THE CHALLENGE

Part of the Leeds City Region and West Yorkshire with a population of 440,000 across traditional market towns and villages that make up the district, Kirklees required a tourism strategy to work in harmony with the economic strategy and blueprint regeneration programmes already designed for both Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

The fabl were asked to deliver a tourism strategy and three-year delivery plan that would

  • clearly identify the district’s visitor appeal and strengths
  • maximise the current and future offer across culture, heritage, landscape, and food & drink
  • outline the key steps required to make Kirklees an attractive visitor destination
    increase revenue generated by the tourism offer
  • identify target markets
  • position the places and spaces of Kirklees within the tourism offer of the region and the nation

THE SOLUTION

Taking a three-phase approach we wanted to engage, connect and empower the local authority, residents, businesses and community groups.

Phase 1. Engage – Research and data for analytics
This was our discovery stage, the most influential factor for success, in public consultation with Kirklees Council departments, residents and key stakeholders. We reviewed papers and strategies already in existence, immersed ourselves in the destination and explored the regional relationships, gathered up-to-date opinions via telephone consultations, face-to-face meetings and an online survey.

Phase 2. Connect – The Kirklees Story
To define the Kirklees Story we connected everything we had learnt, heard and identified that formed a solid tourism strategy. Building on the insights, key attributes and distinctiveness of Kirklees, we aligned our findings to deliver a focussed approach around a wider opportunity.

Phase 3. Empower – Destination placemaking strategy and profile
With a solid understanding of who the visitors are, and the tourism trends playing into Kirklees’ destination strengths, we proposed an activation plan. This gave a clear description of each audience and route to market, market value and economic benefit. We identified the most effective communication tools, as well as the local, regional and national relationships to maximise and allocate budgets. Ultimately aimed at fueling conversations, driving engagement and inspiring action at all touch-points.

THE RESULT

Based on travel motivations, the results of our Kirklees public consultation and on emerging patterns of consumer behaviour, eight tourism trends were identified. These are relevant to shaping visitor demand in the UK, England and locally in Kirklees, during the lifetime of this strategy

We selected five target markets relevant to Kirklees. With a clearer understanding of the characteristics and segments within each market, targeted marketing and product development adapted for each, there are significant opportunities to increase the volume and value of visitors who come from the rest of the UK and overseas.

With a focus on turning Kirklees’ assets into visitor experiences, we identified the six tourism strengths that set Kirklees apart from other districts. Our potential markets are diverse and visitors have a wide choice of destinations to choose from. To be effective with any marketing activity, it is important to ensure that Kirklees has the right product fit for each market, and that both consumers and the travel trade will be receptive to what Kirklees has to offer.

When previous Kirklees tourism strategy drafts had been considered, the region’s economy was in a different place. Since that time considerable investment has been set aside for some major infrastructure and regeneration work in Huddersfield and Dewsbury. If managed and marketed well, our proposed tourism strategy and delivery plan presents an opportunity for the tourism industry to grow in an unprecedented way. Or to put it another way, if the tourism offer is marketed well and it maximises the regeneration opportunities, the benefits back to the wider economy can be realised.

Our three-year strategy and delivery plan sets out a framework for everyone in the district’s tourism sector to plan around these new opportunities, and build on the strengths of Kirklees as a destination. It is the start of a journey to forge stronger tourism opportunities for the sector and the wider district in order to:

1. Increase visitors to the district from out of Kirklees
2. Increase resident / community-based tourism within the district
3. Maximise the relationship with Visit England and Visit Britain
4. Ensure the Kirklees offer is situated within the West Yorkshire offer and broader Yorkshire experience, developing day visits and overnight stays in Kirklees
5. Increase revenue generated by the tourism offer