March, 2017 (St. John’s Antigua) – The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has stepped up advertising efforts in the United Kingdom ahead of the traditional April sales period to increase summer business for the twin-island destination.
"We felt the need to create a boost in Summer 2017 bookings from the United Kingdom ahead of the usual April advertising period, and decided to work with one of our largest tour operator partners in the UK, Virgin Holidays," said Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James.
This initiative of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has seen Virgin Holidays launch their first ever shop take-over across all Virgin Holidays’ 100 stores in the UK.
Virgin Holidays has for the first time allowed a destination to have leaflets across their network of stores, a large central banner and take-over of the shop plasma screens with the Antigua & Barbuda destination video featuring internationally recognised cricketing hero Sir Vivian Richards, inviting visitors to Antigua and Barbuda.
All Virgin Holidays staff are being incentivised to sell Antigua and Barbuda from the 9th-15th March 2017 and customers will be made aware of destination offers, through an e-mail newsletter and a social media push. For Holiday-seekers looking for holiday deals, the home page of the website www.VirginHolidays.co.uk also has on display a prominent banner for Antigua and Barbuda featuring holiday offers from £699.
Targeted Adverts in the national press including The Guardian, The Times and Telegraph appeared on Saturday 11 March and will run again on Tuesday 14 March 2017 to create awareness for the promotion and the special offers.
At a local level, individual Virgin Holidays shops have worked to create a buzz within their local communities. Antigua and Barbuda carnival dancers were present at one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, Bluewater’s in Kent on Saturday, while twitter was used at both The Mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol (approx 10,000 followers), and the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds (71,000 followers) to raise awareness of the Antigua and Barbuda Virgin Holiday offers. Many more initiatives are also being undertaken.
A number of hotels in Antigua and Barbuda have supported the initiative to include Jolly Beach Resort and Spa, The Verandah Resort and Spa, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort, and the Blue Waters Resort by offering special deals. Virgin Atlantic has also been involved in ensuring that all partners are working together to increase bookings to the island, with positive results already being reported.
The UK market accounted for approximately 77,000 stay-over visitors to the destination in 2016 with UK visitors staying 9 nights on average which amounts to 346,500 room nights.