VisitBritain and British Airways go after US tourists

VisitBritain and British Airways have this week launched a multi-million-pound campaign in the USA, Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor market, titled ‘Meanwhile in Britain’. Alongside the campaign, VisitBritain and British Airways have also announced a three-year partnership to market Britain globally.

This co-created, multi-channel campaign will highlight the incredible offerings from the destination now, showcasing another side of Britain full of current, cool and unmissable experiences. The diverse experiences highlighted in the campaign are curated by experts who are embedded into the fabric of British culture; challenging perceptions of the destination and the journey that awaits travelers on their next trip. Given the pent up-demand for travel and with the easing of travel restrictions in the UK, it is an ideal time to fly with British Airways, soak up the airline’s quintessentially British service and enjoy the exciting events on offer.

VisitBritain Executive Vice President of the Americas Gavin Landry said:

“Britain is packed full of undiscovered and exciting experiences, and we want people to book a trip right now to come and explore our diverse culture, heritage and offerings across our nations and regions. The landmark events this year, including Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrating 70 years on the throne, ‘Unboxed,’ the series of 10 UK-wide events showcasing the country’s creativity, and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that visitors can only have this year, in Britain. Working with a partner like British Airways amplifies our reach as we drive recovery from COVID, turning the inspiration to visit into bookings.”

Tom Stevens, Director of Brand & Customer Experience at British Airways said:

“As we recover from the global pandemic, we are ready to be the airline that reconnects Britain with the world and the world with Britain – and are delighted to partner with VisitBritain in our shared goal of encouraging visitors to Britain. We’ve been working hard to create a more premium, seamless and enjoyable experience for our customers, with sustainability at the heart of our business. With great prices and over 25 direct routes from the USA to London, there has never been a better time for travelers to book their next flight to Britain.”

‘Meanwhile in Britain’ will aim to drive consideration and bookings for Britain on British Airways, while influencing target audiences, including experience-driven travelers. The campaign highlights handpicked tastemakers who are experts in their fields, including Jonathan Heaf, Chief Content Officer at Soho House, Aisha & Oreoluwa Ayoade, co-founders of art platform Yellowzine which champions work by artists of the African, Asian, Caribbean and Hispanic diaspora, Lynsey Verrillo, co-founder of Blackbook Winery, and Matthew Lindley, a British Airways 777 Pilot. The tastemakers will provide their tips and favorite experiences to do in British cities, incorporating food, the outdoors, and British icons with a modern twist. These include everything from trying vegan Butchery at Rudy’s Vegan Diner (recommended by Heaf), discovering the creative district of FarGo Village in Coventry (recommended by Ayoade), and getting to new heights with the Dare Skywalk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (recommended by Lindley).

The campaign will run through social, programmatic display and video, direct partnership, and video direct, amplified through partners including TrueX, GumGum, The Trade Desk and Conde Nast. The creative campaign was developed by British Airways’ newly appointed agency Uncommon Creative Studio, while the media planning and purchasing was handled through OMD, VisitBritain‘s current and British Airways‘ new media buying agency who has a strong understanding of both brands.

In September 2021, VisitBritain and British Airways entered a three-year Global Airline Partner Framework Agreement. The partnership supports British tourism interests and values, with a shared goal of challenging perceptions of Britain and increasing market share through collaborative activity, driving immediate visits and spend as quickly as possible.

British Airways will fly from 26 USA gateways to London this summer, including a new route from Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow from June. And to create a more seamless experience for those wishing to travel regionally within Britain, British Airways and Loganair recently expanded their codeshare agreement, offering more choice and connectivity for customers.

The ‘Meanwhile in Britain’ campaign layers into VisitBritain’s recently launched, international marketing campaign ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ that puts the spotlight on the cities hit hard by the absence of international visitors, as well as sharing messages of welcome and reassurance. It also captures the major events this year, set to be global tourism draws.

The USA is the UK’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor market, worth £4.2 billion in 2019; 15% of all inbound spending. In 2019, there were 4.5 million visits from the USA, 11% of all inbound visits to the UK in 2019.  Flight capacity from the USA to the UK continues to show signs of recovery. In March 2022 airline scheduling activity was -42% behind levels in March 2019, the most promising monthly improvement in capacity since the onset of the pandemic (Apex). Latest figures from Oxford Economics show that visits from the USA to the UK are forecasted to exceed pre-covid levels by 2024. Longer term, visits are expected to increase 30% and spend by 62% between 2019-2030. 

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