VisitScotland is the latest company to experiment with VR technology. Created to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016, its new ScotlandVR app offers users a 360-degree tour of the country’s most famous landmarks.

While I will have to reserve my judgement on the app for now, it’s yet another example of VisitScotland’s innovative use of digital technology. 

There’s a lot to appreciate about its tourism website, specifically. Here are just three things to whet your appetite. 

Video storytelling

Video is at the heart of VisitScotland’s content strategy - you only have to visit the site to realise that. The current ‘Winter Cities’ video is a fine example, being prominently promoted on the homepage with a site-wide display. However, it’s the brand’s longer and more in-depth videos that I think are far more impressive.

A video telling the story of a father and son who dive off the coast of Skye to catch scallops – ‘Ben’s Story’ is particularly well-done. It makes for a captivating insight into what it’s like to actually live and work in this clearly stunning part of Scotland.

While the beauty of the landscape is well captured, it is the personal storytelling angle that elevates the video to another level. Ben’s genuine tone and heartfelt message is what truly engages the viewer.

While other videos in the ‘story’ series are also worth watching, VisitScotland’s use of 360 video stands out, particularly due to how its combines both personal elements and visually arresting views.

Essentially, each video allows the viewer to be taken on a journey with the group involved, providing them with a real insight into what it’s actually like to walk up Arthur’s Seat or climb Ben Nevis.

Interactive user experience

The main VisitScotland website uses interactive maps to bring the country to life, in turn creating a fluid and enjoyable user experience. By breaking down Scotland’s various regions in such a visual and intuitive way, it means users are more likely to browse around for longer.

Instead of reading in-depth descriptions, uses can simply click on a part of the map to discover snapshots and general highlights, such as Inverness being known for its ancestry and battlefields.

This type of design also facilitates planning, with users then naturally inclined to delve deeper into the locations to discover specifics like accommodation and activities.

This also means it’s pretty easy to get lost on the site – in a good way that is. You could be looking at the general map of Peebles, for example, before getting distracted by a personal blog about salmon fishing in the area. By creating and customising in-depth content for each location, VisitScotland is able to hone in on the individual’s personal interests and travel preferences. 

Community involvement

Instead of simply promoting the location itself, VisitScotland also encourages user-generated content with its dedicated online community. Described as a place to ‘share experiences, pick up tips, ask questions and get insider advice’ – it serves as social proof for potential visitors, as well as helping to enhance general brand perception.

Online reviews are one of the most trusted sources of information for consumers, with many ranking first-hand experiences and opinions above any type of brand promotion.

There are endless threads on the VisitScotland community, ranging from discussions about planning a cycle tour to frivolous subjects such as tips for Harry Potter fans. This type of user-generated content is invaluable for travel brands, helping to continue the cycle of interest and engagement from potential and previous visitors. 

Finally, it also encourages sharing on social media, with the #ScotSpirit hashtag generating support from other tourism brands as well as content from everyday users.

Related reading:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 1 March, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (4)

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks for the feedback Nikki. We are proud to have worked on the site through UX expert reviews, competitor analysis and rounds of usability testing which refined the design, navigation / search and interactions throughout the process. Having the raw materials of the landscape & imagery definitely helps but the VS team really took care in managing the content, and the videos themselves are so emotive and effective for tourism. Makes me glad to be living here in Edinburgh.

about 1 year ago

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Katrin Huth, Senior Concept Developer at Namics

This sounds very interesting. But why is there no link to the website itself?

about 1 year ago

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

Thats a good point Katrin - check www.visitscotland.com/

about 1 year ago

Nikki Gilliland

Nikki Gilliland, Writer at EconsultancyStaff

Thanks for pointing out that oversight, Katrin! And Chris for your comments :) I've now added a link in the article, too.

about 1 year ago

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