Over 2.7 million international tourists visited Scotland last year, a testament to the country’s tourism body and to the 200,000 Scots employed in the tourism industry. And all their hard work pays off; £4 billion was spent in the country last year.
Given their success, it would be easy to rest on their laurels, but that’s not the Scots’ way and so we were intrigued to see how their tourism body has continued to innovate, in this case setting up a pop up Instagram travel agency. The idea behind it is to allow people to create their holiday based on images displayed on the social-media platform.
Temporarily based in London – until the 21st October – the ‘pop-up’ agency features a floor-to-ceiling screen on which Instagram photos of Scotland are displayed. Potential visitors can then select their favourite images of sights, restaurants, experiences and hotels and the travel agent will then use the chosen images to ‘curate’ a Scottish holiday.
Pretty cool, huh?
As if that wasn’t geeky enough, the space also features a Virtual Reality headset so customers could experience the various destinations and landmarks in a more immersive way.
Of course it helps that VisitScotland has one of the biggest tourism Instagram account in Europe, with more than 370,000 followers. (For those wanting to visit their Instagram site, click here) And that its magnificent historic buildings and scenery provides the basis for some fantastic photos, but we think this is pretty cool for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it shows that VisitScotland really has its finger on the pulse and is reacting to how people now use all types of social media- including Instagram – in a way that other marketers simply haven’t cottoned onto yet.
Secondly, we love the idea of a millennial seeing a photo of, say Loch Ness, and the travel agency immediately sorting out for them to visit there. This must result in their achieving more bookings more quickly and is a world away from high street travel agents handing out glossy brochures, usually containing out of date photos.
Thirdly, we noted the word ‘curate’ here. VisitScotland’s travel agency is effectively building a tailor-made holiday for each visitor, something that only those involved in the luxury travel sector used to be able to afford.
And finally, this initiative seems to mark the continuing move by marketing folks to use images and pictures instead of words to promote their goods and services. People no longer seem to make purchase decisions based on reading things but by watching videos or looking at photos.
Now, how can we turn our insurance policies into a cracking film?