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Tourism and Hospitality

My Visit to Chasing the Moon Skye Holiday Let: Exclusive In-depth Review

My Visit to Chasing the Moon Skye Holiday Let: Exclusive In-depth Review

If you’re looking for a breathtaking and serene holiday destination, look no further than the Isle of Skye in Scotland!

Recently, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my amazing clients’ properties Chasing the Moon Skye with my family and father-in-law. Chasing the Moon is a beautiful holiday let situated right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean with a stunning mountain range on the horizon.

child in chasing the moon skye garden - chasing the moon skye

The views are absolutely breathtaking, the house was possibly more comfortable than anywhere I’ve ever stayed before and I would highly recommend this accommodation to anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in one of the most exciting locations in the UK.

Our First Impressions of Chasing the Moon Skye

When we first arrived at the property, we were absolutely blown away by the incredible location.

The house is situated on a cliff edge, surrounded by mountains and there are uninterrupted views of the ocean for as the eye can see. We felt like we were in our own little world and it was just so peaceful and relaxing tucked away from civilisation.

chasing the moon front of house - chasing the moon skye

The property itself is carefully designed and has a unique character which you feel as soon as you walk inside.

It’s been decorated to a very high standard and has everything you could possibly need for a comfortable stay, power showers, a great coffee machine, a stand-alone bathtub in the bedroom and local luxury products of the Arran Aromatics range.

bathing in chasing the moon skye - chasing the moon skye

It’s spacious so there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax.

The Sleeping Arrangements

There are three large bedrooms in the property, all of which are beautifully decorated and very comfortable.

The master bedroom has a king size bed and an en-suite bathroom. There is also a twin room and a double room, both of which have also have en-suite bathrooms (so handy for the kids!).

The Living Area

The living area is light and spacious with a panoramic view overlooking the sea and there’s plenty of comfortable seating. With a log burner, it’s the perfect place to snuggle up in front of the fire with a good book in the winter and there was a good supply of logs for the occasion.

dining at chasing the moon skye - chasing the moon skye

The kitchen is extremely well-equipped and has everything you need to cook up a storm, including a dishwasher which is always handy on holiday.

There’s also a small laundry room off the kitchen, which we made use of with the kids on muddy walks!

There’s a large flat-screen TV (not that we used it once and I feel it would be a crime to use with a view like that!), and there’s also a decent sound system that hooks up to your Bluetooth on your phone. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you could possibly need to cook up a storm!

The Breathtaking Views!

As I mentioned, the views from Chasing the Moon Skye are just breathtaking and are one of my favourite aspects of the Chasing the Moon experience.

There are huge windows in the living area so you can wake up and drink your coffee to those stunning views every morning which gives you a perfect start to the day and clears the mind!

morning coffee at chasing the moon skye - chasing the moon skye

The Perfect Location for Exploring Skye

The property is situated in an ideal location for exploring all that Skye has to offer. There are plenty of walks and hikes nearby and it’s only a short drive to the nearest town, Portree.

fairy pools hiking experience - chasing the moon skye

The dinosaur footprints at Staffin are a must-see and the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle are a great day out!

If you haven’t got children with you and you fancy a good hike Brothers point is nearby and the famous Storr is just a short drive up the road.

dinosaurs at staffin - chasing the moon skye

A brief walk from the house itself, down to the bay and you will spot seals basking on the rocks below – an unforgettable sight that the children enjoyed. The place is known for whales and dolphins not that we saw any but we’re told they are spotted frequently!

The Perfect Family Retreat

We had our 3 children with us (a 3-year-old, 2-year-old and 1-year-old) and they absolutely loved it!

happy baby at chasing the moon skye - chasing the moon skye

They made friends with the sheep, they went exploring and had so much fun. It really is the perfect place to bring your family for a relaxing and memorable break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

chasing the moon sheep - chasing the moon skye

Having known Maggie for a few years now, one thing I know about her is that she doesn’t settle for mediocre and this comes out in the experience she has prepared with this wonderful accommodation.

From the moment you arrive, you are made to feel so special and catered for with everything having been thought of to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

chasing the moon skye welcome pack - chasing the moon skye

All the details have been taken care of so you can just sit back, relax and take in that incredible view.

