VisitBritain - Open Letter of Support to the events community



In March, as COVID-19 descended, the events industry was brought to a standstill.
How does a tourist board like VisitBritain respond when the world’s events are cancelled, travel comes to a standstill, jobs are lost and companies closing? We knew one thing – this was no time to say “choose the UK for your next event!” But being silent did not feel right either. Research told us that planners were very worried about the financial impact of the pandemic, or were on furlough or made redundant. Yet our competitors were largely silent – pointing to a competitive gap where we could maintain presence in the market, but with an appropriate message.
We wanted the UK to show support, unity, understanding and camaraderie to the business events community, and enable that message to be amplified by our UK partners. The message needed to be empathetic, united, and targeted to the audience, but not lobbyist, political, insensitive, alarmist or promotional.
So in three short weeks, we produced a highly visual, animated ‘open letter of support’ campaign from the UK events industry. With zero budget, the campaign needed to perform strongly on owned and earned channels – in particular social media and PR – as well as being widely amplified by UK industry, CVBs and many international partners.
With strong support, the campaign’s results far exceeded expectations with an overall audience reach of 158,000 events professionals. This included over 33,000 known video views on social media, with an engagement rate in excess of 8% on some channels.
The follow up message was also critical so we published a series of video messages from VisitBritain and UK CVBs ensuring a continued message of support and presence in the market, during this very difficult time for the industry.

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