British Tourist Authority Targets U.S. Seniors

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The British Tourist Authority received nearly 8,000 direct responses and more than 28,000 Web site hits from a direct mail piece it sent to 750,000 senior citizens across the United States earlier this year promoting the United Kingdom as a tourism destination, the group said last month.

Ruf Strategic Solutions, Olathe, KS, a market research and data analysis company, assisted the BTA in the project, and the mailing list was selected using Ruf's proprietary household clusters.

"I expected a 1 [percent] to 1.5 percent response rate," said Cherryl Brazier, senior marketing executive for the BTA. "I would have been happy with a 2 percent response. The actual response was nearly 4 percent."

The BTA said it is targeting top tourism-producing markets and audiences as a way to overcome the terrorist threats, increased security complications, fear of disease and economic concerns that are making tourists more reluctant to travel and more selective in their destinations.

Ruf's household clusters are built from a variety of data sources and represent years of research, development and testing. The clusters are differentiated by demographics; lifestyle traits, including Ruf's proprietary travel lifestyles; summarized credit traits; and automotive traits.

Those targeted for the January-February mailing were 60 and older, earning at least $100,000.

The BTA provides impartial information to potential visitors and gathers essential market intelligence for the hugely fragmented UK tourism industry. It operates through a network of 27 overseas offices in 27 markets and works closely with the British Council, providing reactive information services in 11 additional markets.

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