I cannot recommend Chasing the Moon Skye enough – it is a special place that connects you with nature and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to stay there.

A huge thanks from us all Maggie for being such a fantastic host, it’s hosts like you that are the reason I took this business in the direction of serving the tourism and hospitality industry, to serve you to help you better serve others.

Maggie understands how the little details make all the difference, how hospitality is about caring for your guests with the luxury soaps, the super comfy beds and how going the extra mile leaves a lasting impression!

family leaving chasing the moon skye - chasing the moon skye

Ever Wanted to Visit Skye?

This is a highly sought-after accommodation, if you are reading this and haven’t visited Skye before, check availability here and book a visit before someone else does, this place books up fast!

I can assure you it will be a visit you won’t regret in an accommodation which won’t disappoint with a super host who will make you feel like royalty! Treat your spouse to a romantic time away, or take a well-deserved break and bonding session with the family at a place where you can rest and recharge, it did us all the world of good!

If you book a visit be sure to let me know in the comments below!

chasing the moon skye
Is Knowing Your Customers Really That Important in Tourism?

Is Knowing Your Customers Really That Important in Tourism?

Do you run a tourism business? 

Could knowing your customers better make your business more profitable?

If the answer’s yes, this post will show you how knowing your customers will boost your tourism marketing and profitability!

Knowing Your Customers is Vital for Content Marketing

Tourism is one of the most valuable industries in the world. 

Entire countries rely on tourists to help boost their economies. As a result, there’s a lot of competition among destinations to attract visitors.

Maybe you’re one of them?

One of the most critical aspects of marketing a destination is to know your customers

You need to understand what they are looking for in a vacation spot and what activities interest them

This information will help you design campaigns that appeal to potential tourists and convince them to visit your destination.

What do Tourism Marketing Businesses Need to Know?

There are many different factors to consider when figuring out your target market. 

  • What kind of climate do they prefer? 
  • What type of activities do they like to do on vacation? 
  • Are they looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure?

Once you understand your customers well, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to appeal to them

If you don’t know your customers, you’ll have difficulty reaching them with your marketing messages. 

So, read on to discover the best ways to get to know your customers and build the perfect product or service!

1 Why is Knowing Your Customer Important?

destinations international for tourism resources

Knowing a client is the most critical aspect of any business. 

It’s especially vital to gain this insight if you plan to beat your competitors. 

The depth of your knowledge is essential. It must go beyond their name, age or earnings. It means understanding likes and dislikes, what would make them buy your service.

It also means knowing their fears and motivations.

Think of it as a friendship but on a larger and more data-driven scale.

Undertaking the right kinds of market research means you’re more likely to meet your customer’s needs:

  • It allows you to segment your market, which leads to more effective marketing campaigns
  • You’ll be able to design trips and experiences that meet the needs of your target market
  • It allows you to build relationships with your customers
  • It helps to create a unique selling proposition and identify new opportunities
  • You’ll be able to understand how best to reach out to them

Organisations like VisitBritain and Destinations International provide some helpful resources for tourism businesses

They’re an excellent place to start if you haven’t got data of your own to analyse. I’ll talk later on about how to grab some data of your own.

2 What is the best way to get to Know Your Customers?

customers at a busy restaurant

To meet customers’ needs, you need to know who your brand connects with what they’re looking for in an experience. Those insights boost sales and reduce risk

Taking the time to engage is especially important in the tourism industry. 

Why? 

The customer is the heart of your business. 

The better you know your customers, the better you can cater to their needs. 

Once you know that, you can create marketing campaigns that appeal to them and make them want to return repeatedly.

Here are my top three tips for getting to know your customers: 

Contact clients regularly. That is the best way to get to know them and understand their needs. Talk to them on the phone, send emails and develop a dedicated digital engagement strategy.

Face-to-face communication can help with getting to know customers. If you can, arrange to meet with them in person. This way, you can better understand who they are and what they need.

Make social media your friend. Social media is a great way to connect with customers and learn about their interests. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and see what they’re discussing.

Check out my post on how social media affects tourism marketing here. THERE’S NO URL YET, SO NO LINK INCLUDED. 

3 Ask Your Customers What They Think

fieldwork hub tourist market research

The global travel and tourism sector grew by 4% in 2019. It’s increased faster than the world economy for eight consecutive years. 

