CT Consults

Northern cities assemble

Foot bridge over river, with buildings on banks

The challenge

In international terms, the north of England is a viable destination, but the product offer, connectivity and infrastructure might beg to differ. How can the powerful cultural offers of some of the region’s great cities – Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull and NewcastleGateshead – come together in a way that is accessible and appealing to growing international visitor markets – especially millennials?

Foot bridge over river, with buildings on banks

Our response

As a Discover England Fund project, CTConsults, with TEAM Tourism Consulting was commissioned by Visit Liverpool to produce an Asset Audit report following extensive research, to be reviewed alongside a Platform Review report. Both reports were considered within the context of VisitBritain’s future platform capabilities programme (Tourism Exchange GB). The recommendations from both reports set out the need for collective action and investment between the five participating cities and Destination Management Organisations – – to effect new ways of collaborative working, create new commissionable bookable product, relevant supporting content and the mechanisms and logistics to deliver a sustainable platform that will work for both international visitors and the travel trade.

We consulted the DMOs of the five cities to gauge both the current status of online bookability of their respective assets, and their expectations and level of commitment of the proposed new platform. From there we were able to collect and compare industry best practices for delivering bookable experiences through online platforms and channels, including interviewing industry stakeholders and technology providers.

Kickstarting a new approach

By bringing groups of experience suppliers together in each city, it enabled new partnerships to develop between cultural and tourism partners and with the DMOs. Bookable products developed through this initiative were tested out with VisitBritain’s new business-to-business platform connecting tourism suppliers to distributors around the world – Tourism Exchange GB.

with additional work with Leeds to develop more bookable products.

Woman looking at artwork, gold helicopter covered in pink feathers
When I thought of Manchester before I mostly thought of football and how it would be a great city for a men’s weekend (my boyfriend once had a bachelor party there with his group of friends). But it turns out that Manchester has so much more to offer, and is also a great city for women or couples to visit. ”


New bookable products and experiences

A suite of bookable products is now on sale with international travel trade operators in The Netherlands and Germany.

Changing perceptions

Worked in partnership with Ainsworth Wells and the DMOs to host a series of media familiarisation visits from across Europe resulting in significant positive media coverage for participating northern cities.

Further investment in Leeds

Visit Leeds commissioned us to build a programme of support for experience suppliers to develop commissionable, bookable, online product for the travel trade.

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