1) Market snapshot - Tourisminsights.info


1) Market snapshot - Tourisminsights.info

United States

Market & Trade Profile

Updated January 2006


Market & Trade Profile

Updated January 2006



1. Market Snapshot

2. General Market Conditions

• Population / Languages

• Economics / Politics

• Holidays / Annual Leave

• General Emerging Consumer Trends

3. Access Overview

• Political, Passport & Visa issues

• Gateways / Access to Britain

4. Market Sizing / Share

• Current and forecast overall market size / Britain’s % share

• Current volume / value statistics and trends for UK

• Key Competitor Destinations – actual & aspirational

5. Market Shape / Dynamics

• Purpose of visit

• Length of stay

• Regional spread / top towns

• Seasonal spread

• Type of Accommodation – where do they stay?

6. Britain’s Brand Image in the USA

• The bigger picture – Britain as a nation brand

• Britain as a tourist destination – DEPTH, HEART, VITALITY

7. Product / Market Fit

• What products / experiences are most attractive to American visitors?

8. Who is the American Visitor to Britain?

• Demographics (age, gender) / key market segments / travelling group

• 1st timer / repeat markets (and demographic differences)

9. Caring for the American Consumer

• Language / information provision

• Food & Drink

• Accommodation

10. Reaching American Consumers

• Deciding, planning & booking patterns for travel

• Online environment / Internet access

• Media habits


11. The Trade

• Overview of Trade structure

• Reaching the Trade

12. Business Visits & Events

• Statistics & Trends

13. VisitBritain in the USA

• Working in partnership with VisitBritain

• Overseas contacts

• London contacts / Further information

• Information sources used to compile this report

1) Market snapshot









• Population 293.0 million – growing & aging

• IMF Forecasts 2006: GDP (based on PPP per capita) USD$43,556.

GDP Growth Rate 3.3%. Unemployment 5.2%. Inflation 2.8%

• NO visa required

• Only 20% of Americans have a valid passport

• 25 Metropolitan areas of US have direct air links to UK

• 67.8 million outbound in 2004. UK has 5.3% market share

• UK ranked 3rd outbound destination for American travellers (after Canada and


• 3.6 million visits in 2004 (+8% on 2003)

• £2,400 million spent in 2004 (+4% on 2003). AEV £661; AED £78

• 42% are HOLIDAY visitors; 25% VFR

• 68% stay 1-7 nights

• 32% visit between July – December

• Top Towns = London, followed by Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Oxford

• History, Heritage, Culture, Scenic Beauty

• Youth, DINKS/SINKS, Gay & Lesbian, Luxury Travellers, Seniors / Boomers.

• 47% aged 45+ (IPS 2004)

• Internet access 69% (ETC 2006)

2) General market conditions


Population / Languages

The US Census Bureau puts the population of USA at 293 million in

2004. The population is forecast to increase to 319.9 million by 2014.

The proportion aged 10-24 are forecast to decline, whilst the proportion

aged 50-79 are forecast to grow.

If we look at Total Period Fertility (TPF) figures (that’s the average

number of live births to each US female during her childbearing years)

we find some fascinating contrasts with the situation in "old Europe". In

the US the TPF is 2.07 according to the US Census Bureau, one of the

reasons that the US population is forecast to continue growing, whereas

many European nations are forecast to see population numbers remain

broadly stable or even fall. Indeed, the number of live births to a German

female is just 1.38 and in Spain it is 1.27.

Despite this the US still faces a pensions crisis – President Bush recently

said that the system was heading towards bankruptcy unless it was

reformed. By 2018 there will be more than 50 million US citizens aged

65+ according to the US Census Bureau (representing nearly one-in-six

of the population).

Language: Generally English but according to the US 2000 Population

Census 17.9% of the population (that’s 47 million people) aged 5 or over

spoke a language other than English at home – with three-in-every five of

this group speaking Spanish or Spanish Creole. This is perhaps not too

much of a surprise as an eighth of all those living in the US in 2000 said

that they had Hispanic or Latino origins.

Economics / Politics & Effects on Aviation / Travel

Consumer confidence has been falling in recent months, and the growth

rate of industrial production fell in April. However, latest employment

figures reveal that there are nearly 2% more people in employment than

was the case a year ago and retail sales grew faster in April than in any

month since last summer.

The value of the US Dollar

against both Sterling and the

Euro has been in the news for

quite some time now, but how

does the weakening Dollar

impact on potential visitors?

Lets take a hypothetical US

family planning a trip to Europe

over the past few years with a

$2,000 pot of holiday money at

their disposal. The table

opposite summarises how much

they would get for their money

Value of

$2,000 £’s ¤’s

2002 1,331 2,117

2003 1,223 1,768

2004 1,092 1,609

2005 1,055 1,545



-21% -27%

in terms of both Sterling and Euros from 2002 through to the first four

months of 2005.

It is evident that both Britain and all Eurozone nations have become

significantly more expensive for US visitors during the past four years,

but that the Dollar has weakened more against the Euro than it has

against the Pound.

The fundamental factors to the weakening US Dollar are large Federal

and trade deficits. The good news is that the latest trade figures show

that the US deficit shrank more than expected in March to stand at

$55bn, with encouraging signs that the all important deficit with China

was reined in a little. Most analysts agree that US growth will now ease –

the IMF forecast growth of 3.6% in 2005 and 2006, but the danger of a

significant downturn in the near future remains slim.

Daily Continental Airlines flights from New York to Bristol commenced

on 20 May 2005, but this is one of the few bright spots to report from the

US airline industry, with many operators still in deep financial difficulties.

United Airlines have announced that their first quarter loss for 2005 was

$1.1bn, twice the size of the loss in the first quarter of last year. This

worsening financial state comes despite the airline having recently

agreed pay-cuts for its staff and been given legal backing for its decision


to close its pension fund.

Passport ownership continues to grow among US citizens, with State

Department figures showing that the number of new passports issued to

US citizens in fiscal year 2004 was 8.8 million, a 21% increase on 2003.

Mexico and Canada are the most visited outbound destinations for

passport owning US citizens, with Italy being the most visited "overseas"

destination followed by the UK. Looking at data from the US

Department of Commerce for the first ten months of 2004 we see growth

in travel to Europe of 14%, a reasonably robust performance but not as

impressive as the 31% growth in visits to Asia.

The fact that a number of Asian economies have US Dollar pegged

currencies has clearly provided them with a competitive advantage in

cost terms vis-à-vis Britain and Eurozone destinations in attracting US

visitors over recent months – with an additional factor being an expansion

in the number of direct flights from the US to both India and China.

Holidays / Annual Leave

American employees receive an average of 2 weeks annual leave.

3) Access overview

Gateways / Access to Britain

In 2004 (IPS), 88% of American visitors traveled to the UK by air, 8% via

the Channel Tunnel and 5% by sea.

A significant proportion of American visitors to UK come from the states

of California and New York (IPS 2004). Britain’s best prospects tend to be

urban dwellers and reside in metropolitan areas with populations of 2

million plus.

Visitors to Britain by Region (000)












New Jersey

New York State

Around 25 US metropolitan areas have direct airlinks with the UK. The

majority of flights are to London area airports, but Glasgow, Edinburgh,

Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast all enjoy some direct

services from the US.