Customers have never been as experienced, aware or engaged with their holidays, and they’re increasingly confident about writing honest reviews.

Customer feedback is essential for businesses, especially in the tourism industry, where first impressions matter immensely. 

If you don’t know what your customers want, how can you give it to them? 

Asking them is the best way to find out, and there are a few ways to do this.

Conducting customer satisfaction surveys is a great way to get feedback from many customers at once. You can use this data to improve your overall marketing strategy

Make it easy for customers to fill out these surveys on your website or through a survey app.

Another way to get customer feedback is by tracking their behaviour on your website

This data can help you see what products and services are most popular and understand customer needs and wants. 

Okay, how do the most successful businesses use these insights to build a brand? 

They focus on user needs…

4 What are the Four Main Customer Needs?

identifying a customer's needs advice

Most customers will have similar needs when it comes to planning a trip. Regardless of which sector of the industry you’re working in, it’s sensible to get to know them.

We can be even more specific regarding the travel and tourism sector.

Doing market research into these areas will give you the edge over your competitors and empower your tourism business.

The Four Main Customer Needs Are: 

Price: customers need good value for their money, whether through affordable prices or a high-quality product worth the cost. Make sure you show your customers that what they’ll get will be worth it!

Quality: customers want assurance that they’re getting what they paid for and that it will meet or exceed their expectations. That is where using reviews and added extras can be a great strategy.

Choices: customers need to feel they have various options, from different travel destinations to a range of hotel types. Do your best to show your customers examples of all their choices.

Convenience: customers want to book their travel and have a hassle-free experience from start to finish. Make sure your marketing emphasises the ease of their journey, including their actual trip!

Discover precisely how your tourism business can create memorable holiday experiences here!

5 Anticipate, Predict and Plan for the Future

white pages with data on

Let’s be honest… 

Developing your action plan for customer engagement needs to start today. It’ll give your sales and customer experience teams the confidence to engage with clients in a personal way.

You need to identify trends and target specific customers. 

That ensures that you’re not wasting time and money on marketing efforts that don’t reach your target audience. 

It allows you to focus on developing a customer experience that meets the needs of your most valuable clients. 

So, here are my three suggestions for kick-starting your action plan and boosting your sales:

Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

Never stop considering the world through your client’s eyes if you want to create a long-lasting tourism business. 

When large companies switch their attention away from their consumers, they frequently go off the rails. 

It’s critical to demonstrate that you think about them by addressing their issues and communicating in simple, practical ways. 

That’s why making sure your website is fully optimised is crucial.

Discover why keeping your website maintained is so important in this excellent post!

Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews Personally

Customer reviews will always offer constructive positive and negative feedback. 

However you respond, you must always provide personal feedback to customer reviews that are publicly accessible. 

Humanising your brand is an essential step in establishing the right customer experience. 

As a fundamental trust signal, it’s important to offer consistent feedback allowing for fresh customer insights into your business.

The International Tourism Communication Network offer businesses several communications resources.

Use Data to Understand Your Customers

Keeping customer information in your CRM system will enable you to identify your ideal customer and understand their requirements

Investigate customer data, and you’ll find patterns, from click-through rates to buying preferences. Organisations like the CBI track large scale tourism trends, but generating original data can be of much greater value.

Working confidently with the insights and potential of accurate data is key to sales and service. 

Your business can analyse performance, check response times and better understand your customers. 

After all, CRMs have advanced functions and can be more efficient than simple mailing lists. 

All customers’ actions are valuable in understanding customer behaviour when interacting with your website. 

Using tools like Google Analytics, you can get insight into page times and bounce rates. Behavioural data can help you understand what excites your customers and what kind of service they want.

If that sounds kind of complex, don’t worry…

Find out more about the power of managing your website and having complete control over the data your brand builds!

Conclusion: Knowing Your Customers Makes Tourism Marketing Easy!

Knowing your customers and understanding what they want is critical

That’s how both parties end up happy. That depth of awareness is especially crucial when it comes to tourism marketing. 

Need help with your tourism marketing strategy? Let us know. We’re here to support you on your journey.

By understanding their needs and preferences, you can create a long-lasting relationship with your clients.

