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Herefordshire Perception & Awareness Research January 2012 Contacts:

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1 Herefordshire Perception & Awareness Research January 2012 Contacts:

2 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Introduction The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (MLEP) area covers the local authority areas of Herefordshire Council, Shropshire Council and Telford and Wrekin Council. This research is being undertaken to inform the 3 component local authority areas about; –The profile (and relevance) of current visitors? –The types of trips taken –The emerging markets? –The markets that provide best ROI? –The types of message they will respond to? –How to package up the product for these markets? In short the research will : –Demonstrate clearly the profile of existing visitors to the region (and specific local authority areas within it) –Provide the necessary strategic insight to identify types of potential visitors that could be targeted for a future visit

3 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Methodology Arkenford conducted an online survey using an online panel provider A total of 1502 interviews conducted Quotas set on respondent origin –501 respondents living within 90 minute drive time from The Marches –1001 respondents living further afield And past visit or future visit consideration –At least 500 consider Shropshire as ‘My Type of Place’ –At least 500 consider Herefordshire as ‘My Type of Place’ –At least 500 consider Ironbridge Gorge as ‘My Type of Place’ This ensures that we can produce stand alone reports for each destinations as well as wider report for The Marches Fieldwork conducted in December 2011 A review of other existing insight helps add context to the primary research

4 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd DESTINATION AWARENESS & APPEAL

5 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Awareness of Destinations Awareness and appeal of areas within The Marches is greater than for the wider area itself Awareness and appeal of Herefordshire is high, with 83% stating they would consider it for a holiday/short break/day trip which is much higher than the other areas within The Marches 73% of respondents who stated that Herefordshire appealed to them would also consider Shropshire for a holiday/ short break/ day trip

6 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Index of Destination Awareness The segments that are more likely to perceive Herefordshire as ‘My Type of Place’ are Cosmopolitans and Traditionals –Cosmopolitans are generally keen to try new experiences / see new places and are generally very positive –Traditionals are more risk averse, prefer more rural holidays, relaxation and history and heritage Herefordshire also appeals to Functionals –Functionals are a group who are fiercely independent and budget orientated

7 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Awareness: Local vs. Non-local There is not much difference in consideration and appeal of destinations within The Marches when comparing the local and non-local findings

8 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd VISIT HISTORY

9 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Visit history Three quarters of respondents have never visited The Marches… or they don’t know they have ever visited! Respondents are more likely to have visited Herefordshire and/or Shropshire than they are Ironbridge Gorge % of sample who have visited is up on figures reported in 2008/9

10 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Index of visit – Within past 2 years Cosmopolitans are most likely to have visited Herefordshire within the last 2 years –They are one of the most active segments Herefordshire has also attracted a greater than average share of Traditionals In comparison, Shropshire and Ironbridge Gorge have attracted more Followers

11 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destination visit: Local vs. Non-local Herefordshire is more likely to attract a local market in the last 2 years as opposed to visitors from further afield, which is in line with The Marches as a whole

12 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd DESTINATION PERCEPTION

13 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Type of holiday Herefordshire is perceived to be a place to visit as a couple / with other adults In comparison, respondents consider Ironbridge Gorge to be a places you could visit with children

14 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Length of Trip Herefordshire is predominantly viewed as a place to visit as part of a short break Only 25% consider it to be somewhere to visit as part of a day trip

15 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Period of holiday Herefordshire is a destination considered to be suitable all year round Interestingly, it is seen more as a place they would visit in off peak period as opposed to peak period

16 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Awareness of location The majority of people correctly placed Shropshire, Herefordshire and Ironbridge Gorge in the West Midlands –Is there really confusion around Herefordshire and Hertfordshire?!!

