Perceptions Research for Visit Kent

Re-discovering the Garden of England…

Finding out why people do – or don’t – visit an area can provide crucial information for destinations in helping them to understand and overcome any possible barriers to visiting.

Visit Kent conducted perception research 5 years ago, which provided information about visitor perceptions of Kent in general and specific destinations in more detail, focussing on the coastal areas of East Kent. Qa were commissioned in 2012 to carry out research which sought to build on the 2007 study.

Research aims and objectives

The primary aim of this research was to compare with the 2007 study in the following ways:

  • Identify changes and shifts in perceptions
  • Expand the research to not only look at coastal towns but other key destinations in Kent
  • Measure the success of the Kent Contemporary Campaign  in starting to change perceptions of Kent

Specific research objectives were to:

  • Determine the perceptions, attitudes, images and associations visitors have of Kent as a day trip and short break destination in general and for specific locations within the county
  • Measure the awareness of what Kent offers visitors
  • Measure the likelihood to visit Kent in the next 12 months

Our approach to the study

A quantitative online survey was designed by Qa, using some of the same questions asked in previous studies to provide a comparison.

Respondents had the option to answer the survey in English, French, German or Dutch.

Email invitations were sent out to all contacts on the Visit Kent contact database. In total 4,722 respondents completed the online survey.

In addition, an online panel sample was purchased, with quotas imposed, to ensure a spread of visitor and non-visitors from different countries.

The data was merged together and reported on as a combined data set.

Key findings and conclusions

This report provided Visit Kent with up to date information on current visitors and helped to identify possible audiences to target in the future.

It also offered some useful comparisons with the 2007 survey and provided a clear measure to understand the success of past marketing campaigns in achieving the desired shift in perceptions. The report also helped Visit Kent to identify key issues in perceptions or product which may need addressing in the future.

What the client said about the research

Ruth Wood from Visit Kent said: “Qa were a very professional company to work with, taking time to understand our needs and working in partnership with us to achieve our goals. Their attention to detail meant we had complete trust in the final results.”

What the Researcher said about the research

Nick How, Research Director at Qa said: “We worked in close contact with the team at Visit Kent which was very helpful in agreeing the details of questionnaire. We wanted to make sure there were enough similar questions to enable us to look at changes from 2007, and yet we also wanted the research to add more insight than previously – and that involved discussions initially about which questions to keep and which to change. Visit Kent were very interested in the results right the way through the research process. It’s always nice when you’ve got clients who are actively involved – and work with you to seek your professional opinions and recommendations. The research was as much looking to the future as it was measuring change.  It was a living piece of research rather than just an historical evaluation.”