Flight times range from 6 hours 30 minutes from Boston to London

through to 10 hours 15 minutes from Los Angeles to London.

Political Situation

No political issues currently exist to restrict travel to Britain from the


Passport and Visa Issues

American visitors do NOT require a visa to visit the UK.

The current US passport population stands at 20% of US adults, a marked

increase on recent years. This should continue to increase now that new

regulations, requiring a passport for re-entry into USA from trips to the

Caribbean or Mexico, have been announced, starting in 2007.

4) Market size/share

Current & Forecast Market Size

Global Insight estimates that there were 67.8 million outbound overnight

visits from USA in 2004. There are forecast to be 82.9 million such trips

by 2010, an increase of 22%.

The UK currently accounts for around 5.3% of outbound trips from USA.

Current Volume and Value Statistics / Trends

2003 2004 Change

year on year

Total Visits 3,346,000 3,616,000 +8%

Visits Rank (League 1 1 No change

Table No. Visitors to UK)

Total Spend £2,315m £2,400m +4%

Spend Rank (League 1 1 No change

Table £ Spend in UK)

Average Spend per Visit £690 £661 -4%


AEV Rank 24 24 No change

Average Spend per Day £82 £78 -5%


AED Rank 7 11 Down 4 places

The best ever recorded year for visits and spend from USA was 2000 –

with 4.1 million visits and £2.75 billion spent.

Key Competitor Destinations – actual

Global Tourism Navigator

shows us that UK was 3rd in

the actual ranking of top

destinations (short and long

haul included) for American

outbound travel in 2004, and

that our key European

competitors for American

tourism are Italy and France.

1 Mexico 6 France

2 Canada 7 Germany

3 UK 8 Bahamas

4 Italy 9 China

5 Puerto Rico 10 Jamaica

Although VisitBritain is very active in the USA there is currently

competition from the cruise industry and domestic destinations, which

are perceived to be ‘closer to home’. VisitBritain is taking steps to place

Britain in a more competitive position viz. the cruise industry, attracting

new vessels to UK ports, developing new itineraries and working more

closely with commercial partners in joint consumer campaigns.

Key Competitor Destinations – aspirational

According to the Anholt-GMI

Nation Brands Index (Wave 3

2005), which surveys a

representative n=1000 sample

of the online population in

USA, UK is ranked 2nd out of

24 (i.e. not all potential are















New Zealand


asked about) destinations that

would be likely for a leisure

5 Ireland 10 Netherlands

visit "if money were no object" – although there are several European

competitors to contend with for the attention of American travellers.

5) Market shape/dynamics


Purpose of Visit

Trend of Visits (000) by Purpose of Visit - USA









1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

42% of the visitors from the USA to the UK come for the purpose of a

holiday. This proportion has decreased in the past 6 years. Holiday visits

accounted for 48% of all visits in 1999.

The proportion of visits for the purpose of visiting friends or relatives has

increased from 20% in 1999 to 25% in 2004.

20% of American visitors come for business.






Length of Stay

Trend of Visits (000) by Duration of Visit - USA










1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Nil nights

1-3 nights

4-7 nights

8-14 nights

15+ nights

69% of American visitors stay in the UK for less than 8 nights with 36%

coming for a short break (1-3 nights).

The same proportion of Holiday visitors stay in the UK for 7 nights or

less. The Holiday short-break market accounts for 30% of Holiday visits.

VFR visitors tend to stay a bit longer with 48% staying in the UK for 8

nights or more.


Regional Spread / Top Towns

92% of visitors from USA stayed in England, 67% in London, 11% in

Scotland and 3% Wales in 2004 (IPS). Top Towns for American visitors in

2004 were:

Visits (000)

1 London 2,406

2 Edinburgh 230

3 Glasgow 111

4 Manchester 74

5 Oxford 70

Seasonal Spread

Trend of Visits (000) by Quarter of Visit - USA









1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004





The GMI Nation Brand Index research asked 1,000 American

respondents about their awareness of the regions of Britain. Americans

were more likely to be aware of London than any of the other regions.

Awareness of the rest of England outside of London is in line with

awareness of Scotland as a whole.

Looking at the 211 Americans who had ever visited Britain, knowledge of

all regions increases, particularly for Britain overall (up to 5.39) and

England outside of London (up to 5.25).



The summer months from July to September are the most popular period

for American residents to visit the UK (32%), closely followed by the

period from April to June (29%).

These periods of the year are even more popular for Holiday visitors as

35% of them travel to the UK during July-September and 33% during


30% of VFR visitors prefer to visit the UK during the summer months.

Accommodation Type


England (Other)

England (London)

Britain (Overall)





3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7

Focus groups in August 2005 told us that for a lot of Americans, Britain is

a country of two worlds: London and "the country" – although some will

also separate out Scotland from England. To many Americans Britain =

London and little distinction is made: London = GB = UK = England =

Britain. Only the well travelled can make distinctions between the

regional brands of Britain.

60% of American visitors stay in a hotel or guesthouse when they visit the

UK, which accounts for 34% of the nights spent.

71% of Holiday visitors stay in a hotel or guesthouse.

83% of VFR visitors are free guests.

86% of Business visitors stay in a hotel or guesthouse.

6) Britain’s brand image in the USA

General “favourability” towards the UK

Public Diplomacy Brand Tracking Research in 2003 found that there was

an enormous affinity towards the UK amongst the sample of educated

ABC1 Americans.

Key reasons behind that favourable opinion included our alliance support

of the USA in recent political events (44%) and that the UK supports the

peace process (21%). 18% stated our welcoming / friendly / courteous

people, 17% the culture, lifestyle and heritage of the UK, and 13%

highlighted historical ties and links between the UK and the USA.

In that same study, Americans rated UK people as more "welcoming to

visitors" (almost 80% agree) than people in China, Japan, France or

Germany – and also more "trustworthy" (again, almost 80% agree).

The bigger picture – Britain as a “nation brand”



The UK is perceived to be competently, honestly and fairly governed and

a country that respects the human rights of its citizens and treats them

with fairness (in 2nd place behind Canada).

When thinking about the international arena, the UK moves into first

position as a country that behaves responsibly in the areas of

international peace and security and a country that behaves responsibly

towards international concerns over the environment and world poverty.


American’s rank the UK in third place behind Japan and China for a

country that makes a major contribution to innovation in science and

technology. Having a product ‘made in the UK’ is perceived to be very

positive by American respondents who rank the UK in 2nd place behind



Americans would happily live and work in Australia, followed by Canada

and the UK. The UK is viewed particularly highly for the quality of

educational provision and is in first place.





General perceptions of Britain

A qualitative European Travel Commission / Menlo study of the Image of

EUROPE (generally) in North America, found that the United Kingdom as

a region of Europe is easily distinguished by its geography and

commonly associated with:



The Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (Wave 3 2005) is an online panel

survey of 1000 American respondents. The 6 points of the hexagon are

made up of several different questions, which compare 24 countries as

Nation Brands.

Overall, the US has an exceptionally high opinion of the UK, ranking us in

1st position for GOVERNANCE, INVESTMENT and CULTURE. British

PEOPLE and British products (EXPORTS) are ranked 2nd, behind

Australia and Japan respectively. TOURISM is in 4th place.


