A focus on fun and relaxation

How do you provide a unique and inclusive holiday experience?


Butlin’s finds balance between brand legacy and product innovation to meet evolving customer needs

The key is always a focus on fun and entertainment. That’s the umbrella that overarches the brand. And through that lens, we make decisions.

Alex Meyer

Head of Product & Proposition, Butlin’s


Butlin’s seaside resorts are known for Redcoats and family entertainment. Affordability has been an integral part of the brand’s core values since its conception back in the 1930s. Ensuring affordability remains a priority has been an important part of the business’ approach to today’s macroeconomic challenges – and proved a key competitive differentiator. Today, the business operates in three locations – Skegness, Minehead, and Bognor Regis – employs around 4,000 people, hosts approximately 1.5 million guests a year1, and can generate annual revenue of around £300 million.2 They cater for everyone, from families on short breaks, to adults wanting to get away from it all with friends on a ‘Big Weekender.’

As the cost of living continues to be at the forefront of people’s minds, the necessity to provide a unique experience to encourage visits is essential. “We are always looking to maximise what we can include in the price of a break. We have a proud history of driving value for money and we will always add to that where we can,” says Alex Meyer, Head of Proposition and Product, Butlin's. “We have created some really compelling price points – offering stays from £49. This hopefully makes it affordable for most people to come away on holiday.”

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Wide appeal, distinctive approach

Butlin’s has focused on several key areas to offer experiences at affordable price points and keep customers coming back. This is despite the challenges operators are facing, such as rising overheads (like energy and labour) which leisure operators have seen increase by up to 40% this year, according to our recent industry report. Butlin’s has taken advantage of the ‘staycation’ trend, and Meyer has noted that the firm’s focus on short UK breaks has paid off.

By offering a diverse range of accommodation types at their resorts, ranging from ‘silver’ rooms to hotels, Butlin’s is catering to a variety of budgets. Traditionally, the operator has always included activities in the price of a stay (such as fairground rides and live shows). However, they are also considerate of those who wish to expand their experience further and offer additional opportunities for recreation and spending at their bars, restaurants and arcades.

What makes Butlin's stand out from the crowd?

Investment in change

Throughout its history, Butlin's has remained dedicated to evolution – opening new venues, investing in new attractions, and broadening its offering to suit future customer demand. This leaves the brand well-positioned to compete in today's industry, with its focus on innovation and adaptation.

Having recently invested £2.5million into the new Butlin's ‘SKYPARK’ children’s playground in Skegness, while simultaneously growing the adult-only ‘Big Weekenders’ offering, Butlin's consistently demonstrates an ability to invest in the future experiences for their segmented customer base.

While keen to offer a range of experiences that appeal to specific customer groups, the company is also mindful of the need to offer multi-purpose experiences that appeal to both adults and children, so they can meet the needs of all their customers, regardless of whether they are at the resort as a families or on a short break with friends. The newly opened ‘Skyline Eats’ food destination in Bognor Regis was designed to appeal to “families who want a lunchtime grab and go meal or adults who might want a late night snack” explains Alex.

An inclusive experience for all

Through its ‘SKYPARK’ investment, Butlin's has demonstrated a commitment to another core brand value: accessibility. Use of the attraction is included free-of-charge and is designed to be inclusive and accessible for all. It includes sensory elements and wheelchair accessible ramps and equipment, allowing interactivity in each area for everybody. The business also has further plans to replicate the ‘SKYPARK’ in their two other resorts. The ‘purple pound’ is worth £15.3bn for the British tourism industry. Tapping into this market offers businesses like Butlin’s immense opportunities for growth.3

“We have invested two and a half million pounds into trying to make the best, most accessible, most inclusive playground for children in the UK,” says Meyer. “We know that one of the lovely things about Butlin's is the unpretentious, informal nature of it.”

Butlin’s investment in the facility was a conscious decision to appeal to their existing customer base and expand their offering, considering that Meyer says, “Guests feel incredibly comfortable with us – of all ages, abilities and needs.”

Evolving the customer journey

Butlin's has also looked to evolve its marketing strategies to reach new customers by embracing new approaches alongside traditional marketing channels. Examples include their introduction of ‘Funbassadors’ as a way of engaging with their loyal guest base by hiring ambassadors to create social media content and providing valuable feedback on venues.

The business also continues to develop its use of data-driven marketing tools to further personalise content in line with customer interests. This includes reviewing booking history data trends to ensure the offerings meet customer expectations and demand, whilst also personalising its web offering. Their use of a loyalty scheme which rewards loyal guests with venue spending credits further expands on the Butlin’s ethos of offering good value for money.

As a result of their differing product propositions and broad target audience, Butlin’s see marketing as a vital tool in unifying their various brand channels.

“The different generational perceptions of the brand is a huge consideration that drives our marketing,” says Meyer. “And whilst we have things that appeal to adults, families, or children only, there is always a focus on fun and entertainment underpinned by a value for money.”

Working with Barclays

Our relationship with Butlin’s stretches back over many years. During this time, the business has continued to develop and refine their proposition. Butlin’s has a solid understanding of evolving consumer demand, and this informs decisions around where capital expenditure is directed, the physical layout of their resorts, market positioning and entertainment decisions. Their approach very much aligns with how Barclays think about those differentiated propositions, as together we move through the opportunities and challenges that our operators face.


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