Thursday, December 1, 2011

Scottish Borders Tourism Industry Conference on 1 December 2011

I went to the Scottish Borders Tourism Industry Conference today, organised by Visit Scotland and Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership held at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel, St Boswells. There were about 50 delegates.

I didn't know what to expect and I thought it wasn't likely to be useful particularly as I had intended going to the monthly Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber Business Group meeting.

I'm glad I attended, and fortunately the Salmon Room at the hotel was warm on arrival.

I was very inspired by Professor John Lennon's talk on 'Tourism businesses and how to survive in a recession'. Although Borders Family History Society is a charity and not a tourism business that needs to make a profit, much of what Professor Lennon said was valid for us, too. It's also important that as a charity we generate a surplus to help us remain sustainable and improve facilities for our beneficiaries. We're also members of Ancestral Scotland and we think it's so important that we have the Ancestral Scotland logo on our home page.

I got some good ideas from Martin Ogg's presentation on the new Visit Scotland website and the work that the website team are undertaking.

I didn't understand a lot of the Marketing presentation but there were some stunning images in their new campaign, and as a regular user and reviewer for Trip Advisor , I was interested that there was a widget available (though it costs £200) for tourism businesses.

Nice buffet lunch especially the tomato soup.

After lunch, David Taylor told us about the Year of Creative Scotland set up to 'celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative vibrancy, shine a spotlight on our creative assets, provide a test-bed for new initiatives and a launch platform for activity to support Year of Homecoming in 2014 .'

I also attended the Accessible Tourism session after the main conference, telling the fewer people that remained about the importance of accessibility and how to improve. I think this session should have been in the main conference.

We were told the slides for the presentations will be on the Visit Scotland corporate site, and I found them useful.

Here are the ideas and inspirations I took away from the day:
  • It would be nice to show equivalent prices in euros and US Dollars for the sterling prices on our website
  • Put testimonials by users of our services on the website
  • Put highlights of our Annual Report on our blog
  • Put the top 10 surnames in the Gravestones Index on our parish pages

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