The National Trust is trying to solve families' summer holiday woes with a new campaign highlighting all the activities on offer at the charity's properties. It has produced a 42-day Summer Sussed planner for 11 different regions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
"Families plan holidays in advance and in detail either because both parents work or because they have other commitments," said Sandra Thompson, visitor marketing manager for the National Trust. "We are trying to tell them that we have the solution - paid and free activities, event calendars and properties not far from them. We want to give them low-cost, easy and fun things to do as a family."
The trust's goals are to get more visitors through the doors of its properties and to increase membership. Planners will be distributed door-to-door in areas near National Trust properties, the idea being that people with easier access to sites will be more likely to buy memberships. Residents in the trust's Northern Ireland, East Midlands, east of England, Wessex and north east regions will receive planners. They are also available to download from the National Trust website.
The colourful door-drop planners will include introductions to the properties and a calendar of events. Each version also suggests activities to do at the charity's sites in the region, based on feedback received during focus groups. This includes advice on where to play football, and perfect locations where families can have tea with their grandparents, fly kites or have picnics.
To promote Summer Sussed in areas not receiving the door drops, broadcaster Maggie Philbin will be doing a radio media tour to 37 BBC stations and 22 commercial stations. The broadcasts, which will bill Summer Sussed as the solution to summer holiday planning, will reach an estimated 688,000 people. Listeners will be directed to the National Trust website to download their own planners.
The idea to create planners came after a successful trial run in the National Trust's Wessex region last year. The trust decided to take what it had and roll it out into an integrated campaign covering more regions, either through door-to-door drops or online downloads.