Advice for tourism businesses
In light of COVID-19, everyone's health and safety is the most important thing. This means despite the love and desire we all have to share our friendly, passionate and unique country and promote future visits to your own business, now is not the time to promote Scotland as a destination to visit. However, it’s important to continue to engage with your customers, ensuring that you are sensitive to how they are feeling in this time of crisis.
We appreciate that it’s an extremely difficult time for businesses across Scotland who are facing temporary closure and we want to help where we can. That’s why we have outlined some best practice advice on what to share on your digital channels (website and social media) during the current and evolving coronavirus situation.
What to share right now (lockdown phase)
We are currently in the second phase of the evolving coronavirus situation. This is the phase of lockdown, where we would strongly recommend limiting your posts to:
Official advice from the Scottish Government
Sharing key messages from VisitScotland or your Destination Management Organisation (DMO)
Updates confirming your business is closed at the present time
Messages of support, compassion and community spirit in light of the current situation - consider what might resonate best with your audience but do not include any calls to action
We would also advise you to update your VisitScotland.com listing and Google My Business listing with any changes to your operational status.
Here are some best practise tips to keep you right on your social media channels and website.
Writing your own posts:
- If you already have social media or blog content scheduled, please revisit this and consider whether it’s appropriate to publish these just now in the current phase of lockdown.
- 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.
- Remember your audience is likely to be made up of local Scots as well as international visitors, so don’t talk only to visitors.
- This isn’t the time to encourage visits at all – don’t include book now messaging in this lockdown phase.
- You still need to be available for moderation and respond to any comments you get on your social media posts.
- Don’t minimise the situation but be sympathetic and responsible if replying to any comments you receive.
- Don’t create content or social media posts which shows activities or attractions with large crowds.
- If you are publishing any inspirational content in future phases, watch out for phrases that could be misread in the current times, eg “take your breath away” or “get stuck here for a few days”.
Sharing other content:
- Check government messaging, VisitScotland messaging, DMO messaging, etc – the more we all talk together, the more our message is amplified. Share their 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
At VisitScotland, we’re carefully planning our website and social media content in response to the evolving coronavirus situation – and will be creating and promoting new content with the current times in mind as we move into the future phases. We’ve outlined a high-level overview of this below to guide you on the most appropriate time to reintroduce proactive content marketing of your business.
This page will be updated on a regular basis so that you have the most up to date picture what stage we are at and when it is safe to move onto a further phase. This was last updated 24 March 2020.
Phase 1 - complete
Phase 2 - ongoing
Outbreak and lockdown
Inspiration content, with no specific call to action that encourages bookings or travel.
Inspiration content maintained, until the event of a lockdown.
No posts - other than those suggested above - from when lockdown is announced until it’s clear from the news and social listening that people are following government advice. Once this has been established, inspirational social posts can be reintroduced with no calls to action.
Maintain inspirational posts and remain sensitive in tone. No calls to action.
Reintroduce booking call to action - by encouraging planning for when people are ready.
Don't be pushy, be welcoming and sensitive.
The next phase - what to consider
Only once everyone but key workers are staying at home should we consider moving back to inspirational posts. Even then, these social media posts should be very top-level and still be mindful of the “no travel” advice, with no calls to action to book.
Once the situation begins to improve, we can begin to move into phase 3 and preparing for recovery – considering what we will post and what content to create to encourage planning a holiday to Scotland again.