Using and collecting postcodes for visitor attraction marketing

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Understanding where your visitors come from provides invaluable insight to ultimately drive more footfall.

Whether you are at a Zoo, Theme Park, Farm Park or indoor attraction, in this blog you’ll learn how to collect and analyse postcodes to transform the way you market to potential customers.

Advantages of postcode mapping

There are many reasons why you should collect and map your visitor attraction’s postcodes.

COVID-19 has changed the way people travel. During the pandemic, with restrictions in place across the country, people were only allowed to travel locally. But with lockdown easing and a staycation boom predicted for 2021, visitors are much more likely to be travelling further afield to your attraction. Postcode mapping is therefore essential to make sure you’re targeting the correct people.

Furthermore, as all customers now have to book online, this is the first time ever, that most attractions have been able to analyse catchment without having to make assumptions about the sample being representative. Therefore, postcode mapping is more important than ever.

Firstly, you can identify your penetration rates into local markets, prioritise potential areas to increase visitors and compare the change year on year.

The second big reason is that you can more accurately choose your media. Offline you can remove options that have too much wastage and online, you can minutely target the right postcodes with the best message.

What postcode data should you collect?

The UK postcode is split into two codes, the outward code and inward code. At Agility we only analyse the first part of the postcode (the outward code; also known as the Postcode District).

Collecting the outward code/postcode district also avoids any issues with GDPR as you are not collecting information at a household level.

For example: HP23 6AF
HP23 = outward code
6AF = inward code

Here you can see how postcodes are broken down:

postcode area

TIP: Don’t waste time manually removing the inward code in Excel. Use this formula which does it for you. Make sure your data is in column A.


How much postcode data should you collect?

A bigger sample will make your results more statistically accurate, however, we recommend the smallest sample size of 500 postcodes but you should really try to obtain 1,000.

If you have high volumes of data, you can identify any difference in your visitor attractions drive time before and after lockdown, between winter and summer months or look at particular events (e.g. Christmas). If you have low volumes of postcodes, then you’ll have to restrict postcode mapping to one map showing the full year.

Obtaining postcodes from your customers

You can collect postcode information via a number of routes:

  • Now that 100% of bookings are made online it is an easy way to obtain all your visitors postcodes.
  • The easiest way is to analyse the postcodes from those who have purchased tickets online
  • It’s also a question to ask if you make customers sign-in to obtain free WiFi onsite
  • Some of our clients ask visitors when they arrive at the entrance. It’s understandable that you may not want to make the queue any longer, but with the right approach, it takes seconds
  • As part of any exit surveys or email surveys

TIP: Get your gate team on board. Educate them as to why they need to collect this information, give them an idea of the bigger picture and how important it is to your attraction.

Mapping postcodes

At Agility, we use GEOPLAN. It does have a fee but is easy to use. There are, however, other mapping planning software tools with varying costs.

At Agility Marketing, we split postcodes for our visitor attraction clients into 4 segments, the top 25%, 26-50%, 51-75% and 76-100%.

The below map is an example for one of our clients.

postcode mapping

TIP: You need a large chunk of data for your results to be effective. Mapping 500 postcodes won’t give you an accurate representation of where your visitors are coming from. Aim for over 1,000 individual postcodes for a better result.

Using your postcode data

At Agility, we use a Marketing Model for our clients. Postcode mapping is at the very heart of our model, which has been proven to work again, again and again.

We use it to prioritise areas that we can grow customers from and ensure our core catchment area is still converting well as previous years. Knowing where customers come from also enables you to choose the best media for your catchment and this is particularly relevant online.

Knowing where your catchment area is and how it varies throughout the year can make your visitor attraction marketing work at the hardest level.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to understand more.