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5 Powerful Ways Social Media Tourism Marketing Will Boost Your Business

5 Powerful Ways Social Media Tourism Marketing Will Boost Your Business

The impact of social media tourism in the travel industry is profound.

It allows businesses like yours to connect with potential customers in ways that have never before been possible

It also allows customers to communicate with each other, and learning how to tap into these networks is vital!

Social Media Tourism can Work for You!

Why?

It creates a community of travellers who can share their experiences and help each other plan trips. 

That’s great news for your travel business if you know how to take advantage of it!

At Straight Up Website, we’re all about empowering your travel business. So, in this article, I’ll explore the power of social media tourism and its crucial role in your marketing strategy.

Social Media has a Powerful Impact on Tourism Marketing

visit britain social media course

Social media and tourism provide a unique opportunity for marketers to connect with potential customers. 

After all, tourism marketers can create an emotional connection with potential customers through social media. 

That can be a powerful motivator for people to travel and engage with products and services!

Social media allows tourism marketers to share engaging and inspiring content with potential customers via digital marketing. 

That combination of personal connection and exciting content has changed the role of social media for travel industry businesses.

Here’s why…

The Importance of an Active Posting Strategy is Huge!

84% of millennials use online reviews and postings to work out their travel plans. 

That means they’re searching the web for what others say about your destination or service. 

According to this study from Cornell, positive reviews attract far more significant numbers of venue visitors. 

More excitingly, they also enable companies to increase prices and profitability!

So Much Support is Available

Many companies have developed ways to support businesses with their online offers in recent years. 

Industry organisations like VisitBritain frequently run workshops on the power of social media marketing

But here’s the critical part…

You need to develop an integrated marketing plan to harness the power of user-generated content. 

My post here is a good starting point for learning more about it.

How Has Social Media Been Used to Successfully Market Tourism Destinations?

visit britain home page

Social media allows potential visitors to connect with a destination and get a sense of what it offers. 

Providers can also use it to share special offers and discounts, encouraging people to book a trip.

Examples of Successful Social Media Tourism

– The VisitBritain campaign “Inspiring the World to Travel to Britain” successfully increased tourism traffic. The campaign featured photos and videos of people from all over the world enjoying different aspects of British culture. VisitBritain promoted it extensively through social media.

The Australian Tourism Board created a social media campaign called “There’s Nothing Like Australia.” The campaign featured videos of people from all over the world talking about why they love Australia. People shared the videos on social media, and the hashtag #ILoveAustralia generated buzz. The result was a significant increase in tourism traffic.

The social media campaign “#FeedYourAdventure” promoted a new zip line attraction at the Adventure Park in New York. The campaign featured visitors zip lining and enjoying other activities at the park. Visitors shared posts on social media, and the park saw increased visitors.

Did you notice what those examples all had in common?

Feature Images and Videos of Awesome Experiences!

These examples show how social media can successfully market tourist destinations

By featuring images and videos of people enjoying a destination, social media can create a sense of excitement

What’s more, it can even encourage people to visit you!

How to use Social Media Tourism to Connect Customers With Your Business

digital travel summit apac 2022

When it comes to tourism marketing, making a connection is critical

Social media provides a fantastic interactive platform for businesses to connect with their target audiences. 

By building relationships with potential tourists on several platforms, businesses can create trust and credibility, increasing sales and profits.

Make use of Popular Platforms and Networks.

Some of the most popular social media platforms for tourism marketing include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest

These platforms allow businesses to share information about their products or services with potential customers worldwide. 

They let businesses connect with customers more personally, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Get Personal with your Customers

Overall, social media provides a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audiences. 

It helps them build relationships to increase sales and profits too. 

Companies can connect with potential tourists personally, interact, and engage, increasing tourism traffic and revenue.

According to Forbes, consistency comes top of the list when building those personal relationships. 

My top tips for combining social media and tourism are:

Provide Value. The content you post has to be worth something to the reader. It could be a special offer, an original review, or a new image of a well-known destination. 

You must generate worth for your reader if you want them to trust you with their holiday. 

Trust Your Authenticity. Your voice needs to stand out when it comes to social sharing. 

Keep your posts and content related to your brand message or online strategy. Social media platforms promote original user-generated content, and the tourism industry thrives on it. 

Track the Algorithm. Trends change, and so do the algorithms that drive user interaction. Keep on top of what’s hot and which strategies to use by working with experts

Set Some Targets. Consistent posting works. Search engines learn that your feeds are active and full of quality content. 

You could define a set number of specific posts or regularly post on related topics in a particular time frame. 

Brands that build followers and influence develop a dynamic online reputation.

You can discover just how much a WordPress travel website, complete with social media integration, should be costing you here.

How to use Social Media to Market Your Tourist Destination

regiondo - using social media for tourism marketing

Digital marketing will sell your destination when done well. 

So, what should you do if you want to use social media for your tourism business?

The first step is to understand your audience and their social media platforms. 

Once you know that, you can start creating content relevant to them and their interests. 

Remember, it’s not just about promoting your business. 

It’s also essential to engage with your audience and create a social media presence that is friendly and welcoming.

The Six Golden Rules for Destination Marketing

  1. Use social media to create a strong relationship with your customers. Show them that you appreciate their business by promptly responding to their comments and questions.
  2. Utilise several social media platforms to give your customers exclusive deals and discounts. 
  3. Make sure that the information on your social media pages is up-to-date and accurate. It should integrate seamlessly with your website.
  4. Use social media to share photos and videos of your destination. That will give potential customers a taste of what your destination offers.
  5. Keep in mind that social media is a two-way street. It’s not just about broadcasting your message; it’s also about listening to what your customers say. Use social media to gather feedback about your destination and improve based on what you hear.
  6. Increase brand use and visibility. When users interact with your brand, they are more likely to remember your name when ready to book a vacation.
  1. Don’t Forget The Tourist Buying Journey

the tourism planning journey

Your brand should always target the tourist buying journey regardless of your platform

When tourists are looking to buy something, the level of service you provide informs their decision making

That’s because tourists frequently search for things specific to their needs and interests. 

They want to find the best deals on flights, hotels, and activities. They also want to learn about the culture and attractions of their visiting destination!

Social Media Tourism and the Tourist Journey

Broken down simply, your social media marketing needs to target customers in the four phases of their buying journey: 

Awareness. Your travel company should reach out across the web, using a range of channels, using the right SEO strategies. That’ll generate interest in your destination and get potential customers to learn more about it.

Evaluation: You can help tourists compare different sites and destinations and find the best deals in the sector. That builds trust and aids decision making

Purchase: Regular posting as part of a strategy makes it easy for tourists to buy tickets or book a hotel. By positioning yourself as an expert guide, you become their go-to for buying a holiday.

Post Trip: Social media allows everyone to share positive experiences and post valuable content after completing a trip. Resharing users’ posts is a great benefit of digital marketing!

Conclusion: Social Media Tourism is full of Business Benefits for You!

Social media and tourism have become an integral part of many people’s lives. It’s a powerful tool that connects visitors and destinations alike. 

When used effectively, social media can be a great asset to any business in the tourism industry. 

​​Need help with your social media marketing?

Let us know. We are here to support you on your journey. It’s of even more value when correctly integrated into your business website. 

If you need some advice, check out my article on why it’s crucial to maintain your travel website here.

Enjoy building your tourism business through social media, and thanks for reading!

Comment below if you have any questions!

Have you used social media tourism to boost your business marketing successfully? Tell us about your experience below!

 

hot air balloon floating over mountains
Exciting Ways to Spend Your Tourism Grants: 7 Great Ideas for Activities and Events

Exciting Ways to Spend Your Tourism Grants: 7 Great Ideas for Activities and Events

If you’re a travel and hospitality business and you’ve received one of the many tourism grants available for you, then you face a tricky question…

How do you use your award to maximise your success?

A powerful answer is to develop public activities and events to promote your business and attract more visitors!

Supporting the Tourism Sector can be a Challenge.

If you run eligible businesses in the tourism sector, it can be a real challenge to know just how to use the financial support you’ve received. 

Not all local authority funding programmes give clear guidelines for the critical areas in which you can spend your grant funding. 

As we all know, it can be hard to develop your projects whilst supporting local tourism businesses.

However, organising a range of engaging activities is a great way to use recovery funding to build growth

High-profile public events hosted by your business can promote responsible tourism and bring investment to a range of leisure sectors.

They can also go a long way to aiding a region’s economic recovery, which is of invaluable benefit to you!

7 Awesome Ideas for the Tourism Industry

I’ll give you 7 great ideas for things that tourism businesses can spend their grants on. They’re guaranteed to increase visitor numbers and boost businesses impacted by Covid 19.

I want you to bring your marketing strategy to life, so keep reading to learn more!

1. Host a Local Food and Drink Festival 

two men at food and drink festival

Food and drink festivals are a great way to attract visitors and promote your business. They can be a lot of fun, too! 

You could host the festival at your site, bringing new visitors to your destination.  

Alternatively, choose a high-profile location and promote the full range of your services to a big crowd. 

When organisations and communities come together, the tourism industry thrives. That’s just the kind of scheme that benefits visitors and businesses alike.

Working with partners, local suppliers, and producers gives you an excellent opportunity to support one another and contribute to the local economy. 

It’s also a fantastic way to achieve your aim of increased bookings and profits!

What Kind of Festivals Work Best?

There are many different food and drink festivals, so you’re sure to find one that suits your business.

Some ideas for local food and drink festivals include: 

  • Fresh local produce festival (seafood, poultry, cheeses, bread, fresh vegetables – any local specialities will work)
  • A wine or beer festival with tastings and talks
  • A food truck festival full of diverse cuisine
  • A chilli cookoff
  • A themed festival that links with an event or your brand

2. Organize a Citywide Scavenger Hunt

find city scavenger hunt

One of the best things you can spend your money on to support the hospitality and leisure sectors is organising events and activities to attract visitors to your city. 

A scavenger hunt is a perfect way to do this – it’s fun and family-friendly, and there are endless possibilities for directing interested customers to specific attractions.

Bringing this kind of financial support to your community is great for every industry, as many different businesses can contribute, from advertising agencies to restaurants! 

How Could a Scavenger Hunt Support Businesses?

Scavenger Hunts need prizes, and not only could you provide these (they make great advertising opportunities), but you could develop projects to provide financial support for other companies too. 

It’s an excellent chance to generate publicity and encourage potential customers to seek further information about your brand.

I think it’s a great idea to include historically significant locations by focusing on tourism destinations and attractions like museums or monuments

A scavenger hunt is interactive and fun for participants – so make sure the clues aren’t too challenging!

3. Plan a Series of Outdoor Concerts or Movie Nights

adventure cinema website

Concerts and movie nights are great opportunities to build goodwill, celebrate your brand, and network within the tourism industry. 

You’ll also have a fun time, which is a great bonus!

You’ll need a venue of significant size for this kind of activity, but that’s where teaming up with other tourism businesses in your sector can be so effective. 

Regular community projects can get businesses like yours the kind of support it deserves. 

You can build links with other organisations or publicise a product or service you’ve launched. If the guidance indicates that your business is eligible, concerts and movie nights can provide tangible profits in the tourism sector.

The Added Bonuses of Outdoor Events

I recommend using funds to create a marketing video that showcases your services and make sure it’s played at every concert or show. 

Where large groups gather, you’ll also have the opportunity to build partnerships with local food and drink providers and create a myriad of advertising opportunities.

That means you can boost your brand, from marketing holiday accommodation to selling your projects or products.

4. Sponsor a Local Art Exhibition or Photography Contest

paintings on a wall

Sponsorship is also an incredibly effective way to use some of the financial support you receive to market your business.

Whenever your funding allows, sponsoring high-profile initiatives in the community will help boost your visitor numbers and add to your retail opportunities.

Why not sponsor an art exhibition or photography contest? 

It’s a great way to show off local talent and promote your properties, branding or service. It can also be a fun event for guests to attend!

What’s in it for You?

Exhibitions with an extended display period offer a significant opportunity for business support. After all, they give businesses like yours the space to communicate messaging and products within the community. 

Contests can also generate lots of local and online publicity opportunities, and you might even get the chance to judge the winner!

5. Create a Themed Walking Tour of Your City or Neighbourhood

themed walking tour examples

Your neighbourhood is a powerful, often untapped resource.

So, why not create a themed walking tour to promote your area’s tourism and generate publicity and sales? 

That’s a terrific way to show off your city or neighbourhood and attract interested visitors. 

It can also be a fun activity for locals to explore their city differently.

Walking tours work well when linked to an allied initiative or event.  They could also be part of a tremendous stand-alone strategy to promote tourism in your industry

After all, the hospitality sector lends itself to engaging and entertaining guests, and with suitable investment, they could become excellent marketing opportunities

What Kinds of Tours Could I Provide?

The only limit is your imagination!

There are many different ways to create a themed walking tour. You could choose an interesting or unique theme, such as:

  • ghost tours of your city 
  • art galleries and murals in your neighbourhood
  • historical buildings with interesting stories to tell about them (such as haunted houses)
  • tourist attractions in your area (such as parks, museums and monuments)
  • local businesses and services that are worth visiting or trying out. 

You could even develop marketing and print publicity materials for these tours to provide information and advertising space for local businesses!

6. Create Community Outreach and School Visit Opportunities 

You can generate projects that reach out and connect with the local community with funding available. 

More than that, you can develop exciting opportunities for community groups to access your services or even get mutually beneficial connections going with schools and colleges. 

That could mean organising visits for school groups, hosting meet-and-greets or other events that welcome locals or putting together special offers for residents. 

It’s also a powerful way to get the word out about your business and create some goodwill in the community.

Be an Industry Known for Local Investment

Maybe your business can support school groups on field trips, offer advice to students looking for careers in your sector or even contribute resources and equipment?

Businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector have a lot to offer in the way of expertise and advice. The marketing opportunities often make the investment in the local economy worthwhile.

7. Run a Sporting or Gaming Event at Your Venue

group of people celebrating

Hosting a sporting or gaming event is always a great way to bring in new business and give people a reason to visit your venue!

That could be anything from darts tournaments to golf competitions or even video game challenges. 

It’s the perfect opportunity to show off what your venue has to offer and attract new customers.

Liaising with visitors in sports and gaming communities is ideal for developing a more extensive online network and might even boost your digital marketing campaigns

The influx of participants and guests to your site is sure to bring a great deal of investment to the communities you serve.

Just remember to research the options, visit similar events and make sure you’re eligible to use your funding for this kind of initiative!

Conclusion: Using Tourism Grants for Activities and Events Leads to Massive Growth!

Tourism and hospitality businesses that create exciting community projects will always generate opportunities for sales and marketing. 

Need help with your marketing and branding? Let us know. We are here to support you on your journey.

Your local profile is likely to increase, and the online marketing opportunities caused by this kind of one-off payment are priceless.

Providing business support to eligible tourism and hospitality companies is a priority for many funding bodies.  Now’s the time to plan big and make the most of the loans and finance options available.

Comment below if you have any questions! 

Have you used tourism grants for activities or events and seen growth in your business as a result? We would love to hear about your experience!

 

tourism grants
5 Great Business Start-Up Grants in Scotland to Apply for Now

5 Great Business Start-Up Grants in Scotland to Apply for Now

Getting the proper financial support is vital if you want to grow your travel business fast. 

Okay, you know that already, however….

Did you know that there are business start-up grants in Scotland available for creative industries and business finance for social enterprises just like yours?

Understanding the business grants you are eligible for is key to future growth if you’re a start-up business in the travel and tourism sector. 

There are Many Start-Up Business Grants to Choose From in Scotland

Business grants play an essential role in any new business idea, and there are several business start-up grants available in Scotland. 

Yes, I’m talking about the FREE money available to leverage in your business right now!

That’s excellent news for you if you want to get your business off the ground but don’t have the financial resources to do so. 

From local enterprise solutions to broader national funds, you’ll find options to help you start your hospitality business the right way.

How can Straight Up Websites Help?

I will give you a brief overview of some business start-up grants available in Scotland. You’ll learn how to apply for them and get ideas for spending your funding with a zero-waste approach. 

(I want you to make the most of the opportunities available to you and make sure you get the most out of what Scotland has to offer with their excellent schemes)

I’ll also give you the chance to get your website built and optimised to provide you with an authentic Scottish edge!

1. What are Business Start-up Grants in Scotland, and how do They Work?

scottish enterprise website

Business start-up grants are financial awards provided to help business owners get started. Scottish travel and tourism businesses are often the recipients of this kind of support.

The purpose of these grants is to help businesses get off the ground and become successful. To be eligible for a business start-up grant, you must meet specific criteria. 

You may need to demonstrate that your business has a high potential for growth or job creation. 

Does your company contribute positively to the local community or economy?

If so, you are on the right track, and help is available!

The Scottish Enterprise Website is a Great Starting Point

Here’s a list of the leading business start-up grants on the Scottish Enterprise website. New businesses in Scotland can benefit from:

The Starter Company Plus Grant

This grant offers up to £5000 in financial assistance.

If you are a small business that has been trading for less than 12 months and you have a maximum of two employees, then this may be for you.

The New Enterprise Allowance

The NEA grant offers up to £2000 in financial assistance.

It’s not as much as some other grants, but it can be a real boost if appropriately used.

This money is to help you kickstart your business from the ground up. To be eligible for this grant, you must have been unemployed for at least six months.

The Manufacturing Start-Up Grant

This grant offers up to £5000 in financial assistance.

A bit more than the NEA grant, and you can certainly make more of an impact.

Do you own a business solely manufacturing products in Scotland? If so, you will probably meet the criteria here and will likely be eligible…

Make sure to apply! You’ll be surprised how many put it off and miss out.

If you meet the eligibility criteria for any of these grants, you can usually apply online.

Remember that you’ll need to provide detailed information about your business, including your business plan, projected income and expenditure.

How Does the Application Process Work?

Each grant will likely have different criteria and will demand a direct application.

Sometimes, public sector organisations like local councils will manage funding applications. 

On other occasions, the Scottish Growth Scheme (at the Scottish Government website) might take the lead. Similarly, Highlands and Islands Enterprise organisations might calculate eligible costs.

Once you’ve submitted your application, Scottish Enterprise staff will assess it. You will gain a business start-up grant if your application is approved.

You will be surprised how smooth and easy the process is once you get started.

2. What Types of Businesses can Apply for a Start-up Grant in Scotland?

fsb - small business sustainability hub

Any business can apply for a start-up grant in Scotland, but the company’s location must be Scotland

The important thing is that the company is new and can grow and create jobs in Scotland. 

(Of course, this is why the grants exist, after all!)

That’s why business grants are so relevant to industries in the travel and tourism sector. The potential positive impact of these grants as a business gateway is evident. 

Grant recipients can quickly establish local links. We have seen it repeatedly. 

Some of the most common small business grants accessed by travel and tourism companies include:

The Innovation Grant

These grants help businesses develop new products or services. 

These awards meet the demands of various purposes, such as product development, market research, or business planning

So, how much funding is available for these innovation grants?

The available funding varies depending on the business’s needs (which you will need to layout clearly).

The Young Enterprise Scheme 

This scheme provides financial assistance to younger business owners who want to start their businesses. 

It’s open to anyone aged 16-30 years old, and the grant is worth up to £2000. 

We love this scheme. It’s not just supporting a great industry but also the younger generation!

These companies can use the money for various purposes, such as marketing, business supplies, or hiring staff, giving the younger generation an extra opportunity to get ahead of the game.

The Starter Company Grant

This grant provides financial assistance to business owners who want to start or expand their businesses. 

Sound good?

This one’s open to all companies, and there is no specific industry requirement, making it perfect for the hospitality sector.

The grant is worth up to £5000, and businesses can use the money for various purposes, from marketing to business supplies.

Ensure you understand the eligible project costs and the kind of business support you need, and the chances are your business will be covered under the Scottish Growth Scheme. 

Several private organisations offer business grants, such as the Prince’s Trust and the Federation of Small Businesses

Do your research and see which is best for you and your business.

3. The Benefits of Receiving a Business Start-up Grant in Scotland

young enterprise scheme information page

The benefits of working in partnership with organisations like the Highlands and Islands Enterprise project are endless.

You’ll get the financial assistance you need to get your business up and running.

Not only that…

You’ll also have access to many resources and support programs available through the grant program. That can include help with marketing, team member training, and so much more.

