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Our goal is to grow the value and positively augment the benefits of tourism across Scotland. Using insights and data, we created our vision for a responsible way. Our menu of partner marketing opportunities is in line with our strategic framework. This will advance and strengthen our regional and national stakeholder relationships and activity.
In this section
1. Our objectives, responsibilities and team
We provide a one stop shop for marketing partnership opportunities. This is how we promote Scotland through a menu of paid, owned and earned opportunities.
Our goal is to have a unified Scotland brand promoted globally. We want to effectively unite our customer journey and product offerings. And we want to provide a platform for recovery and economic growth for Scotland in a responsible way.
To maintain and grow our share of the domestic market, and to reach new/younger and harder to connect audiences.
To increase our brand reputation and responsible tourism credentials globally. We will work with non tourism brands that share our values.
Product and experiences
To match the right product and experience(s) to our marketing activity in line with our seasonal and geographic spread objectives.
Enjoyment of the countryside
To increase positive enjoyment of the countryside. We will work with visitor management partners on the responsible behaviours messaging.
To enhance our corporate reputation by sharing visitor insights and knowledge expertise.
Delivering partner, regional and sector group campaign activity and non tourism commercial partnerships.
Cross team projects
Managing and delivering cross team pan projects with partners and regions:
- Days Out
- Year of Stories
- Spirit Journeys
- World Cycling Championships
- Forth Bridges
Managing our visitor management partners and delivering collective outputs for:
- Zero Waste Scotland
- National Parks
- Other tourism partners
Identifying opportunities with our ancestral and alumni channels. Sharing partner and stakeholder content through Brand Scotland.
Sharing relevant intelligence, campaign development and new product information across teams and partners.
Our team nurture and grow marketing partnerships to deliver sustainable growth. Across key markets, they cultivate authentic and responsible visitor experiences.
The partnerships team are in the Brand and Content department, within the Marketing and Digital Directorate.
- Kathryn Macdonald
- Steve Duncan
- Lorna Reid
- Anne Roels
South & central
- Sheena Smith
- Angela Duncan (maternity leave cover)
- Lauren Pirnie
- Noelle Campbell
- Chris McDonald
- John Murray
- Jeremy Thomas
We work with a range of partners, including content partners, sector groups and brand partners. Think of the Ordnance Survey, Go Rural and DC Thomson respectively.
The UK and International Market teams manage inbound tourism partners. These include airlines and international tour operators.
2.1 Our commitments
We work collaboratively with destinations. We determine their needs and respond with opportunities at VisitScotland.
Insights and intelligence
We share the latest insights and intelligence to inform ideas and activity. We offer specialist advice in terms of website audits, analytics and key word searches.
Regional / sectoral plans
We develop detailed plans to cover areas of pro-active support and identified opportunities.
We are the gatekeepers of regions marketing advice and marketing activity plans. We work as a TAG team with Regional Directors and the Partnership Communications team.
We have a holistic approach to all activity, working cross team to include activity across all channels. This includes market specific campaign activity and social takeovers.
Track, report, evaluate
We track, report and evaluate our collaborative regional campaigns. We advise on best performers and how to optimise future campaigns as a result.
We work collectively towards Scotland’s Outlook 2030. Our responsible tourism ambitions and strategic framework allow us to create tailormade plans. We base these on the needs and aspirations of regional destination and sector groups.
Integrated planning approach
- Robust relationship management
- Share of highly valued insights and data - e.g. visitor, channel behaviours and latest trends
- Digital marketing support / search trends and insights / SEO and UX partner website audits
- Content development expertise and advice on content production
- Opportunity for paid media / joint activity
- Owned channel support
Working collaboratively to match supply and demand.
Timely discussions linked to an annual planning cycle. Development of destination and sector product and marketing plans.
Develop plans across macro regions /cities /priority sectors. Lighter touch planners for regions / groups holding greatest resonance for a local market.
