Increasing the Value of Visits to Warwickshire Post-Covid: A Tourism Marketing Campaign to Aid Recovery

Like most other tourism destinations, Warwickshire’s visitor economy was hit hard during and immediately following the Covid-19 pandemic, even despite the county’s strong tourism assets like Warwick Castle and Stratford-upon Avon. So, in September 2020, Blue Sail was commissioned to research, plan and deliver a tourism marketing campaign to help the recovery of Warwickshire’s visitor economy sector over a 10 month period.

From the outset and in the context of Covid-19, we knew our approach had to be flexible but little did we know that within six weeks of being commissioned, the country would be in lockdown for the second time, with a third to follow three months later.  But, our nimbleness paid off and with plenty of work completed behind-the-scenes during the various lockdowns, once public travel restrictions were lifted, we were ready to launch a brand new Visit Warwickshire proposition to the millions of potential domestic visitors who had been forced to stay home for the previous 12 months.

We knew competition would be fierce and so we built the Visit Warwickshire campaign around themes distinctive to the county that would appeal to a post-pandemic daytripping and staying visitor – Waterway Wonders and Literary Links being just two of them.

Activity in each of the thematic areas was designed to complement and add value to existing planned marketing activity undertaken by partners at local, regional, and national level. Our campaign tactics included a new Visit Warwickshire website, proactive and reactive PR opportunities, print and online advertising, social media and online competitions. Our overall aim was to build business in the short term, but for the content created and the relationships built to be relevant in the longer term to sustain business development and growth.

The Visit Warwickshire tourism marketing campaign generated extensive national media coverage including Phoebe Taplin’s car-free break write-up in the Guardian following a hosted press trip.

It reached domestic consumers far and wide with a total audience reach of 47.3 million. And with over 140 tourism providers from across the county included in the campaign, business engagement levels were high.

Following the initial 10 month project, we were delighted to be brought back to deliver an extension of the Visit Warwickshire campaign not once, but twice, wrapping up our most recent work in March 2023.

(Images courtesy of Warwickshire County Council, West Midlands Growth Company and Great Driving Days)

“…top work promoting Warwickshire and including independents such as ourselves. It makes a huge difference”
Warwickshire Business Owner