Marketing Manchester activity update: January 2020 in review

Never let it be said that the team at Marketing Manchester rests on its laurels. No sooner had we all taken down our Christmas trees had we thrown ourselves into several ambitious projects and have truly started the new decade as we mean to go on.

Full details about these projects follow, but it’s important to reflect on their breadth: the signing of a landmark City to City partnership between Marketing Manchester and New York City’s official tourism board, NYC & Company; selling Manchester to the travel trade and conference buyers on-territory in India; building relationships and delivering content to top tier media in the USA; engaging travel agents and consumers at Spain’s biggest international tourism fair, FITUR; and all this on top of our regular digital and social media activity to promote Greater Manchester as a place to live, work, visit and invest.

We are aware of the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on businesses with Chinese visitors and offer some important guidelines and support if it is affecting your business, and further information is enclosed.

Looking ahead to February we’ve a busy period as we start to bring all of our 2019/20 projects to a close by 31 March including delivery of our biggest partner project Manchester at MIPIM.

We will also start communications regarding the upcoming vote on our Accommodation BID plans and will soon be welcoming a new chairperson following the departure of outgoing chairman, Iwan Griffiths, prior to Christmas.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Iwan for his invaluable support since being appointed Marketing Manchester chairman in September 2013. The team at Marketing Manchester wish him the best of luck with his exciting move to PwC’s office in Japan.


News in brief


Coronavirus update

As you will be aware the situation with the Coronavirus outbreak in mainland China is having knock on effects to some of our partners active in the Chinese market, and we are currently in the period where we experience a high number of visitors from the region.

Marketing Manchester continues to work closely with VisitBritain and Manchester Airport to monitor the developing situation. At present, the Chinese government has required all group travel to cease until the end of February, and we anticipate travel agencies to cancel group bookings up until March.

VisitBritain continue to provide industry updates on their website, so please refer to this source for further information regarding travel trade, whilst travel advice for concerned visitors is regularly updated by the UK Government.

We know this is a busy time for Chinese bookings due to the Chinese New Year period, and we therefore would like to extend our support to affected businesses and ask that you may inform us of any cancellations received and the impacts this is having on your business.

Marketing Manchester will continue to monitor the situation with our partner agents and contacts in China.

For further queries, please contact


Manchester and New York sign first-ever city-to-city tourism partnership

Marketing Manchester and NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, signed a first-ever official city-to-city tourism partnership agreement. Formalised on Thursday 16 January at a press conference at CULTUREPLEX in Manchester, the new two-year partnership agreement between the two cities includes the sharing of best practices in tourism marketing and working with Virgin Atlantic to stimulate reciprocal travel.

Read the full press release here.

To find out more, contact


USA press activity to promote Greater Manchester travel stories

Hot on the heels of the Manchester and New York City partnership, Andy Parkinson, our senior communications manager travelled to the States for a series of events and meetings with top travel journalists, aiming to increase press coverage of the destination.

Attending International Media Marketplace on Thursday 23 January, Andy had 24 official one-to-one appointments with journalists in a speed-dating style event, in addition to meetings and networking throughout the day during breaks and social events.

On Friday 24 January Andy attended the New York Times Travel Show to further network and meet with members of the international media. This was followed by speaking engagements at two events organised by VisitBritain where Andy presented all things new in Greater Manchester to over 50 top tier journalists in New York and Los Angeles.

Activity such as this leads to significant press exposure as reported below and available to view at this link.

To find out more, contact


Trade and consumer activity at the New York Times Travel Show

The New York Times Travel Show attracts more than 35,000 attendees with over 700 exhibitors from more than 175 countries, making it the largest travel trade and consumer show in North America.

Marketing Manchester’s representative in New York, Jeff Grillo, was invited to join Virgin Atlantic’s booth to educate visitors about Greater Manchester. The first day was dedicated to Travel Professionals including travel agents with educational opportunities, exclusive viewing of the trade floor and networking receptions where Jeff secured 200 new travel trade contacts. Over the weekend days when the show was open to the general public, contact was made with over 1,000 consumers consumers seeking information about trips to the UK.

