Even more heartening, these are unique attractions in their own right, a lesson for all theme products that all you need is love to ensure that the visitor experience is real, soulful and captivating.
The Beatles put Liverpool on the world map. Yet, the city is not really ‘top of mind’. For all that star power, it ranks only fifth as destination in Great Britain most visited by foreigners, and even by the UK domestic market. Its share of international market is only 38 per cent. In spite of this, there are Beatles fans everywhere from Tokyo to South America.
I wonder if it’s because The Beatles no longer resonate with the younger travellers today. Or whether it’s because there isn’t enough attractions – who wants to travel to Liverpool just to see the birthplace of the Fab Four?
A short visit to Liverpool convinced me those aren’t the reasons. More likely it is the lack of resources and marketing prowess to capitalise on a huge brand that can reach masses instantly.
Staying at the Hard Days Night Hotel which has been acquired by Millennium & Copthorne (M&C), the songs flooded back into my head – and refused to leave. Even if you haven’t heard of The Beatles, you would have heard many of the songs and known some of the beautiful lyrics. Imagine, Let It Be, All You Need Is Love, Hey Jude, All My Loving, just to name a few, are ‘forever’, hummed or sung today in the shower or KTV lounge, beach or mountain, whether you’re seven or 70. As for Beatles attractions in Liverpool (see page 4), there are enough to make your clients relive Yesterday and fall in love all over again with The Beatles.
It is almost a sin that Liverpool is not more popular as a destination. But that’s also because it was for a long time in a state of decline. Fortunately, things have changed. The catalyst and turning point in the city’s regeneration was the year 2008, when it was European Capital of Culture – oh yes, put The Beatles aside for a while, Liverpool has the most World Heritage-listed buildings in the UK outside London. Today, as my visit shows, Liverpool has a fresh, vibrant air about it. And the growth is continuing, hope far from a misplaced expectation, especially with the UK government’s Northern Powerhouse’ focus.
On the private-sector level, it is also heartening to witness a real collaboration among all the Beatles-related attractions in Liverpool – among them Hard Days Night Hotel, Beatles Story, Cavern Club and Magical Mystery Tour – to try and attract more tourists using the legend as the anchor. Even more heartening, these are unique attractions in their own right, a lesson for all theme products that all you need is love to ensure that the visitor experience is real, soulful and captivating.
With M&C having a foot in it all, there is no reason why there can’t be a Beatles mania or a Beatles revival in the travel trade in Asia. Wouldn’t that be fun?
It seems The Beatles has not stopped to put Liverpool on the world map.