Despite a huge increase in independent travel, there are still more than 50% of all travellers who book through travel agencies.
The latest Tourism Intelligence Scotland webinar ‘Working with the travel trade’ discusses how different markets book their breaks and how the travel trade can assist tourism businesses in Scotland reach new audiences both in the UK and further afield.
The American market continues to be the largest visitor market to Scotland, however, as the experts in the webinar points out, it is a fickle market. The South European market has taken a bit of a hit in the last couple of years as the euro suffered, which has caused a sharp drop in the number of visitors coming from that region to Scotland.
Yet, it is not all bad news; as Asian tourists are beginning to discover Scotland. Visitors from China for example, which was previously a very difficult region to access, are now visiting Scotland in large organised tours. Countries such as India, Thailand, Korea and Japan with its growing middle class, all present opportunities for growth.
It is anticipated that there will be continued growth from Europe. Statistically it, and more specifically Germany, continues to be the strongest market attracting in visitors to Scotland, as the country is well known and in easy reach.
Generally the late/last minute booking trend is increasing across all markets, especially in Germany where their market is strong and buoyant. Yet, there is still a large market for forward bookings.
Understanding how to best target these markets is the job of the travel trade. Destination Management Organisations (DMO) are often consortiums that promote a region and it is their role to understand and exploit the booking patterns and holiday lead times for the different audiences. DMOs are always on the lookout for new suppliers; they are keen to work with partners to help get them to the market and need suppliers at every size and price point in order to keep their proposition strong. Destination Management Companies work with inbound tour operators and have multiple distribution channels.
The webinar also explores social media. Visitors are increasingly using social media sites such as TripAdvisor ahead of booking. The experts on the webinar explain whilst this is a great tool for a general overview, the challenge lies in being able to provide context for some of the feedback. They believe that most people now view the comments to see what the overarching trend is. However, the next generation of traveller will use social media for all their interaction and tourism businesses must understand and engage with it. This could range from taking bookings via Facebook and using Twitter to request room service.
To find out more about how the travel trade might be able to help your business reach new markets, watch the webinar now.
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