Our Insight team uses social listening as a key tool for research, for example, to understand how visitors view Scotland as a destination. At its simplest, social listening is about being aware of what visitors are saying about a business or area online.
It is not limited to the mainstream social channels such as Twitter and Instagram but also includes articles and comments made on blogs and forums, as well as articles on news sites and review sites.
This methodology gathers first-hand insights about what visitors and potential visitors are looking for - their interests and expectations, their experiences and feedback - as well as allowing us to spot trends in the industry.
For the purpose of this analysis, we gathered online conversations using the following criteria:
- conversations in the first person
- conversations about visiting Scotland or travelling to Scotland
- analysis of conversations (within this context) that included topic themes such as “where to stay’’, ‘things to do” or “how to get there”
- data is gathered from public-facing sites such as Twitter. Retweets have been excluded to focus on unique conversations
- mentions from news sites have been excluded to focus on visitors’ conversations
- Facebook is not included as a source of data due to its private nature
Between 1 January and 31 December 2019 there were over 3,400 online mentions related to Ayrshire & Arran as a holiday destination.
Amongst the main conversation topics are people discussing taking a ferry to Arran, posting photos of Goatfell, visiting Culzean castle and enjoying the mountainous landscape.
The main source of mentions is Twitter (76%) followed by Forums (10%).
Within social media sites, Twitter generates more than 75% of the mentions, with Instagram contributing 5%.
The top Twitter hashtags for Ayrshire & Arran are:
In Ayrshire & Arran, hotels, hostels, caravan parks and camping are the most popular choices of accommodation and are mainly discussed on Twitter, review sites and forums.
The main things visitors look for, when thinking about accommodation, are friendly staff, restaurants near the accommodation and close to the visitors’ chosen activities – for example, wildlife watching.
The location is outstanding with stunning scenery on the doorstep. The staff are excellent and the food service also...I will definitely return if I visit Ayrshire again and highly recommend it.
Outdoor activities are the most popular for visitors to Ayrshire & Arran, followed by castles, historical landmarks and distilleries.
The main visitor attractions mentioned for Ayrshire & Arran are Goatfell, Culzean Castle and Brodick Castle.
Conversation threads about visitor attractions take place on forums, social media and review sites. Users look for advice and information on how to plan their trip or share their images and experiences.
It is truly described as Scotland in miniature. It’s got mountains, lochs and two distilleries...
I remember us going on our holidays to Ayrshire. Culzean Castle always sticks in my mind, looking out over the Atlantic…
The main conversations around food and drink happen on review sites like TripAdvisor and focus on restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes.
Whisky is also important for Ayrshire & Arran as distillery tours are a popular activity.
Visitors tend to leave reviews of hotel restaurants on TripAdvisor.
restaurant staff were especially helpful and made our experience even better. Thank you for a wonderful weekend…
Most conversations are about transport methods to get to Ayrshire & Arran.
Going on a ferry to get to Arran is the most popular transport option mentioned, along with the train.
Air travel is via Prestwick or Glasgow Airport where visitors take onward road, rail or ferry connections to their destination.
Most of the mentions come from Twitter and also forums where people are looking for itinerary and transport recommendations.
Landscapes, scenery and wildlife mentions happen mainly on social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram and forums.
People share their experiences, as well as pictures and locations of the places they visited.
Taking a road trip to Ayrshire & Arran is one of the ways people holiday here when they plan to see several highlights of Ayrshire and Arran in a few days.
Seals, deer, castles and stunning scenery! Definitely not my last visit to the Isle of Arran
Travelling with a partner or spouse is most popular in Ayrshire & Arran, followed by travelling with family and then travelling with friends.
Conversations about travelling with a partner or spouse increased in September. This could be a popular time to travel because people without children can travel outside of school term time.
Travelling with friends increased in November. This could be due to visitors taking advantage of out-of-season transport and accommodation rates.