The Funding to Flourish

Perhaps the most prominent and immediate benefit is the extra value that funding brings to your business. 

What do I mean by that?

It allows you to move ahead with projects and provides the space for new companies to grow at a much faster pace. 

Support and Advice are Vital Benefits

Working in partnership gives you access to networks, support, advice and guidance.

From clarifying your vision in the application to ongoing checks and targets, drawing on the experience of others is of tremendous value.

Boost Your Skills Development

Funding can provide your start-up with the resources to invest in skills development, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or run a medium-sized business. 

It is vital to use finance to develop your skills, from IT skills development to health and safety certification or food hygiene

4. How can I use a Business Start-up Grant in Scotland?

woman looking at a website

Business start-up grants in Scotland can help you get your business off the ground and meet your long-term goals. 

And, remember…you don’t have to pay them back!

Your grant money can cover the costs of starting up, such as renting office space or purchasing equipment. You can also use it to fund marketing and advertising campaigns or cover the cost of training employees. 

One of the most valuable investments you can make is to develop your website and online marketing strategy.

If you get this right, you will save yourself time, hassle, and money on advertising.

Great Ways to use Your Grant

Scottish businesses based in the tourism sector can also invest funding into a range of important projects. 

These can bring a greater level of profitability to your organisation. Local authorities are often keen to work with UK small businesses that are dynamic and original.

Build Your Branding

Investing in branding and marketing can be an exceptionally productive and profitable exercise. 

It usually involves collaboration with marketing professionals who will research and offer detailed brand suggestions. Getting your branding right can often make the difference between making a sale or not!

Use Funding for Your Business Infrastructure

If your business needs improvements to existing facilities, this is an excellent use of capital. 

Get it right from the start and save the regrets later…

You could improve social distancing measures and contactless technology. You could also update visitor-facing resources and facilities and use the opportunity to generate significant local and online publicity. 

Host Exciting Community Events

Some funding available to businesses offers start-ups the chance to develop a programme of local events to attract visitors to your venue. 

They also help to boost your profile! 

Have you considered hosting some exciting sporting or charity events? 

…or how about sponsoring festivals or links with museums or other local partners.

5. Things to Keep in Mind when Starting your Travel and Tourism Business

importance of a marketing plan

There are a few key things to keep in mind when starting your travel and tourism business. 

Here are a few key recommendations, from what we have seen the leaders in the industry doing well:

Do Your Research

Firstly, it’s essential to research and understand the industry before launching your business. 

You should also be aware of the competition and what sets your business apart from others. Focus on your unique selling point and craft a fantastic experience from the outset.

Establish a Marketing Strategy

Another critical thing to consider is your marketing strategy – how will you attract customers?

If you haven’t got a solid marketing plan, you probably won’t have much success. 

Think of your company as a business gateway working in partnership with a range of other organisations. Draw on their experience

Identify your ideal visitor and tailor your products and services to their profile.

Create a Solid Business Plan

Do you know the travel industry well? Have you got your financial projections accurately planned? Are you clear on how Scottish Government initiatives can help small and medium-sized businesses? 

It’s vital to ensure you have a solid business plan in place. Be prepared for bumps in the road!

Conclusion: Make the Most of the Business Start-Up Grants in Scotland Available to You!

Several business start-up grants are available in Scotland for those looking to contribute to the travel and tourism industry. 

Done well, this can be an extremely lucrative business, so it’s worth exploring all of your options when it comes to funding. 

Need help? Let us know. We are here to help and support you on your journey.

You can make your business a success with the correct planning and preparation!

If any of you have received support for your travel business, let us know how you used the funding and what you found worked in the comment section below! Maybe you might just be able to inspire others!

 

business start-up grants in scotland
Start the Tourist Experience Before They Book: Our 10 Best Tips

Start the Tourist Experience Before They Book: Our 10 Best Tips

You’ll know it’s essential to start the tourist experience before the customer buys from you if you run a tourism business. 

Yes, that means having a great website that showcases everything your business has to offer. It’s also essential to make sure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate

Establishing Authority in the Tourism Industry

With mass tourism returning, establishing trustworthiness and authority while offering a tremendous contemporary tourist experience is challenging. However, by following these ten tips, you’ll align consumer and managerial perspectives and upgrade your tourism practices.

The experience economy is booming, with more visitors seeking an authentic tourist experience. If your website can provide that level of authority before a customer makes a purchase, you’re likely to make the sale.

Read on to see how we can help you develop a marketing strategy that builds your business fast.

1. Get to Know your Tourist Clients Before They Book

It’s essential to get to know your tourist clients before they book. That means understanding what they need from your tourism services. Once you know that, you can cater to their needs and provide them with the best tourist experience possible.

What kind of tourism literature suits them best? What experiential aspects of a holiday are the most popular? How important is sustainable tourism to the tourist consumer experience?

These are the kinds of questions you need to answer before providing a fantastic tourist experience. 

Reading tourism studies can be a valuable way to understand the theory behind visitor engagement. However, you can take five practical steps to understand consumer behaviour better.

Data Collection Techniques for Tourism Businesses:

  1. Mystery shopping feedback
  2. Focus groups
  3. 1:1 interviews 
  4. Repeat booking data
  5. Destination feedback

By understanding your tourist clients, you can provide them with the best possible experience from start to finish.

2. Research Tourist Destinations and Use Local Knowledge 

lonely planet travel tips

Promoting great tourist trips is a great way to start a tourist experience early.

Carrying out effective tourism research should play an essential role in your marketing strategy. Learning about the local culture at each of your tourism destinations and becoming an expert on tourist sites is critical.

Know the popular tourist destinations well and promote what makes them unique. Also, use local knowledge to dig deeper into lesser-known attractions that interest tourists. Once you have this information, begin planning how you can incorporate it into your business. 

Your first stop is likely to be creating stories and articles for your website or blog, raising tourist motivation and engagement. It’s a complicated psychological process. However, if your online visitor feels their trip has already begun when they visit your site, you’re already establishing a high level of tourist satisfaction!

3. Plan your Destination Marketing Based on Visitor Feedback

As a business owner in the tourism industry, it’s essential to understand your target market’s needs.

Successful tourist destinations are constantly evolving. What was popular last year may not be this year. The best way to keep up is to collect feedback from visitors. Then you can use it to plan your destination marketing strategy. 

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

Use surveys: You can use online surveys or in-person surveys to collect feedback from visitors. Be sure to ask questions about what they liked and didn’t like about their experience. 

Monitor social media: Social media is a great way to see what people say about your destination. Pay attention to both positive and negative comments so you can address any concerns.

Use data: Data can be a valuable tool for understanding visitor behaviour. Look at things like where they came from, how long they stayed and which attractions they visited. This information can help you plan your marketing efforts.

By collecting feedback to help guide your decisions, you can ensure that your destination constantly evolves to meet visitors’ needs. That will help you attract more tourists and improve the overall experience for everyone involved.

4. Package and Price your Tourist Experience Properly

trailfinders packaged experience

When tourists visit your website, venue or destination, they’re looking for a new experience. If you can provide that in your packaging and pricing, you’ll be building engaging tourist experiences from the beginning of your relationship.

Offer Variety for the Individual Tourist

One way to make sure you are effectively packaging and pricing your tourist experience is by offering variety

Even if you specialise in a particular niche, find its variety. Have different activities, tours, accommodation options and destinations available. Let each visitor engage with your site and discover the options that suit them best. That way, they’ll gain ownership of their trip before they even book!

Present Several Affordable Options 

Affordability is critical in the tourist industry: you’ll want your products to appeal to a wide range of customers. Look to develop possibilities across a range of price points and make sure that the cost for each significant element is clear to the visitor. 

Engage Customers with Something Extra 

Lastly, always try to go above and beyond for a potential visitor and surprise them with something special or unexpected. 

Before they buy, you could offer an added discount or benefit. Maybe provide a film-induced tourism experience? Perhaps include options to stay with locals or visit a historic district as a bonus? Just make sure you do something to show them that you appreciate them (whether they book or not).

5. Ensure the Booking Process is Part of the Tourism Experience

The booking process is one of the most critical aspects of the tourist experience.

 You want to make it easy for potential customers. If the booking is enjoyable, their trip will be fantastic!

An online booking system will allow potential customers to successfully book their packages without the need to call or email. If you’re currently using a third-party agency, do some research for tools that will enable you to manage this process yourself.

Make sure your website provides clear instructions on booking a tour or activity. You should also ensure that visitors are shown the booking journey in advance, avoiding surprises and building trust.

Allow potential customers to pay for their tour or activity using multiple methods, such as credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer. You might also consider ‘buy now pay later’ finance options.

Including the booking process as part of the tourist experience will provide a better overall experience for your potential customers. That will lead to more bookings and, ultimately, more business for you.

6. Make your Website a Tourist Attraction

come and explore calanais web page

Creating memorable tourist experiences starts with a great website.

It’s often the first point of contact with a potential trip that tourists experience. That means it’s essential to have a website that makes a great first impression.

5 tips for creating a great online experience for tourists:

  1. Make sure your website is easy to navigate. The last thing tourists want is to waste time looking for information on your site. Make everything easily accessible so they can learn more about what you offer quickly and easily.
  2. Include photos and videos of your packages and destinations. Seeing is believing, and if potential customers can visualise themselves at your venue, they’re more likely to book with you.
  3. Make your website mobile-friendly. With so many people using their phones and tablets to browse the internet, your website must look good on all devices.
  4. Include a blog on your site. That’s a great way to keep tourists updated and bring the holiday experience to life before buying from you.
  5. Keep your website up-to-date. Nothing is more frustrating than visiting a website that remains out of date for months (or even years!). Make sure you regularly update your site with new content, photos and deals, so people always have a positive new focus.

Make sure also to include testimonials or reviews on your website so that potential customers can see that others had positive experiences with your business. 

By following these tips, you can ensure that potential customers will have a great experience even before they visit your business in person. 

7. Create Contemporary Tourist Experiences

Both tourists and destination partners want to capture what’s hot right now. 

From sustainable development to social tourism, a recent leisure experience lends value and is a positive selling point.

If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to offer unique experiences that tourists can’t find anywhere else. That could be a tour of an ancient city or a hike through the jungle. The emotions related to escape from an ordinary life can be overwhelming. 

They’re also an excellent tool for engaging prospective clients.

Tourism studies show that getting creative with your tourist experiences works. Partner up with other local providers and agencies, and you’ll create original, unrepeatable experiences. 

If visitors to your site can customise their options and build fresh and exciting holiday bundles, they’re likely to go ahead and book. It also adds to your brand authenticity.

8. Build a Bond of Professionalism and Trust Online

abta trusted tourist brand

Tourism experiences work on trust… 

When tourists visit your website, they should feel like they can trust you with their business. Your website should look professional and be free of any errors. It should also look like you know what you’re doing.

If your website looks unprofessional, it will reflect poorly on your business as a whole.

Membership of professional organisations is also a powerful way to generate trust in an online setting. From ABTA to the World Tourism Organization, promoting your professional credentials on the site is vital.

Finally, make sure your customer service is top-notch

The complex nature of travel and hospitality means it’s a service industry through and through. That sense of service starts before they make a booking.

If a customer has a question, they should have quick and easy access to the answer. Respond to queries promptly and positively and do your best to resolve any issues. 

By establishing trust and professionalism online, you’ll make it easier for tourists to buy from you.

9. Embrace the Power of Social Media for Tourism Management

Social media is not a new concept, and it’s no secret that platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be powerful tools to reach new audiences. Social media should be a crucial part of your tourist experience marketing strategy – but only if you use it correctly.

People love visuals, so make sure your destination looks its best by sharing high-quality photos and videos on social media. By doing this, you will show potential visitors what they can expect if they visit your location.

As a tourism professional, you likely have a wealth of information to share with potential visitors. Make sure this information is easily accessible on your social media pages. 

If your business has any upcoming special events or promotions, make sure to promote them on social media!

Social media can also be a great way to connect with tourists looking for destinations and services like yours. Join groups and help tourists learn about local attractions and activities.

One of the best things about social media is its platform for real-time communication. If you see someone asking a question about your tourist destination, be sure to answer them quickly and thoroughly

By tracking your social media posts engagement, you can better understand which marketing campaigns work best. 

10. Keep your Communications Engaging and Reassuring

inspiring online tourist experience

With international tourism and luxury tourism experiences on the rise, remember that you’ll be communicating across languages and cultures. 

When people consider spending their hard-earned money on tourist experiences, they need reassurance that everything will go well. Literally and metaphorically, you need to speak their language

They also want to be engaged in the process and enjoy regular communication. 

Here are some ways to keep your communications engaging and reassuring:

  • Use positive language at all times
  • Make sure your tone is friendly and helpful
  • Answer customer questions quickly and thoroughly
  • Avoid making any promises you can’t keep
  • Share interesting information about your company and the tourist experience you offer
  • Be personal and responsive to customers’ needs and concerns
  • Show enthusiasm for what you do! People like to buy from businesses that they feel good about supporting.

When it comes to automated processes and mailing lists, it’s vital to get the tone of your emails connected to your brand story.

Conclusion: Providing a Great All Round Experience

These are just a few things you can do to start the tourist experience before clients buy from you. Remember, your website is the first impression potential customers will have of your business, so make sure it is up to par! 

With a bit of effort, you can ensure that every tourist who comes across your brand has a positive experience from beginning to end.

top ten tips for tourist experience
The 5 Phases of Tourism Experiences: Creating Memorable Holidays

The 5 Phases of Tourism Experiences: Creating Memorable Holidays

What Makes a Holiday Memorable? 

Is it the destination, the activities, the people you meet? It can be hard to explain just what makes a memorable tourism experience. However, understanding this part of the tourism industry is critical for crafting these holiday experiences.

I regularly advise my clients about this aspect of hospitality and tourism management. It’s one of the many ways we help our partners develop marketing strategies and build memorable experiences.

Understanding the Five Phases of Memorable Holidays

I will walk you through the five emotional phases your tourism company should focus on when creating unforgettable tourism experiences.

These phases will help you better understand what your customers are looking for, from anticipation and excitement to happiness and satisfaction. They might even help you redesign your marketing strategy or boost your tourist attraction!

1. Anticipation is Key to a Great Tourist Experience

tourism company reviews page

The phase where your customers plan their trip and get excited for their upcoming holiday is crucial. The most memorable trips often start well before the typical tourist packs their bags! 

If a visitor comes to you with a tourist destination in mind, providing stories, images, reviews, and even testimonials add to their anticipation. You should focus on creating attractive and appealing marketing materials to capture the attention of your potential visitors. 

Your Research Builds Their Anticipation

Holiday planning is when your customers are likely to undertake extensive research on their destination and preferred activities. 

Investing in experiential tourism means giving customers a range of choices.

You also need to make sure they’ve got all the information they need to make great choices. You can start their memorable journey from guides on local culture to alternatives to the best hotel room.

Finally, tourism businesses should create a sense of anticipation and excitement for their customers by providing them with regular updates on their holiday plans.

Emphasising the travel narratives of previous customers works well and adds confidence. Regularly highlight a particular experience or range of tourist attractions to keep your visitors interested.

In short, your engagement doesn’t stop when the booking is complete. Your client’s memorable experience is only just beginning, and you’re central to making it personal.

2. Excitement is Part of the Tourism Experience

engaging tourism email

Okay, so your visitor is now a paying customer, they have made the booking, and now this is the stage where travellers are full of anticipation and can’t wait to get started on their trip. 

Data analysis shows that, just before departure, tourism companies should increase their level of contact with guests.

Now is the time to add to their excitement and positivity by sharing photos and videos of the destination. You could also provide detailed information about what to expect and arrange airport pickups and transfers

Help Customers Finalise Their Plans

At this stage, your travellers are also trying to finalise their plans and looking for last-minute deals. It would help if you offered discounts and promotions to encourage travellers to book their trip or invest in profitable add-ons.

Finally, offering exclusive experiences or VIP access to attractions and events can generate excitement. You should work to create an experience that is unique and exciting. One that travellers will remember for years to come.

3. Encountering New Destinations and Local People

web page offering cultural tours

The third phase of tourism experiences occurs when travellers encounter new destinations and local people

It can be an exciting but nerve-wracking experience exploring a foreign place and communicating with locals. 

Some tourists feel like they are on an adventure to discover new sights and sounds. However, others find it overwhelming to navigate their way around!

Provide new Tourism Experiences

The excitement of exploring a new place is a popular reason for travel. 

Whether it’s discovering ancient ruins, tasting new foods, or encountering different cultures, the thrill of new experiences is a significant driver of tourism. You must create opportunities for your guests to have these kinds of experiences.

One way to do this is to partner with local organisations and businesses to provide unique and exciting experiences…

An approach like this can include arranging a traditional dance performance to take guests on a nature hike. Whatever you do, make sure that the experiences you provide are truly unique and offer a new perspective on the destination.

Keeping the Encounters Comfortable

You can help cautious travellers by providing clear information about the destination and organising tours with knowledgeable guides. 

You can also help them connect with locals by arranging meetups or social events. You will allow travellers to learn more about visiting the place’s culture and customs.

Try to ensure the traveller feels safe and comfortable in this new environment (without removing the pleasure of a new adventure!)

If you can manage to create an environment where guests feel like they’re constantly encountering new and exciting things, you’ll be on your way to creating a memorable holiday.

4. Engagement Makes a Memorable Tourism Experience

myths and mountains activities page

Once a tourist is attracted to your destination, you must keep them engaged. Achieve this outcome through the activities, events, and attractions you have on offer.

It’s essential to provide a variety of activities that will interest different people. For example, someone who loves nature may want to hike, while someone who loves history may visit a museum.

It is also essential to keep the tourist engaged throughout the entire experience. 

You can do this by providing a well-rounded package that includes activities, food and culture. If your tourism company can keep its tourists engaged throughout their entire experience, your customers are more likely to have a memorable holiday.

Great Ways to Keep Visitors Engaged

Keeping your clients engaged on their holidays is a critical element of successful hospitality and tourism management. 

My top five tips are:

  1. Activities: Provide a variety of activities that will interest different people. Repeat them where possible to allow novelty seekers to try new things.
  2. Events: Host events that will keep tourists engaged and interested in the destination; Not everyone will want them, but a tourist’s experience will be more engaging if they have the choice!
  3. Attractions: Have attractions unique to the destination and keep tourists coming back for more. An excellent tourist experience relies on having amazing new things to do!
  4. Culture: Showcase the destination’s culture and give tourists a taste of the local way of life. Tourism research indicates that many visitors want to know the country and its customs.
  5. Food: Offer a variety of local food that will tantalise tourists’ taste buds. Experiencing foods that are brand new makes a perfect travel experience. 

Supporting Your Clients’ Well Being

You can do a few things to help support tourists on holiday with you…

One of the most important is to ensure that all information is in one place. Include maps, directions, and contact information. It is also helpful to have staff fluent in multiple languages to communicate with tourists worldwide.

It’s also essential to provide 24/hour support for tourists. Achieve this by having a hotline to call if they need help. You could also have staff available to help with anything that may come up.

A Safe and Secure Environment Works Best

Finally, it’s essential to provide tourists with a safe and secure environment. You’ll guarantee a memorable tourism experience if you can achieve all this!

5. Extension and Reflection Builds a Partnership

booking.com positive feedback videos

Once a visitor has returned, tourism studies show that companies should continue to engage with them positively. 

You should provide ways for travellers to extend their memorable experiences and reflect on them. Do this through social media, photo sharing, or even providing a forum for feedback. 

Staying Engaged Works for Everyone

By remaining engaged, you have a valuable opportunity for data collection and forging lasting partnerships. 

After all, positive tourist experiences are suitable for your business, and capturing positive feedback is a crucial marketing strategy.

Extending the experience allows travellers to keep their holiday memories alive, and reflection helps them learn and grow from their experiences. These are valuable aspects of tourism that can help make memories (and travel relationships) last a lifetime.

Conclusion: Engage and Support to Enhance the Tourism Experience

Different travellers want different experiences, but what links all holidaymakers together is this process of engagement and support.

The five phases of tourism experiences provide a valuable framework for creating memorable holidays. By focusing on each stage, companies can ensure that their travellers have a rich and rewarding experience.

