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The Isles of Scilly’s latest Visitor Survey has revealed a growing demand for short breaks, particularly amongst first-time visitors to the islands and particularly during the shoulder seasons (March, April, May, September and October).

Last year, 24% of all visitors to Scilly were first timers, 40% of whom stayed for between 2 and 4 nights. These short stay visitors said that they were flexible in terms of their preferred day of arrival, although the largest proportion actually arrived on the islands either on a Monday or Friday. The 2017 Visitor Survey also suggested a desire amongst these first-time short-break visitors to self-cater. This is despite only 17% of short breaks being accommodated within the self-catering sector, according to the statistics collected.

The 2017 survey was the most comprehensive yet, attracting 2,786 responses, an increase of 17% over 2016 (and 92% of which were completed online). 93% of respondents were staying visitors. The annual visitor surveys, which have been conducted by the Islands’ Partnership for the last four years, enable valuable data to be gathered which is now providing a useful insight into specific trends. These in turn, help the IP to shape the islands’ product development to enhance and grow the visitor economy.

Another trend that the visitor survey continues to witness is a significant and growing desire amongst visitors to be able to book online. 50% of respondents would have preferred to do so had the option been available. This compares with the 27% of respondents who actually did book online. The survey also found that 65% of respondents use social media and, of those, 89% were regular users of Facebook, up 2% since the last survey. The biggest percentage increase was however in the use of Instagram, which rose 8% to 21% in just 12 months.

In terms of how visitors found the information they were looking for, an impressive 75% of first-time visitors used visitislesoscilly.com to plan their trip. Overall, visitislesofscilly.com was considered to be the most useful source of information for all visitors (34%), followed by the printed Isles of Scilly Guide (20%) and the Isles of Scilly Travel website (18%).

The survey saw no significant change in the reasons that motivate visitors to come to Scilly. The islands’ natural beauty, the general atmosphere and sense of welcome all scored highest again in visitor satisfaction ratings, whilst the features and activities on the islands which visitors considered of highest importance to them were walking, rest & relaxation, island-hopping, the beaches, local food & drink and wildlife. Indeed, 68% of visitors said nature and wildlife events would encourage them to visit the islands (a new event category added in the 2017 survey), closely followed by food and drink festivals (63%) and walking festivals (53%) – all reinforcing the recommendations within Scilly’s Destination Management Plan for these attributes and experiences to play through more strongly in the destination brand. The lack of evening entertainment and the lack of choice and value of the local food and drink offer once again were both named as areas for improvement, however.

“The 2017 survey was in many ways the most revealing yet and demonstrates that Scilly is no different than other UK destinations in terms of the growing trend for shorter breaks and the ability to book them, and indeed most holidays, online,” says Islands’ Partnership Executive Director, David Jackson. “There’s growing evidence that our new, younger visitors as well as our traditional core market are increasingly wanting to book their stays online as they can do elsewhere. Our current digital project which will see our Visit Isles of Scilly website – visitislesofscilly.com - revamped and upgraded with online book-ability options by the end of this year will significantly help to address this imbalance,” he notes. “The performance of our website is already strong, but we know it will be even more valuable to users, and our members, in reaching out to new markets and attracting even more new visitors to the islands.”

David also suggests an opportunity amongst self-catering accommodation providers to look at the short break market for shoulder season offers. “The survey definitely suggests that those self-catering providers who are not getting whole-week bookings in early and late season should consider splitting their weeks into two and offering short breaks,” he comments. “We are already working on a programme to extend the season, both for later this year but particularly for spring 2019 that will work hand-in-hand to enhance Scilly’s short-break, shoulder-season proposition.”

The comprehensive Visitor Survey 2017 is available to view on the Islands’ Partnership website (Members’ area, Industry Reports, Surveys). Or feel free to call in to the IP office to browse a copy.

The 2018 Visitor Survey is also now available online for this year’s visitors to the islands.

The 2017 Visitor Survey was conducted by the Islands’ Partnership in association with The South West Research Company.

Upcoming Events

  • Tue
    13
    Jan
    2015
    1pm - 3pmLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    Two hours of informal training that will help you improve booking opportunities...

    Make the most of your business listing:

    - Use all 4 photo opportunities, and make sure your photos are the best you can have

    - Are you saying all the right things?

    - Improve your copy to that it maximises SEO opportunities

    - Ensure your meta data works for you

  • Thu
    15
    Jan
    2015
    10am-12 noonLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    Two hours of informal training that will help you improve booking opportunities...

    Make the most of your business listing:

    - Use all 4 photo opportunities, and make sure your photos are the best you can have

    - Are you saying all the right things?

    - Improve your copy to that it maximises SEO opportunities

    - Ensure your meta data works for you

  • Wed
    28
    Jan
    2015
    10.15am - 1pmIP Office
  • Thu
    29
    Jan
    2015
    10am-12 noonLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    This is the rescheduled training from 15th January.  If any spaces come up, we will open it up again to all IP members.

    It's about how to make the best of your business listing on the Visit Isles of Scilly website..