17 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd PRODUCT PREFERENCES

18 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Activities Enjoy Visiting local towns / villages / countryside, scenic areas and landscapes is the most appealing activity Outdoor activity and shopping appear at the bottom of the list

19 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Herefordshire Associations The strongest Herefordshire associations are the market towns/ villages/ scenic countryside and landscapes Herefordshire is least associated with shopping and cultural exhibitions, events and festivals

20 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Herefordshire Associations Little difference between age / gender or origin in terms of associations Those more likely to make stronger associations across different product offers are: –Cosmopolitans and Traditionals –Families –Current and lapsed visitors

21 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of Outdoor Activities People Enjoy The more gentle the outdoor activity, the more people will enjoy it! –River walks, forest trails and gentle strolls are the most appealing outdoor activities; –Extreme sports appeal to far fewer consumers –Golf & Angling have least appeal indicating what a niche activity they are

22 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Index of Activities: My type of thing Gentle exercise has appeal to wide cross section, especially older audience, and Traditional and Functional ArkLeisure segments More physical activity (canoeing, cycle trails, etc. appeals to a younger, more leading edge segment groups Families also enjoy this (supervised) offer

23 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering Outdoor Activities Herefordshire is perceived to be the destination that offers the outdoor activity that people enjoy by the largest percentage of people

24 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of Food & Drink Traditional pubs and tasting/ buying locally sourced produce are amongst the most popular food and drink offer Farmers markets and Farm shops are also increasingly popular Some interest in ‘learning’ about food Less interest in the ‘top end’ food and drink offer indicating niche appeal

25 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Who enjoys different food & drink? Widespread appeal for traditional pubs, tasting/ buying locally sourced products and tea rooms Style Hounds and Cosmopolitans (leading edge segments) will go for top end product Cosmopolitans, Style Hounds and Traditionals are segments likely to enjoy locally sources products and farm shops

26 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering Food & Drink Herefordshire is considered to be the destination that offers the food and drink product consumers enjoy by the largest percentage of people

27 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of History & Heritage History and heritage is of interest to a large proportion of consumers Most popular are areas of natural beauty and historic towns Other ‘man made’ options such as monuments, castles and houses are also popular Guided history tours and industrial heritage are the least enjoyed product offers

28 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Who prefers different History & Heritage? Because of the high % of interest, history and heritage appeals to a wide cross section of the population Younger audiences / families are more likely to want guided tours (bring the product alive) Most engaged Arkleisure groups are Cosmopolitan and Traditionals

29 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering History & Heritage Over three quarters of respondents feel that Herefordshire offers the history and heritage they enjoy However, despite lower interest in Industrial Heritage, Ironbridge Gorge is seen by most people as the destination offering the history and heritage they enjoy Part of this will be the power of being a ‘brand’ as well as the delivery of the product (living history)

30 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of Places to Visit when Exploring Outdoor space is as popular as towns and villages when it comes to enjoyment of exploration Viewpoints, rivers, canals and waterways, and national parks all have great appeal Cathedral cities have more appeal than larger cities AONB sites are more appealing than WHS appearing at the top of the list of the of the places people enjoy to visit when exploring a place

31 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Who enjoys different places to explore? Exploring outdoor areas has widespread appeal across all types of consumer –This is especially the case for Cosmopolitan, Traditional & Functional segments Younger, more leading edge segments are more likely to want to explore major cities

32 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering Places to Sightsee Herefordshire is seen by most people as a destination that offers the places to sightsee and explore that they enjoy

33 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of Cultural Events & Festivals Country fairs and food and drink events and festivals are the most appealing types of events and festivals The most interesting art festivals are craft orientated Theatre and art exhibitions also have some appeal Sports and literary events have less appeal

34 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Who prefers different events & festivals? Events and festivals are particularly appealing for younger consumers and families Country fairs and food and drink events have widest interest Younger audiences / families / leading edge segments more likely to enjoy sporting and music events Style hounds and Cosmopolitans more likely to enjoy music events and festivals

35 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering Cultural Events & Festivals Herefordshire is seen by most people as the destination offering the cultural events and festivals that they enjoy

36 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Types of Shopping Towns with quirky / unique / independent retailers are enjoyed most Consumers also have a passion for markets, both specialist and more general Preference for high street offer over more up-market boutiques

37 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Who prefers different types of shopping? Independent segments are more likely to want to shop in markets or towns that are unique Younger audiences / mass market segments are more likely to enjoy the high street shopping option