To find out more, contact


Marketing Manchester on-territory activity in India

In mid-January Marketing Manchester attended its first VisitBritain Trade mission to India in over 10 years as the city-region gears up for a marked increase in visits to Greater Manchester and the north of England from the Indian market.

The UK is the second most popular destination in Europe for Indian travellers and India is forecast to generate 23 million outbound visits globally by 2020. With the Indian economy growing at a rapid pace, inbound tourism to the UK from this market looks set to continue to increase 22% between 2017 and 2027. This offers a valuable opportunity to Greater Manchester and the north.

At the events in Delhi and Mumbai, Marketing Manchester held meetings with over 300 travel trade buyers, gave multiple media interviews and presented at gala dinners in both cities, showcasing film and imagery of Greater Manchester and destinations in the north of England to around 200 delegates; Marketing Manchester’s director of international marketing led a CEO roundtable discussion with Indian tourism industry leaders about travel and tourism outside of London; and Manchester also chaired an entertaining “In Conversation” event with leading Indian chef, Hrishikesh Desai and England cricketer Keaton Jennings on the subject of Northern England from a culinary and sporting perspective.

There was also a significant MICE travel element to the mission which saw Manchester’s Convention Bureau explore the potential to attract business from India’s growing meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions sector. Meetings were held with a number of Indian MICE professionals to showcase Manchester’s unique event venues, the city’s status as a leading European city for business and academic research, and to discuss specific opportunities to host Indian delegates in Greater Manchester.

To find out more, contact


Manchester on show at Spanish B2B and B2C trade show

FITUR is the global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound markets in Spain and Latin America. It took place in Madrid from 22-26 January.

Marketing Manchester attended as one of only two British destination to do so. Greater Manchester was well received amongst delegates with over 40 travel trade enquiries. There were also over 600 consumer engagements from people looking for further information on Greater Manchester for leisure travel.

To find out more, contact


Inward investment: 2019 snapshot

2019 was an exciting year for our sector team with Manchester retaining a top tier position for FDI in the IBM 2019 Global Location Trends report and the city strengthening its global reach as they connected with key international businesses and governments at major conferences to showcase the wealth of opportunities in the city-region. The team’s most prestigious mission was delivered by The Manchester India Partnership, a Mayoral visit to India with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham to further celebrate and strengthen relations.

There was also tremendous growth in the city-region’s business landscape, with firms choosing Greater Manchester’s as the place to invest including: Fitch Ratings Group, a global financial services company; Slalom, a US-consulting firm; SimpliSafe, the fastest growing home security company in the US, Huawei, a global tech provider and Bechtle, Europe’s largest IT supplier. Furthermore, 2020 looks to be another exciting year for investments with GCHQ opening a new Manchester office and engineering giants, Siemens moving its UK HQ to the city.

To find out more, contact:


Manchester at MIPIM: one month to go

The Manchester at MIPIM Partnership will mark its 21st consecutive year of attendance when it arrives in Cannes next month (9-13 March). In those 21 years, the Partnership has cemented itself as one of the most senior and influential delegations where leaders of the property world come together, away from Manchester, to showcase the City to a global audience, and Manchester has become a significant contributor to the week’s programme of events.

Marketing Manchester’s MIPIM project team has signed up 91 partners so far, of which 16 are new for 2020. We are also delighted that eight of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester will be taking part this year.

Our theme is Everything is Connected which aims to celebrate a very Mancunian way of doing things, which at its best harnesses cross-disciplinary partnerships – where science becomes art, technology drives sustainability or culture influences health. Our partners have submitted event proposals linked to this theme and we expect to announce our final programme in mid-February.

To find out more, contact


Marketing Manchester shortlisted at Northern Digital Awards

Marketing Manchester was shortlisted for two awards at the Northern Digital Awards in Leeds on Thursday 30 January: ‘BEST DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN – TRAVEL / LEISURE’ for Marketing Manchester and Manchester BID’s Halloween in the City campaign and ‘BEST USE OF VIDEO’ for Marketing Manchester, Manchester Histories and One Smart Cookie’s Peterloo Visitor Film.