    - better photos

    - writing good copy

    - accentuating the plus points of your business

    - improving SEO opportunities

  • Tue
    03
    Feb
    2015
    1pm - 3pmLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    Twitter as an effective marketing tool

    Creating an account, building your profile

    How, what and when to tweet

    Useful hints and tips

  • Thu
    05
    Feb
    2015
    10am-1pmIP Office, Steamship House, Hugh Town

    Advice and troubleshooting clinic for members already using Facebook, Twitter and Tripadvisor.  Walk-in!

  • Fri
    06
    Feb
    2015
    10am-12 noonLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)
    • Why WiFi is good for business
    • Getting it set up; costs and equipment
    • Choosing the right routers and boosters to get through granite walls and ensure consistent coverage throughout large or awkward buildings
    • Troubleshooting (Q&A)
  • Thu
    12
    Feb
    2015
    10am-12 noonLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    Facebook as an effective marketing tool

    Creating an account, building your profile

    How, what and when to post

    Useful hints and tips

  • Tue
    24
    Feb
    2015
    Wed
    25
    Feb
    2015
  • Wed
    25
    Feb
    2015
    Thu
    26
    Feb
    2015
    All dayTregarthen's Hotel

    This is organised by Tregarthen's Hotel.  Details can be found via www.supplyscilly.co.uk 

  • Wed
    04
    Mar
    2015
    All daySt Marys'

    Invitation only event led by Export Cornwall for those businesses and organisations  seeking to access foreign markets. Contact Amanda Pender for more information.

  • Mon
    09
    Mar
    2015
    Fri
    13
    Mar
    2015
    Various times, all weekTregarthen's and Life Long Learning

    A week long programme of presentations, workshops and events, jointly hosted by the Islands' Partnership and the Council of the Isles of Scilly

  • Tue
    10
    Mar
    2015
    2:15 pmIP Office, Steamship House, Hugh Town
  • Wed
    25
    Mar
    2015
    10:15 amSt Marys' (IP office TBC)
  • Sat
    28
    Mar
    2015
    Sun
    29
    Mar
    2015
    All dayBeaches across Scilly
  • Mon
    30
    Mar
    2015
    11am - 12.30pmLife Long Learning St Mary's (next to Sports Hall)

    - Why WiFi is good for business

    - Getting it set up; costs and equipment

    - Choosing the right routers and boosters to get through granite walls and ensure consistent coverage throughout large or awkward buildings

    - Troubleshooting (Q&A)

  • Sat
    11
    Apr
    2015
    Fri
    17
    Apr
    2015
    All dayAll islands

    www.visitislesofscilly.com/walkscilly

  • Mon
    11
    May
    2015
    Sage, Gateshead

    Rooting for Hell Bay Hotel in the Small Hotel of the Year Award

  • Tue
    12
    May
    2015
    10:15 amBryher
  • Tue
    02
    Jun
    2015
    5.30pm - 9pmTregarthen's Hotel, St Mary's
  • Wed
    03
    Jun
    2015
    10am - 12noonLife Long Learning

    By invitation only

  • Wed
    17
    Jun
    2015
    10:15 amSt Martin's (TBC)
  • Thu
    16
    Jul
    2015
    6pm - 8pmIP Office
  • Mon
    17
    Aug
    2015
    Gates 7pm, Film 8.45pmHolgates Green

    Tickets from the TIC - 01720 424031

  • Fri
    28
    Aug
    2015
    Sun
    30
    Aug
    2015
    VariousKarma St Martin's, Tresco, Star Castle

    The Islands' Partnership is proud to host this leading lady from Fascinating Aida as she tours Scilly with her own show, Everything's Coming up Roses.

  • Thu
    17
    Sep
    2015
    10am - 12.30pmSteamship House
  • Thu
    24
    Sep
    2015
    11.30 - 130St Mary's Hall

    A meeting to discuss how the cruise ship Meet & Greet programme has gone this year, and how we can make it even better for 2016.  Followed by a thank you buffet lunch. 

  • Tue
    29
    Sep
    2015
    Wed
    30
    Sep
    2015
    10am - 4pm Newquay Airport Aerohub

    IP members are invited to attend the Cornwall Expo 2015 Exhibition & Conference in the unique setting of Cornwall Aerohub's largest hanger at Newquay Airport.  Learn about the infrastructure improvements programmed for Cornwall and Scilly over the next five years, and how they are set to continue to transform and grow our businesses, skills base and tourism industries.  Further details to follow.

  • Thu
    01
    Oct
    2015
    Sun
    04
    Oct
    2015
  • Fri
    02
    Oct
    2015
    10:15 amSt Mary's
  • Thu
    22
    Oct
    2015
    11am - 1pmChurch Hall, St. Mary's
  • Thu
    26
    Nov
    2015
    10am - 12 noonLife Long Learning (next to Sports Hall)

    Get your photography right; create SEO friendly copy; learn how to do great special offers

  • Tue
    01
    Dec
    2015
    10:30 amIP Office, Steamship House, Hugh Town
  • Thu
    03
    Dec
    2015
    10am - 12.30pmLife Long Learning (next to Sports Hall)

    How to write for websites; decided on the right architecture for you!
    Please note, this is preliminary training for those attending the "Build a Website" training in January. If spaces are tight, then priority will be given to them.

  • Wed
    23
    Dec
    2015
    5pm - 9pm TBCHugh Town

    The second Christmas fayre organised by the Islands' Partnership.  Carol Singing, live music, Christmas treats, quizzes and children's activities etc etc.

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