Great Marketing for Tourism Businesses is Vital
We all know that great marketing is at the heart of a successful tourism business. Not every business has the expertise or money for an integrated and dynamic marketing strategy.
If that sounds like you, then I’ve got good news for you!
Scotland has a variety of funding programs available to give businesses in the tourism industry the financial support they need to get started, develop ongoing strategies, and plan future expansions and initiatives.
If you’re a tourism business thinking about developing your marketing, then identifying the right funding programmes is really important. After all, successful award funding leads to great marketing opportunities and gives you the investment you need to move your business forward.
We’re Here to Help…
At Straight Up Websites, we really want to see the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry flourish, and in this post, I’ll guide you through the ways that you can use Scotland funding to develop your tourism business and make the most of the funding you receive.
I’ll also share some valuable industry strategies for ways that you can use great marketing to grow your tourism business and maximise your brand, market share and profitability.
Let’s get started.
1. What is Scotland Funding, and How Can it Be Used to Market Your Tourism Business for Free?
Scotland funding refers to a range of government-funded and privately financed organisations. These organisations offer financial assistance to new and established businesses in several sectors, including tourism and hospitality.
You can use significant proportions of the funds on offer for marketing purposes or other costs associated with developing visitors’ products, services, or experiences.
These grants are available at various levels, from local government agencies to national ones like VisitScotland, which offer several funding options.
Suppose you’re working on a collaborative tourism marketing campaign that focuses on growth in the tourism sector. In that case, your most appropriate option might be the VisitScotland Growth Fund, as this fund aims to encourage collaboration and partnerships to deliver tourism and hospitality marketing across Scotland.
Build a Bespoke Brand
This level of Scotland funding gives you the financial independence to build bespoke brands and marketing campaigns that ignite your business and encourage visitors to your venue, as well as others throughout the country.
The Scottish Government also has several funds specifically for VisitScotland accredited businesses. One of them is the Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance Grant Scheme, a grants programme that offers up to £250k for investment projects.
So, whether it’s upgrading your website, developing branding, or managing your booking system, there’s never been a better time to make use of Scotland funding!
2. Scotland Funding Opportunities and How to Apply
Scotland funding opportunities are widespread, and each has its criteria for applying. To help you narrow down the options that might be right for you, here are some links to three outstanding online resources:-
Grants Online is a hub that details a wide range of Scotland funding options and where you’ll find articles about grant opportunities across all sectors. You can also sign up for their regular newsletter, giving you access to all the latest application details.
Funding Scotland is another hub that brings together funding opportunities for charities, community groups and social enterprises in Scotland, many of which include organisations in the tourism sector. The site offers access to over 850 different funds at writing, so there are plenty to choose from!
The Scottish Tourism Alliance
The Scottish Tourism Alliance isn’t a fund provider but is the representative body of the Scottish tourism industry. It offers members in-depth and up-to-date news on the latest national strategies in the tourism and hospitality industry and has the mandate to support businesses like yours!
3. What are the Benefits of Using Scotland Funding to Market Your Tourism Business?
There are a few reasons why Scotland funding is so popular with people looking to market their tourism businesses: it’s free!
This kind of project funding gives you an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate your market presence or take the time to invest in partnerships that help move your brand forwards.
Scotland funding is also an excellent way for entrepreneurs to start marketing whilst keeping their upfront costs manageable.
Once you’ve started to market your business more successfully, you can expect to see some of the following benefits:-
Increased Visibility for Your Business
Working with a set of integrated, bespoke and professionally maintained marketing tools such as a redeveloped website or refreshed branding can lead to greater visibility for your business. This increased exposure can help you reach more potential customers and generate more sales.
Drawing Strength from Marketing Partnerships
Receiving funding to market your tourism business will inevitably require you to develop effective partnerships with other companies, suppliers, venues and marketing professionals.
The way this fund supports projects to help you develop a network is precious, as not only can you draw on one another’s expertise and gain shared access to vital information, you’ll also substantially increase the reach of your marketing.
VisitScotland also provides training and resources to help businesses use their awards effectively and efficiently.
Increased Business Growth in the Tourism Sector
Gaining access to Scotland funding can help you increase your sales. Firstly, the better your marketing, the more potential customers you’ll reach.
Just as important, having the budget and freedom to work with marketing professionals means that the quality of your marketing is likely to increase significantly, saving time and money and making each opportunity for conversion far more successful.
Of course, the lasting benefit of using this kind of funding initiative to develop your marketing strategy is the knowledge and experience you’ll gain. Not only can you carry on applying the marketing principles and techniques you’ve created, but you’ll find it easier to access new funding for future marketing campaigns too.
