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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 25/11/2020

Digital plays a huge role in the visitor experience. Having a firm grasp of how technology can work for you and being able to use it is a powerful way to save precious time, increase efficiency and, all importantly, grow revenue. The majority of people plan and book their holidays online – even more so now with the increased need to book in advance and manage visitor flows in the experience sector.  

The Scottish Crannog Centre is a living history museum at Kenmore, Perthshire with a mission as a community to care for and make accessible the finds of Scottish Crannog excavations and to interpret the lives of crannog dwellers for the benefit, enjoyment, education and inspiration of people of all ages. The Centre features a reconstruction of an Iron Age Crannog Roundhouse – a dwelling house built over water together with many original artefacts discovered during underwater archaeological investigations in Loch Tay. The visitor attraction saw an average of over 21,000 visitors per year between 2014 and 2019. 

Online bookings at The Scottish Crannog Centre 

Before the outbreak of COVID-19 most bookings were made by customers booking and paying at the attraction (without having made a prior booking). Some additional large group bookings were coordinated via e-mail. Online booking was not possible.  

COVID-19 necessitated the requirement for the business to be able to manage (and limit) capacity. Following on from viewing VisitScotland webinars on online booking and distribution, the business was in a better position to make a decision and after some further research, an online availability and booking system was added to crannog.co.uk. This has allowed the business to: 

  • Sell entrance tickets on the website on a limited capacity basis (volume between 30% and 50% of previous years) 

  • Sell gift vouchers and subscriptions on the website 

  • See demand spikes and popular dates and adjust availability/marketing efforts accordingly 

  • Set gaps between tours to allow cleaning to take place 

  • Manage visitors that arrive without a booking – a member of staff takes the visitor details at the entrance using a tablet and the online booking system, with payments then taken through tills 

  • Set up a track and trace system – the booking system takes visitor contact details (one per booking/family) 

  • Set the time of departure in the booking confirmation and note it in the booking system – the booking confirmation states that the tour length is 90 minutes, and staff members at the exit have a print-out of the manifest and record the time that visitors leave which is kept on file for 21 days as per GDPR legislation 

  • Sell tickets on Google using the booking system’s integration with ‘Reserve with Google’ 

  • Take visitor payments online in full – the booking system reimburses the Scottish Crannog Centre daily     

The booking system was straightforward to set up and implement, and six members of staff are trained to use it. There is the option of managing staff rotas/shifts on the system, but this isn’t being used yet.