What visit to Scotland is complete without a trip to the ‘best small city’ in the country? From Stirling’s imposing castle to the famous Bannockburn battlefield you can hardly move without stumbling across another significant piece of Scottish history.
For adventurous visitors there are the animals of Blair Drummond Safari Park and the tree-swinging fun of Go Ape. A host of activity providers make the best of the exciting natural landscape and the area is packed with a range of accommodation providers.
Success and growth of these tourism businesses is dependent on reliable intelligence and a keen understanding of what Stirling’s visitors want.
Tourism is vital to Stirling’s economy, bringing in over £390 million to the city in 2007 alone, so Stirling Council commissioned research to look into visitor activity and perceptions of the city. The results, published in 2009, will help businesses throughout the area.
Knowing the market
An equal number of male and female visitors come to Stirling.
The city attracts a younger/middle-aged market. Two thirds of visitors are 16 to 44 year olds, and 25 to 34 years old is the largest single age group.
Most visitors to Stirling are from overseas, though there was a growth in Scottish visitors in 2009. Germany and Spain are the most prevalent European markets.
Over half of visitors to Stirling are first-time visitors, so they will be looking for information about local amenities and activities.
Things you should know
Guidebooks are consistently the most popular information source for the city, especially for overseas visitors.
Half of visitors will use websites to get information about Stirling, so it’s important to have a website and also to be included on collective websites like VisitScotland.
Two in three visitors tend to visit Stirling along with a number of other places so businesses should promote as far afield as Edinburgh and Glasgow.
‘Walking around the city’ and ‘visiting attractions’ are the two most popular activities, so accommodation providers could offer relevant information.
Opportunities for businesses
Stirling’s history is a key attraction for visitors and two thirds say the castle was their main reason for visiting. Promote the history of the town through your website and marketing materials as a hook for visitors.
18 per cent of visits to Stirling have been influenced by a previous trip. Encourage your visitors to come back by offering quality service and a promotional offer for their next visit.
Train travel to the area is on the increase, so businesses could place promotional materials at the train station and possibly provide a shuttle for visitors.
Over a quarter of visitors have difficulties getting around the city. Can you provide visitors with maps or details of public transport options?
If you remember one thing
Many visitors to Stirling just don’t know how much it has to offer. Delight your visitors by providing them with all the information they need about what to do, where to eat, and exciting places to go.