Culture Kent research discovers cultural tourists are more likely to stay longer in Kent

As part of the Culture Kent project, extensive research was carried out to discover more about cultural tourists visiting Kent. From the research findings, we have discovered that cultural tourists have a higher propensity to stay longer when visiting the county than other leisure tourists.

Culture Kent sought to reposition Kent as one of the UK’s creative counties, through a series of pilot events and artworks in key destinations: Margate, Folkestone, Canterbury, Whitstable, Medway and Dover. Turner Contemporary worked with Kent’s tourism body Visit Kent to bring cultural organisations and tourism businesses together to create new ways of attracting and engaging tourists.

Image Folkstone Outer Harbour Beach

photo: Thierry Bal & Folkestone Triennial 2014

A key element of the project involved the commissioning of an in-depth research programme, part of which examined the perceptions, motivations, experiences and demographics of ‘cultural tourists’ to Kent.

Cultural tourists are those visitors who are primarily motivated to visit a destination because of its cultural offer, and visitors who participate in the cultural activity of a place, even if it is not the prime reason for visiting.

Canterbury Christ Church University (Tourism and Events Research Hub) and Visit Kent were commissioned to undertake the research for a two-year period from 2015 – 2017, the first time such research has been carried out in the county.

The consumer research surveyed the behaviour and perceptions of three different groups of domestic tourists: existing Kent cultural tourists, potential cultural tourists and existing Kent leisure tourists.

The research has found that:

● A higher proportion of existing Kent cultural tourists went on short breaks (51%) and mid-length holidays (21%) than existing Kent leisure tourists (43% and 14% respectively). Cultural tourists’ tendency to spend longer in Kent supports the need to actively engage in promoting the cultural tourism offer further.

● 54% of those surveyed associate Kent as a cultural destination (above the VisitEngland average of 35% for Great Britain)

● Cultural tourists also value destinations with an attractive natural setting.

● Cultural trips are extremely diverse, and are increasingly about authentic experiences across multiple sites and businesses in one destination, all of which help visitors to understand and experience the place, its people and its culture.

The research has also newly defined what a ‘cultural destination’ is:

“The cultural destination is a networked space delivering a total experience to visitors that helps them understand a location and its people, through history and contemporary culture.”

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Turner and the Elements, Turner Contemporary. Photo Stephen White

Culture is regarded as a key driver for tourism, with World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures estimating 37% of world travel is undertaken by ‘cultural tourists’. Cultural tourism has maintained its upward trend in the face of economic austerity, particularly seen along the South East of England’s Creative Coast.

Declining coastal areas have experienced a renaissance, with economic investment in culture increasing tourism, both domestic and inbound, to the South East, such as Turner Contemporary in Margate, Folkestone Triennial and Whitstable Biennale.

Turner Contemporary has spearheaded the regeneration of Margate, welcoming over 2.5 million visits since it opened in 2011 and contributing over £58 million into the local economy through tourism and inward investment.

Director of Turner Contemporary, Victoria Pomery OBE said:

“The new research undertaken via the Culture Kent project has shown us that the arts can drive and sustain economic and social change by attracting cultural tourists. From this insight, we plan to create more meaningful, relevant experiences for visitors and the local community. We are very excited to be using this knowledge to further our impact, and deliver Culture Coasting – an ambitious project, which will include new artistic commissions and benefit the whole of the Creative Coast in the South East.”

Project Director Culture Kent Sarah Dance said:

“The Culture Kent Project gave us important new insight into cultural tourism to the county. This new research allows us to understand our audiences better, meaning we are now able to deliver a real step-change in the visitor economy. We know that in order to become a really successful ‘cultural destination’ we need to be a networked area, delivering a total experience to visitors that helps them understand a location and its people, through history and contemporary culture. Culture Coasting will take forward this knowledge to create a new and exciting connected experience for visitors to the South East coast region.”

Director, Tourism and Events Research Hub at Canterbury Christ Church University Dr Karen Thomas said:

“The findings from the Culture Kent research programme show that the time is right for increased cross-sectoral working, with key drivers converging to support the move to more collaborative work between tourism and culture/the arts. Culture Kent created an effective enabling environment for this, unlocking new possibilities for the sectors to work together. This research is important to the legacy of Culture Kent, providing an enhanced understanding of the cultural tourism landscape together with organisational and consumer perspectives on cultural tourism.”

