Bath gets top marks in visitor survey
19th March 2007
VISITORS WHO LIKE THE CITY SO MUCH THEY COME BACK TIME AND AGAIN, ACCORDING TO LATEST VISITOR SURVEY
The latest Bath Visitor Survey indicates that the majority of visitors leave the city having enjoyed their stay so much that they will recommend it to someone else. Of a total sample of just over 400 visitors to Bath, some 92 percent rated their overall enjoyment 'good' or 'very good' and 97 percent are likely to recommend Bath to friends and family.
There are no surprises about what draws people to Bath. The architecture and beauty of the city score highest, mentioned by 34 percent of respondents; next comes the relaxed and romantic atmosphere (19 percent); followed by attractions such as the Roman Baths and sightseeing (8 percent). The choice of shopping, all weather activities and compactness of the city were other positive factors.
It seems that visitors to the city are determined to have a good time, 58 percent could not think of anything which had spoilt the enjoyment of their visit. Those that did complain mentioned the seagulls and pigeons, vagrants, signage and car parking as issues that had spoilt their stay.
The Bath Visitor Survey is commissioned every two years by Bath Tourism Plus and is conducted by South West Tourism. A representative sample of day and staying visitors were interviewed during the summer months in 2006. The Survey gives useful insights into the visitor profile and behaviour as well as their views and opinions on every aspect of their visit to the city. The rest of the UK and other historic town and cities are used as a benchmark and Bath scored well in comparison. A total of eleven historic towns and cities participated including Salisbury, Chichester and Colchester.
Visitors are loyal to Bath, with almost two thirds (65 percent) having been before. The proportion of repeat visitors has increased by nine percent since the last Survey in 2004. The average length of stay has also increased since 2004 and is now 3.76 nights.
Robin Bischert, Chief Executive for Bath Tourism Plus explained the rationale behind the survey "to do our job of marketing Bath and the surrounding area we need to know who are customers are so we can make sure the right messages are reaching the right markets. This study provides detailed information which tells us who is coming to Bath and their opinions and experiences during their visit".
Bath Tourism Plus is delighted to see that the length of stay has increased and the high level of repeat visitors indicates that people have enjoyed their visit and are finding reasons to come again. "Our marketing programmes encourage visitors to come again and stay longer. This Survey confirms that we are meeting those objectives and Bath is performing well as a visitor destination," said Robin Bischert. "We are enjoying exceptional hotel occupancy figures but it does not mean we can rest on our laurels. By creative communications and marketing to highlight different facets of the city, we keep Bath top of mind both with people who have been before and potential visitors" continued Bischert.
The visitor profile reflects that 67 percent of staying visitors are UK based and one third (33 percent) are from overseas. Nearly two thirds (67 percent) are within the ABC1 socio-economic groups. Day visitors are in the majority (63 percent) but compared with other historic towns Bath has a higher proportion of staying visitors (37 percent) compared with only 24 percent elsewhere.
Compared with other historic cities Bath scored well. Four fifths of respondents (80 percent or more) ranked the quality and service at accommodation; range and quality of service at attractions; range and quality of service at places to eat and drink; and quality and range of shopping as "good and very good". "The high levels of visitor satisfaction reflect the hard work of everyone who works in the visitor economy" according to Bischert. However, in many of these categories more respondents said that value for money was 'poor or very poor' than in previous surveys. "The loyalty of Bath's visitors will be tested if they start to feel that the city is becoming too expensive. We need to maintain our reputation for quality and service but also for providing value for money" said Bischert.
Some 16 percent of visitors to Bath arrive by coach, double the national average, compared with nine per cent in other historic towns within the sample. Given the high proportion of coach visitors, a comprehensive coach management plan for the city is imperative.
Although the feedback was mainly very positive in the 2006 Bath Visitor Survey, some of the city's shortfalls were also highlighted including the cleanliness and availability of toilets; provisional of directional signage and range of nightlife and evening entertainment.
Visitors to Bath spend approximately one third more than in the rest of the UK. The spend on eating out and entertainment has shown a small increase whilst money spent on shopping and accommodation has dropped slightly.
"With a tradition of hospitality going back over hundreds of years, it is good to see that visitors today are made so welcome and clearly enjoy all that the city has to offer" concluded Bischert. Over 90 per cent of respondents stated that the general atmosphere and feeling of welcome was good or very good.
Notes to Editors:
For further information please contact Debbie Ponting at Bath Tourism Plus on 01225 477441 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bath Tourism Plus
Working with the public and private sectors, Bath's destination marketing organisation, Bath Tourism Plus, takes full responsibility for co-ordinating the work of a busy tourist information centre, the marketing of Bath and the surrounding area to leisure and business travellers, PR activity to attract the nation's top travel writers, a conference office, and development of Bath's official destination website www.visitbath.co.uk
Bath Tourism Plus is also responsible for the organisation and management of the Bath Christmas Market www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk, and is assisting with the organisation of the Taste of Bath event www.tasteofbath.co.uk
South West Tourism
This survey was conducted by South West Tourism's Research Department. For more information about their services see: http://www.swtourism.co.uk/html/research_department.asp