We launched a new feature last year so that you can get to know our team a little better! We’re asking members of staff from across VisitScotland to tell us a bit about themselves and their roles, as well as some of their favourite places to visit in our beautiful country. In the next of the series hear from Emma Hallington, Senior Marketing Fund Manager.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
“Hi everyone, my name is Emma and I’m the Senior Marketing Fund Manager, a role I started in May this year after over six years at VisitScotland. I first started out in what was the Regional Marketing team in 2015 looking after the west region. This was followed by a couple of years as Growth Fund Manager after which I moved into the Long Haul team where I looked after the Australian, Indian and Middle Eastern markets.
“Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to always work in travel and tourism. I graduated from Stirling University with my history degree (completely unrelated to my career choice) and secured my first marketing role at BUNAC, an organisation that offered work and volunteer opportunities around the world as a Marketing Executive. I had taken part in their programmes in the USA and Canada during my university days and had got the travel bug.
“After six years in London I was ready to head back to the north east, where I’m originally from, and spent the next 10 years back in Newcastle for the most part working in various marketing roles at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the DMO for the area, before moving to a Marketing Manager role at a cycling holiday company called Saddle Skedaddle.
“That role really brought two of my favourite things together, cycling and travel, and I was lucky to road test a few of their trips. These days you will occasionally find me on a real bike but for the most part I love a spin class! Living in Edinburgh I love exploring the city, finding new coffee shops and restaurants, and I’ve pretty much covered the whole city in lockdown walks.”
What is your role at VisitScotland and what are your main responsibilities?
“My role for most of 2021 has been focused on the Destination & Sector Marketing Funding. In the summer myself and Laura Kirk, Marketing Fund Executive, looked after the delivery of the £3 million Destination & Sector Marketing Fund, which is one of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) Tourism Recovery Projects. Following assessment and panel processes we were able to make 73 awards to destination and sector organisations across Scotland to deliver marketing campaigns that are focused on stimulating demand in the domestic market throughout the autumn and winter months – extending the season.
“Now all the awards have been issued and contracted, Laura and I continue to manage these groups to ensure activity is being delivered, identifying opportunities for campaigns to be amplified across VisitScotland channels, as well as fulfilling the reporting requirements attached to the fund.”
It’s not been business as usual since March 2020, in what ways has your role changed and how does your role support tourism business recovery?
“My role has changed quite substantially since March 2020 when I was still working in the Long Haul team. I was briefly seconded to look after the Growth Fund in November 2020 before focusing completely on support funds from January 2021. In the first round of Scottish Government support funds I looked after the Sector & Destination Operational & Market Readiness Fund, which was open in January 2021. With a budget of £1.4 million, 46 awards were made to sector and destination organisations to help them prepare for operation post-COVID.
“Although it has been a huge change in my day-to-day job it has been really rewarding during the pandemic to be working in a role that has been able to support a lot of the stakeholders and groups that we work with.”
What’s on your Scotland bucket list, or is there anywhere you’ve explored in Scotland since travel restrictions have eased that you’d love to share?
“I was able to tick off my Scotland bucket list this summer with a week travelling round the Outer Hebrides. We had the most incredible weather and it felt like a week in the Caribbean! We visited Lewis, Harris, the Uists, before sailing back from Barra. We even made the trip to St Kilda which was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to.
“I’ll need to write a new Scotland bucket list!”
More in the series
Want to find out more about some of the other members of our team? Get to know: