Reassuring Visitors from the EU
Short haul travel from Europe is still highly achievable. European visitors often travel to the UK more than once and as they become more familiar with destinations, gain more confidence to plan their own trips – travelling in a less structured way and exploring beyond the traditional gateways. This is great news for Cumbria Tourism’s ongoing ‘attract and disperse’ strategy, which draws on the strength of the Lake District brand to attract staying visitors who want to discover and explore the wider county.
As well as reassuring European visitors around frequently asked questions, such as post-Brexit arrangements for visas, border control and driving licences (see page 12), it is important to tailor your business and product to meet the specific expectations of different European markets.
Doing the right research is a vital part of targeting any international market, but in the context of Brexit, it takes on an additional significance. Overseas markets are very competitive and travellers may have limited knowledge of this country, so it is essential to reassure potential visitors that you understand them and continue to welcome them to the Lake District, Cumbria.
Identifying your unique selling proposition and aligning this with the interests and expectations of the nationalities you are targeting is the first step.
The Cultural Expectations of visitors from individual countries will shape how they interact with your product. They may visit the same attractions and eat at the same places, but each market could take something completely different out of the experience.
For instance, consider whether your guests eat earlier, later or at the same time as the UK. Mediterranean countries often eat their evening meal a lot later and take longer than other markets. Hotels and restaurants may want to make adjustments for this.
Other cultural considerations include:
- Food and dining (eg. individually ordered meals vs group dining experiences)
- Pace/punctuality/timing (eg. the German market is known for being very punctual and expects the same from others, while other nationalities may be more laid back)
- Language (eg. translation of key information)
- Religion and sensitivities (eg. around food, dress and activities)
Seasonality: It’s also important to know the key booking and travel periods for each European market. Whilst this will vary by the type of traveller, it helps to understand when people are likely to be travelling from different EU countries. For instance, both the French and Germans tend to book 3-6 months before departure. However, German travellers tend to travel between July and September, whilst visitors from France prefer April to June. Most Dutch holidaymakers also opt for April to June, but will book as little as a month before departure.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland produce handy profiles on each overseas market: