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Visit Scotland | Alba

Case study | Newton Farm Holidays and Tours

Newton Farm Holidays and Tours is situated on a tenanted farm of 550 acres on Fotheringham estate in Angus.

The farm began to offer B&B in 2006 and their self-catering cottage in 2009 and since 2017 has begun to deliver interactive agritourism tours.

Run by Graeme and Louise Nicoll, Graeme primarily focuses on the farm whilst Louise runs their leisure offers. Her singular passion is to educate local and those farther beyond about the journey of farm to fork.

From the outset, Louise realised that running her accommodation and her experience product using digital technology would be crucial.

So, using digital to distribute her products to make her life more manageable and marketing more efficient was key.

Louise ensured her accommodation and farm tours were listed on free tourism directories. These were and It was one of the first practical steps she got in place.

Always open to learning, she also made use of the support available from VisitScotland & Business Gateway.

Louise also had a digital review from her local VisitScotland Industry Relationship Manager. This further highlighted to her the need to utilise an experience specific booking platform.

With it, she managed the demand for her tours, especially as initially she was delivering the tours, marketing them and taking the bookings.

Louise was advised to go to VisitScotland’s Experience booking solution conference Ctrl+Alt+Succeed. There, she met as many of the booking solutions providers as possible.

Over a year she whittled these down to her preferred provider.

I was aware of the need to have a booking system for our farm tour experience to make booking easier and always on 24/7.

What I didn’t realise were the additional benefits to my business of having a booking system.

I use it to easily link it to my accounting process, use it to roster staff and have much better oversight of my overall turnover through the many reports.

Louise Nicoll, Owner of Newton Farm Holidays and Tours

Alongside this Louise signed up to the Tourism specific digital webinars. These were delivered in partnership by VisitScotland & Digital Boost. The session on Digital Fundamentals and Managing your reputation were of particular value.

Louise actively manages her reputation now:

  • proactively seeking reviews from her visitors
  • responding to as many reviews as possible
  • using visitor testimonials on her website and social platforms

She now has an envious 5-star rating on TripAdvisor.

Louise applied and was successful in getting a Digital development loan through Digital Boost. She has used it to build a new website and purchase some much needed hardware.

These included a top of the range smartphone to improve the visual quality of her social media posts.

There are always jobs to be done in the fast-moving landscape of technology and operating a tourism business. New developments have included:

  • developing an upsell food product
  • an additional trade ready experience including her Highland cow

Next job is to test distribution through an online travel agent and get her Google “Things to Do” listing on Google maps and search. Help will be on-hand from VisitScotland to implement both these initiatives.

Read our guide to Google's things to do platform.

Discover how email marketing can improve your business' performance.

Learn how to use Google Analytics.

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