VisitScotland media push reaches new audiences

As a tourist destination, Scotland is celebrated for its historic cities and picturesque countryside.

As a tourist destination, Scotland is celebrated for its historic cities and picturesque countryside.

While continuing to promote those and other well-defined characteristics, VisitScotland sought to expand travelers' expectations beyond whiskey and bagpipes by positioning the country in a different light. That meant focusing PR efforts on new consumer audiences and media outlets, especially in the US and Canada.

Strategy

Working with AOR Laura Davidson Public Relations (LDPR), VisitScotland determined two goals: promoting the country's west coast as an adventure destination for active travelers and the nation as a whole as a gourmet food-lover's getaway. Both concepts involved targeting entirely new demographics, says Laura Davidson, LDPR president, "and the PR effort needed to get the [messages] out there."

Tactics

Research identified Saveur magazine as the best outlet to deliver the culinary message and Islands as the most appropriate to reach active travelers, says Davidson. LDPR aggressively pitched, secured interest, and assisted in planning two stories: an Islands piece highlighting the adventure attributes of Scotland's Hebrides islands, and a gourmet- and ancestral-angled Saveur itinerary centered on berry-picking in Dundee. Positioning Scotland as a major player on the culinary scene was truly a "new angle for this destination," Davidson explains.

Results

"Islands gave us a 16-page article with incredible photography; Saveur gave Scotland an eight-page cover story," Davidson says. The campaign also increased search-engine referrals to VisitScotland.org and heightened attention to the development needs of rural communities in the Outer Hebrides.

Future

Davidson says the client recently renewed its PR contract through 2009.

VisitScotland

PR team: The Scottish Tourism Board/VisitScotland (Livingston, Scotland) and Laura Davidson Public Relations (New York)

Campaign: Surprisingly Scotland

Duration: March to July 2006

Budget: Approximately $8,000

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