Antony Gormley, ANOTHER TIME, 2017. Photo credit Stephen White (8) - 1500px

ANOTHER TIME XXI, 2013 © Antony Gormley. On Fulsam Rock on the Margate foreshore. Photography by Thierry Bal

This significant new research informs an ambitious new project led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent, Culture Coasting.

A pioneering new cultural trail will be created, combining original new artworks by leading contemporary artists with geocaching treasure trail technology to offer visitors a unique new experience. The three-year project is funded by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations programme and VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund and will create a step-change in the visitor economy, increasing tourists to the South East by 2020.

Turner Contemporary will work with partners across the South East coast from Eastbourne to the Thames Estuary: Towner Art Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion, Jerwood Gallery, Creative Foundation, Whitstable Biennale and Metal, to create the trail.

The project has also secured significant investment from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), East Sussex County Council and Kent County Council.

Culture Coasting will demonstrate how new initiatives and a networked cultural destination can increase tourism across a region.

You can read the full report and case studies, as well as research insight summaries by clicking on the links below:

Summary of Findings (Executive summary)
Culture Kent Summary of Findings report

Detailed research reports:
Audit of the Cultural Tourism Landscape (i)
Audit of the Cultural Tourism Landscape (ii)
Organisational Perspectives
Consumer perspectives

Research insights summaries:
Research Insights – Evidence Review
Research Insights – Organisational perspective
Research Insights – Consumer perspective

Case studies:
Culture Kent Case Study 1 – Margate
Culture Kent Case Study 2 – Folkestone
Culture Kent Case Study 3 – Dover
Culture Kent Case Study 4 – Canterbury
Culture Kent Case Study 5 – Whitstable
Culture Kent Case Study 6 – Medway

Legacy:
Round Table legacy and ways forward
Round Table Best practice

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What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 6): Problem Solver

Image Perspex etching workshop

Perspex etching workshop

As part of Culture Kent’s research, we asked Deeson to provide us with Personas & Use Cases for the types of users that will potentially use our Events open data source.  In turn, they identified six Personas and explained their corresponding Use Cases.  This series of blogs will highlight each one in detail according to their behaviour & motivations or responsibilities, goals, challenges, and interests.

In this post, we discuss another Persona & Use Case,  the Problem Solver’, the sixth type of user who will potentially use our Events open data source.  The Problem Solver’ is someone who might be self-employed want wants to take their kids to more Arts & Cultural events, yet the information is not easily accessible for someone who is busy.  This person is very motivated and able to pool resources together and working collaboratively.

People who are Problem Solvers’ might state:

“I just love taking on projects and solving problems, especially when I can relate to them.”

What are their responsibilities?
• Developing ideas based on real world problems
• Building relationships and pooling resources to get things done
• Researching users to better understand the problem they are trying to solve

What are their goals?
• Build a legacy! They want to see their ideas grow and expand
• Gain outside investment to keep developing their ideas
• Fill gaps in the market with great solutions

What are some of the challenges they face?
• Building accurate and timely content to make solutions valuable
• Finding time relevant partners takes a lot of time
• Data integrity – how can I be sure data I’m being given is correct?
• Data in a common format and structure to make it easy to integrate

What are they interested in regarding an open data source?
• Data feeds that allow them to focus on developing a better solution
• A common data structure for events
• Opportunities to monetise their solution
• Giving credit to partners
• Open and honest collaboration

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  Leave a comment to discuss!

This post is made possible by the work done by Deeson in Canterbury, Kent.  We truly appreciate their hard work and collaboration with Culture Kent.

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 1): Culturally Curious

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 2): Strategic Thinker

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 3): Strategic Planner

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 4): Event Marketer

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 5): Theatre Enthusiast

What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 5): Theatre Enthusiast

Image Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary

As part of Culture Kent’s research, we asked Deeson to provide us with Personas & Use Cases for the types of users that will potentially use our Events open data source.  In turn, they identified six Personas and explained their corresponding Use Cases.  This series of blogs will highlight each one in detail according to their behaviour & motivations or responsibilities, goals, challenges, and interests.

For the fifth type of user who will potentially use our Events open data source, we discuss another Persona & Use Case,  the Theatre Enthusiast’. The ‘Theatre Enthusiast’ is someone who might not only perform in a theatre, they might also be the owner, promoter, and accountant.  Between practices, shows, and promoting their events, they do not have much time to do a great deal of research and marketing to increase audiences.