Use data to your advantage and never stop considering the world through your client’s eyes. 

Success in tourism marketing is far more likely to follow if you do all this!

 

Comment below if you have any questions!

Have you developed even more effective ways to engage your customers? Have you seen increased bookings and profits as a result? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

knowing your customers
10 Tips for Holiday Let Owners to Escape the Agency Trap and Maximise Profits

10 Tips for Holiday Let Owners to Escape the Agency Trap and Maximise Profits

If you’re a holiday let owner using an agency to manage your bookings, you’ll know how expensive that can be.

What’s more, using an agency to manage your bookings can reduce your flexibility and pricing control. 

The alternative is for holiday let owners to manage bookings independently. 

That might sound like a risk. However, with rising costs and competition, having complete control of your bookings and profits might be the way forward.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the advantages of escaping the agency trap and going independent.

I’ll also give you some powerful strategies for boosting the profitability of your holiday rental property.

1. Invest in Your Holiday Rental, Not in an Agency

I work with many holiday-let owners, and a large number face the same dilemma.

They’re tired of paying booking agency fees and commission and feeling like they don’t own their online business presence

They’re also worried that bookings will suffer if they leave the relative security of an agency contract.

It might be time to think about making that leap for many holiday-home owners.

Holiday Lets are all About Investment 

Do you build a relationship with an agency and rely on their platform? Or do you invest in your own website?

It’ll depend on how serious you are about building your business. 

By signing up with an OTA, you’re investing your money in their company. 

You might be able to spend your money more productively by investing in a holiday rentals website of your own.

holiday cottages home page

Working with a specialist digital marketer who understands the market can transform the potential of your holiday let.

If customers are booking directly with you rather than through a third party, they’ll invest in you. Depending on your experience and requirements, that might be a more financially rewarding model.

2. Grow a Holiday Let Business With a Unique Brand

One of the advantages of signing up with an agency is that potential customers know and trust their brand. They’ll head to the booking agency website and find a holiday let that meets their needs.

That works for the customer, but it might not be convenient for holiday-home owners like you.

The problem is that when customers do this, they aren’t building an understanding of your brand. 

They’re reinforcing their relationship with the agency instead.

As one of many holiday letting properties featured on a site, it’s impossible to establish a unique identity or brand. 

Without that, your business doesn’t have the potential to grow.

Give Your Holiday Rental A Chance to Grow

After all, having a unique brand is essential for building a holiday let business. 

Standing out from the competition is key to attracting guests. Developing a solid brand is the perfect way to do that.

You’ll certainly benefit from the generic authority of being featured on a good OTA site. You’ll just find it hard to stand out from the crowd.

So, what’s the answer?

It’ll depend on your budget, your acceptance of risk and your long term goals. 

However, building a brand identity on your custom website can give you the authority and individuality you need.

You could focus on the location, the property’s history, or the unique features that make it special. You can optimise your bespoke text to appeal to your target guests.

That way, you don’t need to worry about standing out from the crowd.

3. Control Your Marketing and Reach Your Customers

When marketing your holiday rental, an agency will treat your property the same as all the others they manage. That means you’ll get the same marketing focus like everyone else.

That’s alright if your business is just the same as everyone else’s. But if you’re a holiday let owner with something unique to offer, you might need more of a bespoke option.

If you’re not entirely controlling your marketing strategy, you won’t grow your holiday let business. Working with a booking agency to develop a bespoke plan is unlikely because that’s not cost-effective.

Why give that power away?

Create Your Unique Email Campaigns 

Controlling your bookings and maximising your profits is the key to managing your holiday rentals. You get complete control over your marketing by supervising your holiday rental bookings. 

Creating engaging email campaigns and sharing promotions for your holiday cottages is a powerful strategy that doesn’t need agency involvement.

You’ll reach your past guests and future customers directly, promoting your property in ways that appeal to them. 

That’ll build those all-important customer relationships, leading to repeat visits and excellent word-of-mouth marketing.

Click here if you’d like to find out how to start your customer’s experience before they even book!

4. Embrace the Technology That Other Holiday Let Owners Don’t 

Many owners list their holiday homes on agency sites because their online knowledge limits them.  

At least, they think it does.

Using an OTA requires less technical knowledge and hands-on engagement with software packages. Generally speaking, it’s a hassle-free and straightforward process.

