Mercat Tours

Mercat Tours share their experience about how they used visitor feedback to meet their varied customer needs and offer a better visitor experience.

Mercat Tours operate history walks and ghost tours of Edinburgh including Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and exclusive access to the Blair Street Underground Vaults.


Providing international visitors with a 5-star experience presents an opportunity to any operator providing guided tours.  Examining their visitor data, they noticed an increase in Spanish bookings and direct requests from Spanish visitors to book tours. Realising there was a specific market for tourists from Spain visiting the capital, Mercat developed a specific Spanish language tour, addressing their cultural interest and language needs.


Launching “Misterios de Ultratumba”, the tours are now offered four times a week off season, and daily during the busier summer months.  Native Spanish guides within the team developed the tour theme, content and route in order to reflect the specific interests and cultural references which appeal to the Spanish customer.


A pilot tour was designed and refined after visitor feedback, Spanish guides were trained and marketing introduced which focused on building a relationship with trade partners specialising in the Spanish market.


Social media was also used, and graphic panels publicise the tours at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh to attract passing trade. Staff also monitor inbound flight schedules from Spain into Edinburgh Airport to anticipate possible uptakes in tours, or when to ideally increase marketing presence.


Further feedback indicated the desire to tailor tours which were suitable for children and a demand for tours without a reliance on English. Staff had been receiving comments from visitors who were asking to visit the vaults out with normal operating hours, and were requesting a short version as an option for those who had less time to spare or wished to explore at the leisure.  To accommodate, Mercat developed self-guided tours which operate in the mornings before scheduled guided tours begin and supported by onsite interpretation, audio/visual equipment and guide book.  This is a complete diversification from the existing practice.


Concerns that the lower-priced model may dilute the existing market rather than adding to it was addressed with a subtle marketing campaign to promote the new services, without supplementing the main focus on the longer, scheduled tours.


The self-guided option is now utilising spare capacity when normally the site would not be in operation, a development which was born from directly visitor feedback.


Find out how you can better understand your visitors to improve your product or service by using our practical guide to better understanding your customers - Listening to our visitors.