4. How to Market your Tourism Business Using Scotland Funding
Once you’ve been successful with a grant programme and you’ve made the decision to invest some of that capital in marketing your tourism business more effectively, you’ll want to think about the next steps.
What can you do to minimise project costs and ensure that you see a tangible return on your investment?
Here are five steps you can take immediately, to help you move forwards with a successful marketing strategy:-
Make Sure you Understand Your Customers.
Understanding what your customers want, what they’re willing to pay, where they come from and how they feel about you is a great place to start your marketing journey.
It’s easy to make assumptions about what you think a client or visitor wants, but if you don’t ask them, then you might find that you’re missing a significant opportunity to improve your offer.
Gathering feedback via questionnaires, email contact, in person and even with a visitor’s book can help you see things from their perspective and pick up on what you’re doing well, as well as what you’re missing out on.
Importantly, you must make sure you have an ‘ideal’ customer in mind and work hard to refine your marketing (and your service) to reflect their needs.
Harness the Power of Reviews
It’s imperative to cultivate positive reviews for your business.
In a recent study, Tourism Economics found that sites such as TripAdvisor were encouraging higher spending and more extended stays in the UK, with reviews playing an increasingly important factor in booking decisions.
You should ensure that your positive reviews are well-publicised and used as part of your more comprehensive marketing strategy. Working with a professional marketing team, you’ll be able to embed these reviews into your sites and social media automatically.
You should make sure that you respond to any poorer reviews fairly and professionally and publicly resolve any issues.
Reviews also offer you a powerful tool for self-reflection as a business, a vital part of the marketing process.
Make Decisions About Your Brand
Moving forward on your marketing journey, it’s worth thinking deeply about your brand identity and whether what your business offers still reflects the branding you have in place.
If it does, you’re going to need to amplify and celebrate that identity with new campaigns. Still, if not, you’ll need to develop new marketing approaches that better reflect your individuality, voice, image, service and ethos.
This factor is where working with some marketing professionals within the tourism and hospitality sector can be so valuable, as they’ll be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you maximise your Scotland funding investment.
Remember to Share Your Journey
Sharing your success on social media is a vital part of any marketing strategy and something you can do before your funding comes through.
Keeping your brand in the mind of interested followers means you’re more likely to get repeat custom, develop the scope of your message and convey a level of energy and activity that will keep people engaged.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need to have a series of special events to share, either. You can post daily about the journey your tourism business is on – anything from photos of your team painting a wall to a member of staff packaging mailouts can make engaging content.
As you build a following, your social media channels become a great place to publicise deals, events and opportunities, so don’t underestimate their value!
Remember your Website is a Powerful Tool
Regardless of the service or product your tourism business offers, your website is your online home and needs to set the tone for your brand.
You should make sure that you optimise it across different platforms so that it’s user-friendly and structured to draw the visitor in and convert them from a visitor into a paying customer.
Your website also needs to be SEO-rich to ensure that visitors can find you quickly and get the information they need immediately. It’s also your source for generating mailing lists, selling products and, just like you’re reading now, blogging about your business!
Getting this aspect of your business right is probably one of the most important things you can invest your Scotland funding awards into, both for short-term value and long-term growth.
5. How will Scotland Funding help you grow your Tourism Business?
With powerful and effective marketing, your tourism business will not only reach more potential customers and clients but is far more likely to connect with the right demographic.
Using that funding to research your ideal customer or visitor, establishing an offer that attracts them and understanding what they expect from you can make a tremendous difference to your chances of success.
But it’s not just targeted marketing itself that will help you grow…
The process of researching funding opportunities compels businesses to develop new approaches to community engagement, expansion, infrastructure and ethos.
By taking the time to understand how funds work and who and what the funds will support, you can plan your events, promotions, and products from an informed perspective.
That way, you can continue to build your business with confidence, knowing that your goals are supported by each fund provider’s commitment to secure Scotland’s place as a premier tourism location.
To find out more about getting tourism grants in Scotland, check out our detailed post here.
As you can see, there are many ways that Scotland funding can help your tourism business grow. You just need to do your research and find the right funding opportunity for you.
Whether you’re planning to grow your digital marketing, establish your local reputation or simply build your bookings, using that funding to market your business couldn’t be more important!
Are you looking to improve your brand identity, enhance your online experience and most importantly can you handle more online bookings?
In that case, we’d love to hear from you. We’re excited to learn more about the challenges you face how we can support you to overcome them and become your go-to partner for all your travel website marketing in the future.