Digital Tourism – Harnessing the Outlander Effect

Digital Tourism

Smart Villages enable local communities to promote their tourism attractions online, through a storytelling narrative format ideal for social networks, one of the ‘mega trends’ researchers identify as key to Scotland’s sector growth.

The sites enable multi-author blogs and co-editing pages so that residents themselves can create local directories, tourism info pages and also regular promotional blogs, so that they can sustain regular online social marketing campaigns.

Harnessing the ‘Outlander Effect’

A key dynamic is the relationship between TV media and social media, providing the context for tapping into global markets aka ‘Harnessing the Outlander Effect’.

For example VisitScotland in particular focuses on the TV hit Outlander, and how the huge viewer popularity is translating into tourism traffic, describing it as the new ‘Braveheart of tourism‘. They have even packaged an ‘experience’ tour around this theme.

A smart Airbnb entrepreneur has even tailored their apartment!

Narrative content marketing

For tourism businesses through e-commerce sales of tartan products, Scotland’s heritage offers a goldmine of what is truly valued most in today’s online world – Storytelling that stimulates the mind and soul, and any Scottish company can thoughtfully relate this to their online business to better achieve audience engagement.

The key to capturing this market is content for engaging Internet research. As Digital Tourism Scotland describes:

“Did you know that 90% of travelers research their holidays online and 80% book their holidays online? Digital channels play a huge role in the visitor experience. From dreaming up their ideal trip to sharing it, good digital marketing is essential for any business looking to get the attention of today’s visitors.”

During this research stage tourists aren’t necessarily interested in the logistics of the trip, the hotel bookings et al, instead they are seeking a stimulating experience.

Heritage Tourism

Scotland’s history is a treasure trove of assets that can be utilized towards this goal. Our heritage of folklore, the historic battles and the tales of family tartans all are rich sources of the type of storytelling ideal for eye-catching promotional blogs.

For example Heritage of Scotland sells a range of tartan products and offers this guide about the clans of each, and their blog shares some insights to learn more about the history of them, such as for the Gordon tartan:

“Three consecutive Gordon clan chiefs, including the aforementioned Adam de Gordon, lost their lives in battles fighting for Scottish independence.”

This is the ideal type of content for publishing online to catch the attention of potential visitors planning their vacation, and it’s typically the local residents who are the most expert, so providing them the tools to easily publish it is a key success driver.

Visit Lanark

For small towns like Lanark there is a goldmine of material to work with. The town has a magical historical story, being the famous location of William Wallace killing the town sheriff and igniting the Scottish Wars of Independence.

With the obvious connection to the globally famous Braveheart movie there is the ‘Outlander Effect’ link, where this history connects to brands and stories that international audiences are very familiar with, and so the principle theme of our tourism portal for the town:

It also highlights an important point – Where local town rejuvenation efforts can be weaved into this same narrative.

As the Carluke Gazette reports, a project featuring Art Pistol Projects, famous for murals such as Billy Connolly’s in Glasgow, and the local high school decorated a drab close that links the high street with car parks,

indeed it’s the Wallace Close, with the artwork depicting an aspect of William Wallace’s life in Lanark – from marrying Marion Braidfute at St Kentigern’s Church, to slaying Sheriff Heselrig before fleeing into the Clyde woodlands.

What this highlights is a positive feedback loop – Local photography is simple but powerful activity for feeding online marketing campaigns, and if they also tell a historical story then it’s contributing to this larger narrative.

Furthermore if it creates a context for locally-driven physical rejuvenation efforts, such as painting walkways with murals, then it catalyzes community oriented investments and refurbishments that will improve the visitor experience.


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