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02/06/2016

Tourism Intelligence -
March and April 2016

With Easter falling in March this year (and in April in 2015), this month’s market intelligence looks at business performance across both months to understand how the sector performed.

The early Easter presented an opportunity to encourage visitors back to York following the Boxing Day flooding. We launched the Original City Adventure campaign and also organised York’s first Easter festival in time for the first key trip taking period of the year. Results for March and April are encouraging after a difficult start to the year.

With some big exhibitions and events launching in attractions in March and April: Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum; Shaping the Body at the Castle Museum; Brideshead Revisited at the all new Theatre Royal, there were 2% more visits to York’s attractions than in the same two month period last year. York Pass has been slower to recover with a couple of York’s key attractions still closed over the Easter holiday; only 1.4% of all visits to attractions were made with a York Pass, compared to the more usual 2%.

Footfall through the Visit York Information Centre and city centre footfall was 5% lower than in March and April 2015. Good news, however, was that the new Easter festival, organised by Make It York on Parliament St from the 25th to 28th March increased footfall by 22% over the same weekend in the previous year.

Provisional hotel room occupancy data shows that average room rates have held strong all year, and during March and April were 5% higher than in the same two months last year, at £75.72. Provisional average room occupancy rates have improved since the beginning of the year and are now at 70% for March and April, only 3% lower than 2015.

The dramatic decline in sessions on VisitYork.org is slowing, with a drop of just 14% over March and April (vs March and April 2015), which is down from a 23% decline in the first two months of the year. The mobile visityork.org website takes an ever increasing share of sessions – with 20% of sessions on a mobile device this year, compared to just 10% last year.

Business tourism continues to be a good news story, with a resurgence in the number of enquiries and confirmations generated by VisitYork4Meetings this year. To date, enquiries are up by a fifth, with the booking value of these two fifths higher than at the same point in time in 2015.

Summary for Easter (March and April) 2016

  • 70% of hotel rooms occupied (67% in March and 74% in April) - provisional
  • £75.72 average hotel room rate (£74.18 in March and £77.38 in April) - provisional
  • 434,888 visits to attractions (200,127 in March and 234,761 in April)
  • 5,742 visits to attractions using a York Pass (2,522 in March and 3,220 in April)
  • 279,535 sessions on www.visityork.org, including on the mobile site (157,490 in March and 122,045 in April)
  • 204 accommodation bookings made through www.visityork.org (119 in March and 85 in April)
  • 64,240 customers through the Visit York Information Centre (31,306 in March and 32,934 in April)

To request an overview of tourism performance each month or to find out any more about our Research and Insights, contact Make It York’s Research Executive Zoe Rawson: Email: zr@visityork.org