The team entered the Halloween in the City campaign as it demonstrates how partnership working can help promote a city and deliver truly tangible results and a competitive edge over other cities, who are actively looking to replicate this approach. The digital campaign was the partnership’s most successful to date, resulting in an increase of 9% footfall over an average weekend in October, as well as increased occupancy rates, delivering economic benefits to local businesses and a fantastic experience for visitors.

The Peterloo Visitor Film meanwhile sought to share a chapter of history integral to the narrative of modern Manchester and was all the more successful because it was brought to life by those working collectively to connect this story to audiences and visitors.  With a modest budget and integrated approach, Marketing Manchester, Manchester Histories and One Smart Cookie produced a powerful, quality film forming the basis of a multi-channel digital marketing campaign reaching millions of people. The film represents a pioneering approach to content marketing and partnership work by a destination marketing organisation and proves the case for future projects.

To find out more, contact or


Recent Manchester Convention Bureau business wins

The Manchester Convention Bureau bids for new business, attempting to attract conferences and meetings aligned to Greater Manchester’s key sector strengths. In late December the following three events confirmed Manchester as their destination of choice:

The annual meeting of the Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi), which aims to promote and further the advancement of health technology and will take place in Manchester 19-24 June 2021. It is expected to attract 1,100 delegates from around the world and has an anticipated economic impact of £3 million.

Each year The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) hosts a general assembly in the form of a four-day conference. From 17-21 March 2021 it will visit Manchester, attracting approximately 600 delegates and an economic impact of up to £1.6 million.

Finally, the International Conference on Mycorrhiza, which brings scientists, researchers, educators and private businesses together to share information on mycorrhizal research and developments throughout the world – will bring 600 delegates to Manchester from 6-11 August 2023 and with £1.7 million in economic benefit expected.

To find out more, contact


Greater Manchester hotel market: 2019 review

2019 produced occupancy rates for both Greater Manchester and Manchester city centre that saw annual occupancy in-line with the highest achieved historically; Manchester city centre maintaining an 81% occupancy rate (with 2018) and Greater Manchester increasing from 79% in 2018 to 80% in 2019.  Both geographies also align with the highest RevPAR achieved to date.  2019 saw a strong summer, with occupancy records for both Greater Manchester and Manchester city centre in June and July and a further record for the city centre in May; this being off-set to some extent by a slower end to the year.

With 1,000 rooms planned to open during Greater Manchester in 2020 (compared to 344 in 2019) the market is due to see another significant boost to supply.  Demand levels are required to also grow significantly if these strong occupancy rates are to be maintained.

To find out more, contact


Recent press coverage wins

Marketing Manchester’s press team carry out a year-round programme of press visits and media engagement to win national and international coverage for Greater Manchester. Below are a few recent highlights that you may like to read and share:

Manchester Is England’s Most Exciting Food City – Food & Wine (USA)

The 50 Best Places to Visit in 2020 (no. 32) – Travel & Leisure (USA)

Manchester Buzzes with New Ideas, Innovations – Convene (USA)

Chetham’s Library – Malayala Manorama (India)

Manchester United stadium tours – Malayala Manorama (India)

Old Trafford Cricket – Malayala Manorama (India)

The best holiday destinations for 2020: top places to visit (no. 13)– Good Housekeeping (UK)

Where to go on holiday in 2020: the alternative hotlist – The Guardian (UK)

20 new UK attractions to visit in 2020 – The Guardian (UK)

The Independent’s Best of Travel 2020 – The Independent (UK)

10 cities to visit this winter and beyond – I news (UK)

Eat Your Art Out – Sunday People (UK)

The 25 Best UK Destinations To Visit In 2020 (no.1) – Big Seven Travel (UK)

What’s new for groups in… Greater Manchester – Group Leisure and Travel (UK)

Building upwards – Conference News (UK)

Manchester: The Rise of the North – HQ Magazine (Belgium)

Six of the best places in the UK for historic architecture – (Australia)

To find out more, contact


What’s new in Greater Manchester: February 2020

Distributed to consumer travel and leisure media contacts, Marketing Manchester’s monthly What’s New update is an important piece of media relations work to keep journalists and influencers from around the world up to date on the latest developments, openings and trends across the city-region. To view this month’s newsletter, click here.

To find out more, contact