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Visit Scotland | Alba

This guide is for self-catering businesses in Scotland to help them with planning during this time of uncertainty. You can use it alongside the five scenarios on how Scottish tourism can evolve over the next 18 to 24 months. Read the STERG scenario planning toolkit for more information.

This page can help you consider sector-specific actions that you can incorporate into your business plans. You can then apply your strategies to the scenarios. Also take time to consider their implications on your customers, product, staff and suppliers. This will help you to ascertain what may need to be changed depending on which of the scenarios occur.

 

On this page you can find: 

  1. The sector’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) 
  2. How can I use SWOT for my business?
  3. Useful resources

1. The sector’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)

A SWOT analysis helps you to understand your business's strengths and weaknesses. It can also show you the opportunities and threats your business might face from the marketplace. Allow yourself to think about the current operation of the business and how it needs to evolve to anticipate new, as well as existing, challenges. Watch our online webinar to find out more about SWOT and actions your business can take.

Follow our workshop, conducted in partnership with the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers (ASSC). The following SWOT was developed for the self-catering sector in Scotland. It details the key internal and external factors influencing the sector.

  • Strengths

    • Seen as a trusted and safe tourism provider​ - accommodation option
    • Flexible business and operating model - visitors can choose what they do and when they do it and makes it easier to open / close / extend the season)
    • Diverse sector - geographically and in terms of product​ 

     

  • Weaknesses

    • Client / Owner  distant perception​ – visitor engagement with owners during stay may be limited. Opportunities for upselling and developing visitor lifetime value therefore diminished

    • Typically, little sector collaboration - amongst itself, the wider tourism sector or with the local community

    • Restrictive operating conditions e.g. recruitment​ may be impacted by the pandemic

  • Opportunities

    • Cooperation with local business / tourism community. Opportunity to rebuild the economy and enhance visitor experience for referral and repeat visits
    • Untapped and captive markets​ – e.g. very local, domestic staycationers who may normally travel abroad. New family dynamics leading to multigenerational trips and requirements for coordinated multi-unit bookings. Working from holiday
    • New working models​ – flexible turnaround days, reassurance of returned deposits (subject to restrictions to travel, shorter or longer lets)
  • Threats

    • Legislation and licencing​ – including COVID-19 regulations on number of guests and households. 
    • Financing for small businesses​ 
    • Wider tourism continuity – ​coordinated reopening, will attractions be available when accommodation reopens. Will this be important to customers?  Do attractions know accommodation is now available and are all providers plans coordinated?

7 February 2021 | Self-caters: Finding planning for 2021 and beyond impossible?

How can I use SWOT for my business?

We linked the identified SWOT to possible actions, uniquely developed for self-catering businesses.

The suggestions were developed in partnership with the industry. Through a facilitated and interactive workshop, it looks at the impacts on:

  • customer
  • staff
  • product
  • suppliers
  • local community

The examples provided are intended to inspire, stimulate thought, and can be adapted for your business. We hope that they'll help you design your own foundational strategy plan. You can test your plans against the defined scenarios from the toolkit.

Strengths

Trustworthy

Flexible

Diverse

Opportunities - cooperatives, new markets, new models

These actions are examples of how you could harness the sector’s strengths to capitalise on the opportunities identified in the SWOT:

  1. 1

    Innovation

    "Serviced" self-catering, personalisation​ 

  2. 2

    Local suppliers

    Takeaways from restaurants, meal boxes, supermarket click & deliver

  3. 3

    Local initiatives

    Volunteering options for visitors to take part in (rewilding schemes etc)

  4. 4

    Increase market

    Develop niche sectors for future business – accessible / LGBTQ / pet friendly​

  5. 5

    Visitor management

    Inform activity and attraction providers of visitor volumes and guests of bookable opportunities

Reduce threats - legislation​, financing​, wider tourism open?​

These are examples of how you could reduce the identified threats by using the strengths identified in the SWOT:

  1. 1

    Good communications with customers

    Keep them warm with social media / marketing​. Be ready to provide latest/local information on what is open​

  2. 2

    Value for money / added value​

    Consider pricing / revenue management​. Understand your competitors price points and what demand levels are likely to be when you set prices

  3. 3

    Cleanliness

    Have a cleaning regime and certification​ in place

  4. 4

    Local services

    Provide new experiences and local collaborations. Collaborate with suppliers​ for local products or for visitors to live like a local

  5. 5

    Pet friendly

    Establish dog walking routes

Weaknesses

Owner interaction​

Collaboration

Operational

Operational conditions of the business

Opportunities - cooperatives, new markets, new models

These actions are examples of how you could harness the sector’s strengths to capitalise on the opportunities identified in the SWOT:

  1. 1

    Get online bookable​

    Consumer push for book direct welcome / promote the benefits – this could be a part of your added value offer

  2. 2

    Inspirational content

    Increase your visibility, accessibility and use it to build relationships

  3. 3

    Diversify distribution channels​

    Collaborations with activity suppliers and role of influencers​

  4. 4

    Local initiatives

    Volunteering options for visitors to take part in (rewilding schemes etc)

  5. 5

    Reward programmes

    Loyalty of repeat visitors to destinations, locations, and providers

Reduce threats - Legislation​, financing​, wider tourism open?​ ​

These are examples of how you could reduce the identified threats by using the strengths identified in the SWOT:

  1. 1

    Stay in touch

    Keep your website updated​. Get or stay connected with the local community to help develop new or updated added value offers​. Keep connected with suppliers, understand their limitations / delivery times within restrictions​.

  2. 2

    Administrative work

    Review staffing package / pension  /holiday pay, etc​

  3. 3

    House maintenance

    Get any "problems" fixed​

  4. 4

    Sensitivity to community

    Re-open / safety measures and destination focus messaging are not just a hard sell on your own property​

  5. 5

    Supply issues

    Keep connected with suppliers, understand their limitations / delivery times within restrictions​. Understand new timeline for supplier distribution delays and delivery of service like laundry. Have a contingency for supplier disruption or a cachet of local produce​

3. Useful resources 

Related links