needs. This is essential to improve Wales’ competitiveness.

      Industry Communication – We need to improve our communication of market
       intelligence to the industry. This will require greater liaison between the
       Marketing department and others, such as Commercial and Business
       Competitiveness (CBC) division to ensure that the CBC team are equipped with
       market intelligence and customer insights so that they can communicate these
       through their industry communication channels, such as Q A advisers etc. We will
       also communicate with the industry via channels, such as WTB On-line,
       roadshows, newsletters and other industry fora.

      Nurture Improvements in the Competitiveness, Professionalism and Confidence
       of our Tourism Businesses - Being competitive is about being better equipped to
       win business from our competitors. It embraces marketing, product provision and
       service levels. We must find ways of nurturing businesses by providing
       marketing advice, guidance and intelligence. We must encourage cooperative
       marketing efforts and private sector partnerships in Wales. We need to develop
       the marketing and advisory skills of those guiding tourism businesses. We must
       also, through the RTPs, encourage “beacon businesses” that enhance the Wales
       brand, such as adventure activity operators and iconic hotels, through the
       development of themed clusters and access to marketing opportunities.

      Knowledge Transfer and Inter-Departmental Liaison - Skills development and
       improvement in product quality and service standards are addressed through the
       Quality Assurance scheme and CBC, RTPs and Tourism Training for Wales
       activities. We must ensure that we understand each other’s roles, communicate
       relevant intelligence either directly or via CBC/others, and maintain effective

       links with appropriate people and organisations to ensure the delivery of relevant
       market intelligence to the industry.

      Future Forecasting – We need to identify and communicate future trends, and
       consequent implications for new product development, to the Welsh tourism
       industry. Responsibility and resources for undertaking this function need to be

Strategic Priority # 9: Develop Effective Marketing Partnerships

Marketing partnerships enable everyone’s resources to work harder in pursuit of a
common goal. They also enable businesses to share valuable market knowledge that
would otherwise be beyond their reach.

      Promote a Shared Vision - We need to communicate our challenge and objectives
       to all partners, in order to encourage joint analysis and a common vision. If all
       partners understand the key marketing tasks, and the roles of different bodies in
       the marketing supply chain, then we will achieve a synergy and forward
       momentum that will help Wales punch above its weight.

      Role Clarity – Marketing resources are limited and must be deployed in a
       coordinated and targeted way in order to ensure maximum impact. The total
       travel experience involves a complex interaction of many products, services and
       suppliers. Many organisations – from Visit Wales to local authorities, RTPs and
       others – contribute to the visitor experience. We must be clear about the
       respective roles and responsibilities for private and public sector partners so that
       each intervenes at the most appropriate point within the marketing supply chain.
       We must promote mutual understanding of these roles and ensure that our
       respective efforts are focused where they can make most impact.

      Travel Industry: Develop Effective Marketing Platforms – We will provide
       marketing opportunities for Welsh tourism businesses to reach their markets cost-
       effectively. This will include web-links from our site, cost-effective advertising
       opportunities in highly targeted publications, and opportunities for Welsh tourism
       businesses to host visiting travel writers and tour operators. It will also include
       business-to-business initiatives and trade shows, such as Tramor, Showcase and
       Prydain. We will also develop partnerships with overseas tour operators to help
       develop their tour programmes to Wales and to ensure that their marketing
       resources and expertise benefit Wales. This will also include joint marketing
       programmes with airlines serving Wales from important markets.

      International Image – We will work with Visit Britain, IBW, the international
       strategy group, British Council, and network of Wales offices to ensure that the
       tourism brand is applied appropriately in each market, that there is a synergy
       between the tourism and other elements of the Wales brand, and that they are
       applied coherently in each instance.

      Visit Britain: Service Level Agreement – The “Memorandum of Understanding”
       between Visit Wales and Visit Britain, regarding the extent of Wales promotion
       by Visit Britain in different markets, needs clarification. We will draw up a
       service level agreement that clarifies our respective responsibilities in each
       overseas market. This should clearly define Visit Wales’ obligations (such as the
       provision of Welsh product intelligence for Visit Britain information offices) and
       Visit Britain obligations (such as the nature and extent of marketing activity that
       Visit Britain will undertake for Wales) in each market.

      Regional Tourism Partnerships (RTPs) – Subject We will work with RTPs to
       provide them with customer insights to help them improve business
       competitiveness in their areas. We will also create opportunities for businesses in
       their areas to reach their markets cost-effectively. We will give clear guidance as
       to the regional significance of national priorities and take regional issues on board
       fully when identifying those priorities.

      Non-Tourism Brands - We will identify opportunities to work with appropriate
       non-tourism brands to achieve brand extension and strengthen impact for Wales
       (e.g. Howies - outdoor clothing; Princes Gate – mineral water; Real Crisps;
       Rachel’s – dairy products; Blacks – outdoor equipment). Our aim is to reinforce
       Wales’ sense of place through association with appropriate products. Our
       emphasis will therefore be mostly, but not exclusively, on Welsh-originating

Key Actions:


This section explains the thinking behind our strategy. It elaborates upon our
approach outlined in the previous section “The Roadmap – Strategy and Actions”.

