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Tourism is a vital economic sector in Northamptonshire generating income and employment for the region. However, compared with the surrounding counties in the Midlands, Northamptonshire has the lowest level of income from tourism.

You have been commissioned by the Northamptonshire County Council to prepare a report to assess the current tourism provision the county, and to propose a strategy to increase the total number of visitors to the area, and to increase their spending.

  • An assessment of the tourism resources that are on offer in the county of Northamptonshire that includes your evaluation of the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Northamptonshire
  • An analysis of the various market segments that may be targeted to the county.
  • Recommendations outlined in a strategy to increase the number of tourists as well as their spending in the country – this strategy should present a new marketing tagline to promote the tourism destination image of Northamptonshire in the domestic and international markets.

Assessment of Tourism sector of Northamptonshire

The following report entails a critical evaluation and depiction of the resources of the tourism of the Northampton. Aligning a relevant strategy for the promotion of the tourism of Northamptonshire is presented through the lens of relevant marketing concepts. The report thrust upon the vital aspects of the tourism and its essence of unit selling product in the backdrop of declining tourism sector of the Northampton. Northampton is the located at the core of England and referred as ‘The Roses of the Shires’. It covers an area of 2,364 square kilometres. Laid in the lap of countryside, the place has ruminants of various cultural and tribal background.

A sizeable amount of this sector is still in the growing phase which can grow leap and bounds if the sector is strengthened with a reinforced strategy to exploit the opportunity of the place to the fullest. The key sector of this business generates over 10,000 jobs in various fields like in catering, retailing, entertainment and leisure activities, accommodation and transport. Despite the existing potential of the place has a low base (Watson 2013). The residential population of the Northamptonshire is 6, 52,300 and the local per head expenditure reports is lowest in the region when compared to places like Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and others. The services from the catering sector has received over £132 million and retailers of over £107 million while the transportation sector contributes to over £51 million (Rydin and Natarajan 2016).

Northamptonshire is a county located at the core of England with extensive linkage of road and rail adorned with beautiful villages and thatched cottages. Being one of an excellent countryside with beautiful lanes, canals, ancient woodlands and hilltops which allow tourists to experience the lap of nature. The canal networks allows the tourists to explore the city through some unique navigational passages. The leisure facilities available is one of the major attraction of the city as it has amazing amenities for food and accommodation, theatres, galleries of connoisseurs of art, museums and a spectacular night life to thrive upon.

The extensive networks of shops also caters to the demand of the shopaholics who find the city attractive hotspot for shopping (Morrison 2013). The local sporting clubs and health enthusiasts often visit the city to experience the thriving culture of sports like cricket, golf, football, rugby and other water sports. Tourism is growing gradually yet the income generated from this sector is lower when compared to its neighboring regions of England. According to the statistical reports, there are over 17.4 million visits of tourists to the Midlands of Northamptonshire which are currently generating more than 350 million pounds. The overall contribution of workforce to the tourism industry is over 12500 jobs which comprises almost 5% of the workforce of Northamptonshire (Liu and Chou 2016).

Northamptonshire is a tourist product which inculcates to bring the entire sum of physical and psychological satisfaction to the tourists through the exotic lanes of countryside and wonderful landscape the place has to offer. Northamptonshire has unique range of activities further the exuberance of the nightlife of the county is excellent to experience the glory of the nature amidst the chores of urbanized England (Augustyn 2013). The three basic components of a tourist product which is attraction, accessibility and accommodation is mired well among the services that a Northampton has to offer.

Evaluation of Unit selling product of Northampton

The per head expenditure hovers in the range of £18 to £20 mainly for visiting the exuberating towns while £13 for visiting the countryside. The overnight market which accounts for merely 10% of visits needs to be expanded to grow its base wider with more varieties of cuisines and increasing the frequency of the nightlife events so as to strengthen the footfall in tourism (Council 2018). Northampton needs to revive its popularity among other competitive tourist products which aims to increase its popularity amongst outgrowing rivals tourist products which has been enjoying immense popularity.

