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New Year, New Opportunities in Tourism

Trends to ensure a great visitor experience

Date : 26/01/2015

Communications, accessibility and a hint of nostalgia. This month, we’re taking a look at the key trends for the coming year and how you could draw on the insights to offer your visitors an experience they’ll never forget.

Starting afresh

Since January 2014, the VisitScotland Insights team have been scanning the consumer environment to validate the most developed trends throughout the year. We look at some of the prominent trends discovered over the course of 2014.

In our busy, fast-paced world, wellness and health are becoming increasingly important for consumers looking to ‘escape’ from the daily stresses of modern life. Many visitors are now looking to combine holidays with fitness or wellbeing activities, offering fantastic opportunities for the tourism sector to provide new and innovative ways to tap into this growing demand.

Retreat-type breaks are on the rise, and some companies are even trialling ‘Tech Detox’ holidays to give their visitors an opportunity to relax away from their phones and computers.

Looking Back

2014 trends also revealed that while some consumers are looking for breaks that leave them revived and refreshed, others are being enticed back into the magical memories of their childhoods with a growth in nostalgia-based activities.

Recent insight reports have shown that visitors are keen to connect with their pasts, and this provides a chance for tourism businesses to cast their minds back and think of new ways to offer their customers these experiences.

VisitScotland’s 2015 Trends Report recognised the extension of this nostalgia to the next stage throughout 2014. ‘Mod-stalgia’ is the idea of embracing the past through the comforts of today.

Glamping, or glamorous camping, has attracted new demographics to camping and the sturdier structures can allow holiday parks to boost income during the low season. Visitor attractions such as The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Zoo have also taken advantage of Mod-stalgia by attracting new customers outwith normal hours for ‘lates’ events, which allow visitors to relive past experiences in the present through silent discos, face painting and exhibitions.


In 2013, around 14% of domestic overnight trips to Scotland were made with a member of the party having a recognised accessible need. The expenditure by this group was £391 million. Within the UK, the 11.9 million disabled people are said to have a disposable income of £80bn collectively.

VisitScotland’s Trends for 2015 Report related that with improvements in technology, disabled visitors or those with accessible needs are becoming more confident in travelling. Assessing your business, considering how you could improve accessibility or thinking of new ways to improve the experience of a visitor with accessibility needs could open your business up to a whole new market.

VisitScotland offers practical tools to help businesses unlock the potential of accessible tourism.

Consistency is Key

The 2015 Report also showed the importance of clear and consistent customer communication, highlighting the importance of understanding your customer’s entire journey. According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, in 2013, 66% of consumers switched brands due to poor customer service, 4% up from the previous year. 82% of those who switched said the brand could have done more to stop them.

Ensuring consistency in all customer communications can be achieved through understanding all points of contact your customer has with your business; gathering customer feedback through surveys and providing staff training on obtaining verbal anecdotes. Research has shown that it is also important to address any negative feedback quickly and effectively, as a single negative experience can have up to four times the impact of a positive one.

Being open to all feedback from customers will help ensure that they feel valued and listened to, and will help improve your visitor experiences in the future.

Find out more about the key trends for the coming year in the VisitScotland Trends for 2015 Report.