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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 16/09/2019

Autumn / winter evaluation

As signs of Scottish autumn start to show, the season opens us up to promoting Scotland in a whole new colourful light – and our marketing reflects this.

We undertake a wide range of consumer marketing and PR activity in the UK and international markets to promote Scotland across the globe throughout the year. From digital campaigns, inspiring visitors to come to a specific region, such as the work we did for Ayrshire & Arran last year to our global campaign - Scotland Is Now.

We want to inspire and influence by reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time; encouraging potential visitors to book a trip in Scotland. To make sure we’re achieving our goal, we measure the impact of our marketing activity via feedback from consumers that engage with our communications.

Following our UK & Ireland autumn winter marketing campaign, which ran from September 2018 to February 2019, we commissioned a survey through an independent research agency to establish how effective it was at encouraging prospective visitors to take a holiday or short break in Scotland during that period.

We had a wealth of insights from this consumer survey, here’s some highlights from our 2018/19 UK & Ireland autumn / winter evaluation.


Icon of map of Scotland with text reading: '46% of visitors to Scotland, from the rest of the UK and Ireland, were encouraged to visit outside of the summerseason

We encourage holiday makers to take holidays, short breaks or trips in Scotland throughout the year, and to visit every corner of Scotland. Our survey results revealed that among those resident in the rest of the UK (excluding Scotland residents), 29% said they travelled to a part of Scotland where they had not been before; 35% said they went to more places than they had previously planned; and 21% also visited Scotland instead of another destination during last autumn and winter period.


Icon of stick men saying cheers with a couple of beers and text reads: 27% of visitors were inspired to take a holiday or short break in Scotland in order to sample our diverse range of food and drink

Scotland is world renowned for its breath-taking landscapes and unique scenery and that’s why 61% of visitors from the UK & Ireland told us that this still motivated them to come here for trips and holidays. Our food and drink offering also plays an important part in the visitor’s experience.

Our survey results also revealed that other key aspects motivating visits to Scotland include our reputation for friendly people (23%), culture and art (22%) and Scotland is good for their wellness (20%).


Icon of stick man watching TV, text reads: 18% of first time visitors were inspired to visit by a film about or set in Scotland and 12% by watching or reading about Scotland in the news

Scotland on screen offered significant motivations for those taking a holiday or short break in Scotland. We get by with a little help from our friends and that’s especially true when planning a trip to Scotland.

For those visiting for the first time (28%) or returning to see more of what the country has to offer (20%), personal recommendations from people we trust - friends and family - are still the strongest endorsement and inspiration to visit Scotland.


Icon of two stick people having a conversation with text reading: 89% of visitors were likely to highly recommend holidays or trips in Scotland

People coming to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK & Ireland tell us that they have a great experience when they’re here with 62% saying they were extremely satisfied with their trip to Scotland.

Overall 78% of all UK & Ireland visitors we spoke to were very or extremely satisfied with their trip to Scotland, this is a 5% increase to our previous survey (2017-18 autumn and winter); and this figure is higher among those resident outside of Scotland (81%) which is great news. We ‘re therefore creating a strong band of Scotland advocates…

What’s planned?

Next month (October 2019) we will launch our new creative marketing activity, aimed at raising awareness of Scotland, targeting our priority markets in the UK, USA, France, Germany and China.  This has been shaped by learnings and insights from previous market promotions, the findings from this research alongside new trends we’re seeing across the wider tourism industry.

Part of the Scotland is Now campaign, this activity will bring to life unique experiences in Scotland telling the stories of why visitors should choose to consider and ultimately visit our beautiful country. Geographical spread is integral to our marketing plans to promote every corner of Scotland and across all seasons. We have a stunning country and we want to make sure we’re showing it off, whether that’s the hustle of our winter markets in Edinburgh or our stunning autumnal coloured Big Tree Country in Perthshire.

Media activity to complement this will focus on generating awareness about Scotland through content partnerships and online titles to ensure that, when people are at the stage of considering potential holiday destination ideas, Scotland is at the top of their list. In turn, we hope to galvanise support amongst VisitScotland’s partners and the wider industry, to get behind this activity and our messages to carry and amplify them even further. 

So watch this space for the launch next month as we show the world again why Scotland Is Now!