That’s appealing to many holiday let owners, and it might be the right decision in some cases. Those with limited time, technical confidence or understanding might be better off leaving booking and marketing to an agency.

Work With Experts and Fill Your Calendar

However, once holiday-home owners understand the bespoke bookings packages available, it’s never as complicated as anticipated.

Learning how to manage bookings systems helps many owners engage more fully right across their business. That’s great for them as individuals and highly profitable for future bookings.

Remember…

Taking the time to work with experts and set up your site correctly means you’re likely to outrank your competitors.

5. Customise Your Bookings Systems to Suit Your Needs

If you’re working with an OTA, then hopefully, you can make changes to the availability of your property easily. Your needs are likely to change over time, and you should work with an agency that recognises and supports that.

Sadly, that doesn’t always happen in a way that works for many self-catering accommodation providers.

What’s convenient for you isn’t always convenient for an agency. It’s not always easy to change things like pricing and availability, and flexibility can be hard to achieve.

The real problem is that agencies don’t manage your holiday home. They prioritise the success of their own business. So when you sign up to an OTA, they’re naturally less invested in your holiday homes than you are.

Use Your own Booking Management System.

The alternative is to use a bespoke booking management system. One that allows you to oversee your bookings and benefit from the income.

A booking management system like Supercontrol is an excellent example of a user-friendly platform that integrates well with your website.

supercontrol booking management system websiteUsing this option takes more engagement than handing the process over to an agency. You might find that the rewards more than make up for it.

You can find out how much a WordPress travel website should cost you here. It’s a platform that works perfectly with this type of booking management system. 

6. Learn the Power of Lead Generation for Holiday Rentals

Holiday letting owners are used to expenses eating away at profits. It’s how the business works.

The fees you pay agencies for online promotion and booking (often across multiple sites) are usually significant.

To add insult to injury, you’re also losing out on the chance to build customer relationships and maximise your profits.

You might not mind that if you feel that the value of working with the agency is worth the fees.

Holiday Lets Thrive on Lead Generation

You might be getting bookings, but you’re probably not building any sustainable lead generation. And one of the best ways to get bookings for your holiday rental property is a powerful lead generation system

That’s hard to develop when the OTA you’re working gets the customer’s details (especially their email) before you do.

Going solo empowers holiday lettings owners to develop powerful website funnels, with email marketing leading to higher, more profitable bookings.

You can also connect your social media accounts to your lead generation marketing, boosting your profile with minimum effort.

That’s a benefit that doesn’t come with an agency relationship. 

7. Use Your Analytics to Boost Your Holiday Let Profitability

google analytics home page

Good agency booking agreements can be very profitable. You’ll often get a well-filled calendar, and you can invest the time you save in your business in other ways.

That’s enough for many holiday accommodation owners, but it doesn’t empower those who want to maximise their potential.

Taking control of your bookings also means taking charge of your analytics. That might sound daunting, but understanding your data means understanding your customers.

What are their most popular destinations? What booking fees work best for which age group? Which pages on your website get the most engagement?

Understanding the power of your analytics can boost your holiday let profitability if you use that knowledge well.

That’s why taking this step with a digital marketing company specialising in travel and tourism is so important.

Using Google Analytics in Your Holiday Business

Most people have heard of Google Analytics. It allows you to track your website traffic and see where you get your guests. You can use this information to improve your marketing efforts and reach more potential guests.

Google Analytics can also help you measure your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. You can see which campaigns drive the most bookings and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

If you’re with an agency, they’ll control their analytics. 

That makes it harder for you to understand precisely where your customers are coming from and what they want.

It’s a compelling reason to add a booking function to your website.

8. Own Your SEO and Drive Customers to Your Business

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) focuses on content that will encourage search engines to rank your site. When a customer searches for properties in your local area, good SEO means that they’ll see your site.

The best booking management agencies will have SEO strategies that draw visitors to their websites. They’ll also have lots of authority as an agency and lots of content for a search engine to analyse.

That’s great news for them, as they’re guaranteed to get hits from prospective customers.

It’s less good news for holiday let owners. 

You won’t benefit from any of that SEO authority unless the visitor happens to click on your property.

