Over 30 million overseas tourists visited Britain last year,
bringing in revenue worth £16 billion to the UK economy. Latest
research from VisitBritain shows that the British Monarchy pulls in
a fair wedge of this custom - over £500m worth, in fact. Next year,
with a wedding on the cards, this figure could leap to well over
But are these figures over-inflated? How much impact can a Royal Wedding really have on British businesses?
Well, there has already been one major winner in the Royal
Wedding stakes. The Epiphany Platinum Clad Diamonique Oval Cluster
Ring, a replica of the late Princess Diana's ring, received an
overnight sales increase of more than 800%. Home and internet
shopping channel QVC priced their version of Kate's engagement ring
at £34.42 - a bargain for fans of the Royal couple. Sue Leeson from
QVC said, "The huge demand for Kate's replica ring shows that she
is blossoming into a real trend setter. As the media intensity
increases in the run up to the wedding, it will be interesting to
see what impact she has on British style."
Rottingdean based jewellers FSDS also jumped on the engagement ring bandwagon. They released a £99 version of Kate's ring and sold two within 24 hours.
Indeed, fashion houses and designers will soon be lining up to dress the Royal bride and cash in on her kudos. But Kate's influence extends beyond fashion. After the wedding, Will and Kate are moving to North Wales where the Prince is serving with the RAF. Property prices in the area are likely to sky-rocket, and tourist hotspots like the Dee Valley, the market town of Llangollen, the Snowdonia National Park and the medieval fortress Caernarfon Castle will see a sharp uplift in visitors.
"The Royal Wedding is set to deliver a welcome boost not just to the tourism industry in London but across Britain," says VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe. "The couple studied at St Andrews and
spend time at Balmoral so that is a wonderful boost for Scotland. They will live in Wales which has fantastic scenery and awe-inspiring castles. And William and Kate are a modern couple. They go to nightclubs and they are outdoor people, which gives us the chance to talk about these activities to overseas visitors. Kate seems to shop on the high street which is very accessible. The wedding dress will give us a chance to highlight our designers while the wedding gifts will showcase our outstanding craftspeople, potters, glass and textiles. All of this helps us tell the story of contemporary Britain. It is the most wonderful publicity boost for the country."
HomeAway.co.uk general manager Tim Boughton agrees that the impact of the Royal Wedding could be considerable. "We have been tracking the growing demand for rental properties around key
events," he says. "In the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, booking enquiries to South Africa spiked by over 1,000% compared to the same period during in 2009. The average weekly income generated
per property during the event soared by almost 150 per cent, making this an extremely profitable period for private holiday home owners and property managers alike.
"We expect London home owners to experience similar trends around the time of the Royal Wedding and the Olympics," continues Boughton. "We anticipate owners and managers listing on our site will be able to increase their rates by at least 100%, maybe even more, around the time of these two key events."
Rochelle Peachey, founder of transatlantic dating site iloveyouraccent.com is also anticipating a boost. She is using the Royal wedding to encourage new sign-ups to the site. "When something like
this happens, people feel the need to get their act together and find a partner," she says. "So we will use the wedding as promo for our service."
But not everyone is sold on the benefits of the Royal Wedding. George Shaw, founder of Avocado Media says: "It's nonsense! Propaganda put out by royalists and a good diversion from cuts in public spending. A lot of people might like to jump on the publicity bandwagon, but in reality other than a few importers of Chinese-made union jacks, bunting and commemoration mugs, there's no evidence that previous royal weddings have done any long term good for the economy or to boost tourism."
But Shaw has been overruled. Many businesses are expecting the Royal Wedding to make a positive impact on their bottom line. Cumbria-based bed manufacturer Sealy has even created a limited edition bed to celebrate the event. The Crown Jewel bed was launched earlier this month, promising "the sweetest of dreams. You will feel like you have been swept off to slumber by a handsome prince or beautiful princess and will most definitely sleep happily ever after!" It might sound like hyperbole, but at £799 a pop and predicted sales of well over 1,000 units, these gimmicky beds will have a hugely positive effect on Sealy's 2010 turnover.
Smarta will leave you with another Royal-Wedding-inspired marketing ploy. This one's from Drambuie - a cocktail no less. The wonderfully named 'Engaging Dram' was released to celebrate the announcement of Prince William's engagement to Kate earlier this month. Jamie Stephenson, brand ambassador for Drambuie Liqueur and inventor of the Engaging Dram, says: "The Engaging Dram's ingredients represent the Royal heritage, perfectly paired with modern, stylish flavours and
presented in an elegant and beautiful way - just like the couple themselves. You never know they may even serve it at the wedding - I'll leave a message on the Queen's Facebook wall and see what
she thinks of it."
And here's the recipe:
20ml Drambuie Royal Legacy 1745
5ml Lemon Juice
Dash Orange Bitters
100ml Rosé Champagne
Stir gently in a mixing glass and pour into a chilled flute. Garnish with a twist of orange