6.2    ATTRACTING VISITORS:               WHO? WHY? HOW?

6.2.1 Market Mapping

How Have We Decided Which Markets to Focus On?
The resources at the disposal of Visit Wales and its marketing partners are limited. To be
effective these resources must be targeted at those who offer the best potential for Wales.
It is not possible to be active and effective in all the markets that offer potential. A major
issue that needs to be addressed therefore is: how many markets and market segments can
Wales afford to be active in?

We have selected markets for intervention by Visit Wales on the basis of three main
           Potential to deliver against our strategic priorities
           Value potential (“Attractiveness factors”)
           Cost-efficient to reach (“Difficulty factors”)

We also consider it important to spread our risk by being active in more than just our
main market, the UK, particularly where the opportunity cost of our intervention in
overseas markets would buy little additional impact in the UK.

Ideally, we also need to retain a degree of flexibility to enable us to take advantage of
suitable unforeseen opportunities that arise during the year. These would only be
considered where the opportunity is disproportionate and the opportunity cost of
investing elsewhere is negligible.

Current Return on Investment analysis reflects only the immediate impact of campaigns.
We need, as well, to recognise the necessity to grow segments that have potential in the
medium term (3-5 years).
Therefore, as well as delivering immediate business, we have taken into account those
segments that:
           - offer an opportunity to extend the season;
           - contribute to development and modernisation of the image of Wales,;
           - sustain businesses upon which local communities are highly dependent;
           - assist in the maintenance and development of new products that will
               contribute towards Wales’ future competitiveness;
           - “tread lightly” in environmental terms.

The chapters below explain how we have selected different overseas, UK and niche

                       83% of our visitor revenue comes from the UK. However, although small by comparison,
                       international markets enable us to spread our risk and attract higher-spending visitors,
                       who can contribute towards increasing the competitiveness of Welsh businesses.

                       The charts below show the relative value (2005) of primary and secondary geographical
                       markets to Wales.2

                                                                           All Markets: Value to Wales 2005










                       UK            Republic of        USA         Netherlands        Germany   France         Australia    Spain           Canada

                                                                        International Markets
                                Details of value of primary and secondary international markets to Wales 2005



                                                                                                                            Republic of Ireland
                           30         29                                                                                    France

     30                                            28
                                                          19                                                                Canada
     20                                                               17          16                                        Belgium

     10                                                                                    7


                           Figures taken from the IPS and UKTS 2005 surveys, as quoted on http://www.industry.visitwales.co.uk/

6.2.2   Geographical Market Selection - Overseas

Selection Criteria

       A wide range of factors influences the potential of any individual market for
        Wales. We have analysed these factors using a directional policy matrix (DPM –
        See Appendix 4 Overseas Market Selection Criteria), which seeks to answer the
        following questions:
        “How attractive is the market?”
        “How difficult/expensive is the market to address?”
        Generally, this technique is used to establish the potential of individual segments
        within defined markets; however, it is also useful in providing a reference point in
        assessing the potential of individual countries. Once geographical market
        priorities are agreed, the same techniques will be used in developing individual
        country and product marketing plans to identify priority segments.

       We have subsequently overlaid this assessment with any other relevant factors
        that are not quantifiable (e.g. activity by other organisations, such as carriers,
        Marketing Areas, International Business Wales, other national political priorities,
        Visit Britain). These may reinforce the case for Visit Wales to complement such
        marketing activity; or they may suggest that further marketing by Visit Wales
        would generate diminishing returns and that, rather than complement others’
        marketing in certain markets, we could achieve more impact by focussing on a
        different market.
       We have then looked at the resultant relativities from a common sense
        perspective, using our knowledge of the markets, in order to identify any results
        that appear counter-intuitive or anomalous.

Principles Underlying Market Prioritisation

       Focus: We believe that we should invest adequately in developing a limited
        number of markets, rather than spread our marketing resources too thinly.
       Investment Priorities: We have prioritised a limited number of overseas markets
        in which to invest. However, these should not be seen as the only markets in
        which there is a Wales presence. In markets where Visit Wales does not undertake
        proactive marketing activity, we will still service consumer and trade enquiries
        on Wales in non-core markets through our various websites as well as through
        Visit Britain offices.

       Relationship with Visit Britain: An important factor influencing our
        prioritisation of international markets is the level of service we can expect from
        Visit Britain. It is even more important for us to be active in those markets that
        are important for Wales, but in which Visit Britain will undertake no proactive

    marketing activity on behalf of Wales (“agency model markets” - according to the
    Memorandum of Understanding between Visit Britain and Visit Wales).

   Flexibility: We also need to be alive to other opportunities that may arise in-
    year and outwith this investment framework. These might be unanticipated
    opportunities in non-core markets or critical support for a business/trade/inward
    investment mission where the tourism potential might be limited, but where
    tourism support is important to maximise the overall impact of the mission (e.g.
    marketing collateral, information staffing). Such cases will be considered as they
    arise on their merits in light of available budgets and opportunity cost.