A key element to remember is that, as a travel business, you also need to use this information to draw potential visitors in and convert them into customers. If your marketing and branding can illustrate in advance the life-affirming and exciting service they’ll receive, you’re far more likely to do just that.

tourism experiences
5 Powerful Ways to Leverage Tourism Funding to Bounce Back

5 Powerful Ways to Leverage Tourism Funding to Bounce Back

If you run a travel-related or hospitality business tourism funding is available for you in these difficult times. You’ll know the impact of the global pandemic on the tourism industry has been significant.

With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, many people have been unable or reluctant to leave their homes or travel abroad. 

This unexpected circumstance has resulted in a significant decline in tourism revenue for many countries. Compared to the previous year, the UK travel and tourism industry saw its income halved in 2020 due to the pandemic!

Help is on its Way!

It’s the same story globally

However, governments, local authorities and the private sector are all offering financial support packages to help businesses in the tourism sector recover.

This article will outline how you can use these funding programmes for your tourism business and invest in ways to bounce back.

1. Engage With Your Customers to Keep Them Focused on Your Services

What’s a great way to keep your business present in the mind of your customers?

Use tourism funding to develop a coordinated engagement programme. Eligible businesses can use a range of business support options to fund developments to these essential service elements.

Regularly contacting existing and potential customers through a dynamic content management system can positively boost your profits.

content management system website

How can Funding Opportunities Help Businesses Impacted by Covid?

Tourism and hospitality businesses can use social media or email marketing campaigns to achieve this level of contact. 

The more you interact with your customers, the more likely they will remember your tourism business. That means they’re more likely to return for future services. 

Essentially, interacting with your customers and increasing engagement will add to your economic recovery.

An excellent place to start would be an Instagram account where you post pictures from your venue every day…reach out to influencers and see if they will help you promote your brand. You will be surprised how many will be more than willing!

You could introduce different members of staff. Even if you don’t feel like you have a full range of events to promote, you’d be amazed at how many opportunities you have to publicise what you do. 

Visitors love to know what you have to offer and enjoy direct contact.

Ways to Keep Customers Engaged and Focused

There are other ways that funding investment into the direct contact options available to you can increase your revenue:

  1. Improve the efficiency and reach of your mailing lists
  2. Develop and distribute a regular newsletter via email
  3. Integrate social media feeds with your website
  4. Plan and publicise special offers for returning customers
  5. Develop a regular posting and contact strategy or timetable
  6. Share work in progress and everyday activities (as well as big news) 
  7. Keep your brand voice consistent across platforms
  8. Advise tourists, guide them and provide more value than your competitors

Learn how to maintain your website and keep visitors coming back.

2. Develop your Website and Online Resources for Maximum Functionality

One of the single most important steps your business can take to recover is to ensure that your website is working as hard as you are.

After all, most visitors’ first impression of your brand is online. That’s where you need to stand out if you’re going to flourish in the future.

calanais website design

What Should Your Website be Doing for You?

5 key ways you could use recovery funding to improve your brand are:

  1. Booking Management System and enhanced web functionality
  2. Brand strategy, bring out your brand story and communicate your journey
  3. Email marketing, building email lists and improving points of contact
  4. A clean, crisp, modern website that is easy to use
  5. SEO, getting in front of more tourists!

The Calanais Standing Stones is an excellent example of a website we built combining ease of use with functionality and great design

This local organisation was a recipient of funding for tourism, and we were delighted to work with them to give their brand a complete overhaul. They’re now ready for a bright, post-pandemic future!

Check out our article on using funding opportunities to market your tourism and hospitality business here

3. Make Sure you Know What Your Competitors are Doing, and do it Better!

With the tourism sector being a globally competitive industry, knowing what your competitors are doing is essential. 

You also need to understand how you can do it better…

You may not be able to improve on everything they offer or make every single aspect of their business model work for you. However, there will always be something that you can do better than them if you put your mind to it! 

And remember: tourism is all about the visitor experience. Don’t underestimate any detail that could help give you a competitive edge.

2021 video marketing report

Top Tourism Industry Strategies

Why not try developing projects that reward loyalty or repeat customs to encourage more business? 

You could work with a range of local or online partners. They could help improve the depth of your offer, supporting other businesses in your internal market. 

Remember, it’s not just about reducing prices, but also about improving quality. Investment in training programmes or qualifications for staff would be a great way to enhance your offer too.

You could also use the funding for promotional purposes. After all, there’s no point doing something better than your competition if no one knows about it!

If you want to take your tourism marketing efforts up a notch, consider investing in good quality video content. According to the 2021 Wyzowl Video Survey, 93% of marketers say it is essential to include videos within a marketing strategy. 

These same experts believe that it has helped them increase their overall revenue. It could be an excellent way for your tourism business to use some of the financial support on offer!

Social media is dominated by video content these days! If you can create engaging and visually appealing videos, you’ll be able to reach a whole new audience on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

4. Use Contactless Technology to Encourage Customer Wellbeing and Confidence

Funding programmes financed by the central government are often concerned with the overall development of responsible tourism

That can come in many forms. You should ensure that critical areas of customer wellbeing and confidence prioritise physical venues.

Businesses in the tourism industry can use this financial support by investing in contactless technology. This investment might not seem like a priority when compared with potential improvements to the infrastructure of your venue. 

However, publicising the lengths tourism businesses go to when safeguarding their visitors can result in greater booking confidence.

contactless technology information page

What Kinds of Contactless Technology can I Use?

Contactless technology has tremendous potential, and if your funding allows it, you might consider its use in:

  • Visitor display materials
  • Ticketing and venue information
  • Publications and products
  • Surveys and feedback
  • Orders and bookings
  • Visitor counts
  • Payments and contributions

Ways to minimise physical contact but retain a high level of interaction are fantastic opportunities. 

You’ll need to ensure that your hardware integrates smoothly with your online systems, most importantly your website!

5. Use Tourism Funding to Engage Directly With Your Local Community

The financial support offered to businesses in the tourism industry can fund a wide range of community initiatives. 

From one-off events to the sponsorship of ongoing initiatives, they give businesses and residents a chance to contribute to the local economy. 

If these events have a sustainable bias, then using grants or a one-off payment to benefit this type of scheme is a great way to raise your profile. Plus, you can take advantage of a full range of income-generating opportunities. 

Businesses previously supported with recovery funding may well be eligible for a top-up payment. That can make the effort of developing community outreach projects particularly rewarding.

uk government tourism recovery plan

How Can Business Support Benefit the Local Community?

There are many ways that the kind of business support you provide can add to local economic recovery. They can also help your own business grow. 

Try developing projects with other local venues or charities to raise your profile. Equally, you could consider investing in school projects or supporting a scheme to improve transport links.

You could enhance infrastructure or marketing and connect with other relevant programmes in your sector.

Although it might not happen immediately, the publicity attached to improving your community can generate lots of positive support. You can use this as the basis of some outstanding marketing campaigns.

Great Ideas for Moving Forward

If you’re thinking about using growth or recovery funding to set up initiatives or stand-alone events, then there are a wide range of ideas out there. 

Examples are hosting tournaments, conventions or concerts, festivals, themed occasions and more. You can find many ideas for spending your tourism grants by developing activities and events online.

For further information, it’s also worth reading the UK Tourism Recovery Plan, which outlines the ongoing strategy for tourism funding in the UK.

Conclusion: Invest in Your Online Presence to Bounce-Back From the Pandemic

Spending money after a period of sustained loss can feel counter-intuitive

However, investing tourism funding to build your business up and attract back cautious customers is the right strategy for growth

Investing in your brand, website, and online presence is the best solution to prepare your tourism and hospitality business. It’ll also bring the successful future that you and your customers deserve!

tourism funding
5 Small Business Grants in Scotland You Can Easily Apply For Today

5 Small Business Grants in Scotland You Can Easily Apply For Today

If you’re a business owner in Scotland working in tourism and hospitality, you’ll know that alongside your regular income, getting access to the proper business grants in Scotland is vital.

Without the support of a range of grant schemes, it’s all too easy for Scottish businesses to miss essential growth targets. There is also the risk to ignore a critical development project or business idea.

How Business Grants in Scotland Might Just be the Boost You Need!

Happily, several small business grants are available. These grants offer small businesses a valuable level of financial support. This article will outline five of the best small business grants that hospitality businesses like yours can access. 

Like the Scottish Growth Scheme, some of these business grants in Scotland can help with start-up costs and marketing expenses. Others on the Scottish Government website can help businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. 

So, from hospitality businesses to the creative industries, if you’re looking for a grant scheme to help bring your business plan to life, we’ve got good news for you!

1. Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund (for Hospitality)

visit scotland website page

If you run your own business in the hospitality sector, the Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund supports many companies, including those previously received help. It is well worth investigating.

Working with STERG, VisitScotland has put together a package designed to support:

  • Coach operators
  • Day tour operators
  • Hostels
  • Inbound tour operators
  • Outdoor / marine
  • Visitor attractions

The £9 million COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund package includes £6 million from the £375 million in business support. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously announced this funding and the £3 million repurposed from Phase 1 of the Tourism Recovery Programme.

Just How Much Money is Available?

The Scottish Government announced a further £7.5 million to support inbound tour operators who have previously received funding. 

Eligible businesses will receive a top-up payment of £6,800. This payment could offer your organisation a valuable business gateway to covering operational costs, investing in job creation, or even safeguarding the time needed to apply for other funding opportunities.

VisitScotland is committed to ensuring it’s as simple as possible for businesses, operators and event organisers to access the funding for which they are eligible, so it’s worth pursuing this one-off payment.

2. The Food and Drink Processing Grant

scottish government food and drink grant

The Food and Drink Processing Grant is a grant scheme available to food and drinks businesses in Scotland. Whether you are an independent producer or a customer-facing hospitality business, you could be eligible, and it’s worth applying.

This Scottish enterprise grant scheme contributes to the government’s overall vision for food and drink in Scotland to be a Good Food Nation. The concept is to produce, buy, serve and eat fresh, healthy food.

It allows you to apply for start-up business grants in Scotland if you’re a new food processing business or to apply for a one-off payment if you’re an existing food processing business. 

The funding can cover up to 50% of the costs of qualifying projects, including new equipment purchases, business expansion or relocation, and training expenses.

How can you use this Grant?

