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VisitScotland is urging tourism businesses to embrace the power of digital to bring visitors to our shores.
The national tourism organisation wants the country’s tourism businesses to be easy for people to find when planning their holidays online, It has launched a series of webinars in partnership with Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost and, for the first time, internet giant, Google.
The 10 online tutorials look at a range of ways to engage with digital marketing. From helping businesses to maximise their presence on the Google platform, to how to use social media titan TikTok.
The tourism industry’s landscape has gone through vast changes over the years. With the rise of the internet, the use of digital technology and skills to inspire, create awareness and allow our visitors to book accommodation and experiences has become essential.
According to Google research*, consumers are increasingly seeking inspiration and ideas online to help them decide where to go on holiday. It has highlighted a wider rise of U.K. search interest around terms like “where to travel to,” and “what to do near me” as well as the huge surge in views of YouTube travel-related content. It added that brands that are present and can inspire in the places where travellers are looking to explore and discover will be in the strongest position to capture demand.
VisitScotland Industry Development Manager Patrick O’Shaughnessy stressed the importance of digital marketing as the Scottish tourism industry continues to navigate the cost of living and doing business crisis.He said:
“That means our tourism businesses should become better and better at using these modern technologies.”
The benefits of digital marketing are numerous with VisitScotland highlighting how there can be a significant return on investment.Patrick said:
“Ultimately leading to a booking. Quite often this might just require a business’s time and skill.”
VisitScotland’s webinar series has proven popular in the past with over 2500 Scottish tourism businesses attending but Patrick explained why businesses need to skill up now more than ever.He said:
“Each series focuses on the core digital marketing subjects such as social media, search engine optimisation, analytics, and user experience, and are updated each time with new insights, learnings, and current solutions to current problems.
“This series will ensure that advice incorporates the massive challenge of the cost of living and doing business crisis.”
Airts & Pairts is a tour company which primarily worked with visitors from the German-speaking markets – making up 95 per cent of customers – but after the pandemic forced them to shift their market goals, the series of webinars helped them pivot successfully.
The business – run by Daniel Sauder Tyler and Elle Tyler - took advantage of several of the online seminars including Digital Review, a bespoke review and report delivered by VisitScotland’s team of knowledgeable Industry Relationship Managers (IRM). The report highlighted three areas of their digital footprint which with some small tweaks, once again improved their visibility to new customers.Daniel said:
“One of the especially useful resources which we took maximum advantage of was the VisitScotland webinars. We have attended as many of these as possible and found that the advice given on these webinars was extremely easy to implement. Even better, we found the practical tips made significant differences to the amount of direct traffic we get to our website.
“Not only did we have a significant increase in our traffic - which the analytics webinar helped us track - but our bookings from the UK market, and later the English-speaking markets, improved significantly. So much so that our customers are now 70 per cent English-speaking and 30 per cent German-speaking.”
Business Gateway is Scotland’s national business advisory service, offering free advice and support to anyone starting a new business, as well as to thousands of existing businesses with the ambition and potential to grow. Its DigitalBoost programme focuses on digital upskilling through free online resources and webinars from expert consultants.Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer at Business Gateway, said:
“We know that there are varying levels of digital skillsets amongst the business community, and these new webinars will cater for all experiences, focusing on educating, building confidence, and ultimately, supporting growth in the tourism sector”.
*Actions to meet changing consumer demand in travel - Think with Google
Link to the webinar series: www.visitscotland.org/tourismwebinars
New digital webinar series launched with Business Gateway DigitalBoost and Google to support tourism businesses.