   Future Challenges – New Markets: While the rapid economic growth rate of
    emerging markets, such as India and China, and recent EU accession states, such
    as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, is generating wealth in those
    countries, we see the potential of these countries for tourism to Wales in the
    longer term. The Wales product-fit, and therefore demand for leisure tourism to
    Wales from these markets, is unlikely to be significant during the lifetime of this
    strategy. We do not, therefore, propose undertaking any proactive marketing in
    these markets, as the opportunity cost of diverting funds from any of our top
    prioritised markets would be too great and the likely returns from emerging
    markets too low.

    However this does not mean that we will be inactive in these markets. We are
    developing downloadable brochures in Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic
    to ensure that we don’t exclusively focus on the markets of today, but can
    facilitate the markets of the future, which are likely to be driven at first primarily
    by business visitors. We will also support, where we can, business and inward
    investment missions with appropriate destination material (e.g. display, web
    links etc.), in recognition of the important scene-setting role that the destination
    plays in attracting inward investment.

   Route Development: There are few direct international flight routes into
    Wales. Route development is therefore a priority. Where direct routes do exist, we
    will undertake an appropriate level of proactive marketing activity to stimulate
    demand in support of the route.

Overseas Market Priorities

Based on the selection criteria and principles articulated above, we will tackle overseas
markets in the following order of priority:

  PRIORITY                 NATURE OF INVESTMENT                      OVERSEAS MARKET
 PRIMARY            Highly proactive: We will focus the bulk         Netherlands
                    of our international marketing resources on      Germany
                    stimulating demand in these markets, which       USA
                    offer the greatest potential for growth to
                    Wales.                                           Ireland
 SECONDARY          Development: Outbound travel from Spain          Spain
                    is growing rapidly. We will monitor the          Australia
                    potential for Wales from Spain and invest
                    selectively in cost-effective marketing
                    opportunities to develop this market.
                    Maintenance-Growth: Welsh connections
                    and Australians’ long stay in the UK offer
                    potential for Wales. We will invest to
                    maintain and, where possible, grow tourism
                    from Australia.
 TERTIARY           Tactical Intervention: France tends to           France
                    underperform for its size, but there is some     Canada
                    potential for Wales. Belgium, although           Belgium
                    much smaller, also offers some potential.
                    The medium-long-term prognosis for
                    Canada is likely to be decline, although
                    there     are    short-term     opportunities,
                    particularly with direct flights into Cardiff.
                    We will intervene tactically to exploit
                    specific opportunities in these markets.
 EMERGING           Reactive Service: Markets whose outbound         Brazil
                    tourism has recently begun, or is                Russia
                    anticipated, to grow rapidly are likely to       India
                    offer potential for Wales in the longer-term,
                    rather than the immediate future. Some of        China
                    these markets are more likely to express an      Hungary
                    interest in Wales for business/inward            Czech republic
                    investment than tourism. We will therefore       Poland
                    ensure that they can access information on
                    Wales (e.g. through an appropriate language
                    website) and support International Business      Other new EU states and
                    Wales with destination imagery and               developing markets
                    information, where appropriate and

6.2.3 Market Segmentation

Priority Segments

All marketing planning within Visit Wales follows the discipline of market segmentation
and targeting. Traditional segmentation analysis has been based on demographic data,
such as life stage, affluence, education, residence etc. However we discovered that this
was inadequate and provided insufficient information to enable us to determine why
Wales seemed to appeal to some people and not others who shared the same demographic
characteristics. We therefore applied a values-based approach to market segmentation,
which helped us answer this question and identify our best prospects.

Combining a values-based approach with demographic data, we have identified the
following main segments as offering the greatest potential for Wales in both the UK and
overseas markets:

             “Independent explorers”
             Activity enthusiasts: walking, fishing, cycling, riding, golf, watersports,
              adventure activities
             Discretionary business tourism, with an emphasis on conferences

We also recognise the value of attracting significant events to Wales. Additionally, we
have identified the need to assess the discretionary travel potential and potential return on
investment from the in-Wales market and day visitors

6.2.4 Independent Explorers

A common characteristic amongst those of all ages and nationalities who found Wales
appealing was their mindset and motivation for travelling – an “independent explorer”
spirit. This placed greater emphasis on the underlying values, attitudes and motivations to
visit. This spirit was described as follows:

Independent explorers appreciate honesty and value authentic experiences and places.
They shun the over-commercialised tourist honey pots. They are free minded, they do
not follow the herd. They look for places that allow them to be themselves, that enrich
them, that challenge them. They like to interact with the place, to meet its people and
understand the local culture, to return refreshed and enriched.

