Fiona Hunter, Destination Marketing and Contracts Manager
Forever Edinburgh, a team located with the City of Edinburgh Council, is tasked with promoting the city on a national and international stage. Working closely with private tourism businesses and public agencies, they work to ensure that visitors experience the very best of Edinburgh.
In August 2023, Forever Edinburgh launched an expanded programme of Resident Rewards with a hyper-local marketing campaign funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The initiative aims to encourage the city’s residents to engage with Edinburgh’s cultural and leisure offerings and to generate year-round increased spend and support for the city’s tourism, hospitality, and leisure businesses.
The development of the programme was in response to one of the key strategic priorities of Edinburgh’s 2030 Tourism Strategy: that tourism development in the city should benefit “Our people” - the residents of Edinburgh. The original concept launched in 2021 and offered Edinburgh residents one high-value offer from a different tourism business in the city each month. Examples included 50% off with Edinburgh Bus Tours (January 2021) and 40% off Johnnie Walker Princes Street's Journey of Flavour experience (May 2021).
A targeted campaign promoted the monthly ‘Star Reward’, ensuring those eligible were reached. A promotional film was created to raise awareness of the initiative, and a dedicated webpage was created on edinburgh.org. Residents redeemed the reward by using a promotional code. As well as driving local demand for participating partners, other benefits included brand exposure through the campaign, increased local advocacy, and raised product awareness and engagement.
The programme was expanded in August 2023 due to the campaign's success and additional funding, with four new reward categories joining the monthly Star Reward.
Monthly STAR Reward: Continuing to deliver the successful high-value monthly reward, offering one high-value reward from one new business each month.
Resident RATES: Residents are given year-round preferential rates to enjoy Edinburgh's attractions, tours, and leisure products.
Resident PREVIEWS: Like a press or media launch, partnering businesses invite residents to the launch of their new events, exhibitions, and openings. As this is reliant on the city’s annual event programme, this will not be an ‘always on’ reward.
Resident HALF PRICE and FREE Days: On a quiet day in the month, residents get to enjoy a selection of attractions, tours, and experiences for free. This may be for a limited period on a certain day in the month or bi-monthly.
Resident ANNUAL PASS: When you buy an entry ticket, you get unlimited access for 12 months. This encourages residents to make repeat visits (shorter but more frequent trips) and bring their paying friends and family at no additional cost to the resident.
The Forever Edinburgh team first surveyed residents for their opinions. This generated around 300 local responses. The results highlighted strong levels of awareness within the market (55%) and that most residents are frequently enjoying Edinburgh’s cultural offerings (70%). When asked how likely they would be to use each of the five different reward categories, between 71-93% of respondents said they were either highly interested / would use or were interested in / likely to use all five Rewards, with ‘Resident Rates’ proving most popular at 93%.
The following testimonials from some of the businesses that took part:
To date, the Resident Rewards Edinburgh website has been viewed 325,000 times and has made 22,000 referrals to participating partners. Within the first six months of 2023, the programme had exceeded the volume of tickets sold and delivered 130% of the value of the entire 2022 programme. Building on this success, and with enhanced funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Forever Edinburgh are looking forward to continually growing and refining the programme for the mutual benefit of Edinburgh residents and businesses.
Find out more at: www.edinburgh.org/residentrewards