You’re more likely to build a lasting business by creating your unique SEO rather than adding to the authority of others. 

You should aim to be your own authority – no one knows your business better than you do!

Build the SEO Content Your Business Needs

The solution is to build a well-optimised website for search engines and potential guests to find

You’ll own your business’s online presence and won’t need to rely on an agency.

You can also use other marketing channels such as social media and email to drive traffic to your website. That profits your business, not the agency with which you’re working.

It’ll take a little bit of time and effort. You’ll want to work with a professional who understands the power of SEO in the travel and tourism industry. 

But once you’ve built that SEO authority, you won’t need an agency to do it for you.

You can read my helpful article on the benefits of keeping your travel website maintained here.

9. Add Value to Your Holiday Rental Offer

Highly invested property owners know their business is about more than bricks and mortar.

When you welcome guests to your holiday rentals, you provide them with an experience. One they can’t get anywhere else.

holiday let website's home pageFrom private pools to first-class breakfasts, your offer is unique. Combined with the location, it’s a real asset.

Maybe you provide an outstanding service or organise activities that add value to each visitor’s experience. You’re probably offering extra services and hosting activities that encourage your guests to return.

The problem is that none of that gets reflected on an agency website. 

It’s hard to amend an agency calendar when you offer an activity week or block out specific dates for added value experiences.

Even if you can add the content, trying to communicate its value and encouraging bookings as a result is almost impossible.

There’s just not a lot of room for scope or creativity on an agency site.

Use Your Website to Publicise Your U.S.P.

Once you develop your website to the point where you’re efficiently managing your calendar, that can change. 

You can effortlessly publicise the extras within your calendar, highlighting the value of all you provide.

Have a look at the website for Oran na Mara. Working together, we’ve built a site that celebrates all they have to offer and integrated it with their bookings system. 

By doing so, every activity becomes a selling point, and bookings get taken years in advance.

It’s a great example of how escaping the agency trap can boost a holiday business long-term.

10. Create the Future You Want for Your Holiday Rental

Properties listed with OTAs tend to be static. You can count on consistent income levels, but there’s rarely a sense of moving a business forwards. 

After all, an agency naturally places its focus on getting a return from your property in fees. They’re not focused on the long term development and profitability of your holiday let.

That’s precisely where your focus should be; on the future of your business.

Invest in the Fundamentals of Your Lettings Business

Investing in a powerful and effective website is central to that vision, complete with a bookings management system. It’s as fundamental to your business as the fabric of the holiday rentals themselves.

  • Putting every aspect of your digital presence in one place gives you control over your marketing and bookings. 
  • It allows you to build your brand and your SEO authority. 
  • It allows visitors to view your holiday rental to its full potential and book with you.

Taking control of your online website and bookings strategy is a great way to invest in yourself and your business. 

By building a powerful online presence, you’re also building a platform to sustain you in the years to come.

You’ll be able to create the future you want for your holiday rental. That’s an opportunity that an agency just can’t give you.

holiday let owners
How to Know Your Customers Better (A Guide for Tourism Businesses)

How to Know Your Customers Better (A Guide for Tourism Businesses)

As a tourism business, it’s essential to know your customers

What are their spending habits? What kinds of destinations suit them best? What are they looking for in a holiday or visit? 

Crucially, how can you use that knowledge to help them purchase your product or make a booking? 

Knowing the answer to that question is of enormous value to your tourism business…

Understanding What a Customer Wants and how to Provide It!

I know this isn’t easy, but it’s completely achievable. We’re here to support you; you just need to take the proper steps.

It can be hard to get to know your customers if you work with clients from all over the world.

Developing an accurate marketing strategy means you’ll get to know your customers better. It’ll also help you create targeted, engaging marketing campaigns.

That way, you’ll start building profitable relationships that last over time.

In this guide, I’ll help you understand who your customers are, what they want, and how you can give it to them!

1 Why is it Vital to Know Your Customers?

untwo market intelligence page

Understanding your customer needs is essential for businesses operating in the tourism sector. 

Successful companies understand what they need and use the proper marketing techniques to sell their products, services and destinations. 

That means getting to know customers on a micro level, where you look into individual feedback and buying choices. It also means examining macro data like demographic buying trends. 

That can be hard to do when you’re in the middle of the day to day demands of your job. 