This was manifest in different ways, from curiosity about culture and a search for
somewhere different, to participation in adventure activities. This value-based profiling
does not mean that we ignored demographic data. It stands to reason that, particularly for
overseas visitors, a certain level of affluence, and often education, are likely prerequisites
for those considering a trip to a destination such as Wales. But, by adopting an approach
to segmentation that focused more on personality profile and motivation, we avoided the
straitjacket of demographic data that failed to differentiate sufficiently between those
likely to find Wales appealing and those who wouldn’t. It also enabled us to identify

more clearly how we should differentiate Wales from our competitors, in terms of the
messages we should convey. And, along with relevant demographic data, this has helped
shape all aspects of the marketing mix, including positioning, media/channel selection,
timing and, vitally, the kind of products offered, so that we can target more cost-
effectively those offering the greatest potential for Wales.

This broad psychographic segmentation applies equally to our UK and overseas
segments. Where appropriate this is supplemented by demographic data.

We will, however, keep our segmentation approach under review and consider whether,
and where, we might benefit from further segmentation refinement. In particular we will
monitor the applicability of the Ark leisure segmentation profiles that are being employed
by Visit Britain et al., to establish whether they might enhance our targeting or
messaging. At the time of producing this strategy we believe that, special interest and
activity niches aside, the level of product differentiation in Wales does not warrant this
level of refinement, particularly if it were to override the “independent explorer”

Henley Centre “Futures Project”

This project,undertaken for the former WTB, threw up some insights that we will use to
refine our “independent explorer” segmentation approach, as well as to inform our
product development activities:

          Wales’ strengths play better to more individualised markets, and to those
           who are more interested in an “immersive” or “slow” holiday experience (The
           “Rough Guide” scenario). But this requires considerable product quality
           development to grow this market significantly.
        The presence and development of higher value accommodation, particularly
           with embedded attractions (e.g. spa or golf hotel) create a visibility for Wales
           amongst higher spending consumers, even if this visibility remains
           aspirational for the majority of potential visitors (The “Michelin” scenario).
        Events and activity-based product developments will create reasons for
           mid-price visitors to try Wales for the first time. The nature of the offer also
           has potential to attract visitors outside the main season, as well as to parts of
           Wales that are less rich in tourism assets (e.g. mid-Wales). (The “Lonely
           Planet” scenario).
      Maximising the opportunities offered by the “Lonely Planet” and “Rough Guide”
scenarios depends heavily on product quality development and, because of the
fragmented nature of the Wales tourism industry, early implementation of electronic
marketing with links to booking.

6.2.5    Activity Enthusiasts

Market Priorities

Activity products provide both a strong reason to Visit Wales and form a significant part
of many holiday visits to Wales. Their main contribution to Wales lies in the following

        Income: Activity tourism represents a substantial percentage of expenditure by
         UK visitors to Wales (at least 44% - £662m, excl. golf):
             - Walking - £ 550m3
             - Fishing - £ 76m4
             - Riding - £ 18.55m5
             - Cycling - £ 18m6
             - Golf - £ 16.47m7

        Brand Image: Importantly, our promotion of Wales as an activity and adventure
         destination has contributed significantly to the modernisation of the image of

        Business Development: The demand for activity products has contributed to the
         sustenance and growth of new businesses and an improvement in business skills
         in rural areas, where other business opportunities are limited.

Activity (and special interest) tourism generally takes two forms that require different
marketing approaches: those for whom the activity is the primary reason for the trip and
those who participate in an activity while on holiday in Wales.

We will undertake dedicated activity marketing campaigns aimed at those whose travel
decision is activity-led, and who offer the greatest potential for Wales. We have
prioritised their potential, and therefore our marketing investment, using “attractiveness”
and “difficulty” criteria, similar to our international market selection matrix as follows:

    PRIORITY                                          PRODUCT/ACTIVITY
    PRIMARY                                           Activity Holidays - Adventure
                                                      Golf (Ryder Cup) – see separate section
    SECONDARY                                         Riding
  “Best Foot Forward” – A Walking Tourism Strategy for Wales
  “Angling for Growth” – A Fishing Tourism Strategy for Wales
  “Saddling Up For Success” – A Riding Tourism Strategy for Wales
  “Moving Up A Gear” – A Cycle Tourism Strategy for Wales
  “Measuring Golf Tourism in Wales” 2005 - WTB

With regard to those whose travel decision is not activity-led, but who still enjoy
participating in an activity or pursuing a special interest while on holiday, we will include
appropriate messages in our mainstream marketing activities (e.g. advertising campaigns,
brochures, websites etc.). These will communicate the diversity of the Wales product and
cover a range of appeals, which appeal to different visitors, such as arts, heritage, crafts,
country holidays and food. Our intention is to demonstrate the range of different interests
that can be satisfied in Wales and thereby propel Wales up the holiday agenda for people
for whom these ingredients are important in a holiday.

Activity Product Development

Wales’ long-term competitiveness relies on continual improvement in the product offer
and marketing activities of Welsh tourism businesses. Developing products to a stage
where they are ready for the market, in terms of quality and service standards, is the first
priority. Only then should they be marketed to our chosen segments.

