During our recent Visit Kent FAM, Visit Jersey and partners were able to hear first-hand from Kent’s tourism businesses the benefits presented by Kent’s Big Weekend event business model. Visit Jersey in partnership with the Jersey Hospitality Association are keen to work with industry to explore welcoming the Big Weekend to the island break in 2020.
Visit Kent’s Big Weekend has been running in Kent for over a decade, and elsewhere in more recent years. Over that time Kent have learnt a lot and perfected the model so that they are confident to recommend it and share it with others. Over the last few years, the decision was made to package it up and make it available to other places, including Herts, Essex and Wiltshire.
What is the Big Weekend?
The Big Weekend initially started as an ambition to turn local residents into better informed advocates for tourism attractions and activities and get them involved in the tourism welcome. One weekend at the beginning of the season, residents apply for free tickets which are given out on a limited lottery basis, a chance for a soft opening for attractions gearing up for the season.
- Encourages residents to discover Jersey and share a sense of pride
- Setup to promote experiences and attractions
- Encourages word of mouth recommendations
- Gives tourism businesses the opportunity to reach new audiences
Opportunities for Jersey?
- Kick start the visitor season – potential to become a signature event for spring
- Attractions donate tickets for local residents to win tickets in a ballot (the business determines when/how these are used)
- Post event research shows businesses and residents find the event beneficial
- Campaign generates real income and lasting impact
- The Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market represented 15% of Jersey’s visitor numbers in 2018. With local residents as advocates, it could open up increased full price bookings from this portion of the market
- Raising awareness of the fantastic experiences your destination has to offer
- Giving experience businesses a sense of pride in Jersey and what it has to offer
- Engaging residents and local politicians about the value of tourism to the local area
- Encouraging repeat visits with the Visiting Friends and Relatives market
- Media coverage
- Building on Kent’s successful development of the Big Weekend under the management of Go To Places, there is opportunity to leverage this concept and host the event in Jersey.
David Curtis-Brignell, Deputy CEO, Go To Places, will be joining the Jersey Attractions Group on Thursday 25 April 2019, 3pm at Les Ormes.
Whether you are an attraction, activity provider, a hotelier or restaurant, we’d love to see you there to find out how you can get involved. This invitation is open to non Jersey Hospitality Association members.
It is only by working together that we can help the world fall in love with Jersey.