Specifically, the grant aims to fund eligible project costs for developing or creating food processing facilities, including buildings and equipment. Excitingly, it can also help you meet the goals in your business plan by supporting your non-capital projects too. You can get help to:

  • Market your products in home and export markets and attend national/international trade shows/fairs
  • Run co-operative ventures to retain more value by both farmers and growers
  • Improve supply-chain efficiency

It’s one of several single-year grant schemes designed to support small businesses in this sector; to be eligible, you must:

  1. Be located in Scotland
  2. Produce food and drink products
  3. Meet the Scottish Enterprise definition of a small business, which is a business with fewer than 250 employees

The food and drink sector can also help make Scotland healthier, wealthier and wiser, with stronger communities and socially and environmentally sustainable production.

3. EventScotland’s National Events Programme

tourism events funding programme

The National Events Programme, reopened by VisitScotland, is designed to deliver Scotland’s national events strategy (Scotland the Perfect Stage), bolster and support tourism and hospitality businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the broader recovery of tourism and events in Scotland.

The programme will support the development and delivery of live sporting and cultural events outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh to help drive domestic tourism and showcase Scotland as the ‘perfect stage’ for events. 

If you run an established hospitality company or a new business, this is the ideal opportunity to align your planning with some of Scotland’s most significant tourism initiatives.

What’s the Scope of the Funding?

Awards of between £2,000 and £4,000 are available for eligible organisers of community-focused events. Overall delivery budgets will be between £8,000 and £20,000 and will attract a minimum of 500 in-person attendees.

Larger-scale events that support the broader visitor economy and can demonstrate alignment with the national events strategy will apply for between £5,000 and £25,000. These events will have delivery budgets over £20,000 and will attract more than 1,000 in-person attendees.

On average, there are two funding deadlines annually for this award. 

Do you feel that your business could make effective links with other organisations? Can your company provide a range of relevant hospitality services? Or maybe your business has the potential to contribute to a strategic Scottish marketing initiative? 

This programme could be a fantastic opportunity for you!

Find out more about using Scotland funding to help market your tourism business.

4. Tourism Recovery Fund

visit scotland tourism recovery fund

From the smallest start-up to the most prominent organisation, COVID-19 has had a significant impact. Several schemes now exist to offer advice and support to companies and employees. Central amongst these various business grants in Scotland is a grant provided by the Tourism Recovery Fund.

What Does This Fund Focus on Providing?

With a focus on sustainability and selective regional assistance, this scheme aims to support tourism and events businesses by funding sustainability certification scheme providers. So, provided your business holds this certification, you could soon receive guidance and funding from this organisation. 

This level of funding, supported by the Scottish government’s commitment to sustainable tourism, enables businesses to think about developing their net-zero action plans and focus on carbon reduction activity. It also encourages zero waste schemes in association with Waste Scotland.

5. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Ventilation Fund

scottish government business ventilation fund

Last is a Scottish government-backed fund that aims to support small businesses in developing their facilities and services following the rapid spread of COVID-19. The Business Ventilation Fund is part of a grant scheme offering funding to help small and medium-sized businesses improve their ventilation and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

How can I use this Award?

Businesses can claim up to £2,500 per eligible premises to recover the work costs to improve ventilation and air quality. This work could include:

  • installing carbon dioxide monitors
  • installation of new airflow systems
  • repairs to windows and vents
  • analysis and review of existing facilities

Support will initially target high-risk settings where people come into close contacts, such as restaurants, bars and gyms. The total funding package is worth £25 million, announced by the First Minister in September 2021

Conclusion

So there you have it; five small business grants in Scotland that you can benefit from, all available for hospitality businesses. Whilst not every grant the UK government offers is open all year round, they are excellent examples of regularly accessible funds and are excellent business gateway opportunities. 

Think there’s a fund here that suits your needs, but you’re not sure about the application process? Check out my post on getting tourism grants in Scotland. You will find more information on the benefit of applying and how this funding can boost your organisation.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you fill your calendar with DIRECT online bookings for 40+ weeks a year and make sure your customers become repeat customers?

Check out our Bookings Accelerator System, which has helped tourism or hospitality businesses across the UK fill their calendar with hundreds of thousands of pounds of DIRECT bookings at 0% commission.

business grants in scotland
5 FREE Ways to Use Scotland Funding to Market Your Tourism Business!

5 FREE Ways to Use Scotland Funding to Market Your Tourism Business!

Great Marketing for Tourism Businesses is Vital

We all know that great marketing is at the heart of a successful tourism business. Not every business has the expertise or money for an integrated and dynamic marketing strategy. 

If that sounds like you, then I’ve got good news for you! 

Scotland has a variety of funding programs available to give businesses in the tourism industry the financial support they need to get started, develop ongoing strategies, and plan future expansions and initiatives.

If you’re a tourism business thinking about developing your marketing, then identifying the right funding programmes is really important. After all, successful award funding leads to great marketing opportunities and gives you the investment you need to move your business forward.

We’re Here to Help…

At Straight Up Websites, we really want to see the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry flourish, and in this post, I’ll guide you through the ways that you can use Scotland funding to develop your tourism business and make the most of the funding you receive. 

I’ll also share some valuable industry strategies for ways that you can use great marketing to grow your tourism business and maximise your brand, market share and profitability.

Let’s get started.

1. What is Scotland Funding, and How Can it Be Used to Market Your Tourism Business for Free?

Scotland funding refers to a range of government-funded and privately financed organisations. These organisations offer financial assistance to new and established businesses in several sectors, including tourism and hospitality. 

You can use significant proportions of the funds on offer for marketing purposes or other costs associated with developing visitors’ products, services, or experiences.

These grants are available at various levels, from local government agencies to national ones like VisitScotland, which offer several funding options. 

Suppose you’re working on a collaborative tourism marketing campaign that focuses on growth in the tourism sector. In that case, your most appropriate option might be the VisitScotland Growth Fund, as this fund aims to encourage collaboration and partnerships to deliver tourism and hospitality marketing across Scotland.

Build a Bespoke Brand

This level of Scotland funding gives you the financial independence to build bespoke brands and marketing campaigns that ignite your business and encourage visitors to your venue, as well as others throughout the country.

 The Scottish Government also has several funds specifically for VisitScotland accredited businesses. One of them is the Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance Grant Scheme, a grants programme that offers up to £250k for investment projects.

 So, whether it’s upgrading your website, developing branding, or managing your booking system, there’s never been a better time to make use of Scotland funding!

2. Scotland Funding Opportunities and How to Apply

Scotland funding opportunities are widespread, and each has its criteria for applying. To help you narrow down the options that might be right for you, here are some links to three outstanding online resources:-

Grants Online

Grants Online is a hub that details a wide range of Scotland funding options and where you’ll find articles about grant opportunities across all sectors. You can also sign up for their regular newsletter, giving you access to all the latest application details.

Funding Scotland

Funding Scotland is another hub that brings together funding opportunities for charities, community groups and social enterprises in Scotland, many of which include organisations in the tourism sector. The site offers access to over 850 different funds at writing, so there are plenty to choose from!

The Scottish Tourism Alliance

The Scottish Tourism Alliance isn’t a fund provider but is the representative body of the Scottish tourism industry. It offers members in-depth and up-to-date news on the latest national strategies in the tourism and hospitality industry and has the mandate to support businesses like yours!

3. What are the Benefits of Using Scotland Funding to Market Your Tourism Business?

There are a few reasons why Scotland funding is so popular with people looking to market their tourism businesses: it’s free! 

This kind of project funding gives you an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate your market presence or take the time to invest in partnerships that help move your brand forwards. 

Scotland funding is also an excellent way for entrepreneurs to start marketing whilst keeping their upfront costs manageable.

 Once you’ve started to market your business more successfully, you can expect to see some of the following benefits:-

Increased Visibility for Your Business

Working with a set of integrated, bespoke and professionally maintained marketing tools such as a redeveloped website or refreshed branding can lead to greater visibility for your business.  This increased exposure can help you reach more potential customers and generate more sales. 

Drawing Strength from Marketing Partnerships 

Receiving funding to market your tourism business will inevitably require you to develop effective partnerships with other companies, suppliers, venues and marketing professionals. 

The way this fund supports projects to help you develop a network is precious, as not only can you draw on one another’s expertise and gain shared access to vital information,  you’ll also substantially increase the reach of your marketing.

 VisitScotland also provides training and resources to help businesses use their awards effectively and efficiently. 

Increased Business Growth in the Tourism Sector

Gaining access to Scotland funding can help you increase your sales. Firstly, the better your marketing, the more potential customers you’ll reach.

 Just as important, having the budget and freedom to work with marketing professionals means that the quality of your marketing is likely to increase significantly, saving time and money and making each opportunity for conversion far more successful.

Of course, the lasting benefit of using this kind of funding initiative to develop your marketing strategy is the knowledge and experience you’ll gain. Not only can you carry on applying the marketing principles and techniques you’ve created, but you’ll find it easier to access new funding for future marketing campaigns too.

4. How to Market your Tourism Business Using Scotland Funding

Once you’ve been successful with a grant programme and you’ve made the decision to invest some of that capital in marketing your tourism business more effectively, you’ll want to think about the next steps.

 What can you do to minimise project costs and ensure that you see a tangible return on your investment?

Here are five steps you can take immediately, to help you move forwards with a successful marketing strategy:-

Make Sure you Understand Your Customers.

Understanding what your customers want, what they’re willing to pay, where they come from and how they feel about you is a great place to start your marketing journey. 

It’s easy to make assumptions about what you think a client or visitor wants, but if you don’t ask them, then you might find that you’re missing a significant opportunity to improve your offer.

Gathering feedback via questionnaires, email contact, in person and even with a visitor’s book can help you see things from their perspective and pick up on what you’re doing well, as well as what you’re missing out on.

Importantly, you must make sure you have an ‘ideal’ customer in mind and work hard to refine your marketing (and your service) to reflect their needs.

Harness the Power of Reviews

It’s imperative to cultivate positive reviews for your business. 

In a recent study, Tourism Economics found that sites such as TripAdvisor were encouraging higher spending and more extended stays in the UK, with reviews playing an increasingly important factor in booking decisions.

You should ensure that your positive reviews are well-publicised and used as part of your more comprehensive marketing strategy. Working with a professional marketing team, you’ll be able to embed these reviews into your sites and social media automatically. 