Most activity operators are small-micro businesses that are often relatively remote in both
geographical terms and from their markets. Their ability to provide what their customers
want and to reach their markets requires regular market feedback, appropriate product
development and affordable routes to market. VW is in a position to support this, both by
working directly with businesses and through the RTPs. We will continue to focus on
identifying product gaps and development needs, as well as on activity-specific

Our aim is to continue to modernise the image of Wales by establishing Wales as a
serious competitor for this business, through innovative product development, by
growing the market, and by providing cost-effective opportunities for activity operators
to reach their markets. This will require streamlining of roles at local and national levels
(i.e. VW and RTPs).

Product development activities will vary between products, depending on the current
state of the product. For some that are more embryonic, product development will be
more important; while for others that are more market-ready, the provision of cost-
effective routes to market will be more important.

All product-marketing plans need to address the following priorities to maximise the
economic benefit for Wales that the activity products offer:

      Increasing Accessibility – Ensuring the potential visitor can access suitable
       activity related products. This relates to the provision of comprehensive, accurate
       and targeted information.
      Enabling Packageability – Ensuring the potential visitor can access pre-
       packaged products or dynamically self-package appropriate activity products with
       travel and accommodation and other elements.

       Increasing Bookability – Ensuring the potential visitor can easily and efficiently
        book and pay for the product, as well as travel and accommodation elements.

There is a need for product improvement at the micro level within individual businesses
and at the macro level through routes, development of cycle and walk ways, provision of
information etc. In keeping with the emphasis in “Achieving our Potential” of enabling a
more competitive and mature industry, it will be vital to assist in the maturing of these
fragile sectors of the industry.

The main areas in which Visit Wales and RTPs 8 can offer valuable assistance to Welsh
tourism businesses is as follows:

       Visit Wales will continue to identify visitors’ needs and work with Regional
        Tourism Partnerships to improve product development, advise on packaging and
        create cost-effective routes to market through mechanisms such as trail
        development, national campaigns and website links.

       RTPs are responsible for coordinating local business networks and assisting in
        developing local businesses’ skills and products to a market-ready state (subject
        to current RTP review).


Although not traditionally viewed as a major golfing destination, winning the Ryder Cup
has enabled us to build the leisure golf market, to raise Wales’ image amongst a key
target audience and to profile Wales as destination capable of hosting world-class events.

Golfers form a global market segment, characterised by higher levels of expenditure,
good growth and seasonal spread potential. Visiting golfers to Wales grew from an
estimated 30,0009 in 2002 to just over 154,000 in 200510. At £107, the average spend per
day is more than double that of all visitors to Wales11.

With increasing golf product diversity, improved quality and a growth in interest leading
up to the Ryder Cup in 2010, there is further potential for Wales in developing golf
tourism. However, momentum will need to be maintained beyond 2010 to maximise the
legacy of the Ryder Cup, and we should seek to minimise VW resources and maximise
output through greater integration/ collaboration with other sectors (business tourism,
activities). We recognise the significant value of the Ryder Cup in attracting new events
to Wales, attracting investment in product development (not just golf-specific, but also in
quality hotels), in supporting Wales’ inward investment messages, and in growing the
leisure golf sector.

  Subject to outcome of RTP Review
  Golf Strategy document, 2002
   Measuring Golf Tourism in Wales, 2005
   2004 figures

Responsibility for golf promotion and product development have been fully integrated
within the VW specialist golf unit. Up to 2010, we will continue our marketing and
product development efforts, aiming at the UK, 5 European markets and the USA.

In the long term (post-Ryder Cup follow up), we will consider mainstreaming golf
marketing (as a leisure activity as opposed to event development) within the product
marketing efforts of the UK, International and Business Tourism departments.

6.2.6 MICE – Business Tourism

Value of Business Tourism

The UK business tourism sector is currently estimated to be worth £22bn in terms of its
wider economic impact and accounts for about 26% of all tourism expenditure and 27%
of all inbound earnings. It has grown by 53% over the last 10 years.12 In Wales, business
visits are growing and represent some 11.5% of total UK visits, but account for over 19%
of expenditure13. So, although less developed in Wales, there is clearly an opportunity for
both product development and market growth in this sector.

Business tourism refers to the MICE segments of

              Meetings
              Incentives
              Conferences
              Exhibitions

Our marketing focus will be on “discretionary” business tourism. “Discretionary”
business tourism refers to those business visitors who can choose to go somewhere else.
This primarily covers conferences, incentives, meetings and some exhibitions, with the
greatest opportunities in conferences, meetings and incentives. Discretionary business
tourism offers a substantial return on investment, which also meets our strategic demands
for greater seasonal spread, higher value and sustainable growth. In addition, it
introduces the destination to potential leisure visitors of a much sought-after socio-
economic profile (research shows that 40% of business visitors return to the destination
for leisure purposes with their family and/or friends).

     Business Tourism Briefing, Business Tourism Partnership
     UKTS 2005 figures

Our main focus will be on developing the following discretionary business tourism

Small to medium-sized corporate meeting, incentive, training and team building segments
in the UK and all European markets with direct airlinks to Cardiff, Manchester and
Liverpool. Recent product developments in branded properties, activity centres and golf
resorts indicate that there is growing potential for Wales in these sectors.

