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Visit Scotland | Alba
VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Marketing

What promotional opportunities and tools are available?

Find information and guidance on marketing your tourism business. Including opportunities to market with VisitScotland, and a wide array of marketing toolkits

We offer free listings on our visitscotland.com website, to showcase your business to 20 million annual users of the site, or you can find out about the business events and exhibitions you can attend where you will meet and make contacts in the travel trade. You can also reach potential visitors by working with us; we have a range of resources and toolkits available to help businesses reach potential visitors and target markets. Here's how and where you can work with us: 

  1. Quality Assurance (QA)
  2. Themed Years 
  3. Travel trade
  4. Shop Local 
  5. Engage with our latest campaigns
  6. Consumer PR
  7. Global website
  8. Advertising
  9. Social media

1. Quality Assurance

Once you've achieved your Quality Assurance (QA) award, you can promote this with pride, whether onsite, in print or digitally. Find out more on our promote your QA award page

Visitors are planning and researching their trips online as they’re keen to know that businesses are safe and ready to welcome them. Promoting your QA award provides reassurance and demonstrates your commitment to offering a high quality visitor experience. It also shows that you’re providing a safe environment for your customers and staff. 

If you’re unable to get a visit from our team due to COVID-19, the Awaiting Grading status is a fantastic means of conveying to your visitors and peers the commitment you have made to adhering to quality standards, working to a code of conduct, complying with current legislation and using this moment for change to lift the bar in terms of delivering a high standard product.

Hear from Alison Jack, one of our Quality Tourism Advisors

Quality Assurance top tips

  • Tip one

    If your award is new, or has changed, you will receive promotional materials by post to display on your premises (e.g. certificate, plaque, window sticker). You'll also receive JPEG versions of the award logo that you can use in your own promotional materials.

    To receive the latest versions of your award logo, please email customer.services@visitscotland.com

  • Tip two

    If you have a free VisitScotland.com web listing, make sure you add your QA grading to your listing. To find out how to edit or create a listing, visit our global website page

    On average, QA business listings are 2.6 times more likely to receive referrals from VisitScotland.com compared to non-QA business listings. 

  • Tip three

    Visitors are keen to know you're safe and ready to welcome them. Find out more about signing up to the free We’re Good to Go scheme that gives visitors confidence that you’re adhering to the latest Government and public health guidance. 

    You’ll get a link to a toolkit with logos and guidelines for the We’re Good to Go mark that can be used across your marketing channels and signage, plus a downloadable certificate for display on the premises. You can also download a Gaelic version of the mark as part of the process.

2. Themed Years

By connecting with the Themed Year, you can ride on the back of our high-profile marketing and ensure your business benefits from some of the coverage it generates. Additionally, we provide you with useful free marketing tools in our Themed Year toolkits to help you do just that. 

Toolkits include relevant marketing resources to help tourism businesses, event organisers and tourism professionals promote themselves to visitors who have an interest in the Themed Years. This includes logos, messaging, imagery and promotional tips.

Hear from Louisa Finch, our Themed Years Marketing & Communications Executive

Themed Years top tips

3. Travel trade

With the enormous disruption imposed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, our travel trade team continues to support travel intermediaries around the world as they develop and adapt their Scotland programmes for future sale.

We provide valuable platforms and routes to market for Scottish tourism businesses, which in turn drives the development of products and supports sustainable tourism growth. We also have customised business support to help you internationalise and work with travel trade. Visit our travel trade section to find out more

Hear from Rona Wallace, our Senior Manager Intermediary Marketing

4. Shop Local

Shop Local offers the opportunity for communities, local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and other artisans to promote and sell their products to visitors via our iCentre network. Visit our iCentre advertising page to find out more

The initiative is not aimed at established Scottish designers, but rather at regional artisans without a real retail platform. It has been developed to provide a unique sales channel for small businesses producing ‘Made in Scotland’ products, offering visitors the chance to take an authentic, locally-produced piece of Scotland home with them.

Hear from Luke Prado-Davidson, our Visitor Services Advisor

Shop Local top tips

  • Tip one

    If you're a local crafter or artist and would like to present your product to us for promotion and sale throughout the iCentre network, then please get in touch with our retail team at shoplocal@visitscotland.com

  • Tip two

    Visit your local iCentre to view their range of beautiful Shop Local products, many of which cannot be bought elsewhere. Then make sure you let your visitors know all about it.

5. Engage with our latest campaigns

We’re encouraging visitors to ‘know before you go’ to promote responsible tourism in the widest sense and we’re continuing to work with industry and travel partners to provide them with insight and information to help them welcome visitors as soon as they can.

We encourage you to get involved with our recovery activity to extend messaging and awareness via your channels to maximise the impact. Discover more in our marketing response to COVID-19 page

Hear from Gwen Raez, our Senior Market Development Manager - Long Haul

Our campaigns top tips

6. Consumer PR

Our Consumer PR team works with travel and lifestyle media across the globe year-round, to place inspiring destination coverage for Scotland in newspapers, magazines, on tv and online. We work closely with tourism businesses to showcase the best that Scotland has to offer, through our media visit programme and through media outreach.