With an extensive area covering over 2500 square kilometres, the place has unique landscape and canal museums which can be made more accessible with cheaper transport costs or facilities like booking for tourist made done through various online applications as offers can coupled with it to increase the number of footfall. The place have an historical, cultural as well as tribal influence which needs to be advertised with unique pictures so as to attract newer customers for the tourist product (Kavoura and Katsoni 2013).

The promotion of Northamptonshire should be done with unique taglines and the cuisine of the place need to reach the target audience. The place has been experiencing a decline in the number of tourists visiting a place hence adequate promotion of the place can be done through multimedia mediums like television advertisements (Hudson and Thal 2013). A social media campaign can be ran online highlighting best venues of the county. The videos need to be shot and glamourized through efficient digital marketing strategy.  

The people of Northamptonshire has been reluctant to spend on the tourism of the county. The tourism place need to reinforced through effective strategy and reaching out to the tourist who often visit England. These tourist need to be targeted when they book their tickets and explore England. The increased online advertisements of the place can increase the number of visitors manifold. The map and extensive networks, travel guide need to be published online so as to propel the hibernating industry of Northamptonshire (Gretzel and Yoo 2013).

Demographics – The demographics of the Midlands is mixed as their place is composed both of urban and rural landscape. Census 2011 reports the area is mostly wealthy with low deprivation thus the population enjoys better lifestyle. The ethnicity is vibrant and since 2011, the county’s population growth has increased at a greater rate than across England as a whole. This can largely influence the tourist sector of Northampton.

Geographical- The geography of the Northamptonshire is adorned with forests and woodlands, extensive network canals further vibrant landforms like that of hills, lakes and rivers providing an adequate landscape of countryside which has been its prior unit selling product. The geography of the Northamptonshire has enriching floral beauty and provides a serene environment to the tourists visiting the place however, being a landlocked county it has not been able to attract due customers.

Behavioral- The place is ignored mainly it is lacking the seaside beauty for the beach enthusiasts. The behavior of the customers and their preference to visit the seaside has called for the greater attraction to other places in England (Ashworth and Goodall 2013). The midlands of the east need to be popularized through effective marketing strategy in order to pull the customers and rejuvenate the lacklustre tourism industry.

Marketing Mix for Northamptonshire as a tourist product

Psychographics – The psychographics of the place need to be analyzed and accordingly the preferences of the customers and target audience need to be integrated with the strategy of the sector. Propelling the tourism by deploying a customer oriented strategy is required so as to inculcate a common and wider overview of the place.

The target audience comprise both domestic as well as international customers from all across the world. Attracting customers from all across the world should be the aim of delving a strategy as it enables a wider reach of the people. Use of online social media platforms help to reach the customers from all over the world. Due to ever increasing presence of online and considerable amount of time spend of these platforms helps to reach wide spectrum of customers (Antti Pesonen 2013). A YouTube video can reach millions of viewers on real time basis. The video should be informative to educate as well as aware the target audience adequately. The youth can be a major target audience for the hilltops can be an ideal location for adventurous sports while rivers can provide activities like river rafting to the adventure enthusiasts. However, such enthusiasts needs to be targeted through attractive brochures and pamphlets in the universities of United Kingdom. The strategy should be designed to motivate the potential customers to buy the tourist products. Further, online blogs, newspaper advertisements can also be a potential medium to reach the audience. The place can attract the newly married couples with couple packages as well as the senior population for the county has excellent canal museums for the people of all ages (Vellas 2016).

Reviving the tourism industry can be chalked out strategically by understanding the needs of the target audience. An audio-visual presentation can be popularized though various mediums like television and radio (Hall 2014). Further, a planned social media campaign can be run on online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with an attractive tagline like “FEEL THE ESSENCE OF NATURE IN NORTHAMPTONHIRE”. A jingle with a particular music need to be attached to this presentation so as to catch the minds of the audience. A jingle and tagline which has been used repeatedly with a particular picture needs to be popularized in all mediums so as to increase the remembrance of the place and they can associate with the picture of the place (Truong, V.D. and Hall 2013). The campaign can make up a creative story so as to depict the hotspots and prime locations.