Association meetings: The recent merger, under WAG, of the Wales Tourist Board and
the Wales Development Agency presents an opportunity for building comparative
advantage, through a coordinated approach to creating and exploiting sectors of scientific
and commercial excellence for Wales, UK, European and International Association
meetings are a great generator of economic benefit to both tourism and non-tourism
businesses, and therefore a natural target for enhanced marketing by “Team Wales”.

Similarly, activity should be directed at WAG’s priority economic sectors (Aerospace
and Defence, Automotive, Bioscience, Financial and Business Services, IT & New
Media), to attract spin-off events, such as sector-related workshops and exhibitions.

6.2.7   Events

Role of Events

Events have become increasingly important contributors to the economic and social
development and image of nations. The profile gained from hosting major events (e.g.
Ryder Cup,.), and subsequent benefits, spread across the economic spectrum well beyond
tourism. Substantial legacy benefits can also be derived, in terms of physical
regeneration, national and local pride, new skills development etc.

The Welsh Assembly Government wishes to establish a new major events unit whose
role it will be to establish an annual portfolio of events for Wales, which best meets
Wales strategic needs. These needs span, economic development, image, culture, sport as
well as tourism. Consideration is still being given to how this unit will be structured. It is
important that the skills and experience contained within the marketing and tourism
teams play a key role in the development of this unit

Special attention must be given to engaging stakeholders in the process and in
formulating a common vision and clear strategy, easy to interpret and implement by VW
staff and stakeholders. From a tourism perspective selected events must help build the
Wales brand, extend the tourism season, attract valuable visitors,deliver sustainable
growth and help to position Wales in niche market sectors e.g mountain biking, golf.

London Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

VW will seek to maximise the opportunity of London 2012 to Wales (e.g. through
coordinated marketing, identification of opportunities to offer pre-event training facilities
and host 2012 events). In anticipation of a possible decline in visitors to the UK during
the Games themselves, as predicted by the European Tour Operators’ Association14, we
will work in markets best placed to deliver business to Wales during the time of the
London Olympics. We will also seek to profile Wales, where possible and cost-effective,
within the context of the host nation, Britain.

We will also undertake a risk analysis, with a contingency plan, of the potential for a
decline in international leisure tourism to the UK – and therefore to Wales – during 2012.

6.2.8   In-Wales Market and Day Visitors

Historically the Wales Tourist Board and Visit Wales have not focussed on the
indigenous Welsh markets.Activity has focussed on external markets, on the premise that
other organisations [ marketing areas, local authortities, and RTP’s were better placed to
market within Wales. However given the future need to target vsitors with a lower impact
on the environment and potential evolution in WAG aspirations we need to review this
position. Depending on the outcome of the review we may need to shift some resource to
the In-Wales market.

6.2.9 The Wales Brand

Achieving impact and standing out from our competitors is one of our highest priorities.
Unless we can do that effectively Wales will be severely competitively disadvantaged. A
strong brand, consistently applied both in our own marketing communications and those
of all major Welsh stakeholders will be crucial to achieving this. This is one of the major
strategic objectives identified in “Achieving our Potential”.


Consistent and widespread application of the Wales brand is our goal. It is a nation brand,
not just a tourism brand. This means that each sector will emphasise the relevant
elements of the Wales brand as they apply to that sector’s key customers. Ultimately, as
each sector, and stakeholders in each sector, apply Wales’ brand values in their own
marketing, this will create a synergy and visibility for Wales that none of us could
achieve on our own.

The Wales brand vision is:

“to establish Wales as a first choice for tourism trade, investment and higher education
that exceeds expectations.”

Underpinning the Wales national brand vision is the Welsh “challenger brand” flavour
that is characterised by:
            Challenging conventions
            Taking risks
            Encouraging innovation
            Leading, not following
            Punching above our weight
            Being focused on delivering excellence I everything we do


Underlying the Wales national brand are our core values:
           Real: the spirit of the people
           Human: the spirit of the place
           Challenging: the nation’s attitude

The Underpinning Values for the Tourism Brand are:

              Real: Welsh people are straightforward and unpretentious. This makes us
               open and welcoming, down to earth and passionate about our country, our
               heritage and our ideas. We communicate with visitors honestly, with
               interest and with humour. We involve them in conversation, we don’t
               merely respond dispassionately to their questions.

             Human: Wales has a human scale to it. It is open accessible and full of the
              warmth of the Welsh people, our humour and welcome. It offers dramatic
              landscapes and simple pleasures.

               Magical: the spirit of culture and history. Wales blurs the line between
                myth and reality. It presents its visitors with magical experiences, with a
                deep vein of Celtic tradition running through the country.

 Positioning statement: “Wales The Real Alternative”

 Wales is the real alternative to more conventional tourism destinations – a genuine break
 from the norm. It is the antidote to the idle laziness of “fly & flop” holidays. It is for
 people who are looking for something different. It is a small country with a big
 imagination. It’s not a historical theme park; it’s a living, breathing, working country.
 And it’s authentic – the real alternative.