Increase your reach
Buy into VisitScotland's core campaign activity, new bespoke media campaigns, and joint funded partnership campaigns
Have people find you online
SEO / keywords advice and help, marketing intelligence, analytics and marketing relationship management, business support website, and UX audits
Find more partners
Connecter opportunities across products and channels
Content that works
Content and assets creation
We're here for you
Opportunities to amplify your business through VisitScotland / Brand Scotland owned channels:
- Corporate communications
- Social platforms
- Email platforms
- Consumer PR
Insight driven and knowledge sharing
Gathering latest insights and trends for immediate response
- Ensuring all our output is led by insights. Think of latest trends, insights trackers, etc., but also insights from partners, regions and stakeholders. These shape and influence collaborative activity and Only in Scotland experiences. This should include regional lists of hot spots and countryside challenges across the regions. (working closely with the capacity and capability grid).
- Striving to be fleet of foot cross teams for the ability to easily mobilise tactical and opportunistic activity. We also support driven activation, like the focus on Scotland’s cities and hotels sector.
Planner repository and partnership segmentation
One-stop-shop planner tool
- To bring greater planning and transparency to how we work with partners and to amplify and showcase our output in a more efficient way. This will include monthly status reports and internal and external communications.
Marketing partnerships segmentation
- Creating a model mapping our objectives against partners and regions to amplify our messages and product heroes. This will include non-tourism partners. Think of food and drink, textile brands, outdoor wear, photography and travel brands.
Working with content and owned channels
- For our content planning and partners segmentation, we identified three opportunities for stakeholders:
Hero content (inspirational "hooks" to get Scotland on the consideration set)
Hub content (how products can broaden perceptions of what a Scotland holiday offers)
Help content (helping the visitor make the holiday a reality)
- Working closely with owned and earned channel teams to establish a menu of support or activity. Subsequently, we can offer this to partners, regions or stakeholders.
Partner / cross project campaigns
Delivery of national partner / cross project campaigns 2021 / 22
- Ensuring relevant synergies between paid, owned, earned activity and flagship events like COP 26 or Festival 2022.
- Mapping destination and sector fund products for share and further amplification cross channels.
Seasonal / regional activity
Delivery of Seasonal Regional Campaigns 2021 / 22
- Ensuring synergies with paid, owned, earned activity.
- Continuing the work of the collaborative responsible tourism plan. This will encourage visitors to get outdoors and care for Scotland across the third and fourth quarter.
2.4 How we work across the organisation?
Market and global partnerships
We work closely to identify campaign opportunities. This will further extend global marketing efforts to gain further reach.
We work hand-in-hand with regional directors to provide opportunities to regional partners / stakeholders. This delivers a holistic picture of each region.
We work as a tag team with the National Partnerships team. We also represent marketing opportunities across complex engagement partners. These have an extensive industry scope and responsible development potential.
We share the latest insights and trends with partners / stakeholders. These identify opportunities and share back to VisitScotland. Think of intelligence and insights communicated by partners.
Industry relationship managers
We leverage on ground knowledge from industry relationship managers and individual tourism businesses. Think of accommodation, tours, attractions and experiences. These will be used to best fit regional / partner campaigns.
Development and distribution
We collaborate with industry and destination development teams. Together we set up regional business growth workshops and further development opportunities.
We work closely with the themed years team (Year of Stories) and Festival 2022 on partners / stakeholders leverage.
3.1 Ancestral Scotland
The New York Tartan Week pivoted to virtual due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in April 2021. We worked creatively with our friends at New York Tartan Day to bring a virtual taste of Scotland to the virtual event programme. Partners included Promote Shetland, Kintyre Gin and Diageo. This activity allowed us to:
Keep post-pandemic visits to Scotland front of mind for our warm diaspora audiences.
Showcase all Scotland which has to offer. This includes over and above the traditional icons and experiences with which the diaspora are most familiar.
Provide Scottish partners with a platform to tell their own authentic stories to an engaged North American audience.
Highlight Scotland’s responsible tourism credentials in advance of COP26.
Maintain and enhance our positive relationship with prominent members of the diaspora community.