You should make sure that you respond to any poorer reviews fairly and professionally and publicly resolve any issues.

Reviews also offer you a powerful tool for self-reflection as a business, a vital part of the marketing process.

Make Decisions About Your Brand

Moving forward on your marketing journey, it’s worth thinking deeply about your brand identity and whether what your business offers still reflects the branding you have in place. 

If it does, you’re going to need to amplify and celebrate that identity with new campaigns. Still, if not, you’ll need to develop new marketing approaches that better reflect your individuality, voice, image, service and ethos. 

This factor is where working with some marketing professionals within the tourism and hospitality sector can be so valuable, as they’ll be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you maximise your Scotland funding investment.

Remember to Share Your Journey 

Sharing your success on social media is a vital part of any marketing strategy and something you can do before your funding comes through. 

Keeping your brand in the mind of interested followers means you’re more likely to get repeat custom, develop the scope of your message and convey a level of energy and activity that will keep people engaged.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need to have a series of special events to share, either. You can post daily about the journey your tourism business is on – anything from photos of your team painting a wall to a member of staff packaging mailouts can make engaging content.

As you build a following, your social media channels become a great place to publicise deals, events and opportunities, so don’t underestimate their value!

Remember your Website is a Powerful Tool

Regardless of the service or product your tourism business offers, your website is your online home and needs to set the tone for your brand. 

You should make sure that you optimise it across different platforms so that it’s user-friendly and structured to draw the visitor in and convert them from a visitor into a paying customer. 

Your website also needs to be SEO-rich to ensure that visitors can find you quickly and get the information they need immediately. It’s also your source for generating mailing lists, selling products and, just like you’re reading now, blogging about your business!

Getting this aspect of your business right is probably one of the most important things you can invest your Scotland funding awards into, both for short-term value and long-term growth.

5. How will Scotland Funding help you grow your Tourism Business?

With powerful and effective marketing, your tourism business will not only reach more potential customers and clients but is far more likely to connect with the right demographic

Using that funding to research your ideal customer or visitor, establishing an offer that attracts them and understanding what they expect from you can make a tremendous difference to your chances of success.

But it’s not just targeted marketing itself that will help you grow…

The process of researching funding opportunities compels businesses to develop new approaches to community engagement, expansion, infrastructure and ethos. 

By taking the time to understand how funds work and who and what the funds will support, you can plan your events, promotions, and products from an informed perspective.

That way, you can continue to build your business with confidence, knowing that your goals are supported by each fund provider’s commitment to secure Scotland’s place as a premier tourism location.

To find out more about getting tourism grants in Scotland, check out our detailed post here.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways that Scotland funding can help your tourism business grow. You just need to do your research and find the right funding opportunity for you. 

Whether you’re planning to grow your digital marketing, establish your local reputation or simply build your bookings, using that funding to market your business couldn’t be more important!

Are you looking to improve your brand identity, enhance your online experience and most importantly can you handle more online bookings?

In that case, we’d love to hear from you. We’re excited to learn more about the challenges you face how we can support you to overcome them and become your go-to partner for all your travel website marketing in the future.

scotland funding
How Much Should a WordPress Travel Website Cost You in 2022?

How Much Should a WordPress Travel Website Cost You in 2022?

This is a question I always get asked, and the answer to this question is not as simple as it might seem…

The size and complexity of a website project for your travel business will always determine the final costs, but there are extra charges that you should also be aware of before you invest in your new website. 

This article should help you when budgeting for your travel website project to not run into any hidden fees or additional expenses!

For those of you who haven’t got the time to read this post, here’s a ballpark breakdown:

Website Project Costs:

  • Domain Name Registration£15-25 per year
  • Hosting – £10 -15 per month
  • Template Websites – typically £500-£1,000
  • Custom Website Design & Development – One-off fee (typically £2,000 – £6,000+)
  • Ongoing website maintenance, security & updates – £50 a month
  • E-commerce websites – £6,000+

Cost No.1 – Registering Your Domain:

Domain names are the address of your website. They’re typically purchased for an annual fee and last a year; you renew them on time, which is usually every year or two years depending upon if they expire at any point in that period. 

Domain name registration fees vary widely from provider to provider, you need to find a good one and not go for the cheapest. If you’re looking to register your travel website and not seeking professional advice, then consider all the options, do your research and stay away from the cheap providers…they are cheap for a reason!

The domain name registration fee is usually around £15-25 per year. It’s a cost that you’ll have to pay before the website goes live, and there is usually an irresistible offer for your first year. The annual renewal of this service will be  due on the anniversary of your domain name registration. 

We recommend you purchase your domain here for fast propagation, reliable support, and generally an overall quality service.

Cost No.2 – Hosting Your Domain on a Server

The hosting fee is typically charged monthly, around £10-15 a month for an average-sized WordPress travel website. It works out cheaper if paid annually (and I like not to have the monthly charges and just pay a year upfront). 

Again, the same goes for the domain. The first year will typically be a cheaper fee. You’ll have to pay for hosting for as long as you plan to have your website active, or until you decide not to renew with them anymore and cancel service with this provider…which can be done at any time without penalty if you so happened to change your mind. 

If you are looking for a more extensive hosting plan with more server space for hosting multiple websites, the average annual price will vary depending upon how much server space is required.

Most hosting providers offer unlimited websites and unlimited databases within reason. This typically ranges from £30-£100 per month if paid annually in advance.

The cost includes hosting, branded email addresses with a customised mail server setup to send emails from your company’s address, and an SSL certificate required by law when collecting personal data online such as IDs, credit card details or passwords, etc.

Cost No.3 – Website Design and Development

The cost of custom design and development will vary depending on the complexity, size or scope of the project…

If all you are looking for is a template website and don’t care much about customising everything, you just need a professional presence online. You can get a website built and live in less than a month for under £1,000.

If you require a more significant level site that requires complex integration, custom coding, more content, webpages and work, then this would take more like 6-8 weeks for completion and could cost anything from around £3,000 – £6,000+… the more complex the project, the more it will require of time and resources from designers/developers which is of course reflected by higher costs.

Design and development is a crucial part of the project. Any web design company charging less than £1,000 would usually indicate a lack of experience resulting in a poor quality product. 

Most commonly, if you pay less than £1,000, the company will sacrifice quality. They are likely not to deliver what is required to reach your business goals and waste your time by providing a template site, no marketing techniques, user experience and conversion-based design. No ongoing extra support to help you get the most from your site.

A business owner should always get detailed quotes in writing before committing to any contract/agreement. The full scope of the project should be determined and laid out clearly before any work takes place.

A key thing to remember is that your travel website should be designed to help you achieve your goals and objectives as a business owner. The design of a site is not just about how it looks but designed to generate more revenue, convert visitors into customers, and have professionally written content on each page so you as an individual or company can get the maximum benefit from your investment.

Cost No.4 – Ongoing website maintenance and updates

A website maintenance plan is crucial to the success of your travel website because it helps you keep your site updated with the latest content and information, which is essential for search engine optimisation and for keeping your visitors excited to come back to your fresh, up to date website.

A website maintenance plan should provide a variety of tasks, including:

Content Management: the process of adding new content to your site, updating old pages and deleting outdated information.  You must keep up with this so as not to have a stale website which will be detrimental for SEO purposes.

General Site Updates & Maintenance Tasks: consisting of checking for broken links, deleting spam comments and fixing any other errors that spammers may have introduced to the site.

Site Security: an integral part of your website maintenance plan because it helps protect you against hackers who want access to private information on your company’s database or steal personal data from customers’ accounts. It also covers sensitive customer details like credit card numbers (if you have an e-commerce site) which could be compromised if not properly secured with robust encryption software.

Web Analytics & Reporting: helping you see how your marketing efforts are performing by providing you with insights about what content visitors found most engaging so you can make adjustments accordingly in order provide better service online.

Daily/Weekly website backups:  this is important to have done regularly because it protects against data loss if something happens to your site. It’s also helpful in restoring websites after they have been hacked or if you want backup copies from periods before anything went wrong.

A website maintenance plan costs around £50-£100 a month, and it’s well worth the investment!

What exactly is a Website Maintenance Plan? 

In summary, this is an agreement between you (the business owner) to pay someone else for ongoing website maintenance services in exchange for them monitoring your site 24/hrs per day so that they can detect any issues before there are significant consequences such as data loss or downtime.

Cost No.5 – Marketing Your Travel Website

Here are 5 of our favourite ways to market your travel website once it has gone live:

– Get the word out on social media: post links to your travel website and blog posts. Share interesting content with followers or friends in a group that would be interested (e.g., if you’re marketing a website for a luxury holiday, let’s then post it into groups of tourists, travel enthusiasts and people who appreciate your locality). 

-Create email newsletters: that can include updates about new products/services and articles from other sources of relevant information explicitly related to what is being marketed by your company’s site; these emails should go straight through their inbox, so they don’t have any chance at missing them! This also helps because people will know when changes are happening within your website without searching for it online time and time again. Email marketing is about staying top of mind with your customers and keeping them coming back to your website to do business with you.

-Create a blog with great content for your customers to read: You should see your blog as an extension of your website.  It’s where you can post interesting facts and stories about your travel business, inspire your visitors and educate them about things relevant to your product or service. Get to know your customers and post something interesting for them to read, help them solve their problems and use your blog to provide severe value and show you care.

-Search Engine Optimisation: SEO is a great way to drive traffic to your website, and it’s free to do organically if you have the time. You can do this by optimising your blog content for search engines and getting backlinks from other websites linking to you (this is called “link building”). Another way to build upon your travel website SEO is to use social media to get your content in front of as many people on the internet. The most effective SEO strategy is to create quality content and research keywords around that content. Again you need good, relevant and exciting information that resonates with your readers. You should also be posting frequently enough, so customers know there’ll always be something new coming up from time to time (ideally once every week). This tells Google your site is worth coming back to. It doesn’t have to be massive posts either; just one post can do wonders if it’s well written and informative “Quality over Quantity”.

-Pay per click advertising: a great way to boost your website traffic if done right. You pay a certain amount of money to Google or Facebook for every click on your website. This can be a considerable cost and should only be considered doing if you have some professionals helping you craft the ads to generate the leads.