Overall the UK receives a good ranking on Culture. American

respondents perceive the UK to be the second most interesting and

exciting country for contemporary culture such as music, films, art and

literature behind Italy. In terms of having a rich cultural heritage the UK

is in 6th place, with the top three places occupied by Japan, Italy &


An additional question was added to the NBI in Wave 3 to ask if

respondents perceived the country to excel at sport and the Americans

ranked the UK in 5th place for this, behind Russia, Germany, China and



American respondents believe that if they visited the UK the people

would make them feel very welcome (the UK is in 3rd place for

‘welcome’ behind Australia and Canada). They would also like to have

someone from the UK as a close friend (2nd behind Australia).

Americans are particularly keen to hire a British person for an important

position in their organisation, highlighting the strong opinion that

Americans have of the British people.


If money was no object Americans would like to visit Australia followed

by the UK. Americans rank the UK in 2nd position behind Italy for being

rich in built heritage / historical heritage. The UK is ranked 11th for

being a country rich in natural beauty, with Australia, Switzerland and

Ireland in the top three positions.

Pubs, castles, lush fields, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, bobbies, the

changing of the guard, royalty, the colour green and historical ties to the

United States. Some focus group participants noted that as a country, the

UK was particularly friendly to Americans and the least "foreign" of the

European regions.

Project Lion Brand Development Research carried out in USA in late

2002 discovered that American respondents viewed Britain with a great

sense of intrigue. This stemmed from an interesting mix of perceptions

of Britain as attractive in the sense it offered a very different holiday to

the US itself, whilst at the same time being inextricably linked in historical

terms. In other terms, Britain was affectionately regarded as somewhat

of a close relative or ancestor, albeit a more traditional and ‘learned’ one.

“We base our whole culture on England. It’s where our history came

from. Their history is longstanding.”

Both those who had visited Britain and those who had not agreed that

there was a depth of history to Britain that could be explored in the

architecture, the castles and stately homes, the well known sights of

London and the well broadcast pageantry.

Others, notably male respondents, displayed this keen sense of Britain’s

heritage in their expressed fondness of the traditional links with golf

courses of Scotland ("the home of golf"). A large part of Britain’s

attraction came from the perception that it looked after and nurtured its

past – something American respondents felt was missing from their

society and culture. "They hold on to tradition. They take care of what

they have. There are schools that are 500 years old! I want to see that

kind of thing. Here a school of 30 years old is ripped down for a new

one." This quote suggests that Britain was not deemed to be old

fashioned in a negative way. Britain was felt to be more the prime

example of a reflection of heritage and history in modern-day life ("living


Britain was also often seen to form an intrinsic and essential part of a

wider European ‘tour’. It possessed a special fondness no doubt because

of the shared language, but it was also felt to be particularly well suited to

a tour or itinerary-style holiday, with its variety of urban and rural

landscapes meeting the needs of the American traveller’s sense of



Britain as a Destination Brand – DEPTH, HEART &


In VisitBritain’s quantitative Brand Tracking research (2003), American

respondents rated Britain most positively on having "plenty of stories

behind the history" but least positively for "a place that inspires me" –

indicating that the former could be utilised more effectively in

marketing to increase perceptions of inspiration and experiential visits.

Other high ratings were for Britain’s "contrast of old and new", "cultural

events & attractions", "beautiful landscape" and "lots of different

experiences to have".

Britain is seen as a place where Americans "feel comfortable visiting". It

is "easy to visit", the people are welcoming, friendly and Americans

want to interact with them. Weaker areas (apart from "inspiration")

were value for money, and the chance to relax, unwind, and be

refreshed and invigorated.

Deeper analysis told us that the most motivating aspects of the Britain

brand for Americans (i.e. those with most impact on disposition

towards Britain as a holiday destination) were:

– The ease and comfort of visiting and getting around the


– The contrast of old and new

– Plenty to do day and night, lots of different experiences to have

– Inspiring, Friendly, Refreshing and Invigorating

The diagram below shows the % of respondents rating Britain as

excellent/very good on brand attributes (the middle circle represents

50% and the outer circle 100%). Red line is "claimed importance" - %

rating extremely / very important.



Easy visit

Day & Night

Easy get around

Refresh / Invigorate


Interact (locals)

Contrast Old / New

Go again & again

History (Stories)

Cultural E & A

History (Learn more)

Relax & Unwind





Different way of life

Lots Diff Experiences

This is a simplified diagram showing the relative strengths of the different

brand attributes. People were asked to rate Britain on each attribute

using a scale of 1-7 (where 1=poor and 7=excellent). As nobody rated

below 4 or above 6, the diagram below has a mid-point of 4 and an outer

rim of 6. Basically, the closer the shading to the outer rim, the better the

perception of Britain on that attribute!

Traditional (D)

Modern (V)

Cultural A&E(D)

Lots Experiences (V)

Stories (D)

Vibrant Cities (V)

Sociable (V)

Energetic (V)

History (D)

Discovery (D)

Scenic (H)

Fun (V)

Relaxing (H)

Humour (H)

Friendly (H)

Welcoming (H)

DEPTH is the strongest brand value for the US overall - a combination of

interesting history, fascinating stories, tradition and cultural attractions.

In addition to a strong heritage and culture dimension the Americans also

rate Britain’s natural scenic beauty highly. Other HEART attributes of

Friendly and Welcoming are stronger than sense of humour, which may

take more getting used to and is rated slightly higher by those

Americans who have visited the UK.

“Lots of experiences in one destination” and “fun” score well for

the VITALITY brand value, although perceptions of Britain as

being modern and energetic are weaker.

211 US respondents had visited the UK and they rate all the

attributes higher than the total. They rank all the DEPTH values

in their top 5 and, in particular, there is a significant jump in

“always something new to discover” (from 5.35 to 6.12)

between those who have visited the UK and the overall total.

As an update to 2003’s Brand Tracking, Wave 3 2005 of the Anholt-GMI

Nation Brands Index, included questions to measure perceptions of

Britain as a holiday destination on attributes related to Britain’s brand





In the NBI, 1000 American participants rated Britain on a scale of 1-7,

where 1 was "poor" and 7 was "excellent" and overall, they gave a range

of mean scores from 5.10 – 5.68 across the 16 attributes.

7) Product/market fit


What products / experiences are most attractive to

American visitors?

Generally (regardless of destination), short-break holidays are becoming

increasingly popular. This is skewed to major cities with direct flight

connections, but not limited to the East Coast.

The appeal of a spa vacation has increased markedly and spas have

become increasingly popular generally in USA.

Some American travellers are also becoming more sophisticated,

eschewing the traditional ‘grand tour’ in favour of self-improvement and

self-enlightenment. In short, they want to return from a vacation feeling

as if they have achieved or experienced something.

Europe Generally

A qualitative European Travel Commission / Menlo study of the Image of

EUROPE (generally) in North America, found that American and

Canadian travellers hold fairly similar perceptions of Europe. Above all

else, Europe is associated with HISTORY, CULTURE and

GASTRONOMY (although from other research, this latter is unlikely to

be as associated with Britain as other European destinations. English food

continues to be stereotyped as bland and unappealing…)

Europe’s history is by far its most compelling feature – more than

anything else it differentiates Europe from the United States and Canada

and is a defining element of Europe’s identity. A historical backdrop to

modern day living is enormously appealing.