                  HISTORY/               Brand core               PLACE
MAGICAL           CULTURE                                                          HUMAN
                                         THE REAL



VW has been applying the tourism brand values for some time. We will continue to do
so. In promoting the Wales tourism brand we will:

      Apply Wales tourism brand values consistently in all our marketing activity.

      Emphasise the relevant brand values to appropriate target audiences (e.g. We
       might focus more on human and real for older short-breakers, while magical, with
       its challenging implications might create more resonance with activity
       enthusiasts, within the context of still being human and real.).

      Constantly monitor the relevance of Wales’ brand values.

      Refine Wales tourism brand values where necessary.

      Communicate Wales’ brand values to our key stakeholders and ensure they
       understand what is meant by a “challenger” brand and our brand values.

      Encourage Wales’ stakeholders in Wales, throughout the UK and overseas, to
       apply Wales’ brand values wherever appropriate.

      Encourage VW staff, and Welsh tourism providers, to display “challenger”
       brand values in all marketing communications and behaviour.


Serving our current and future visitors’ needs is about developing Wales’
competitiveness and therefore sustainability. Although most visitors’ needs are served by
the tourism industry, Visit Wales can contribute to improving our industry’s
competitiveness in the following ways:

     Quality and Service Standards: Reassuring and Satisfying Customers

      In our marketing activities, we will only work with Visit Wales quality assured
      accommodation providers or those involved in other approved schemes. This will
      help potential visitors to identify the standard they desire. It will also instil confidence
      over time in the Wales accommodation product amongst visitors and thereby
      contribute towards raising the standard of accommodation in Wales.

      This principle will apply to areas such as inclusion in our website, website links,
      choice of marketing partners, hosting tour operators and journalists.

     Strategic Product Development: Identifying Current and Future Visitor Needs

      Wales’ future competitiveness relies not just on delivering the product quality and
      service standards our visitors expect today. It also requires us to monitor travel
      trends and interpret them to our industry so that they can develop the tourism
      product that our future visitors will desire – ideally before our competitors.

      We will monitor current visitor behaviour and identify visitor preferences in our main
      market segments. We will also assess the implications of emerging market trends for
      future tourism to Wales. We will communicate this information - on both current
      visitor preferences and their likely future needs - to the Welsh tourism industry
      through mechanisms such as e-newsletters/intranet and seminars. This will enable
      Welsh tourism businesses to satisfy current customers and equip themselves to attract
      future visitors. It will also be essential in underpinning Wales’ long-term
      competitiveness, and therefore sustainability, as a visitor destination.


Information and Booking

We must make it easy for visitors to translate their interest in Wales into a visit. This
means ensuring the supply chain between their initial enquiry and booking must be
seamless. We cannot afford to stimulate peoples’ interest and then abandon them with no
means to obtain the information they require to propel them towards a purchase. It also
means ensuring that they have access to the information they need while on holiday in
Wales. This not only helps them enjoy their experience in Wales, but it can also inspire
the confidence required to consider returning to Wales in future.

All Visit Wales’ marketing campaigns must therefore drive respondents as close to a
sale as possible by providing a contact point for further information or booking. In most
cases this will be the Visit Wales website, which has links to Welsh tourism businesses or
UK tour operators. In overseas campaigns, gateway sites should have links to appropriate
tour operators as well. In partnership marketing campaigns, partners’ contacts will be
featured where appropriate.

We will ensure that our potential visitors have access to relevant information at
appropriate stages in their decision-making process and eventual visit. While brochures
are likely to remain necessary for some market segments for the foreseeable future, we
will focus on increasing the quality and distribution of destination information via our
website. During the lifetime of this strategy we will also monitor the opportunity and
cost-benefit for delivering product information via mobile means, particularly as
imminent 4G mobile phone technology appears likely to improve the functionality, and
increase take-up, of mobile internet messaging.

We anticipate that the balance will shift from printed towards electronic information
during the lifetime of this strategy. This is something that, as a challenger brand, we will
strive to accelerate. In the meantime, however, we anticipate bearing the combined cost
of both printed and electronic information production and distribution until this tipping
point has been reached.

Visitors require different types of information at before they leave home and after they
arrive in Wales. We will address their needs, using the most appropriate media
(e.g. printed, electronic, mobile, TICs) and distribution channels as follows:

Pre- arrival

       - Destination and product information that is content-rich, creatively
         presented, attractively designed, useful, easy to access and understand, which is
         relevant to each segment’s interest. This should aim to propel enquirers towards
         a decision to visit.

       - Links to commercial products with booking opportunities. This should
         inspire visitors’ confidence in the range and accessibility of Welsh tourism
         products and, ideally, lead to a sale.

During visit

       - Destination and product information (as above). This should help visitors get
         the most out of their visit as well as maximise revenue opportunities for Welsh
         tourism businesses.

       - Tourist Information Centres (TICs) are likely to remain important
         distribution channels both for visitors to obtain information locally and for
         Welsh businesses to reach visitors during their trip.

