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Visit Scotland | Alba

Advice for tourism businesses

In light of COVID-19, the most important thing is everyone's health, and safety. While it’s not currently possible for most people to visit Scotland just now, we can continue to share inspiring content that will keep it in people’s minds for future as well as sharing content that will help support the industry at a local level.

It’s hard to see a day when COVID-19 is no longer the top daily news item, but hopefully that day will come, and with it, a brighter future for Scottish tourism.

We appreciate that it’s still an extremely difficult time for businesses across Scotland and we want to help where we can. That’s why we’ve outlined some best practice advice on what to share on your digital channels (website and social media) during the current and evolving situation.

We’ve also detailed our own planned activity through the phases of this pandemic, so you can follow the same outline and make use of the activity we are carrying out, when it’s suitable to do so. This page will be updated on a regular basis so that you have the most up to date picture. This was last updated 5 November 2020.

What to share right now

The Scottish Government has introduced a five-tiered system, to make it clear to both the public and the industry what restrictions are in place, and where, as we all work to suppress the spread of COVID-19. We would recommend your social posts:

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    Official advice from the Scottish Government –the postcode checker for example.



  • Sharing key messages from VisitScotland or your Destination Management Organisation (DMO).

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    It’s more important than ever that your visitors know you're open, know of any changes to opening hours or the way you’re operating and have the reassurance that you're ‘Good to Go’ in line with government guidelines.

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    Messages of support, compassion and community spirit in light of the current situation - consider what might resonate best with your audience

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    Posts about future trips that visitors may enjoy to Scotland

We would also advise you to update your VisitScotland.com listing and Google My Business listing with any changes to your operational status. 

What to post

  • The focus for just now is on Scots exploring their own country - which could be as day trips or short breaks following the travel guidance between restriction levels
  • There may also be people making plans to visit Scotland from around the UK, for short breaks or perhaps for a longer holiday but again, within the travel guidance between restriction levels / lockdown.

You may want to consider sharing:

  • Your opening date, and hours if changed.
  • Any additional visitor requirements, such as pre-booking.
  • Any additional safety measures you are taking when you reopen your business.
  • The We’re Good to Go scheme logo and information if you have signed up to the programme. 
  • Updated imagery of your business and any physical safety measures.
  • Updated imagery of visitors using your business after you have reopened.

You should still:

  • Tag @visitscotland and use the hashtag #VisitScotland so that we can see your content and engage/share where appropriate for our global audience
  • Keep reviewing your scheduled posts to ensure what you are saying matches the current phase of the Scottish Government’s recovery plan.
  • Pin important messages to the top of your page. Each post has an options button on the top right to allow you to pin that post. 
  • Be available for moderation and respond to any comments you get on your social media posts.
  • Keep in mind some people will be trying to cancel or postpone a trip, and we are still in the recovery phases of COVID-19. Don't minimise the situation but be sympathetic and responsible if replying to any comments you receive.
  • Think twice about creating content or social media posts which encourages activities or attractions with large crowds. Find out more about creating an impact with good imagery. 
  • Watch out for phrases that could be misread in the current times, e.g. "take your breath away" or "get stuck here for a few days".
  • Continue to check government, VisitScotland and DMO messaging, etc – the more we all talk together, the more our message is amplified. Share our messages as well as creating your own. 
  • Don’t reshare anything that could be fake news – rely on trusted channels only for important information and updates. 

What to plan for

We’re carefully planning our website and social media content in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, both for the current Restart phase, and for future phases of travel.

A phased approach to planning and activity

There are distinct phases for which we’re able to plan different activity.

  1. 1

    Respond

    • Status: Ongoing lockdown.
    • Approach: Keep Scotland top of mind, build advocacy and trust.

    Continue with Stay Home, Stay Safe messages but promote ‘armchair travel’ – fond memories, dream now, plan later.

  2. 2

    Reset

    • Status: Ongoing lockdown.
    • Approach: Support industry to prepare for re-start.

    Intelligence will be gathered and shared with industry with a focus on reviewing product propositions, prices, and distribution strategies and updating and optimising online channels.

  3. 3

    Restart (current phase)

    • Status: Lockdown is relaxed, but restrictions continue on physical distancing and limited travel.
    • Approach: Build pride and empathy and promote wellbeing among Scots. Reconnecting Scots with Scotland.

    Promote day trips and short overnight stays in an inclusive, sustainable and wellness-focused country and following the travel guidance between restriction levels.

  4. 4

    Recovery

    Part 1

    • Status: Domestic travel restrictions are lifted and interest in visiting grows.
    • Approach: Make Scotland discoverable across all key channels, increase demand for Scottish holidays, and drive bookings.

    Promote the benefits of a holiday in Scotland, our warm welcome and the unique experiences on offer.

    Part 2

    • Status: International travel restrictions are lifted, and industry and route development pick up.
    • Approach: Making Scotland discoverable in key target markets, raise awareness and build demand for Scottish holiday bookings for 2021.

    Promote the benefits of a holiday in Scotland, our warm welcome and the unique experiences on offer.

Our content marketing plans

We’re now in the Restart phase of our tourism recovery plan and are beginning to talk about future trips and holidays again.

We’ve been working on a number of projects to keep people busy at home, and to inspire future trips to Scotland.

Coming soon:

  • We’re working on content to support local businesses, encouraging everyone to eat, visit, shop and explore locally.

What’s new:

  • A Bringing Scotland to You page which houses all the content suitable for enjoying from the comfort of your home, when restrictions mean you can’t explore our country in person. We’ve promoted virtual tours of businesses, interactive video and audio content we’ve produced, and ideas for trips for the future.
  • A new Day Trips page, promoting Scotland on your doorstep, with 20 individual articles suggesting things to do around the country based on where you live. This content is useful for when there are restrictions on travelling, but also for encouraging day trips to these areas as part of a longer holiday.
  • Our Holidays & Breaks page has our last campaign video from July Only in Scotland: Why Scotland needs you, and relevant content for future planning including short regional itineraries based on recommendations from our business heroes in the campaign film.

Other things we’ve produced so far:

  • Focusing on key Only in Scotland landmarks, the Sketching Scotland series of 20 videos show someone creating a digital sketch, with a helpful voiceover for people to follow and create their own drawing. The videos will be at different levels, and will include facts about the landmark, balancing the health and welling angle with teaching people about Scotland.
  • Little Adventures is a family-targeted film which sets out a trip to Scotland from the point of view of a pair of young siblings, celebrating the magical nature of some of our most well-loved landmarks.
  • Stargazing in Scotland is a series of six videos, with tips provided by astronomer Steve Owens on how to spot stars, what equipment to use, and interesting astronomy facts. There's also a handy toolkit to print out with more facts, activities for kids, and tips to get you star-spotting in your own garden.
  • Building on our Tour Guide Tales video series, a new podcast series featured interviews by Grant Stott with tour guides from around the country, delving into their favourite tales, shining a light on some lesser-known stories, and showcasing amazing places and attractions. 
  • We've also created a range of articles on how to see Scotland from home with 360º videos, interactive sounds, aerial footage and wildlife webcams.

We’re continuing to plan for the future phases looking for suitable content for local travel, holidaying at home, and international travel when it’s safe to do so. Check back on this page for more information on what we’re up to next.

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