38 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations Offering Shopping Herefordshire is seen by most people as the destination offering the types of shopping they enjoy

39 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd DESTINATION CONSIDERATION

40 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Value Associations Herefordshire, compared to the other 2 destinations, is seen as the most: –Luxurious –Fresh –Vibrant Similarly, Shropshire is mostly seen as: –Vibrant –Fresh

41 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destination Perceptions The area is seen: –As a place to explore the surrounding area –Is Safe –A year round destination –Offer lots to do –Has a quality feel It is not see as expensive or particularly touristy

42 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Destinations consideration Top 3 “My type of place” for a visit: –Hereford –Shrewsbury –Shropshire Hills Smaller towns that have appeal include: –Ross on Wye –Hay on Wye –Ludlow

43 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Attractions consideration Ironbridge, Hampton Court Castle and Grounds and Severn Valley Railway are the top 3 place that are considered to be “My type of place” Some attractions have very low levels of awareness, yet could fit the bill in term of history and heritage offer, e.g. Eastnor & Goodrich Castle

44 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Accommodation – Most likely to choose Most are likely to choose an independent hotel (3-5 stars) or B&B / guest house if staying in the area Self catering option is as popular than budget chains 1 in 5 will look for a camping option

45 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Accommodation preferences Functionals are more likely to look for cheaper accommodation options Style Hounds and Cosmopolitans will look for the most expensive / luxury Self catering sought by families / Discoverers Camping popular for younger people, families and the Discoverer segment

46 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Accommodation – Factors influence choice The factors with the strongest influence on the choice of accommodation are: –Word of mouth / previous experience –Accommodation website or brochure –Late rooms / special offers

47 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Accommodation Influences TripAdvisor and Late Rooms / offers is the domain of the younger audiences, families and leading-edge segments, especially those in the mass market Older families, Cosmopolitans, Style Hounds and Traditionals will be influenced by a Tourist Board Website

48 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd INFORMATION GATHERING

49 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Information Gathering – Before Trip Before a trip, most respondents gather information from an internet search Recommendations/ Word of mouth are also important for gathering information about a specific area Consumers are more likely to get information from an accommodation website than they are a destination brochure Increasingly people search for information on mobile devices

50 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Information Gathering – During Trip During a trip, leaflets from Tourist information centres and hotels/service stations are the most popular ways of gathering information Around a quarter of respondents search for information from their mobile phone during a trip Respondents are as likely to get information from the Tourist information centre as they are from the Tourist board website during the trip

51 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd PROFILE OF HEREFORDSHIRE VISITORS/ POTENTIAL VISITORS

52 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Current visitors (Past 5 years)

53 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Potential Visitors

54 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Conclusions Individually, consumers are more aware of and interested in visiting Herefordshire, Shropshire and Ironbridge Gorge than they are The Marches Segments that show greatest consideration are all independently minded; –Cosmopolitans, Traditionals, Functionals and Discoverers % of visitors is up since 2008/9 Are destinations attracting the right sort of visitor? Seemingly, only Herefordshire attracts more than fair share of Traditionals, only Ironbridge Gorge attracts more Discoverers Visitors tend to remain older age groups travelling as couples

55 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Conclusions Perception of all the area is that it is a destination for couples on a short break for both locals and non locals Encouragingly, seen as a year round offer, with plenty to do, and one that is not too touristy or expensive However, spontaneous top of mind thoughts in relation to individual areas are not tourism or leisure related … i.e. do not necessarily give a reason for people to visit When prompted destinations are generally seen to offer the type of product people enjoy … but destination are not top of mind / best in class so consumers do not necessarily visit to undertake these activities Data will help destinations to steer and develop their product offer, targeting it at the right sort of visitor Must target day visitors as well as staying visitors as there is real potential to grow this market

56 © 2012 Arkenford Ltd Conclusions Internet is key Over 90% seek information over the internet, using Tourist Board and non tourist board sites Need to work with partners to ensure information you want to show is on as many sites as possible Ensure that all online information is accessible via mobile Printed information is more valuable when people are visiting


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