Destination Harrogate has delivered a comprehensive offering of Christmas activities and integrated marketing activity to deliver Destination Christmas for the second year bringing visitors to the district and increasing footfall to the businesses of the town centres. It’s too soon to quantify the impact of the event but as an indicator, our own Harrogate Tourist Information Office recorded an increase of 36% in enquiries on the opening Saturday, compared to the same Saturday in 2021.
Events Harrogate worked closely with Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks & Environmental Services team to deliver the 10 day Christmas Fayre with more stalls than last year and an improved layout, as well as an exciting range of Christmas attractions. These included – new for this year – a 32-metre ferris wheel and ice rink alongside a carousel and other family-friendly fairground rides at Crescent Gardens, as well as the firm favourite from last year, the Candy Cane Express road train.
The creative artwork for this year’s Destination Christmas campaign used a traditional Christmas wreath showcasing many of the district’s landmarks and attractions. This was used in the printed Christmas guide, in print and outdoor advertising, outdoor branding and across the Visit Harrogate website and social media channels. The creative was brought to life with a giant selfie wreath made from real foliage using low energy bulbs and placed in front of the Yorkshire Hotel. With a neon sign using the campaign hashtag “#MyHarrogateChristmas” this outdoor activation encouraged visitors to share their Harrogate Christmas experience on their own social media channels, furthering the reach of the campaign.
The campaign was a collaboration of partners and stakeholders working together with Harrogate Turkish Baths, Harrogate Theatre and Harrogate BID, who co-funded the Candy Cane Express.
Other partners in the campaign across the wider Harrogate district included Rudding Park, RHS Garden Harlow Carr and Fountains Abbey.
Results so far suggest another successful Destination Christmas campaign with 17.5% more traffic to the campaign pages on the Visit Harrogate website than the comparable week in December last year including an international audience from over 70 countries. Press coverage across national and regional publications, including being named the UK’s prettiest winter staycation destination in the Daily Express newspaper, alongside social media engagement in response to a series of engaging reels and imagery.
The absence of a Christmas market in Leeds this year also helped to strengthen Harrogate’s appeal to a wide audience.
John McGivern, Destination Events Manager for Destination Harrogate, said:
“Through fantastic collaboration with our partners and stakeholders for this campaign, we can all look forward to a great festive season across the Harrogate district, offering a great boost to our visitor economy, as residents as well as those who’ve travelled to be here make Harrogate their Christmas destination. Harrogate is officially Destination Christmas!”
Campaign activity will continue throughout the festive period as the Ferris Wheel and Christmas attractions at Crescent Gardens will be in place until 3rd January 2023 and many events across the Harrogate district continue into the New Year.
Find out more about the Destination Christmas campaign and download the toolkit and help spread the festive cheer!