Cost No.6 – E-commerce projects 

The cost of an e-commerce ready travel website is a little different than the other types of websites because it has to be integrated with payment gateways, booking management systems and customer relationship managers. You should expect to be paying anywhere from between £6,000-£20,000+ depending on your needs. 

This will also mean that you have additional costs such as hosting fees for your online store or monthly subscription charges from software providers, such as Supercontrol for booking and channel management. These are just some examples; there may also include marketing campaigns to get people through your doors at first, too.

In the travel and tourism industry, WordPress websites may require plugins such as WooCommerce for online stores and Booking.com or Agoda to enable customers the ability to book their hotel rooms through your website, too – these are just a few examples of what you might need to run an e-commerce site successfully. Still, there may be more depending on how much functionality each business owner requires. All costs should be detailed in the original quote and the scope of work considered. I re-iterate…this will save a lot of confusion and an unexpected disappointment. Working with a freelancer over an agency can result in disaster because the freelancer will not have the same level of experience and knowledge. The cost to build a travel website is often underestimated. 

A freelancer often will be desperate to acquire a job, so will undercharge, which will result in a messy project and usually a rush to not lose out. 

Top tip: If you are planning on budgeting for an online shop with lots of products, or extra functionality you will need to budget for a payment gateway, which is not included in the website design cost.

Conclusion

In conclusion,  I hope that I have been able to help you understand the costs of a website for your travel business and what is included in those prices. It’s crucial for you if you are about to invest in your online presence to know precisely how much you need to budget before going ahead with any project not to be disappointed by an unexpected cost at some point down on the road, which usually results from poor planning upfront or a lack of clarity on how much things cost.

Are you considering investing in a travel website for your business?

If you are looking to invest in a valuable asset for your travel business that could generate 10X more online bookings and give your brand a complete refresh we will be more than happy to consider working with you to reach your goals and becoming your go-to for all your travel website marketing in the future.

travel website
How to Get Tourism Grants in Scotland: 7 Essential Tips!

How to Get Tourism Grants in Scotland: 7 Essential Tips!

Getting Tourism Grants can be a Real Challenge

If you run a tourism and hospitality business in Scotland, then you’ll know just what an extraordinarily welcoming and exciting holiday location it is. But with subdued international visitor numbers combined with higher overheads, even businesses in prime locations can struggle to increase revenue and profitability.

One way to build a more secure foundation for your business is to apply for funding successfully. There are several grant opportunities open to companies and organisations in Scotland. While your business might not meet the requirements for each one, there’s almost certainly going to be funding opportunities out there designed to support and empower the Scottish tourism and hospitality sector.

Grant Resources at Your Fingertips

So, just how do you go about getting tourism grants in Scotland?

To get tourism grants in Scotland, you need to ensure that you thoroughly research the available funds and their relevant awarding timeframes, recognise your organisation’s offer concerning the demands of each fund, and understand how to navigate the complex administrative process successfully. 

This article’s valuable points will help you understand which grants are available and give you pointers for fund applications. You’ll also discover how you can use grants to promote the Scottish travel and tourism industry, build facilities and improve the success of your business.

About Tourism Grants in Scotland

Tourism plays a massive part in the Scottish economy, making it an important sector for the country and those working. Scottish tourism businesses that want to improve their facilities, build a strong brand and promote themselves abroad can often benefit from tourism grants offered by national agencies such as VisitScotland.

Tourism grants are available to help spread awareness of the Scottish hospitality industry worldwide; for example, your business can use them to facilitate and publicise events or initiatives.

It can draw visitors to your real-life and virtual sites and focus on retail products and travel packages that link with the theme or ethos fund. Grants are also available to facilities that want to improve their appearance or facilities, encouraging tourists to spend more time in some regions of Scotland.

Tourism is vital to Scotland’s economy, with 17.6 million visitors arriving in 2019. These numbers should rise as more tourists come to experience all that Scotland offers, including its vast green spaces and unique attractions.

 

tourism-grants-in-scotland

 

Tips for Applying for Tourism Grants in Scotland

As you work your way through applying for tourism grants in Scotland, it’s essential to make sure that you complete each step as accurately and as fully as you possibly can. The specifics of each grant application will differ, but there are some common areas of good practice that it’s wise to adhere to:

1. Follow instructions carefully

The funder will have specific guidelines on the details required for the application, so make sure that you read all the criteria thoroughly and plan your responses before you begin the formal process of writing the application. If your business or initiative isn’t immediately a good fit with the fund you are researching, then move on and find a more relevant one, making sure you take note of all the requirements.

2. Make sure that you include all relevant information

This information includes your organisation(s) experience or history, why you need a grant, how you plan on using the funds and what your organisation will do with any unused money. If gaps in your information or questions are left unanswered, your application will likely be unsuccessful.

3. Double check that all information included in the application is correct

Typos, factual errors, incorrect calculations and other mistakes could cause the funder to reject your application. Equally, make sure that your application reaches the funder before the deadline. It might be worth planning out a timetable for writing and checking your application to make sure you stay on track.

4. Include information from previous awards if applicable

Including information from previous awards shows a funder that you are serious about your application and will lead to them looking more favourably upon it. Seek to reassure that you have successfully met guidelines in the past, been a positive custodian of funds and that you have a developing vision for your Scottish tourism business.

5. Remember that funders want to know what impact they will have

How many people will you serve? How much money will you spend? What are the long-term goals of the organisation you are funding? What are the immediate plans? How will you measure success? 

Most importantly, of course, your funder will be looking to ensure that their goals and the goals of your business are aligned. You need to pick funds that are most likely to have relevance to your organisation (see below), and your initiatives should benefit your targeted people and locations.

6. Shop around for funding

Only one grant will rarely cover all your needs, so consider other sources of funds before submitting a grant application. Other potential funders include corporations, foundations and individual donors.

7. Follow up with contacts at the funder

The funder might be very busy, and your application could get buried under others, so it is always best to send a friendly reminder when they haven’t responded to you in several weeks. If you didn’t think it would be successful, you wouldn’t have made the application, so don’t be afraid to push the funder for feedback.

You can find more advice on writing funding applications here.

 

following up with scottish tourism funders

 

Working with the HIE and VisitScotland

Official agencies that offer funding via tourism grants in Scotland include the Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and VisitScotland. These are just two of the most prominent organisations that have made substantial contributions to tourism through their respective grant programs and should always be at the top of your funding research list.

The HIE manages a wide range of support for Scottish tourism and hospitality businesses, with grants related to restarting and recovery after COVID-19, post-Brexit operations, community programs and investment funds.

Similarly, VisitScotland offers tourism grants for various purposes, including developing new products, destination marketing and individual business plans. Still, it’s always worth double-checking which funding programs are active, as many have cyclical applications or close permanently after a short time. 

To be eligible for VisitScotland grants, applicants must meet specific basic requirements:

  • The organisation must have a precise aim to increase tourism in Scotland
  • The organisation must not be affiliated with any political party
  • The organisation must not receive public money from another body such as the national lottery or local council.

When applying for a VisitScotland grant, it’s always ideal to have a solid tourism marketing strategy in place. This strategy should contain your short and long-term objectives, product/marketing research, target market, product strategy, and other information that may be of value to the assessing panel.

Developing a viable business plan is essential to secure a VisitScotland grant. You should have both short-term and long-term goals clearly stated in this document. Your business plan should also detail the amount of money you will be investing in these projects and the type of activities you will take to achieve these objectives.

The following funds are three of the most popular and worth exploring:

Three Important Visit Scotland Funds

1. EventScotland Funding

VisitScotland has recently launched EventScotland, a new grants program that will help to boost Scotland’s events industry. This initiative aims to increase the number of events held in the country by £5 million annually across various categories.

From the National Events Funding Programme to Scotland’s Winter Festivals Funding award, there are several small funds under this umbrella that could be highly beneficial to your tourism and hospitality business.

2. Scotland’s Themed Years Funding

Scotland’s Themed Years Funding programme was established in 2009 and  regularly supports organisations contributing to nationally themed initiatives. These years now take place biennially, which gives organisations and businesses a great deal of scope for planning appropriate initiatives and developing successful applications. 

3. Visit Scotland Growth Fund

The VisitScotland Growth Fund helps businesses in the Scottish tourism industry who plan to work collaboratively on tourism marketing campaigns. In particular, if your joint initiative focuses on generating growth in the tourism and hospitality sector, then this might be the fund for you.

As well as a financial aspect, funding recipients also benefit from working with VisitScotland to develop digital capability and marketing opportunities and measure outputs and success more effectively.

 

marketing grants for tourism

 

COVID 19 Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund

This fund offers financial assistance for small businesses that have been hurt by the global economic downturn, enabling them to get back on their feet more quickly. The fund will distribute grants up to £28.8 million to the tourism and events industry, with up to £9 million in grants earmarked for Scottish tourism and hospitality businesses who have suffered from the spread of the Omicron COVID variant.

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) has identified that businesses in the following sectors are eligible for top-up grants if other funds have already supported them:

  • coach operators
  • day tour operators
  • hostels
  • inbound tour operators
  • outdoor/marine
  • visitor attractions

So, whilst this last fund may not be focusing on new initiatives, it’s a valuable form of support for tourism grants in Scotland. Short-term, emergency relief funds and significant, long-term grant programmes each have a role to play, and both should be considered by Scottish businesses developing funding portfolios. 

 

marine grants for tourism

 

Conclusion

Whatever form your Scottish travel, tourism or hospitality business takes, understanding the funding opportunities and processes available to you is a vitally crucial operational element. Just remember the key steps:

  • Clarify the short and long-term vision for your business, ensure that your branding and marketing reflects that vision and seek out partnerships that will allow you to move forwards.
  • Identify funding opportunities that connect with your ambitions and align with your ethos – don’t try to re-shape your vision to fit funding criteria. Keep checking the availability of all applicable funds as they open and close independently of one another.
  • Complete your applications accurately, in detail and in good time, including as much evidence as you possibly can to reinforce your eligibility. Be ready to show how the grant will benefit and that you have a strategy to measure your award’s impact.

Suppose you’re looking to develop your business branding, increase your profile and invest in a valuable asset for your travel business that could generate 10X more online bookings. In that case, we’d love to hear from you. We’re excited to learn more about the challenges you face how we can support you to overcome them and become your go-to partner for all your travel website marketing in the future.

how-to-get-tourism-grants-in-scotland