In my experience, however, it’s a critical step towards success.

Knowing your customers means you know what they like and what they need. That way, you’ll be able to create a better experience for them, and they’ll want to come back.

Once you know them, you’ll be able to focus on starting the tourist experience before they even book! 

What Does Knowing Your Customer Mean?

It means recognising your customer’s needs, concerns and expectations. It also means knowing how your tourism business can best meet those needs.

That’s especially important for businesses in the tourism industry. 

Why

The tourism industry is all about providing outstanding customer service and building loyalty

That’s hard to achieve if you’re unsure what your customer wants.

It can be almost impossible if your website doesn’t give you the tools to track your customer interactions!

Find out why you absolutely must keep your travel website maintained!

Ask Your Customers How They Heard About You

A practical first step to getting to know your customers is to ask them how they heard about you. 

That’ll help you track your marketing efforts and identify which ones work and which ones don’t. It’ll also help you understand your customer base better.

The most important thing is to use the information you gather to improve your business. 

Let’s get into working out exactly what your customer is thinking…

2 Ask Your Customers What They Think

listening to customer feedback

It can feel a bit daunting to ask your customers outright about what you’ve got to offer. However, you must rise to the challenge!

Your reward will be valuable customer feedback. That’ll give you a wealth of new knowledge about specific aspects of your services. 

Market research like this can generate invaluable data, but only if you ask specific questions. 

You’ll need to decide what kind of responses you need and develop a relevant strategy in return.

A well-compiled customer survey can reveal some incredibly illuminating opinions and data. Customers are used to leaving observations online, and we’ll come to that later in this post. 

However, unless your customer is interviewed with purpose, using direct questions, you’re unlikely to get the data you need.

How to get the Answers you Need From Your Customers.

I can’t stress this enough – specific questions get specific answers. To ask the right questions, you should:

  • Identify common questions, concerns, praise or criticism in posts and reviews and formulate questions that dig deeper into these.
  • Speak directly to a sample of recent customers (perhaps you could incentivise them with a discount on their next booking)? Listen to what they have to say and build your questions as a response.
  • Use mystery shoppers to go through the booking process and gather their informed feedback to build your specific questions.

Once you’ve worked out your questions, you’ll need to decide how to ask them…

Use surveys and questionnaires. Surveys and questionnaires are a great way to collect feedback from your customers. They’re easy to administer and can be used to gather various information.

Interview your customers. Interviews are a great way to get to know your customers better. You can learn about their needs and wants, as well as their thoughts on your business.

Use focus groups. Focus groups are a great way to get feedback from several customers. There’s often a value in generating feedback through discussion, and listening to those opinions is crucial.

Create online polls. It’s never been easier to use your own social media channels to ask those crucial questions. That’s also a great way to add variety and engagement to your posts, so it’s a win-win!

Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Position! 

It’s essential to understand customer demands. Put yourself in their shoes, and examine how your consumers interact with your business. 

That includes your website and email communications and the staff and partners your customers encounter. 

It’s worth regularly going through the booking process and visiting your destinations in person.

The better you empathise with your customers, the better your question strategy and the relevance of any answers.

Don’t forget; your customer wants to have a fantastic experience from start to finish. Learn the secrets of the 5 phases of outstanding tourism experiences here.

Optimise Your Customer Service and Build Loyalty!

If you have an in-house Customer Services team, add a standard set of questions to their engagement scripts. 

These could enquire about customer likes and dislikes regarding products, services or destinations

Don’t be afraid of asking how a customer would improve your offer. The responses you gather can be valuable insights for informing future marketing strategies.

That kind of active engagement and genuine care is what builds brand loyalty.

The question is, which kind of strategy will help boost your tourism business?

3 Know your Customers’ Needs and Build a Strategy

information for understanding your customers' needs

Okay. You’ve worked out why knowing your customer is vital to your travel business, and you’ve identified questions to ask. 

Perhaps you’ve done some independent research to support your findings.

The next step is to create a practical, step by step strategy for bringing together the responses you get. 

So many companies stumble at this point. They ask the questions, read the answers and then don’t know how to act on what they’ve discovered. 

