A word about 'social listening'
Our Insight team uses ‘social listening’ as a tool for research. Put simply, it’s about gathering data on specific topics from online conversations to allow us to capture first-hand insight from visitors and potential visitors to Scotland. Understanding their interests and expectations, and their experiences and feedback, on topics such as ‘where to stay’, ‘what to do’ and ‘how to get there’. This helps us to see how Scotland is viewed as a destination and to spot tourism trends too.
We use public-facing sites, such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as articles and comments in blogs, forums and review sites, to gather our social listening data. We don’t use Facebook, as it’s a private platform, and since we’re looking for unique visitor conversations, we also exclude news sites and retweets. If you’d like more information on social listening and how we use it, check out our guide to social listening.
Between 1 January and 31 December 2019 there were almost 10,000 online mentions relating to Glasgow as a holiday destination. August was the busiest month, reflecting both school holidays and the attractions of the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals, less than 50 miles away.
The main conversation topics we noted included people sharing pictures and experiences from a Glasgow trip, people asking questions about Glasgow to help plan a trip and people commenting on their intention of visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh in the same trip.
The most popular Twitter hashtags for visits to Glasgow were #Glasgow followed by #Scotland, #travel, #Visitscotland, #architecture, #Edinburgh, #history and #peoplemakeglasgow.
As the chart above shows, the main source for social listening data for this report was social media at 64% (59% Twitter and 5% Instagram).
Forums provided 22% (Reddit being the main source but mumsnet also featuring) while review sites such as TripAdvisor provided 12% and blogs provided just 2%.
Read on to find out what our social listening reveals about accommodation, visitor attractions, events, concerts and festivals, food and drink, travel services and traveller types for Glasgow!
The hotel has a lovely bar area and does a lovely breakfast...
Clean and cosy rooms...being able to order food towards closing time...great staff!
The rooms are clean and decent size.
When thinking about accommodation, visitors and potential visitors are looking for a good location, close to the city centre and main attractions. Also, comfortable rooms with amenities including TV and free Wifi. We noticed that a number of reviews comment on friendly and helpful staff and that many visitors welcome the offer of breakfast at their hotel.
As the charts below show, we found that hotels are the most popular type of accommodation mentioned in online conversations about visiting Glasgow, followed by B&B and AirBnB.
The main conversations around accommodation take place on review sites such as TripAdvisor and this is particularly true in the case of guest houses. Forums, on the other hand, prove popular for mentions of all other types of accommodation… with the exception of castles, which only feature in blogs!
Glasgow's Botanic Gardens are the best place to get away and spend time with my own thoughts
Glasgow’s outstanding architecture and its world-class museums and galleries are the city’s most popular visitor attractions, followed by outdoor attractions and historical landmarks.
As the charts reveal, the main conversations about Glasgow’s visitor attractions take place on social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram, and on review sites such as TripAdvisor. Shopping, however, features most highly in blog mentions.
Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Museum and Kelvingrove Park all attract a significant number of specific mentions. It’s worth noting that mentions can, however, be negative as well as positive with one visitor noting: “Sort out the litter guys. There was lots… it doesn’t give a good impression.”
Just back from my first ever visit to Glasgow - what a beautiful city. Even managed to stop off at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom
Our social listening reveals that while the main conversations about events and concerts take place on Twitter, conversations about festivals take place predominantly on forums and review sites. Both the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Barrowland Ballroom are popular mentions, reflecting Glasgow’s broad musical offering for visitors to the city.
I'm a student and visiting Glasgow for three days... looking for recommendations for cheap food and / or drinks.
Looking for traditional Scottish food... I want to experience the atmosphere and understand the way of life here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main conversations around food and drink are found in reviews of Glasgow’s pubs, bars and restaurants.
Blogs are a rich source of social listening data for food and drink mentions. Particularly where specific interests such as craft beer, gin, street markets, and vegetarian and vegan options are being discussed.
We noted that while visitors appreciate the convenience of having restaurant service in their hotels, many use forums to seek advice and recommendations for place to eat.
Visitors tend to go on to review and share their personal experiences on sites such as TripAdvisor or agoda.com. Not all reviews are positive, however, and one visitor noted: “Nothing special. Appeared to me as a typical franchise pub.”
Going to Glasgow next week, relying on public transport and stay
The train is the most common mode of transport for visitors coming into and departing from Glasgow, followed by air, where Glasgow Airport is the main arrival point.
When planning a trip, the main conversations concern practicalities such as the distance from the airport to the city centre. As well as bus routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and also London and Glasgow.
Many visitors also seek advice on the best ways to travel from Glasgow to other places in Scotland such as Skye, The Highlands and Edinburgh. The majority of mentions come from forums, review sites and Twitter as shown in the charts below.
It’s also worth noting that conversations on the subject of travel services often include customer support questions and answers for ScotRail and Virgin Train travellers. Some of whom may be regular commuters rather than tourists.
Having such a hoot on my solo holiday to Glasgow. So refreshing!
My family and I plan to visit Edinburgh and Glasgow in December. Can we (5 adults) arrange one day trip in Edinburgh and one day trip in Glasgow?
Towards the end of summer, I went to visit friends in Glasgow. What was meant to be a 3 day trip ended up being almost 2 weeks long.
Throughout 2019, the majority of conversations we observed were about travelling to Glasgow with a partner or spouse, followed by travelling as a family group and then travelling with friends.
Interest in solo travel increased significantly in May, while interest in travelling with friends showed peaks in March and June. Mentions of travelling with family peaked significantly in June and September, perhaps reflecting the approach of school summer holidays in July and August and the mid-term break in October.
Listening to online conversations about Glasgow, the city is considered to be a vibrant tourist destination with a diverse range of attractions appealing to a variety of visitor types.
Twitter is the first port of call for visitors writing their opinions and asking questions about Glasgow because of the ‘in the moment’ nature of the platform.
Visitors also find time to write reviews and blog posts about places they have visited in Glasgow. These reviews become a source of information for new visitors who are looking for information online to find out as much as they can about attractions or restaurants while planning a trip.