Missed the comment article by Ellie Murphy, our CIM Scotland Chairwoman, in The Scotsman? Check it out below...

A quick jaunt up the A82 to Arrochar from Glasgow. Me, midge-repellent, a car full of teenagers let out of lockdown and four bikes. I have never been more ready to go on holiday in my life, and the levels of excitement in the car, when our loch-side rented cabin came into view, were worthy of a trip to Disneyland.

Seems that Malcolm Roughead, head honcho at VisitScotland, has got it spot on when he writes “there’s nae place like hame”. Anyone trying to book a holiday in Scotland this summer had to adopt supermarket-sweep style ninja tactics to bag that idyllic rural cottage in the Highlands, or the city-slicker pad in Edinburgh, as our uber-impressive hospitality industry stepped up to accommodate us all safely, hands-sanitised and two metres apart.

Scottish searches on Google for “staycation” soared by 3,826 per cent in July compared with last year, and searches for “holiday in Scotland” rose a whopping 300 per cent between March and July. Happy days. Turns out one of the few positive side effects of the pandemic is that Scots are starting to rediscover their own country.

And, whilst I’m sure VisitScotland’s “Only in Scotland” ad campaign has stirred our national pride (let’s overlook the fact that I’m English), who could face the game of airport roulette? Altogether better to stay local.

But whilst juggling Covid-clean regimes and suddenly self-isolating staff, the canny holiday operators are laying the groundwork to turn this Scottish fling into a long-term love affair. They’ve clocked how consumer buying behaviour is changing, are alert to how to capitalise on this, and have hard-wired their response into everything they do. Easy, right?!

Yes, price and quality are still our main considerations when choosing our staycation, but we’re a demanding bunch and we’re now seeking out authentic, purposeful brands who actively put their staff, the environment and their local community firmly at the heart of what they do. And of course, whilst you’re doing this, you need to be transparent about it and share what you’re doing in an impactful way.

In a world of connected technology, we’re craving human connection (especially now) and the need to feel part of something. Not too tricky to tackle whilst your staycationers are still with you, but how can you build this into your digital communications? It can be as simple as sharing a video you’ve taken of the sunrise from your holiday property, responding to comments shared in reviews and in visitor books, or highlighting how your team is having fun planning new activities for us to enjoy when we come back.


This comment article originally appeared in The Scotsman.