By Chris Rae, Engage PR account executive
The aim of the event was to highlight how the tourism and food and drink industry in the North-east of Scotland continues to grow and support the local economy – something of particular importance given the current downturn in the oil and gas sector.
Matthew Quinn, senior insight analyst at VisitScotland, spoke about what the organisation believes will be the key tourism ‘themes’ to look out for in 2016.
By being aware of these predictions and tailoring their marketing and product offering towards them, local businesses can remain “on-trend” and ensure the sector continues to remain active and vibrant.
While the names given by VisitScotland don’t exactly roll of the tongue, the following trends do offer some common sense advice for businesses.
Honesthicity: The idea that what is considered “authentic” to one person may not hold true for others. American visitors for example may see the ‘tartan and shortbread’ image of Scotland as authentic while others may seek out small boutiques and restaurants or breweries and distilleries. Businesses should get to know their audience and adapt their offering accordingly.
#Travennial-generation: Pay attention to the 16-24 demographic in Q1 of 2016. Contrary to popular belief, young people do have money and will spend it with many choosing to travel in the off-season perhaps seeking a better deal. January weather in Scotland is amazing anyway, why wouldn’t people want to visit?
Overpersonalisation: Businesses should be wary of bombarding potential customers with direct marketing – just because someone gives you their data, doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it. Consumers still want to discover things by themselves and forcing products and services on them may lead to a reduction in brand loyalty.
Life under the Micro Lens: The basic premise of this is that if businesses put the adjective ‘micro’ in front of a product it will appeal more to millennials. An examples would be the boom in micro-breweries. Anything seen as boutique and produced on a small scale gives the illusion of exclusivity, but how many beers from micro-breweries now lines the shelves of Tesco??
Emotiveography: People love to ‘smoast’ – that is boast online – about things they’ve done and places they’ve been. Businesses are encouraged to make the most of the popularity of apps like Instagram and ensure their surroundings are as photogenic as possible and give visitors an array opportunities to rub the collective noses of their online following in it.
Familliference: People seek ways to escape the norm and ‘get away from it all’. However, this doesn’t need to be in remote wilderness – urban areas can also create little pockets of calm. However, people also want something familiar and an example of this balance would be the Gretna Gateway – a large shopping centre in the countryside.
The Return of the Original Trendsetters: The Baby Boomers return. The generation that is responsible for much of the current culture the youth of today enjoy, is now wanting to go back and recapture its own youth and is willing to spend big to do so.
VisitScotland has put in many months of research into these trends and it is likely that they will turn out to be accurate. Therefore, businesses operating in the tourism or food and drink sector would be wise to take at least some on board in order to make the most of the buoyant market.