"If it was all new, I wouldn’t go. I love history. To actually see buildings

that were built 2000 years ago, that’s amazing, that’s Europe."

Culture is another defining element although it means different things to

different travellers – although for most the performing and fine arts are a

core component. For many, culture also equates with lifestyle.

In addition to HISTORY, CULTURE and GASTRONOMY, Europe is also

strongly associated with scenic beauty – in landscapes, small towns,

villages and even cities.

"In Scotland and England they have really beautiful hills. They have

scenery that we just don’t have in the United States; it is very unique."

Additionally, for many Americans – particularly those who had not yet

visited Europe, the destination also evokes thoughts of well-known icons

and landmarks – with the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Colosseum all

mentioned frequently.

Britain Generally

Britain is generally well regarded in the USA. Those who have visited

always comment on the friendliness and quirkiness of the British. Most

popular subjects of enquiry are: theatre, motoring and car hire,

nightlife/cuisine, bed and breakfast, castle and manor house

accommodation, history and archaeology and gardens. The main

attractions of Britain remain history, heritage, culture and selfimprovement.

In Britain, there is considerable interest in trips that offer a balance

between urban and rural experiences.

History & Heritage

"Somewhere we had always wanted to go… it was about the history… the

kings and queens and the bridges."

The Moments of Truth research from 2004 reminds us that History and

Heritage are still the most potent drivers for visits from the American


Americans do see UK as more "traditional" than "modern" although many

are also attracted to the juxtaposition of old and new in the destination.

Inspiration / Experiential

On the minus side research tells us that Britain is weaker on destination

inspiration than some of our competitors, with our heritage being viewed

as somewhat static and not really coming alive (this fitted also with

feedback from a journalist’s visit to Britain in 2005).

In a similar vein, US travellers are becoming much more sophisticated in

their travel habits. They no longer want to be seen as tourists visiting but

instead want to experience a destination (Visit Scotland focus groups,

2003). The Moments of Truth research revealed that the overall warmth

of the welcome is a key strength for Britain and making it easier for

American visitors to get to meet/know British people can influence this

and turn it into a real hook to lure potential visits.

Ancestry / Shared Heritage

For many American travellers, Europe is a key part of their heritage and

many associate it with America’s heritage in general, not just their

personal ancestry. Many commented on Europe’s cultural and historical

ties to the United States and its role as the cradle of Western civilisation.

Focus groups in August 2005, reminded us that Americans feel much

closer to the British than they do other European nationalities.

The British are seen as a key part of US history, as close allies historically

and recently. Cultural inter-relationships (e.g. movies, music) are


There is a shared language and great appeal of British accent. For some

Britain is reminiscent of the US East Coast.

Yet Americans also perceive key differences:

Aloofness, European arrogance, Stiff upper lip, strange humour and

some notable social differences: more freedom (nudity, tabloids,


Arts & Culture & Sporting Events

British music, fashion and the arts scene, including movies and television

programmes, have received widespread media coverage over the past

few years. These contemporary attractions have appeal for certain


Britain’s best prospects are inclined to place great emphasis on the

cultural dimensions of travel, wanting to immerse themselves in local


When travelling internationally, the majority of Americans want to

engage in activities such as attending a live performance of a play or

opera. Britain’s many sporting events appeal to Americas, with 26% of

Britain’s best prospects likely to watch a local sporting match whilst

travelling internationally.

Short Breaks

Anecdotal evidence from the trade suggests that short-break holidays

are becoming increasingly popular from the US. This is most likely

skewed to major cities with direct flight connections, in particular on the

East Coast. To take advantage of this, we will deliver a short-breaks

campaign with American Airlines and other partners incorporating good

value messages to drive business in the shoulder and off-season.


Visitor Satisfaction / Product Performance

In October 2004 VisitBritain undertook research that involved

interviewing 600 US visitors to understand the influence of various

elements of the Britain experience on visitor satisfaction, and to measure

Britain’s performance in these areas. Overall, levels of visitor satisfaction

and "loyalty" to Britain were very high, but some factors were found to

have more of an impact than others.

Moments of Truth

The feeling of "welcome" extended to our American visitors, both by

local people and "employees", is a particularly strong element of the visit


Other drivers are safety, cleanliness and ease of getting around the

destination – all of which Britain performs well on overall.

In other areas there was room for improvement. Value for money

(especially eating & drinking) remains an issue, with the current

weakness of the US Dollar heightening this perception.

Product Drivers & Barriers

The key product driver of visit satisfaction is Britain’s History & Heritage

– across all segments and regions of the USA surveyed.

The opportunity to explore several locations (i.e. touring) is also

considered to be an influential strong point for Britain, as are shops /

markets, must see attractions / sightseeing, parks / gardens, interesting

villages, towns and cities. Landscapes, coast and natural beauty also

were a strong and driver motivator of satisfaction with Britain as a holiday


However, local food and drink experiences (for example pubs, regional

specialities) and quality food / dining in restaurants are seen as a relative

weakness, and VisitBritain is addressing this via initiatives like the "Taste"


8) Who is the American visitor?


Trend of Visits (000) by Age of Visitors - USA












1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Age Male Female

Group % %

0-15 3 5

16-24 9 15

25-34 17 17

35-44 22 17

45-54 23 20

55-64 16 16

65+ 8 11

Source: IPS

In terms of Travelling Group –

nearly half of the American visitors

were lone travellers in 2003.

Visitors travelling as a couple were

the other largest segment of group

composition (22%).

There is growing evidence that younger Hispanics want to be spoken to

in English even as they stay true to their Latino identity. (Newsweek

report May 30, 2005 "Speak English. Live Latin").


According to American Express’ Departures Magazine survey (of

Platinum and Centurion Cardmembers) in 2004, "experiences" are what

count most for today’s luxury consumer – not material goods. 59%

receive the greatest personal satisfaction from experiences like fine

dining, travel, entertainment, cultural & art events and sporting events.

The company’s most affluent card members said they wanted to ease

their busy and hectic lives with experiences that make them feel special.

Those survey respondents who said they value experiences most spent

an average of US$26,401 on experiential luxury services in the past 12

months – more than double the average spend of all the other

respondents. The most popular experiences were fine dining and luxury


68% of the experience-focussed consumer group took an average of 6

personal trips in the past year, spending an average of US$12,650 on

personal travel. 56% said that creating memorable experiences was the

most important criteria. 81% of affluent consumers said they expect to

spend the same or more on personal travel in the future.

"Departures" readers have a reputation for travel expertise among their

friends and peers, with 96% reporting that they are often asked for

advice. For their own vacation decision-making, 3/4 said that articles in

"Departures" are a key consideration.

Trading Up and Selective Extravagance

The profile of the US consumer is changing in that the middle-market is

better educated, more sophisticated, better travelled, more adventurous

and more discerning then ever before. The Boston Consulting Group's

2004 research identified what it classifies as a new trend of "Trading Up".

Travel and vacations rank as nr. 2 in a top ten index of categories for

what Boston Consulting term as "rocketing" where almost every

American spends a disproportionate amount of his income in a category

that holds great meaning.

1st Timers and Repeat Visitors

In 2004, 68% of visitors from USA had visited the UK previously within

the last 10 years (IPS).

However, currently only 20% of the US population own a passport, a

figure that has often been a barrier for international destinations. The US

state department has recently implemented tighter security controls

which mean that US citizens will now need passports to visit Canada,

Mexico and the Caribbean, so it is likely that passport applications are

going to rise for Americans who had never needed them before. Donald

Martin & Co forecast a 19% increase in total valid passports over the next

two years. This will significantly increase the number of potential visitors

to Britain.


9) Caring for the American consumer

Many flights from the USA arrive in the early morning. If you are your

guests’ first port of call from the airport, try and arrange for some form of

hospitality and services when they arrive, especially if their

accommodation isn’t ready. This applies principally to business visitors

and those on upscale FIT trips.

Americans are used to larger rooms than are generally found in Europe

and, without exception, to having private bathroom facilities.

Americans view accommodation as an important part of the travel

experience. They will put a premium on staying at a historic/grand

property or a hotel that reflects the local culture (i.e. local Bed and

Breakfast). The majority of Americans will want to stay in a 3 stars plus

property in a good location.

While most American travellers will feel some familiarity with London and

its major sights, the typical American visitor knows very little of the rest of

Britain beyond traditional lures such as Stratford, Bath and Edinburgh. Be

prepared to provide plenty of information on sites of historical and

cultural interest in your locality.

Almost all first-time US visitors will come to and spend almost the whole

trip in London and will quickly feel comfortable in London. However,

they need plenty of reassurance and advice concerning travel outside

London, most particularly if they are contemplating hiring a car.

More inexperienced US visitors will also, as a rule, travel heavy, often

with larger bags. If they are going to hire a car, for example, it is advisable

to ask beforehand how much luggage they are taking/bringing.

Americans may be perceived as demanding, will expect good value and

will not hesitate to complain if something is not to their liking. Deal with

any situation promptly and courteously.

10) Reaching American consumers


Deciding, planning & booking patterns

Value for Money

Research from Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) shows that

US leisure travellers are tending to decide upon where they want to go

and for how long, before they consider the price tag. As TIA’s Senior

Vice President commented "the destination or company that gets

travellers interested in their offerings before the question turns to price

has an advantage".

However, since Britain is perceived as an expensive destination, value for

money is of paramount importance. Americans will still travel if they feel

they are receiving a high quality of service.

Value for money is probably the #1 potential barrier for growing US

travel to Europe. Britain has become significantly more expensive for US

visitors during the last four years as evidenced by a 21% fall in the dollar

against sterling (VB Foresights, June 2005). It came as no surprise

therefore that the Moments of Truth and subsequent Product Segment

Fit research both highlighted value for money as being a priority for all

segments, demographics and behavioural groups. The research also

tells us that this especially applies to the staple components of a visit,

such as food, drink and accommodation. Hence our campaigns need to

incorporate value for money and quality assurance messages. We should

also look to leverage further opportunities to promote regional food

experiences from our new relationship with Food From Britain.

Regional Knowledge

While perceptions of the regions of Britain are more advanced with

repeat visitors, it is important to remember that the overall knowledge of

Britain amongst US visitors is relatively low. Wherever possible, link the

particular region’s locale and appeal to something that features in

mainstream British history – this is often the US visitors’ main point of

"contact" with a place.


Most American travellers to Britain are FIT, with only 20% travelling on an

escorted group tour. Therefore they will require products aimed at the

independent traveller, eg. rail passes, car hire.


Research shows us that our customers expect

detailed information delivered immediately

customised to their needs, preferences and

interests. Moreover, the explosive use of the

Internet has seen us experience a 138%

increase in e-mails and a 67% increase in

Internet enquiries but a 68% decrease in

telephone and walk in enquiries.

As the US market is becoming so advanced in terms of the Internet, if

you want the consumer to book directly, you will really need to have a

website with an on-line booking facility. Also, it is recommended that

you purchase a toll-free number to deal with consumer enquiries as it is

unusual for a consumer to make a long distance phone call to book a

product in the UK.

There has been a huge increase in American consumers using the

Internet to purchase travel and 92% of Britain best prospects have

Internet access.

Airline, hotel & online travel agency sites are the travel websites most


In excess of 30% of on-line travellers initiate their search for travel

information by typing a keyword or phrase into a search engine like


The Online Environment

Online / Offline Research was carried out in 2004 to gain a brief insight

into American consumers’ current usage of the Internet and their

preferred method for receiving destination / tourism brochures.

A third of the US respondents intended to travel internationally in the

next 3 years and just under two thirds (64%) had access to the Internet

either at home and/or work. When focussing on those who intended to

travel internationally in the next 3 years 82% had access to the Internet.

Breaking it down further 29% have access both at home and work, 28% at

home only and 6% at work only.

Source of information

Generally, the Internet was the most common source of information for

international travellers and travel agents the second –throughout the

stages of planning a trip.

Brochures were not used as commonly (fourth choice) with a fifth of

consumers using a brochure when deciding on a destination and when

planning an itinerary. Only 11% used a brochure when booking a trip.

Guidebooks were used more commonly in the earlier stages of planning

(23% & 26%) and travel offers at the booking stage (15%).

Rank Deciding on a destination Planning an itinerary Booking a trip

% % %

1 Internet 57 Internet 54 Internet 50

2 Travel Agent 39 Travel Agent 38 Travel Agent 44

3 Guidebook 23 Guidebook 26 Travel offers 15

4 Brochure 21 Brochure 21 Guidebook 13

5 Travel offers 21 Travel offers 18 Brochure 11

6 NTO 12 NTO 8 NTO 5


Internet users

Just under 70% of consumers using the internet as a source of

information were aged between 18-44, regardless of the stage of

planning. This emphasises the confidence and ability that the younger to

mid age groups have in searching for information on the Internet.

In terms of education just over half of international travellers had had

some college education or had graduated from college. A further 15%

are post-graduates. They are therefore fairly educated and are likely to

be familiar and confident with using the Internet generally.

Brochure preference (amongst those who use brochures)

However, in terms of brochures - 60% of consumers would prefer to

receive a printed brochure, a fifth prefer to download a version online

and 14% prefer both.


About 96% of VisitBritain’s consumer contact in the USA is on-line.

Research was carried out in 2005 to understand attitudes towards

VisitBritain’s consumer website, VB.com. 2,400 American users were

surveyed. 69% were planned to visit Britain for a holiday (and a further

17% for VFR).

US respondents were more likely to travel to Britain in a couple and / or

with adult friends / family. Those with children aged 0-11 are slightly less

likely to have been to Britain already than the other groups. They are also

the group most likely to have come to the website to buy / book flights

and accommodation and in search of special offers.

There are no other major differences between the groups in terms of

what they are looking at on the website and their ratings of the website.

This is good news because it means we can cater for all groups with one

generic site and do not need to target each group individually. 5 key

"travelling group" segments were identified:

Couple Only (37%)

51% aged 45-64. 76%

Holiday, 16% VFR. 46% 1st time visitors to Britain

Adult friends / family members but no children (30%)

47% aged 45-64.

80% holiday, 12% VFR. 47% 1st visitors to Britain

Lone Traveller (16%)

43% aged 35-54.

