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Rural entrepreneurship in Wales
Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

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3.3.3 Case study: Market research

Case study: Dafydd

Dafydd decided to embark on some market research before launching his business, which his wife Ffion helped him with.

  1. Their first thoughts were to target the domestic holiday market. With the growing focus on carbon footprint awareness, the increasing emphasis given to localism, and the established attraction of Welsh activity holidays for young families, Dafydd and Ffion wanted to target the domestic holiday maker.
  2. They wanted to find out whether Welsh family holiday-makers would consider an eco-friendly destination as a priority when choosing a self-catering holiday, and whether a rural farm setting would be of added value as an attraction.
  3. Both Dafydd and Ffion knew quite a lot about the tourism market as their respective part-time jobs were linked with it in different ways. Dafydd was also very technologically aware and familiar with online marketing strategies. However, neither he nor Ffion knew very much about the area of green tourism or felt confident in how to approach this market..
  4. Ffion suggested that paying a marketing company to help them work out the right questions and where to go to ask the right people might be a worthwhile investment. They both felt that they were too close to the potential business to be able to take a sufficiently impartial view and that a fresh pair of expert eyes would be able to see things that neither she nor Dafydd could.
  5. Dafydd did most of the desk research while Ffion undertook email and telephone research.
    • Dafydd looked for existing data through organisations like BusinessWales [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and Visit Wales to find business who were working closely with the tourism sector.
    • Dafydd spent time researching funding opportunities that could be available to them as a new start up in the tourism industry, based in their location. In doing so, he discovered the Tourism Investment Support Scheme (TISS) which is open for both existing and new tourism businesses in Wales. This can be used to support upgrading the quality of facilities and increasing capacity where there is a gap in the market, especially energy efficiency and/or environmental improvements.
    • Ffion’s questions related to the nature of the accommodation and what the requirements of residents would be.
  6. At the end of the process:
    • Dafydd had learned that there were very few holiday lettings businesses in Wales that offered an eco-friendly footprint, and none at all in West Wales. Some businesses combined farm activities with accommodation and a few others promoted the environmentally friendly activities in the area but none packaged or promoted all three elements together.
    • Ffion, with the help of the market research company, established that there was a definite interest in eco-packaged holiday lets that promote the green credentials of the accommodation, the farm location and the countryside surroundings.
  7. As a result of their market research, Dafydd and Ffion felt confident that there was a market for their eco-friendly holiday lettings business.
  8. They decided that their next step would be to undertake further market research into ways in which they might market their unique holiday letting business but rather than restrict themselves just to Wales, that they would look to market to a global audience. Having discovered that they might be able to get support to help them set up within the tourism industry, they decided to apply to Tourism Wales for a Tourism Investment Support Scheme grant.

Conducting market research does not have to be a huge exercise. It is basically asking the right people the right questions so that you can deliver the best product or service. How much you invest in market research will often be based on the investment or risk associated with the business. Dafydd and Ffion recognised that their business required external market research investment in order to give them a fuller and professional perspective and so they decided on getting professional help. This will not apply to all enterprises.