Tourism and Social Media - Step Away from the Microscope

Part of my travels as a trainer for the Digital Tourism Scotland program took me to the Isle of Islay, the queen of the Hebrides. The journey started early at an icy Glasgow airport, where the plane stood on the tarmac for an age as it was de-iced. Sadly, said de-icing covered the windows in gunk, so I wasn't able to enjoy the views as we flew over Bute towards Islay.

glasgow to islay flight for digital tourism scotland november 2016


However, the training venue had wonderful views onto Loch Indaal, a sea loch that was deceptively still for a fresh November morning.

As I've discovered on these trips, spending time with local tourism businesses is both enlightening and frustrating, at times in equal measure.

I want to address the frustration.


Small, local tourism businesses need to stop looking at themselves and their location through a microscope. Stop focusing on what's happening within your small community or how you can attract more business from people who've already travelled to your locale.

Instead, move from the microscope to the satellite.

Step way, way back from your location and see yourselves as others would like to see you. Create content that showcases where you are and how beautiful it may be. Aim to attract new visitors - people who'll spend money - that aren't already on your island or in your close geographical vicinity.

Have a strategy, a plan, to snag new visitors at the search, research or discovery stages of the journey. People who haven't already decided which plane, train or ferry to board, but are looking for wonderful experiences that only you - and your locality - can deliver.

One great outcome from last Friday's Digital Strategy Session for DTS in Islay was the hashtag "#sheerescapsim".

Maybe we need to do that too. Escape from our locality, see the wider market who would benefit from learning about us and what we need to offer, and drawing them to us through our digital footprint.