TOURISM CAMPAIGN: Pride in Kent gives free tickets for attractions

As part of its Pride in Kent campaign, Visit Kent is staging an annual Kent Big Day Out in the run up to the Olympics in 2012 to take advantage of an expected surge in visitor numbers.

Campaign: Kent Big Day Out 2008
Client: Visit Kent (Kent County Council)
PR Team: Maxim
Timescale: December 2007 - April 2008
Budget: approximately £5,000

Research has revealed that more than 30 per cent of people visiting the county rely on personal recommendations for what they do during their stay.

Last year, through Visit Kent, 10,000 free tickets were made available to Kent residents - two per household - to visit one of 80 of the county's iconic or smaller attractions.

Tunbridge Wells-based Maxim was asked to make this year's event, on 29 March, even bigger.

Objectives
To raise local awareness of tourist attractions. To encourage residents to visit attractions and to drive traffic to the Visit Kent website.

Strategy and plan
The campaign was initially aimed at the local business press to encourage Kent tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses to take part by pledging their support and free tickets.

To generate media coverage, Maxim and Visit Kent signed up ten local media partners to the campaign, including BBC Radio Kent, BBC South East, Kent Regional News and Media and Courier Group Newspapers.

Measurement and evaluation
Kent Regional News and Media and Courier Newspapers published five eight-page supplements countywide through February and March. Major features and front covers were run in What's On (Kent Messenger Group), and KoS Media publications Kent Life and Kent Profile.

Results
More than 130 visitor attractions made 16,000 free tickets available. Around 11,000 of these tickets were downloaded within eight hours of the Visit Kent Big Day Out going live. The website attracted a record 16,000 hits in one day.

Early indications are that the redemption of tickets on the day was excellent.

A photographic competition with the best pictures taken on the Kent Big Day Out displayed on the Visit Kent website has sustained interest beyond the event.

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