Scotland’s Guerrilla Marketing

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

In The Scotsman this morning, there is an exclusive interview with the new Chairman of Visit Scotland, Mike Cantlay. In it, he announces that there is a £5 budget to attract visitors to Scotland during the rest of the year. Of this money, £2 million is being spent targeting the rest of us living in the UK who are leaving holidays to the last minute and encouraging us to visit Scotland. In the next two weeks, this campaign will hit. Cantlay calls catching people late in the booking period guerrilla marketing. Whatever it is called it worked quite well as Ireland found last year when it left a lot of its promotion to the May/June/July period.

£250,000 will be spent on encouraging Scots to holiday at home and enjoy the delights of their own country. That will consist of last minute offers rather than just a general appeal of seeing the sights. A further £1.25 million will be spent attracting the Dutch, French, German and Spanish to visit. The remainder of the money will be held to the Autumn and used to encourage visits if the Icelandic volcano decides to make travelling difficult again.

Why the promotion now? Will it be as successful as Ireland’s?

The reason given for trying to attract us now to go to Scotland is that this year is unpredictable. Figures seem to suggest that staycations are holding up and might be expanding but the large tour operators taking us abroad like Thomson are also saying their sales are up. This apparent contradiction might have been behind the decision. Another possibility is that the people at Visit Scotland have seen early booking figures and decided that numbers visiting Scotland were not looking as bright as they were. But isn’t that to be expected given the huge push last year for the Scottish Homecoming campaign? I holidayed in Scotland last year partly as a result of that. Would I holiday in Scotland again this year? Probably not because there are other parts of our countries I could visit. That’s probably what other people think as well. Would I be tempted by a last minute offer for as shortbreak if a cheap fare or hotel was dangled in front of my nose?  Possibly.

This approach by Visit Scotland could be a big gamble. What matters now is the targeting of the advertising when it is launched. If it hits potential waverers like me or those who haven’t booked, Scotland could have a successful Summer if they can convert us.  If it randomly hits those who have already booked  their 2 weeks in the Costas, Devon or Turkey, then they may need to think again.

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