Here’s my six-point strategy for the whole process:

  1. Gather together the responses under each question heading
  2. Identify the common threads within the answers, whether positive or negative
  3. Develop a statement for each typical response, clearly summarising the customer experience
  4. Place these statements into logical groupings that deal with similar issues or responses
  5. For each group, generate an action point that will improve customer experience
  6. Take that action forwards and monitor its effectiveness using further data gathering

Of course, if you’re dealing with significantly high response volumes, you might need to use samples rather than every response. Either way, it can be time-consuming. 

However, it is critical in instigating effective and relevant change.

You can add more value to this process by using your data to generate an ideal customer persona (see below). Not only that, but you can use the entire process as a powerful social media marketing strategy. 

That way, your efforts are of even more value.

4 Developing an Ideal Customer Persona

creating an audience profile

When I work with clients to create an ideal customer persona for their travel business, it’s often very revealing. 

Sometimes the client knows their customer base well. More frequently, we start from scratch and build a persona based on data and client experience.

Find out more about how we support tourism businesses like yours and help them boost their profits here

Once you’ve followed the previous steps, you should have a pretty good idea of your ideal customer persona

That means that you can base your marketing and product decisions on their interests, budgets, and concerns moving forward.

Use your research combined with social media analytics and feedback from online reviews. Asking a few simple questions will enable you to identify people likely to be interested in your product or service. 

Focus on Customers’ Tastes, Budgets and Preferences

Using your existing data to inform your approach, you need to start identifying the key attributes of your ideal customer.

Try asking some of these questions and seeing what kind of persona comes up:

  • How old is your typical customer?
  • How do they interact with technology?
  • What kind of budget are they likely to have?
  • What persuades them to make a purchase?
  • What do they look for in marketing materials?
  • When do they engage most with the booking process?
  • What causes them to be afraid?
  • What stops them from completing a transaction?
  • How do they leave feedback?
  • How likely are they to be repeat customers?

Once you’ve developed some informed answers, work with a team to write a paragraph summing up your ideal customer. 

A few images can also help you visualise the target for your marketing!

At Straight Up Websites, we often give our ideal customer personas a name. We don’t use job titles, as that tends to narrow the options, but we create helpful archetypes:

  • Last Minute Linda
  • Value for Money Val
  • Luxury Experience Len
  • First Time Traveller Tim

Okay, these are kind of fun and a bit simplistic, but you get the idea

Once you’ve taken away a job title, you can focus on identifying the challenges your customer personas face. Then you can work out how to solve them. 

Doing this research can develop a clear idea of your target customer and what they’re expecting. 

That will help you sell your product or service and build more meaningful relationships with them. 

That takes us to the last step, which is to use this knowledge to boost your tourism marketing

5 Use Social Media to Meet Your Customers’ Needs 

use social media analytics - chasing the moon skye

As we all know, social media is a powerful tool for reaching your clients and promoting your tourist destinations. 

Once you’ve identified your customer’s needs and modelled an ideal persona, you should use social media to your advantage. 

Posting the correct information to the right potential customer is the final step.

Focus on using the platforms favoured by your ideal customer. Then use your knowledge of what they’re looking for to define your posting strategy

If they want action holidays, that’s your focus. If it’s reassurance about transfers and site security, generate threads that show your commitment.

Remember, you need to use a sophisticated blend of data, experience and creativity to pitch this properly. 

If you monitor your results and develop your strategy, that will come with time.

Make Analytics Work for You!

Remember that you should use social media analytics to track online feedback from customers. 

That can be extremely helpful for developing a continued understanding of how customer needs might change. 

Additionally, tracking online feedback can help you identify any new problems your customers are experiencing.

Conclusion: It’s Never Been Easier to Harness the Value of Knowing Your Customers

If I’m being honest, it’s never been easier to harness the value of knowing your customer. 

They’re a powerful resource, and your tourism business needs to get used to using customer data effectively. 

Need help with developing your ideal customer persona? Let us know. We are here to support you on your journey.

The good news is that using the strategies I’ve outlined here makes it entirely possible to understand customer behaviour.

By making subsequent changes to your marketing strategy, you can see a significant impact on your sales!

Comment below if you have any questions! 

Have you used these strategies to get to know your customer better? Has that made a positive difference to your social media strategy? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

know your customers
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 - chasing the moon skye

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