Tourism companies are being urged to get a better understanding of who their visitors are and what they want in order to make the most of new and emerging business opportunities, in a refreshed guide published by Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS), as part of its Opportunities for Growth series.
The guide, which is being released to coincide with the launch of the new 'Tourism Strategy 2020' from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, an industry-led strategy to make the most of our tourism potential and grow the industry over the coming decades, is available to businesses who register at www.tourism-intelligence.co.uk
'Knowing our Markets ... Scotland's Visitors 2012' provides up to date market information to help operators grow and develop, highlighting what's changed in the global tourism environment since the guide was first produced in 2008, how they need to react, and providing them with a better understanding of where the future might be heading.
Through a mix of market intelligence, practical tips, ideas and case studies, the guide encourages operators to work on creating targeted products and services that will enhance their business - no matter what the external influences may be.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: "Working together we sell Scotland to the world, bringing millions of visitors and billions of pounds into the country. So understanding our visitors and really getting to grips with what they are looking for in terms of a quality experience of Scotland is crucial if we are to ensure real growth.
"VisitScotland regularly researches all the various visitor markets and through working with the tourism industry, particularly the Scottish Leadership Group and Scottish Tourism Alliance we're keen to make sure in-depth consumer analysis continues to inform what we all do, how we market Scotland and how we continue to not only meet but exceed every visitor's expectations, every time."
Audrey MacLennan, Senior Tourism Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "The tourism industry is crucial to the economy of the Highlands and Islands, with an annual turnover of over £735 million.
"International research shows that to be competitive and successful in the market, tourism operators across Scotland should be ambitious and focused on providing high quality, high value visitor experiences. The Knowing Our Markets Guide aims to supply tourism operators with information and intelligence to shape and develop products and services that visitors to Scotland expect and want from their experience. We can - by working together - ensure tourism in Scotland continues to prosper and flourish in a global tourism marketplace".
Katrina Morrison, Tourism Strategic Priorities Manager at Scottish Enterprise said: "Scotland's tourism markets are affected by a wide range of factors, from national economics, consumer confidence and lifestyle trends, to transport and media developments, so it's vitally important that operators identify the key trends affecting us now, and what they need to do to respond to and meet the changing needs of their visitors.
"This is a time for ensuring good business practices - for effective pricing, smarter marketing, working with others in their area, motivating and training staff and above all, investing in quality in order to inspire visitors to spend more and stay longer".
The guide aims to help operators understand who their visitors are, what they're looking for and how to keep them coming back. It also provides tips on how to target new markets; helps them come up with ideas on how to develop products and services with the 'wow' factor; gives advice on the best ways of reaching potential visitors; and shows examples of what other businesses have done.
Stephen Leckie, Chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: "With the launch of our new strategy, the tourism industry has set itself a fresh challenge to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.
"This updated edition of 'Knowing Our Markets' from TIS is an excellent resource which will help businesses enhance the experience their visitors have in Scotland, boost their customer satisfaction levels and sales, and contribute to making Scotland the destination of first choice that we aspire to be".
Knowing our Markets 2012 has been published by Tourism Intelligence Scotland, as part of its Opportunities for Growth series, aimed at helping businesses make the most of new and emerging opportunities in the sector.