Who wants more bookings?
We all do!
But if we’re not getting them, then why not?
At a recent tourism meeting held at DAVAA member establishment, Malmaison in Dundee, a group of 35 stakeholders representing key players in the local tourism trade listened to the findings of the a survey commissioned by VisitScotland to understand the visitor to Scotland through the analysis of their behaviour and an understanding of their visitor experience. It was the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted in Scotland and revealed some naked truths.
We were dismayed, if not at all surprised, when we looked at the figures that represented Dundee and Angus’ place within the Scottish market. Only 9% of those surveyed visited Dundee and Angus. We appeared below a very long list of locations and to best illustrate how we ranked, we can look at who we ranked above. Only the Orkney Islands, the Shetlands Islands and the Outer Hebrides received less visitor than us. Understandably these three areas, because of their remote locations and the potential difficultlies with transportation links are justifiably positioned near the bottom of the list.
But what’s our excuse? Visitors don’t have to navigate choppy seas on a ferry and the vast majority of our UK visitors can drive here from anywhere on the mainland, be it John O’Groats or Lands End. But they don’t visit and because they don’t visit, they don’t stay. Cue another dreary statistic that showed the places visitors had overnight stays. This time Dundee and Angus rose above the aforementioned islands and now we towered above the Cairngorm National Park and Lothians. With a 5% share of the market we beat some of Scotland’s remote islands, a national park and an area close to Edinburgh that surely can’t have any accommodation?
The survey showed a direct correlation between visitor numbers and overnight stays.
You can view the survey here – Dundee and Angus visitor survey results – 3rd August 2017
So, let’s have a (slightly cynical) look at what is bringing people to Scotland, but not necessarily Dundee and Angus. The reasons highlighted in the survey were
- The scenery & landscape (have you seen the Angus Glens or Lunan bay?)
- The history & culture (Angus is the ‘Birthplace of Scotland’ and Dundee has got more culture than it knows what to do with)
- Holidayed before & wanted to return (historical records show that they haven’t probably holidayed here)
- To get away from it all (with our mobile coverage criticised maybe we could turn a negative into a positive?)
- To visit family / friends who live in Scotland (they don’t all live in the Highlands that’s for sure)
- It is easy to get to (we are centrally located)
- Closeness to home (we are 90 miles from 90% of the Scottish population)
- Scotland’s reputation for friendly people (Dundee folk are constantly rated as the friendliest in Scotland)
- To visit cities (Dundee, the sunniest city in Scotland)
- I have always wanted to visit (probably based on watching ‘Braveheart or Outlander’?)
- The range of activities available (what can’t you do in Dundee and Angus?)
- Special event Personal event / celebration
- To visit a particular attraction (Discovery, Glamis, JM Barrie’s house, etc)
- My Scottish ancestry (huge exodus following industrial decline sent thousands from this area across the world in search of a new life)
- The climate & weather (again, best weather in Scotland and less midgies!)
So on the face of it, we’re ticking all the boxes that will generate more stays in Dundee and Angus, but we’re not hitting the mark. So, what’s missing that will allow us to climb to the heady heights of attracting even 10% of the overnight visitors to Scotland?
Why don’t they know about Dundee and Angus?
We could easily point the finger of blame and pick apart what others aren’t doing?
Or, we could look at what we, as Accommodations, can do to improve the situation. For a start we can make sure our online presence is factual, relevant and up to date. DAVAA are looking at ways to help our members engage more with social media. Secondly, we can let our guests staying with us know exactly how much there is to do in Dundee and Angus (DAVAA discounted tickets to top attractions can help).
But probably the most important action we can take is to work together to jointly promote Dundee and Angus as one destination.
Let’s be proud of our area, tell the world and help the 91% find out what they are missing. Remember, if they visit they will stay and if they stay we get more bookings.