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GUEST BLOG: Welcome to Yorkshire's James Mackenzie on data and hyper-personalisation in tourism

25 May 2021
by Force24

There’s no question that many B2C brands have taken a huge hit during the pandemic. And, as more leisure and tourism facilities reopen their doors, businesses are doing everything they can to re-engage clientele so they can rebuild and move beyond the crisis.

Providing a greater, more personalised experience for customers and organisations, Welcome to Yorkshire’s director of strategic delivery, James Mackenzie, explains why data has a pivotal role to play in how to speak directly to individuals – and deliver the messages they WANT to consume.

In the UK tourism industry, the context of the utilisation of data to drive personalisation in marketing isn’t as well-established as other sectors.

For example, when you go to a hotel or B&B for a weekend stay, you’ll most likely be met with leaflets and maps all about the area you’re visiting and its attractions. This is an interesting approach in today’s world of comms because it requires the customer to do all the heavy lifting as they sift through each sheet of paper until they arrive at something relevant to them.

When people might not want to spend time looking through reams of information, this is where it’s vital for organisations to truly understand their of-the-moment interests the minute they unpack their suitcases.

How can this be achieved? By utilising data effectively.

Before I go into how to maximise your insight, it’s important to stress that print is still incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of the most trusted ways to communicate with customers. However, what brands should be recognising is when to use print and digital in a more blended approach.

For example, we recently teamed up with the UK’s largest beer subscription service Beer52 to supply a Yorkshire-themed box of craft ale. Inside each delivery was a magazine with information regarding our region and what people could enjoy. This publication also had QR codes running throughout articles and insight pieces, so if customers were reading them, they could then further enhance their experience by scanning them and receiving information online.

Using data to deliver relevant comms

In terms of Welcome to Yorkshire, we’ve got a website that generates 11 million hits a year, have a 750,000 social media reach and a chunky 100,000-plus database. For our team, the challenge is how we can better communicate with the right customer, at the right time and via their preferred channel.

Take our ‘Walkshire’ campaign as an example. We launched this on 1 January with the mission to make Yorkshire the ‘home of walking’. It’s all been done organically too without any paid-for activity, and is driven by user-generated content.

But that doesn’t mean that every single person engages with the same posts. For example, we only use Instagram Stories to promote particular walks and difficulty levels as it’s pertinent to that target audience. For Twitter, it’s all about the ‘walk of the day’ and is directional marketing to drive customers back to the website.

Additionally, we’ve collaborated with key figures to further engage specific audiences such as parenting bloggers advising on ‘surviving’ walks with a teenager and a toddler, Black History Month and International Women’s Day-inspired walks, and accessibility insight from Paralympian Hannah Cockroft. Our campaign is designed to not tell people what they already know, but instead to use educational and inspirational messaging, so it puts it back onto the customer who can think, ‘what does walking mean to me?’

We’re able to provide inclusive experiences for each customer because we’re getting better at understanding their wants and needs, and subsequently building segments where we can deliver content that’s relevant to them.

The more consumers engage, the more marketers are able to create hyper-personalised comms that engage and empower – and keep people interested, thus promoting brand loyalty.

From this, brands put themselves in a better position to make stronger decisions about the messages they deliver to each customer, when and how often. For us, we’re then using this data and insight to interact and help local businesses, authorities and communities, so they can provide better experiences for residents and tourists – all of which continues to put Yorkshire firmly on the map.

Find out about how marketing automation can transform your leisure and tourism customer comms. Book a demo and let’s talk! And don’t forget to follow the latest updates on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


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