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Geordie humour brings in £4.5m and keeps visitors smiling

One of the world’s ‘coolest websites’ has helped generate more than £4.5m worth of visitor spend for the local economy in just six months, as part of a campaign aimed at inspiring visitors to NewcastleGateshead, using the famously friendly Geordie personality.

Delivered by destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the integrated national marketing campaign, Have the Tyne of Your Life, is part of VisitEngland’s three-year, Growing Tourism Locally activity, funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Featuring radio advertising, press inserts in national titles, and outdoor advertising the campaign tapped in to the distinctive Geordie tone of voice to appeal to potential domestic visitors, encouraging them to learn more and book a short-break via Profiling the variety of the destination’s cultural offer, alongside shopping and nightlife, it also saw travel features in key national and consumer titles, including The Independent, Cosmopolitan Magazine and The Evening Standard.

In the first six months, from September 2012 to March 2013, it’s estimated this activity created or safeguarded 85 jobs in the tourism industry. Over the course of the full funding period (2012-2015) it’s hoped the campaign will create or safeguard a minimum of 232 jobs across the destination.  

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “These results are really encouraging and demonstrate that when we highlight what makes us different as a place, visitors feel a sense of warmth and excitement about NewcastleGateshead, encouraging them to stay longer, visit again and tell their friends about the experiences they’ve had when they come here.

“Having RGF funding has really helped us reach audiences we wouldn’t have been able to previously. Our work focuses on encouraging visitors from outside of the North East and is usually delivered in the North West, Scotland and Yorkshire, attracting those who can easily drive to the destination. With RGF funding we are also able to promote the place in the South East and London, encouraging visitors to travel via the East Coast mainline. The additional funds have also allowed us to explore new and different marketing channels, including audio advertising via music streaming site, Spotify.”

The three year RGF investment of £500,000 is match funded by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and private sector partners, doubling the size and impact of the Have the Tyne of Your Life campaign. In the first year, NewcastleGateshead Initiative received £166,667 via RGF and matched it with and additional £105,000, for a total pot of more than £207,000.

79% of visitors thought the campaign was a good way to advertise holidays and breaks in NewcastleGateshead, with 63% saying the advertising had encouraged them to take a trip; 85% said had influenced their decision to visit.      

Sarah added: “All of our marketing and communications activity aims to insert a touch of Geordie humour, from adverts and inserts to our website and social media activity.

“It’s clear this approach has been successful, not just from the positive response we’ve seen from the RGF funded activity, but also in being named one of the world’s coolest tourist board websites alongside New York, Ireland and Finland by the Sunday Times earlier this year.”

NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s autumn and winter RGF funded activity as part of VisitEngland’s Growing Tourism Locally campaign premiered a new creative design and slogan, The Tyne is Now; profiling Christmas shopping and the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival. Activity planned throughout spring and summer 2014 will continue with this design and focus on a cultural theme, highlighting the many unique venues and experiences on offer across the destination throughout the year.

In addition to running this national marketing campaign, NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the only North East destination marketing organisation investing proactively overseas, working with travel partners including DFDS Seaways, Jet2 and Aer Lingus to attract visitors from Belgium, Holland, Germany and Ireland.

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