49% Holiday, 29% VFR, 10% Study. 51% 1st visitors to Britain

Anyone with young children aged 0-11 (9%)

63% aged 25-44.

62% holiday, 25% VFR. 56% 1st time visitors to Britain

Anyone with teenage children (12-17), but no young children (7%)

77% aged 35-54.

76% holiday, 15% VFR. 47% 1st time visitors to Britain

2/3 of web visitors were in a fairly advanced stage of travel planning.

21% were definitely coming to Britain and had made some bookings; 45%

were planning to travel to Britain but had not yet booked.

In terms of information sought, 46% came to VB.com seeking Events &

Attraction information, and 43% detailed information on places and

regions within Britain. Maps and places to stay (38%) were also popular,

and just under 1/3 were looking for "special offers".

Words most likely to be used to describe VB.com were: Customer

Friendly, Useful and Welcoming, but Americans didn’t find it particularly

Authoritative or Inspirational.

There was a high interest in purchasing on VB.com (only 12% not

interested, primarily due to a reluctance to purchase anything online),

with accommodation and tickets (events, attractions, regional transport)

being of most interest.

Media Habits

According to Public Diplomacy

Brand Tracking Research

conducted in 2003, over 42% of

young (under 40), educated ABC1

Americans form their perceptions

from broadcast media – primarily

National TV News.


Newspapers and magazines are extremely popular in America. Each city

has its own newspaper(s), with only one or two being truly national.

However, all have on-line editions that are read across the country. The

range of magazines is somewhat overwhelming, with titles focused on

every interest you can imagine. In our experience magazines in the

travel, epicurean and lifestyle categories respond very well for Britain.


Film studios have made more on DVD sales and licensing products than

on theatrical releases for some time. Now, technologies like TiVo, videoon-demand

and high-definition televisions are keeping more people at


Last year Americans spent an average of 78 hours watching videos and

DVD's, a 53 percent increase on 2000. (Motion Picture Association of

America). DVD sales and rentals soared 676.5% during the same period,

and 60% of all homes with a television set now also have a DVD player.

DVD sales and rentals alone were about $21 billion, (Digital

Entertainment Group). By contrast, movie attendance has increased

8.1% from 2000 to 2004.

This does not mean that the $9.5 billion theatrical movie business is

anywhere near its last gasp. It still plays a crucial role for the studios in

generating excitement.

Travel Press

National TV News 42%

Local Press 26%

Internet / Websites 18%

Other International Press 14%

Visiting UK personally 12%

BBC World TV 9%

Books 9%

The travel press has gone through some enormous changes over the last

few years. Some newspaper circulations are down between 5-10% on

two years ago, partly due to the availability of on-line editions.

Traditional newspapers are now beefing up their resources on the on-line

versions, with no restrictions on space; greater editorial content can be

given in the on-line environment.

11) The Trade


Overview of trade structure

The trade structure in the US is dominated by agents and operators and

is split as below:

Tour Operator:

Coach Tour



Special Interest

Retail Travel Agent:



Online Agency

Intelligence from travel partners suggests that the traditional coach tour

groups continue to decline and FIT trips and product is gaining market


Despite the spate of doom concerning the future of the travel agency as

the interface between client and supplier, this distribution mechanism is

likely to remain the dominant force in the dissemination and sale of

international travel.

In the industry today, alliances are everything and everywhere and

VisitBritain is increasingly targeting these consortia in our travel trade


American Tour Operators

On the VisitBritain database, there are 550 qualified tour operator

companies with Britain product, ranging from small to large size. Many

larger companies belong to an association, either USTOA (United States

Tour Operators Association) or NTA (National Tour Association). Many

operators are also preferred suppliers of retail consortia, e.g.

Vacation.Com, Virtuoso, Ensemble Travel (new name for GIANTS).

The planning cycle for operators depends on the size of the company

and business focus. Many do have main season and off-season product,

so will engage in the buying process with suppliers in spring for the

following year.

Tour operators can get over 50% of sales from retail agents, especially on

group business. Large operators employ sales reps throughout the USA

to target agents and group organisers, paying higher commissions to

large agency chains like American Express.

Operators will tend to approach ground handlers for complex planning

(non-profit) and some will end up working with a number of ground

handlers depending on service and speciality they provide.

Tour Operators are a good sector to target to try in order to try and get

them to include your destination or product in their programs. Whilst

there are over 500 tour operators in the market there are ways to focus

your work. The 2 major organisations VisitBritain works with are USTOA

and NTA. Both of these organisations have annual conventions, which

are often a mixture of networking sessions, seminars, social activities and

often a trade show.


NTA is made up of nearly 4,000 members with 660 tour operator

members and brings together those who package travel - group as well

as individual trips - with suppliers and destinations who represent the

various components of a trip. Although NTA is based in North America,

their membership spans the globe.

NTA is a great organisation for the smaller tour operator. It does have

some challenges in the respect of several tour operators who belong to

NTA do not sell international travel as yet. However, their annual

convention provides you with the platform you need to meet and chat

with people who have a genuine interest in your product. NTA operators

want to learn, they are very enthusiastic and this provides you with a

great opportunity to build relationships.

Further information: www.ntaonline.com


USTOA tends to have the larger tour operators as members and there

are 750 members in total. The USTOA Annual Conference is open to all

organisations and companies that are Associate or Allied Members of

USTOA. USTOA comprises of the largest and most influential tour

operators in the USA and according to a recent survey; USTOA

companies move more than 10 million passengers annually and account

for an annual sales volume of more than $8 billion.

Further information: www.ustoa.com

American Travel Agencies

American travellers’ reliance on travel agents in planning and booking

vacations has lessened dramatically, largely as a result of the Internet.

The main association for travel agents in the USA is ASTA (American

Society of Travel Agents). As of July 2004, there were 23,213 accredited

travel agency locations in the US, according to ASTA. For more

information see www.astanet.com.

While the air carriers have squeezed commission levels to cut costs,

other types of supplier (wholesaler, tour operator, hotelier, cruise

operator, car hire company, etc.) continue to refine and cultivate their

agency-based distribution channels. All types of travel supplier reward

exceptional performance with deepened commission levels. It is

therefore advisable to work with agents if you have a product to sell that

is commissionable. Agents are selling in tough times and are looking to

sell products that they get commission on.

In response to this much more competitive environment, travel agencies

have tended to consolidate, with smaller agencies giving up their

independence in order to merge with larger operations (e.g.

Vacation.com, Virtuoso, Ensemble, etc) to save on overheads and

administration they are no longer able to afford. Increasingly more retail

travel agents are joining consortia for the benefits and support services

they offer. All agents are pre-qualified by the consortia prior to

membership, because they deliver good international business and



Vacation.com is the largest network of travel agencies in North America

with over 8,000 member locations across the United States and Canada.

They are the product of the acquisition and consolidation in 1998 of ten

leading travel agency marketing organizations (GEM, GEM Canada,

Cruiselink, SPACE, ACTION 6, TIME, Consolidated Travel Services,

Crown Travel Group, The Consortium, and AURA). Membership of this

organisation offers great access to these agents and their annual

convention offers fantastic networking opportunities.

