Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
CONTENTS 1 – THE MARKET
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
10. Reaching American Consumers
• Deciding, planning & booking patterns for travel
• Online environment / Internet access
• Media habits
CONTENTS 2 – THE TRADE / B2B
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
GENERAL MARKET CONDITIONS
MARKET SIZE / MARKET SHARE
MARKET SHAPE / MARKET DYNAMICS
PRODUCT / MARKET FIT
DEMOGRAPHICS / POTENTIAL
REACHING THE AMERICAN CONSUMER
• 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
$2,000 £’s ¤’s
2002 1,331 2,117
2003 1,223 1,768
2004 1,092 1,609
2005 1,055 1,545
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
Visitors to Britain by Region (000)
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.
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
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
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
1 London 2,406
2 Edinburgh 230
3 Glasgow 111
4 Manchester 74
5 Oxford 70
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.
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
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
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
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.
Day & Night
Easy get around
Refresh / Invigorate
Contrast Old / New
Go again & again
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!
Lots Experiences (V)
Vibrant Cities (V)
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
values, DEPTH, HEART & VITALITY.
COMPARISONS BETWEEN SURVEYS ARE NOT TRULY RELIABLE
DUE TO THE FACT THAT METHODOLOGIES AND SAMPLES ARE
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
National TV News 42%
Local Press 26%
Internet / Websites 18%
Other International Press 14%
Visiting UK personally 12%
BBC World TV 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:
Retail Travel Agent:
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
BUSINESS VISITORS Visits % Spend %
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
BUSINESS VISITORS USA AEV £ AED £ ALS Days
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
– 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
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
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.
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
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.
VisitBritain - New York office
551 Fifth Avenue
T: 001 212 986 2266
(Toll Free: 1 800 462 2748)
Regional Manager – The Americas
T: 00 1 212 850 0317
Regional PR & Media Relations Manager
T: 00 1 212 850 0330
VisitBritain - Chicago office
625 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
T: 001 312 787 0464
Regional Business Travel & Trade Relations Manager
T: 00 1 312 787 0464 ext 13
VisitBritain - Los Angeles office
10880 Wilshire Blvd
Film Tourism and PR Manager
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
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
• 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.
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