Engaging the audience through a story can attract the filmmakers to use the location for shooting films thus spur the tourism sector. The tourism can also be accelerated through involving popular brand ambassador which has the capability to influence the audience. Northamptonshire has variety of sports activities hence a popular cricket star can be associated to promote the tourism so as to increase the curiosity of the place among the audience. Embracing an inclusive strategy, like affordable accommodation and discounts in bulk booking can also increase the footfall. Extensive Usage of hoardings and billboards with the tagline on the highways can attract the attention of the people who often go on long drives will be moved to visit the place (Mariani et al. 2014). The brand ambassador associated need to record his views and promote the place on various platforms. An image of him can be attached in the picture. For instance, an image of the sport star relaxing in the countryside after his play in the field can have greater influence on the viewers and audience. Practices of sustainable tourism like efficient practices of waste management, better handling of plastic pollution and combating with hazards of tourist generated waste need to be marketed along with tourist product. These practices not only engages the audience to explore the scenic beauty of the place but also to propagate similar strategy to the neighboring regions thus inculcating the right spirit of tourism among the people.

Conclusion:

Northamptonshire has a natural landscape hence the concept of sustainable tourism can be popularized amidst the concerns of climate hazards across the globe. Sustainable practices of tourism can also be encouraged while increasing the marketing of the tourist product. It is also necessary to create a positive perception of the product in the minds to create a long term impression. The motive should be not only attract newer customers but also retain them thereby increasing their frequency of their visits. Tourism has a potential to enthuse the economy to track a positive growth trajectory thus creating opportunities of employment, increasing the livelihood options of the people. This not only increases the income of the local people but allow the rural background to have better conditions of living standards.

References:

Antti Pesonen, J., 2013. Information and communications technology and market segmentation in tourism: a review. Tourism Review, 68(2), pp.14-30.

Ashworth, G. and Goodall, B., 2013. Marketing in the Tourism Industry (RLE Tourism): The promotion of destination regions. Routledge.

Augustyn, M.M., 2013. Coping with resource scarcity: the experience of UK tourism SMEs. Small Firms in Tourism, p.257.

Council, R.C., 2018. St George’s.

Gretzel, U. and Yoo, K.H., 2013. Premises and promises of social media marketing in tourism. The Routledge handbook of tourism marketing, pp.491-504.

Hall, C.M., 2014. Tourism and social marketing. Routledge.

Hudson, S. and Thal, K., 2013. The impact of social media on the consumer decision process: Implications for tourism marketing. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 30(1-2), pp.156-160.

Kavoura, A. and Katsoni, V., 2013. From e-business to c-commerce: collaboration and network creation for an e-marketing tourism strategy. Tourismos, 8(3), pp.113-128.

Liu, C.H.S. and Chou, S.F., 2016. Tourism strategy development and facilitation of integrative processes among brand equity, marketing and motivation. Tourism Management, 54, pp.298-308.

Mariani, M.M., Buhalis, D., Longhi, C. and Vitouladiti, O., 2014. Managing change in tourism destinations: Key issues and current trends. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 2(4), pp.269-272.

Morrison, A.M., 2013. Marketing and managing tourism destinations. Routledge.

Rydin, Y. and Natarajan, L., 2016. The materiality of public participation: the case of community consultation on spatial planning for north Northamptonshire, England. Local Environment, 21(10), pp.1243-1251.

Truong, V.D. and Hall, C.M., 2013. Social marketing and tourism: What is the evidence?. Social Marketing Quarterly, 19(2), pp.110-135.

Vellas, F., 2016. The international marketing of travel and tourism: A strategic approach. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Watson, S., 2013. Country matters: the rural-historic as an authorised heritage discourse in England. In Heritage and Tourism (pp. 119-142). Routledge.

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