       - Mobile devices are likely to increase in functionality – and therefore in
         popularity – during the lifetime of this strategy. We will monitor the
         opportunity as this technology develops. The main value of this is more likely
         to be for service providers in Wales (e.g. restaurants and attractions) than as a
         channel for destination promotion.

A clear industry communications strategy needs to be developed to clarify who is best-
equipped, and therefore who should be responsible, for communicating what sort of
information to whom (e.g. the industry, local authorities, TICs, RTPs etc.).

Visit Wales Website

The Visit Wales website will be the single most important link between customers and
their decision to visit and book a trip to Wales.

The role of the Visit Wales website is to provide information on Wales to potential
visitors and drive sales by linking them to commercial operators. It must be the most
comprehensive – and thereby authoritative - site for information on visiting Wales.
Experience elsewhere indicates that the site should focus on the imaginative provision of
useful information, in a highly interactive format, with links to commercial operators to
enable potential visitors to book Wales through them. Visit Wales should not divert its
attention or resources from marketing into developing an e-booking platform. This
requires a clear website development strategy that is marketing-driven and technically
supported, not the other way round.

Critical success factors are:

   Sites should be content-rich, easy-to-navigate, quick to load, interactive,
    creatively impactful, attractively designed and brand-compliant.

   We will assess and employ innovative techniques, such as social networking, user-

    generated content, video-streaming and e-partnerships, to enhance the quality of
    information available to consumers.

   Marketing gateway sites will be developed in primary and secondary overseas

   Links will be established to appropriate stakeholders’ and Welsh tourism businesses’
    sites (VW quality assured only in the case of accommodation).

   In overseas gateway sites links will be established with overseas outbound tour
    operators selling Wales tourism products.

   Website development and content management should be marketing-driven.

In addition to this information and marketing role, separate sites will also be developed
and updated for:
           - Trade communications (intranet)
           - Visit Wales corporate activity


Productive partnerships between Visit Wales and key stakeholders will be critical to
achieve two aims:
           - to achieve synergy and thereby maximise the combined impact of all
               those marketing Wales and Welsh products;
           - to align the activities of different organisations and companies according
               to their respective skills and interests.

Roles and Marketing Partnerships

Effective partnerships depend on a clear understanding of each partner’s role, remit, skills
and aims. It is essential that all partners understand each other’s respective roles before
embarking on any partnership activity, in order to avoid duplication and
misunderstanding and to maximise the benefits to each partner, and ultimately to Wales.

The respective roles, and the nature of marketing partnerships with Visit Wales, are
elaborated in Appendix 6 “Partnership Roles”



We have based this strategy on the assumption of a £20m marketing budget (excl. coop
revenue) in 2007/8, which we expect to keep pace with inflation in subsequent years.


7.2    HUMAN

We need people with the appropriate skills and knowledge to deliver our strategic

The most pressing need is to develop e-marketing competence throughout the marketing
teams. WAG constraints prevent us from recruiting new skills extensively from outside.
We must therefore:
    develop strategic e-marketing skills amongst our existing staff
    outsource the design and delivery of e-marketing campaigns to appropriate


We will aim to build methods of measuring our success into all campaigns. This should
not, however, lead us to doing only what we can measure. Where direct measurement of
return on investment is not possible, but where there is an obvious long-term benefit
(such as PR), we will construct intermediate output measures aimed at measuring our
effectiveness. We will also work with partners to assist in measuring business generated.

The main measures we will use are:
      - Additional spend generated
      - PR – advertising value equivalence

Visit Wales has always placed great importance on evaluating the effectiveness of its
marketing work. Based on a well established research methodology we have been in a
position to provide an additional value for all of our response generating campaigns
during the life of the previous Strategic Marketing Action Plan.

Over and above this we have been monitored the effectiveness of our brand building
advertising via advertising tracking. Various components of our marketing (eg. Direct
marketing, exhibitions, PR) have also been monitored. This work has been done in order
to report on the effectiveness of our marketing work but also in order to understand what
has and has not worked in order to improve future marketing work.

During 2007 and into 2008 we will continue to evaluate our campaigns via the
established methodology. From 2008/9 onwards this will change. During recent years it
has become clear that with the advent of e marketing and particularly web marketing our
traditional methods of evaluation are no longer in their entirety fit for purpose. The Visit
Wales marketing and research teams are therefore currently working on the development
of a new approach.

A new framework will be introduced that better evaluates the impact our marketing has
across each stage of our marketing communications model. It will be developed to
measure more effectively the on line part of marketing as well as to evaluate the impact
of more traditional media. The main requirements of the new approach are:-

           -   To define relevant KPIs that appraise us of performance across the entire
               campaign mix (advertising, direct marketing, digital marketing, print and
           -   To recommend a framework of monitoring and evaluation requirements
               and cost effective methodology to track and measure performance against
               these KPIs in order to optimise our marketing campaigns.

It is planned that there will be a simple, easily understood set of “top level” KPIs with
more detailed information behind them for planning purposes. The initial project to
define this approach will complete by Autumn 2007 following which there will be a
period of testing the approach in order to develop confidence before moving from our
current approach to the new one.



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