Find out more about how you can get involved in press trips and other Consumer PR opportunities to show off your business to key travel trade intermediaries and consumer journalists. 

Hear from Claire Dickson, our Senior PR Manager

Consumer PR top tips

  • Tip one

    Get in touch! We're always looking for new story angles to pitch to journalists and for media newsletters and press releases.
    Everything from new openings, to delicious foodie innovations, to great character ambassadors is all welcome info and you can share it via travelpr@visitscotland.com

  • Tip two

    Host a press trip. Our media visit programme is currently limited due to  ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, but if you would like to host visiting media by offering accommodation, activities or experiences, get in touch via travelpr@visitscotland.com to discuss.

7. Our global website - VisitScotland.com

Scotland’s national tourism website, VisitScotland.com, welcomes over 20 million visitors each year. It provides a global platform to promote Scotland and your business to the world. 

We offer freelistings on our website, with a number of promotional features to enable you to showcase your business, increase awareness and drive referrals directly to you. If you already have a web listing, it’s crucial you update it to let visitors know you’re open, following government guidance and what to expect when they visit. Find out more about how to edit or create your free web listing on our global website page

Don’t miss out on bookings – if you don’t look, they won’t book. We recommend checking your web listing at least monthly to ensure that it mirrors your own website content and imagery.

Hear from Lynsey Eckford, one of our Industry Relationship Managers

VisitScotland.com web listing top tips

  • Tip one

    If you don't already have a web listing on VisitScotland.com then take a look at what we have to offer and sign up for your VisitScotland.com web listing for free.

  • Tip two

    Ensure that your business name, address and postcode are correct and consistent across all digital platforms. Include links to your website and contact email, check to ensure they work and point to the intended place. Read more of our top tips for improving your online listing

  • Tip three

    Ensure your description is up to date, accurate and you provide COVID-specific information relevant to your business, highlighting new safety measures and any changes to your facilities and services. This will help to reassure visitors about the steps you are taking to operate safely and following government guidelines. Read more of our top tips for improving your online listing

  • Tip four

    As more businesses start to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your opening times on your web listing are clear and accurate.

    When your business reopens, you can display that you are open on your VisitScotland.com listing, allowing visitors to filter on VisitScotland.com to identify businesses which are definitely open and that they can book. Read more of our top tips for improving your online listing

  • Tip five

    First impressions count and the first image that appears on your web listing should entice customers to find out more. You can display up to 30 images on your VisitScotland.com listing. It’s worth investing in high quality images of the inside and outside of your business as pictures heavily sway your customers’ decision making. Find out more about the importance of using good images online.

8. Social media

Our consumer social media activity aims to make Scotland one of the most desired destinations in the world by reaching new audiences with engaging content they'll share to help spread the message.

Getting your content shared by us doesn't need to be difficult - we're always on the lookout for fantastic, relevant content to share with our audience to inspire people about where they can visit in Scotland. A very effective way for us to do this is to showcase the content being produced by industry, bloggers and visitors.

Join in our social media activity and get your content shared on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.

Hear from Amanda Thomas, our Social Media and Influencer Manager

Social media top tips

  • Tip one

    Social media is a quick way to reach your audience and potential customers – but there’s a right way to do it. Watch our video for social media on our top social media tips page which covers: 

    • Tailoring your posts 
    • Mixing up your messages 
    • Holding conversations 
    • Learning from others 
    • Reviewing how you did 
  • Tip two

    We’re always on the lookout for posts that are high in quality, have a location mentioned and have some further information provided. We’re not so keen on staged, publicity-styled commercial posts, or heavily branded or digitally altered photos. We want to show the real Scotland.

    Tag us in your authentic social media posts @VisitScotland and use #OnlyInScotland and #VisitScotland.

  • Tip three

    Just because you didn't create it, doesn't mean you can't use it. Make the most inspiring content out there work for you and your audience.

    It’s possible to share inspirational content on your website and social channels without losing your audience’s attention. Take a look at a few simple ways to benefit from content that isn’t yours

  • Tip four

    On our Facebook page share your images, videos and stories to the VisitScotland - Your Scotland Facebook group and directly to our wall. These posts will then sit on the visitor post section of our page which we check daily.

  • Tip five

    Work with a social media influencer - they tend to have a large following and their audience is usually highly engaged with what they talk about – so they're more likely to look up things they mention, or click through to find out more. 

    If you want to work with an influencer, there’s a few things to check when you pick who you would like to work with. Find out more about working with influencers on our social media influencer page.

9. Advertising

You can  purchase advertising in regional and national publications, produced on our behalf by contracted third party agencies. Guides are distributed to thousands of potential and return visitors to Scotland.

Don’t forget, your locally based Industry Relationship Manager (IRM) can advise on relevant advertising opportunities for your business. Find out who the contact for your region is on our IRM page

Our advertising top tip

  • Advertising guides

    Ordinarily, a variety of advertising and entry options are available to purchase from VisitScotland year on year, from sixteenth page entries all the way up to full page adverts.

    Due to COVID-19, our new guides will not be published and existing titles will rollover to 2021. Read our news story to find out more about our advertising guides and keep in touch with us and we can let you know when these will be re-introduced.