Further information: www.joinvacation.com


Virtuoso is an exclusive network of more than 6,000 elite travel

specialists in North and South America. A privately owned company,

Virtuoso provides marketing, sales, technology support, and exclusive

services and products to leading independent luxury travel agencies.

Comprising of 285 independent travel agencies, as well as a combined

consumer database of approximately 1 million affluent leisure travellers,

Virtuoso members generate $3 billion annually in travel sales, making the

group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment.


Virtuoso’s regular member surveys give insight into the lifestyles of the

world’s wealthiest travellers:

– Hottest travel trend younger (34-52 years) = 24% active /


– Hottest travel trend older (53+) = 44% luxury cruises.

– Escorted group travel is declining in popularity regardless of age.

– When preparing for a vacation, Neiman Marcus is the most popular

retailer for pre-trip shopping (24%).

– Outdoor/nature components are an increasing trend.

– For 8%, Gordon Ramsey, Claridges was the hottest international

restaurant in 2003.

– Wimbledon was the international event best attended by affluent

travellers in 2003 (39%).

– 66% of clients use Internet to access travel info and 61%

communicate with Virtuoso via email.

– Sources of influence with biggest impact on clients’ travel choices:

55% recommendation; 19% travel mags; 8% lifestyle/culinary mags

with travel sections.

– Paris is the most popular foreign destination for shopping (32%) –

10% for London.

Further information: www.virtuoso.com

Affinity Travel

Many Americans are members of an alumni association, museum, gallery

or other "non-profit" membership organisation. The actual size of the

market is estimated at 2.4 million travellers – those who have taken trips

with their member organisation. However, the potential size of market is

estimated to be 4.5 million travellers – these being alumni members who

have expressed an interest in travelling internationally. Sales volume of

this market is estimated at $660million. A key ingredient of a non-profit

tour is the educational experience typically embracing heritage and

culture and self-enhancement.

In the US, Non Profit Organisations (NPO) such as art galleries, museums

and alumni associations provide travel programs for their members/

‘friends’ and donors. These ‘affinity’ programs have a strong educational

focus relating to special interest areas of art, history, architecture,

gardening, walking, theatre or music. The tour participants are generally

people in their fifties and over. They are leisure travellers who are

seeking new experiences, learning with like-minded people and personal

fulfilment through travel (experiential travel).

Specialist ‘suppliers’ (tour operators) work closely with the NPO to

arrange most of the tours. There are about ten top suppliers in the US

including: Alumni Holidays International (Oakbrook, IL) Gohagan Travel

(Chicago, IL), InTrav (St. Louis, MO), Elderhostel (Boston, MA),

Academic Arrangements Abroad (New York, NY) and IST Cultural Tours

(New York, NY). These companies manage 80% of the market.

Destinations are selected over one year in advance by the NPO’s inhouse

‘travel planner’. Most planners will simply purchase pre-packaged

tours from suppliers and make slight alterations. A few will custom

design a tour to suit more specific requirements of their members. Often

feedback from previous travellers will help to determine the educational

focus and destination.


UK suppliers can also sell through a representative in the US. This is an

effective method, but normally the most costly means of selling your

product overseas. It has several advantages:

Your product is instantly bookable through the retail trade, who have a

toll free number they can use.

The representative can distribute brochures & undertake marketing on

your behalf.

The representative has knowledge of the market so can offer advice on

how the product should be packaged and sold.

Reaching the American Travel Trade

One of the best ways to target the trade is to make contact with them

face to face via sales calls. VisitBritain can assist you in identifying which

operators are most suitable for your product.

Sales Calls – Top Tips

• Plan early! Try and visit when VisitBritain is organising or participating

in a consumer or trade event, which would give you greater exposure

than you might otherwise receive.

• Make an appointment to see the local VisitBritain office at the start of

your visit. They will update you on the state of the market and the

potential of your travel product in the area.

• When making appointments it is best to avoid Monday mornings and

Friday afternoons. Be sure to have a good supply of business cards and

brochures with you.

• When visiting the USA (New York and San Francisco excepted), it is

always important to remember that the structure of American cities is

based wholly on the cult of the car and you therefore need to hire a car

to make effective use of your time. Distances in southern California are

especially great, and it is advisable not to pack too many appointments

into one day – when planning allow plenty of time to get to the next


• In the larger travel agencies, expect to see many agents, not always on

one visit. Many larger agencies employ independent contractors who

have their own clients and sub-lease their office space. Always leave

more than one brochure.

• When calling on wholesalers, quote net prices, sufficient to allow them

a 20%-25% mark-up, as they will have to relinquish at least 10% to a travel


• The best times of the year to call are between January and April for

travel agents and between April and June for wholesalers, for inclusion in

the following year’s programme.

• The major national holidays are often seen in the US as a chance for

far-flung families to get together and, if possible, extend the prescribed

vacation period. When visiting, avoid 4th July, Thanksgiving (November),

Christmas and Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur (September/October).

Planning a sales trip to the US?

As of June 26, 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has

announced that all persons from countries in the Visa Waiver Program

(VWP) must present a machine-readable passport (MRP) to enter the

United States without a visa. While this requirement has been in effect

since October 26, 2004, DHS has allowed Customs and Border

Protection (CBP) officers the discretion to grant a one-time exemption

from the requirement to travelers who apply for entry under the program

but who do not possess the required passport or B-1/B-2 visitor visa. The

exemption has been effective for a single entry to the United States;

VWP travelers who make an incidental trip to Canada, Mexico or an

adjacent island as part of their trip may not be permitted to reenter the

United States without an MRP or B-1/B-2 visitor visa, though exceptions

are available to cruise ship travelers who will be making successive stops

at U.S. ports during their trip. This limited exemption period ended on

June 26, 2005. Starting on that date, transportation carriers will be fined

$3,300 per violation for transporting any Visa Waiver traveler to the U.S.

who does not possess a machine-readable passport.

Trade Fairs

VisitBritain exhibits at the following trade fairs and annual conventions

each year: NTA, USTOA, Vacation.com, Virtuoso Travel Mart,

Educational Travel Conference: If you are a member of any of the above

consortia and are planning to attend the annual conventions, then please

let VisitBritain know as we will endeavour to include you in our preconvention

marketing efforts where possible.

12) Business Visits / Events


Business Visits Statistics

•20% of travel from the USA to the UK in 2004 was for business

purposes, and this accounted for 31% of spend (IPS).


USA 2004 Business 2004 Business

(000) Visits (£m) Spend

Trade Fair/Exhibition 23 3.2 26 3.5

Conference/Large Meeting 113 15.5 109 14.5

Other Business 592 81.3 613 82.0


Trade Fair/Exhibition 1125 215 5.2

Conference/Large Meeting 958 169 5.7

Other Business 1035 174 5.9

• American Business visits are made up of 19% Conferences, Large

Meetings, Trade Fairs or Exhibitions and 81% individual business travel.

Business Visits Trends

From an independent survey of almost 600 business travellers conducted

by Travelocity:

– Price has become the main motivator for flights

– Car rentals are up

– 85% of business travellers are flying economy

– Location is the most important factor for hotel bookings

Although this survey was based on US domestic travel trends it probably

indicates that the corporate traveller’s profile is becoming more and more

similar to that of the leisure traveller

Business travel should continue to show a come- back but not necessarily

using traditional business travel expense accounts. The Incentive

Industry in the US is discovering family values with "family inclusive"

incentives the result. Britain can capture market share if companies are

willing to slightly change their product to give customers what they are

looking for.

