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Marketing Advice

Welcome to our marketing guidance sheet for self-catering operators in Scotland. Effective marketing is essential for success in the self-catering industry, as it helps you reach potential guests and showcase the unique features of your property.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with some valuable tips and resources to help you promote your business.

  1. Identify your target market: The first step in creating a successful marketing campaign is to identify your target market. Who are your ideal guests? What are their interests and preferences? Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, you can tailor your marketing efforts to meet their needs and interests.
  2. Keep on top of and discover the latest visitor trends in Scotland from Wellness and Responsible Tourism to ‘Experience More’. Trends are regularly updated through the following websites:
    1. VisitScotland Trends and Insights: https://www.visitscotland.org/research- insights/trends/trends-for-tomorrow
    2. 56 Degrees Insight: https://www.56degreeinsight.com/
  3. Create a strong online presence: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business. Make sure you have a website that showcases your property and provides potential guests with all the information they need to make a booking. You can also use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with potential guests and promote your property. Other social media platforms to consider are TikTok, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  4. Create a Google and Bing Business Profile and keep them updated.
  5. Keep on top of your reviews and make sure you regularly respond in a positive, timely and professional manner.
  6. Optimise your website for search engines: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimising your website so that it appears higher in search engine results pages. This can help increase the visibility of your property and drive more traffic to your website. There are many resources available online to help you learn about SEO, such as the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
  7. If you are not already, maximise your marketing opportunities through the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC). Consider becoming a Marketing Member and benefit from a listing on EmbraceScotland and other marketing activity including campaigns and social media.
  8. Make sure your potential visitors can check availability and book your property online. Consider using one of the following availability calendars, compatible with EmbraceScotland:
    1. Supercontrol
    2. freeonlinebooking
    3. freetobook
    4. Sykes Cottages
    5. Booking.com
    6. Expedia
    7. Hotel Planner
    8. Eviivo
    9. TXG
  9. Utilise online booking platforms: Online booking platforms like Vrbo, Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia can help you reach a wider audience and make it easier for guests to book your property. However, it’s important to carefully consider the fees and commission rates associated with these platforms before making a decision.
  10. Leverage email marketing: Email marketing is a cost-effective way to stay in touch with past guests and promote your property to potential guests. You can use email marketing to promote special offers, showcase new features or simply stay in touch with your guests.

Here are some useful links to marketing resources for self-catering operators in Scotland:

    • There are plenty of events and webinars throughout the year that take place regionally, please keep an eye out through your DMO or Local Authority.

You can find more in-depth guidance in the ASSC Guidance Sheets Library and through attending our ‘Talks’.

We hope that you find these resources helpful in promoting your self-catering business in Scotland. Remember, effective marketing takes time and effort, but the rewards can be significant in terms of increased bookings and revenue. Good luck!

Author of guidance: ASSC

Date of guidance: March 2023

Disclaimer – Guidance Sheets are written by experienced Members of the ASSC and other experts. The information in the ‘Guidance Sheet’ is provided by the ASSC for use by Members in support of their own independent business decisions. It does not constitute advice or instruction for which the ASSC can be held liable in any way whatsoever. All Members and other readers remain responsible for the consequences of any decisions taken whether in the light of information gained from this Guidance Sheet or not.

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