People who are Theatre Enthusiasts’ might state:

“We’re good at engaging our ‘fans’, it’s attracting new audiences we struggle with”

What are their responsibilities?
• Day to day performance as an Accountant
• Organising and helping direct practice and live shows
• Marketing and promoting upcoming events in spare time

What are their goals?
• Put on excellent shows
• Inspire participation and grow youth involvement
• Attract audiences to performances
• Expand audience database

What are some of the challenges they face?
• Time, budget and resource – as a hobby this is even more strained
• Promoting to new audiences, unsure how to reach them
• Duplicate data entry across different promotion platforms

What are they interested in regarding an open data source?
• Expanding their audience
• Reducing duplicate data entry and therefore wasting time and resource
• Systems with simple data input

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  Leave a comment to discuss!

This post is made possible by the work done by Deeson in Canterbury, Kent.  We truly appreciate their hard work and collaboration with Culture Kent.

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 1): Culturally Curious

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 2): Strategic Thinker

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 3): Strategic Planner

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 4): Event Marketer

What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 4): Event Marketer

Image Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary

As part of Culture Kent’s research, we asked Deeson to provide us with Personas & Use Cases for the types of users that will potentially use our Events open data source.  In turn, they identified six Personas and explained their corresponding Use Cases.  This series of blogs will highlight each one in detail according to their behaviour & motivations or responsibilities, goals, challenges, and interests.

In the fourth part of our series on the types of users who will potentially use our Events open data source, we discuss another Persona & Use Case,  the ‘Event Marketer’.  An ‘Event Marketer’ is an employee responsible for advertising events held by their organisation, or someone who owns or manages a venue that holds events, specifically a Cultural Marketing Manager.  This person is in charge of increasing the event’s audience, an important task that depends upon spreading the word beyond their existing audience.

People who are ‘Event Marketers’ might state:

“Is there an opportunity to collaboratively work on getting event information out to a wider audience?”

What are their responsibilities?
• Working closely with schedules to plan marketing budgets and activity
• Promote and market events across the local area using a variety of methods
• Build good relationships with performers and support them in promoting themselves

What are their goals?
• Increase marketing activity reach to promote events to new audiences
• Increase attendances at events across all types; comedy, theatre, arts, etc.
• Enhance reputation as an inspiring arts centre and encourage community participation

What are some of the challenges they face?
• Limited marketing budget
• Targeting the correct audiences for the correct types of events
• Sharing commercially private data in a safe and non-damaging manner

What are they interested in regarding an open data source?
• Collaborating with other institutions who understand the problem the sector is facing to bring data together
• Getting ‘what’s on’ information out to a wider audience more easily

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  Leave a comment to discuss!

This post is made possible by the work done by Deeson in Canterbury, Kent.  We truly appreciate their hard work and collaboration with Culture Kent.

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 1): Culturally Curious

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 2): Strategic Thinker

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 3): Strategic Planner

What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases (part 3): Strategic Planner

Image

As part of Culture Kent’s research, we asked Deeson to provide us with Personas & Use Cases for the types of users that will potentially use our Events open data source.  In turn, they identified six Personas and explained their corresponding Use Cases.  This series of blogs will highlight each one in detail according to their behaviour & motivations or responsibilities, goals, challenges, and interests.

In the previous two posts, we discussed two different types of users who will potentially use our Events open data source.  In this post, we consider a third Persona & Use Case, this time the ‘Strategic Planner’.  Here, a ‘Strategic Planner’ is anyone who plans events, such as an Events Schedule Director.  This is someone who might rely on past statistics and audience feedback to improve upcoming events.

People who are ‘Strategic Planners’ might state:

“To have a coherent picture of what’s happening and where would help us plan more effectively”

What are their responsibilities?
• Scheduling and planning of events
• Developing income generation
• Audience development
• Building strategic partnerships
• Showcasing art & culture

What are their goals?
• Increase national and international recognition
• Transform Kent – people and places
• Position Kent as ‘culture county’
• Boost the local economy
• Increase community well-being

What are some of the challenges they face?
• Benchmarking against similar institutions
• Evidence based planning
• Resources – becoming more sustainable
• Reliability of data

What are they interested in regarding an open data source?
• Audience data inc. behaviour / motivations
• Data dashboard
• Evaluation data of events
• Data-led ways to target funding
• A holistic picture of county wide events
• Becoming smarter as a sector

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  Leave a comment to discuss!

This post is made possible by the work done by Deeson in Canterbury, Kent.  We truly appreciate their hard work and collaboration with Culture Kent.

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 1): Culturally Curious

Read the previous post: What Types of Users Will Find Culture Kent’s Open Data Source Helpful? Personas & Use Cases(part 2): Strategic Thinker