Return on Investment is driving business decisions, incentives are

increasingly being seen as investments, not just rewards, meaning better

alignment of incentives with corporate objectives. Shorter more targeted

incentives are forecast to become more common.

Incentive Travel research for 2000 has shown the following:

– Average Incentive Groups size is 383

– Average length of stay is 6.05 nights

– Average expenditure on each incentive traveller is $3863

Lead times for all events are becoming shorter for both corporate

meeting and incentive groups - around 3-6 months.

UK & Competition

The bulk of the US meetings market is domestic with offshore meetings

conventions and incentives comprising around 16% of the total meetings

market, an estimated 16 billion in expenditure.

Canada is the number one international destination for US corporate and

association meetings, the most popular incentive destinations are the

Caribbean, Bermuda & Hawaii.

Among international corporate meeting planners, 63% say they use

England as a meeting destination (ASAE / MPI 1999 meetings outlook


Europe is the largest overseas market for US offshore meetings. The UK,

France, Italy and Spain have garnered the most interest in the meetings

market and continue to do so. Germany and Austria are also strong

competitors. New businesses are also moving into some central

European destinations.

For International Associations meetings, the UK attracted 9.7% of the

outgoing business. Short-haul destinations represent more than half of

the offshore association meetings and conventions market. 41% visited

Canada, Alaska or Mexico with a further 16% visiting the Caribbean,

Bermuda or Hawaii. Within Europe, the UK and France are the most

popular destinations for conventions and conferences.

For Incentive travel the figure for the UK is 7.7%, with 18.3% visiting

other destinations in Europe. Short-haul destinations again dominate the

market. The most popular destinations are The Caribbean, Bermuda,

Hawaii, Canada, Alaska and Mexico. Cruising also offers strong

competition in the offshore incentive travel market. Cruise lines are now

aggressively targeting the meeting and convention segments developing

products and services to meet the growing needs of meeting planners.

The UK remains the single most popular Incentive Travel destination.

Trade Structure

The "meetings market" which encompasses meetings conducted by

corporations, associations, conventions and incentive travel has become

one of the largest and most dynamic components of the travel industry in

the United States. Meetings, conventions and incentive travel account

for more than 1/3rd of the hotel industry’s operating revenue and for

nearly _ of the air transportation industry’s operating revenue.

The US has more than 145,000 associations, around 13,000 are

international associations headquartered in the US mainly in Washington,

New York and Chicago.

Incentive travel is used by just under 30% of American businesses. The

value of incentives is widely recognised and the outlook for the

continued growth of this is positive.

13) VisitBritain in the USA


Working in Partnership with VisitBritain

There are many ways of working in partnership with VisitBritain in any of

our 37 global markets. We deliver numerous marketing campaigns and

produce various targeted guides and publications which are seen by

millions of potential visitors throughout the world – offering excellent

advertising and partnership opportunities.

We undertake both print and online advertising, and produce e-

newsletters communicating with both consumers (via our substantial

databases) and our trade partners on-territory whilst the exhibitions,

workshops, sales missions and media events we organise provide the

perfect platform to promote your product firsthand to trade, press and

consumer visitors.

In some markets where the travel trade remains a crucial element of the

booking process we produce Agents' Sales Guides and offer Agents' online

training programmes to ensure both the destination and range of

British tourism product is at the forefront of the travel agent's mind.

For more details on these and other diverse opportunities in markets of

interest to you, please visit our UK Industry Website and read our

worldwide marketing prospectus, or contact your VisitBritain

representative in London or overseas.


Overseas Contacts

VisitBritain - New York office

7th Floor

551 Fifth Avenue

New York

NY 10176-0799

T: 001 212 986 2266

(Toll Free: 1 800 462 2748)

Rupert Peters

Regional Manager – The Americas

E: rupert.peters@visitbritain.org

T: 00 1 212 850 0317

Paul Gauger

Regional PR & Media Relations Manager

E: paul.gauger@visitbritain.org

T: 00 1 212 850 0330

VisitBritain - Chicago office

625 North Michigan Avenue

Suite 1001

Chicago IL 60611

T: 001 312 787 0464

Alex Paul

Regional Business Travel & Trade Relations Manager

E: alex.paul@visitbritain.org

T: 00 1 312 787 0464 ext 13

VisitBritain - Los Angeles office

10880 Wilshire Blvd

Suite 570

Los Angeles


Katrina Sutton

Film Tourism and PR Manager

E: Katrina.sutton@visitbritain.org

T: 00 1 310 470 2782

London Contacts / Further information

For any further information relating to America, please contact the

London-based International Markets Team:


Alternatively, visit VisitBritain’s dedicated website for the UK tourism

industry: www.visitbritain.com/ukindustry

Why not sign up to our Industry E-Newsletter, or register with

VisitBritain to be kept up to date with all that’s new in America

and other markets worldwide?

Information Sources used to compile this report

• International Passenger Survey figures (IPS) 2004 (Office for National


NB: Data from International Passenger Survey has been made available

by the Office for National Statistics and has been used by permission.

The ONS do not bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretation

of the data reported here.

• Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index – Waves 2 & 3 2005 (Quantitative)

• VB.COM Web User Survey 2005 (Quantitative)

• VB / VisitLondon Post July 2005 Research (Qualitative)

• VisitBritain Brand Tracking Research – 2003 (Quantitative)

• Public Diplomacy Brand Tracking Research – 2003 (Quantitative)

• VisitBritain Online / Offline Research – 2003 (Quantitative)

• VisitBritain Project Lion – 2002 (Qualitative)

• Foresight – July 2005

• IMF / Economist / US Census Bureau

• BBC websites

• Global Tourism Navigator

• American Express / Departures

• Virtuoso

• Ledbury Research

• FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office)

• ETC (European Travel Commission)

• ETC New Media Review http://www.etcnewmedia.com/review (has a

wealth of further facts and figures on the US Online Market)

• VisitBritain USA Business Plans, Insights and Intelligence Reports 2005

VisitBritain also subscribe to an excellent publication by Menlo

Consulting Group – “Travelstyles – Americans as International Travellers”

which is a bi-annual survey of almost 3000 American international

pleasure travellers and over 500 international business travellers.

Unfortunately we are legally unable to publish findings from this

syndicated report here.


Printed in England

Published by VisitBritain, Thames Tower, Blacks Road, London W6 9EL

in partnership with England’s tourism industry.

Telephone 020 8846 9000


© British Tourist Authority (trading as VisitBritain) 2006

Conceived by Britain International Market Research, International

Partnerships and Industry Relations

Photography supplied by britainonview.com

Copyright in all images and text is the property of the respective copyright

holders. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.

Important note: The information contained in this publication has been

published in good faith on the basis of information submitted to

VisitBritain and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.

However, where appropriate, you are strongly recommended to check

prices, opening times, dates, etc before making final arrangements.

All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by

reliance on the information contained in this publication is hereby

excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The opinions expressed by contributors to this publication are not

necessarily those of VisitBritain.

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