The activity was deemed a huge success by all concerned
In less than a week, there were over 26,000 views of the content via social channels and over 700 interactions
A HUGE thank you for inviting us to be a part of Tartan Week. We've had so many lovely messages!
The success of our video is really lovely news. Thank you so much for giving us the chance to be involved.
Very successful - a big hit!
3.2 East Lothian regional campaign
Our paid media campaign with East Lothian went live in spring 2021. This comprised of Facebook activity (£5,000) and a campaign with Expedia (£15,000). Despite the IOS update requiring users to opt in to tracking, the social campaign performed really well. It exceeded its original targets. The Expedia campaign went live just as the country was moving out of lockdown. And it showed a direct uplift in bookings for East Lothian whilst it was live.
Our UX team have also worked with East Lothian to carry out a UX review of their new beach sensors app. We developed an app in collaboration with Edinburgh Uni. It monitors parking availability at East Lothian beaches, which can become a real pinch point for the area in busy times.
- Facebook: 8,704 web page landings (initial forecast: 5,398) - 11,501 link clicks (initial forecast: 8,997)
- Expedia: Onsite ROAS: 1.4
Looking ahead 2021 / 22 plans
The success of our Spring 2021 activity have resulted in more budget coming from East Lothian to run activity in 2021/2022.
This included paid social/display, influencer activity and publishing partnerships to run in Autumn 21 and Spring 22.
3.3. Scottish agritourism: Go Rural
When lockdown began in 2020, we supported GoRural deliver the inaugural Lambathon - virtual Facebook tours. This was the catalyst for raising awareness of agritourism. It also led to the formation of Scottish agritourism as an official group. The journey continues...
Welcome to My Farm- Virtual Farm Tours ( June- August 2020) scoping participants & supporting tours. This helped Scottish Agritourism member recruitment.
Increasing Agritourism content on vs.com, raising profile of product offerings.
SEO review of GoRural's website and ongoing support of new website build which has ambition for full e-commerce capability.
Industry Research to support SG Agritourism Growth Strategy and wider agricultural policy.
40,000 marketing partnership activity with new partner, Quality Meat Scotland- June 2021.
- Go Rural Facebook followers increased by over 60% via Welcome to Our Farm and Lambathon social media activity
- VisitScotland reputationally seen as supporting sector growth and key food & drink industry
- QMS Partnership campaign's key objective was to raise awareness. This was done for Agritourism & Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb as part of Scotland's Visitor proposition
- Digital Articles Delivered over three times forecast with strong dwelling time. It achieved 400 landing on goruralscotland.com . VisitScotland's profile was shared across Agricultural Press
Looking ahead 2021 / 22 plans
- Working on the Scottish Government's Growth strategy and business pipeline development
- Refine mention of consumer journey on visitscotland.com . Think of content, listing designators and augmenting multimedia imagery
- Support of GoRural new website
- VisitScotland presentations at conference
3.4 Diageo - Johnnie Walker Princes Street
We developed our relationship since spring 2020. The insights we shared, including market focus and brand tracker intel. A £100,000 joint marketing campaign was confirmed in 2021. It will promote the new Johnnie Walker Princes Street (JWPS) attraction ahead of its opening on 6 September 2021. It will also promote Diageo’s brand homes across the country.
Joint media campaign across a series of paid media channels including advertorials set in 55 UK titles. These include London’s Evening Standard, The Yorkshire Post, The Scotsman and the Herald
JWPS was included in:
- VisitScotland, UK and global PR media pitches.
- Titles like The Metro
- Solus email to the UK subscriber list
- Whisky and Edinburgh content on the visitscotland.com's blog
- VisitScotland's corporate social channels
Filming and photography to be carried out in-house on site with JWPS used in Scotland is Calling hero video.
- Campaign still in progress and site still to open
Looking ahead 2021 / 22 plans
- Inclusion of Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Scotland is Calling hero film
- Continued promotion of JWPS on all channels
- Possible ‘Four Corners’ paid activity in 2022