Saturday, November 13, 2010

Golf industry reveals Gold Standard winners

This year’s top golf honours have been announced at the glittering Golf Tourism Scotland’s Gold Standard Awards held at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick. The sell-out event has become the golf industry’s annual jamboree during which the very best of Scottish golf tourism is celebrated.

This year’s exciting evening culminated in Angus Watson, a leisure sales executive at the Fairmont in St Andrews, being named Young Industry Person of the Year, which carried with it an international learning journey. Earlier, Davy Gilchrist of Kingsbarns Golf Links picked up the CaddieMaster of the Year award for the second successive year.

One of the biggest winners on the night was Castle Stuart Golf Links which beat off competition from Kingsbarns and the Old Course in St Andrews to clinch the Golf Course of the Year award. In addition, Mark Parsinen, managing partner at the Highland resort, was honoured with the acclaimed Special Achievement Award.

Following a memorable Open Championship at the Home of Golf, St Andrews also had a successful night with no less than five winners hailing from the Auld Grey Toon, and two others from its outskirts. But as the chairman of GTS pointed out, this year’s winners came from across Scotland.

“It’s been a fantastic year for golf tourism throughout Scotland,” said Nick Hunter. “Scotland has hosted a number of high-profile tour events which have showcased exactly why playing golf here is so special. And despite tough times, our members have upped their game so that once again our facilities have improved and our standards of service have been fine-tuned. The Gold Standard Awards recognise the very best exponents of this process, but I think the golf industry generally should be congratulated for a job well done.”

On hand to meet the winners was two-time major winner Sandy Lyle, who highlighted the importance of the GTS awards. “Playing golf in Scotland is very special indeed,” he said. “And often what makes it special, apart from the terrific courses, are the people who arrange your trip, transport you between venues or meet you at the hotels. In my view, the GTS Gold Standard Awards celebrate the efforts of these individuals who are the golf tourism industry in Scotland.”

In all, 11 awards were handed out on the night, three of which were sponsored by some of the country’s leading businesses. Joining the awards’ host resort, the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick, was Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental, Europe’s largest independently owned, family run motor dealer, and the Fairmont St Andrews, which hosted the G20 Summit in November 2009.

The award recipients came from every sector of the golf tourism industry. And the winners are…

GOLF COURSE OF THE YEAR. Nominations for this category were open to any golf course in Scotland that offers tee-times to visitors. And the winner is:
  • Castle Stuart Golf Links
GOLF SECRETARIAT OF THE YEAR. Nominations for this category were open to any golf club/course whose administration provides a service to visitors and/or the travel trade. And the winner is:
  • Crail Golfing Society
CADDIEMASTER OF THE YEAR. Nominations for this category were open to any caddiemaster providing a service to visitors and/or the travel trade. And the winner is:
  • Davy Gilchrist, Kingsbarns Golf Links
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Small hotel/guest house category). Nominations for this category were open to accommodation providers with 20 or fewer bedrooms that provide services to golf visitors. And the winner is:
  • Ugadale Cottages, Machrihanish
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Country house hotel category). Nominations for this category were open to hotels and exclusive-use properties operating in rural areas that provide services to golf visitors. And the winner is:
  • Rufflets Country House Hotel, St Andrews
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Large hotel category). Nominations for this category were open to hotels with more than 20 bedrooms which provide services to golf visitors. And the winner is:
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Resort hotel category). Nominations for this category were open to resort hotels with golf course(s) attached. And the winner is:
  • Fairmont St Andrews
GOLF TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR. Nominations for this category were open to any tour operator bringing golfers to Scotland. And the winner is:
  • Links Golf St Andrews
TRANSPORT OPERATOR OF THE YEAR. Nominations for this category were open to any business providing transport services in Scotland including rail, road, air and sea. And the winner is:
  • St Andrews Executive Travel
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. And the winner is:
  • Mark Parsinen, Castle Stuart Golf Links
YOUNG INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR. And the winner is:
  • Angus Watson, Fairmont St Andrews
This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design, content management, marketing and project management services to Golf Tourism Scotland and golf tourism businesses across Scotland. In addition to the website The Edge have supported GTS with social media, design and print, exhibition support and production of their Corporate Video - below.

Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Golf Course Group Hold Prices for 2011

    That’s the message from First in Fife, and it confirms the Golfpass’s position as the best value way to play on 13 fine courses in the Home of Golf – Aberdour, Balbirnie Park, Burntisland, Canmore, Charleton, Dunfermline, Elmwood, Forrester Park, Kinross Bruce and Montgomery courses, Kirkcaldy, Pitreavie, and Thornton. A 3 round Pass is still just £63, and a 5 round Pass is even better value at only £99.



    First in Fife also has its own online system for buying your Golfpass and then booking your rounds – still the only Golfpass in Scotland to offer this unique facility. Just go to www.firstinfifegolf.com, read all about our courses, buy your Pass, check tee time availability at all 13 courses, and then use your online account to book your tee times. It can all be done 24/7 and at the touch of a few buttons.

    The Golfpass can be used any time from 1 April to 31 October 2011, and on one trip, or several, to Fife. There are some supplements, so please read the full terms and conditions on the website before buying your Pass.

    You can also check out details of our hotel partners, both on www.firstinfifegolf.com and on their own websites. They will be happy to quote you excellent rates for your golf break in Fife.

    So, join the thousands of golfers who have already used the First in Fife Golfpass to enjoy great value golf in the Home of Golf – we’re waiting to welcome you!

    Find out more about First in Fife Golf on their website.
    This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design, content management, marketing and project management services to First in Fife Golf and golf tourism businesses across Fife and Scotland. The fly through video was created by The Edge using Google Earth Pro.

    Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Ayrshire Golf Group Head For Travel Market

    Scotland's West Coast Golf Links are delighted to confirm that they will be attending the International Golf Travel Market in Valencia this November alongside industry partners on the VisitScotland stand.

    Group Chairman, and Prestwick Golf Club Secretary, Ian Bunch was delighted that the marketing group were going to be represented, "IGTM presents an exciting opportunity for Scotland's West Coast Golf Links to promote the golf destination of Ayrshire to the travel trade. Whilst we are hardly unknown there is more to the area than many realise and this market gives us the opportunity to present our product clearly to the travel trade."

    The group will be represented by Guy Redford from Dundonald Links who is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities the event offers. "We've believed for some time that Ayrshire needed a presence at key travel trade events and we are sure that being at IGTM will open up some great new business relationships not only with the golf courses but also the accommodation providers all over Ayrshire."

    Find out more about Scotland's West Coast Golf Links on their website and get the low down on IGTM online
    This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design, content management, marketing and project management services to Scotland's West Coast Golf Links and golf tourism businesses across Ayrshire and Scotland.

    Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    Ayrshire Business Celebrates National Award

    The Old Loans Inn, the hotel, bar and restaurant near Troon, part of the privately owned SimpsInns hotel group based in the heart of Ayrshire, reached dizzy new heights this week after being announced as winner of the Scottish Licensed Trade News (SLTN) award in the category of “Best New Business” for 2010.

    Based in the village of Loans near Troon, The Old Loans Inn was short-listed for the prestigious award before taking top plaudits at the glittering ceremony hosted by TV personality Tess Daly at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday night.

    The much sought-after SLTN awards, now in their 15th year, identify stars of the hospitality industry with the category of “Best New Business” fiercely contested after organisers received hundreds of entries across Scotland.

    Owner Malcolm Simpson was delighted with the recognition, "The award is tremendous acknowledgement for all the effort, commitment and dedication that our entire team deliver on an ongoing basis.”

    The Old Loans Inn has also been nominated for Hotel of the Year in the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Standards Awards, which celebrate the very best in Scottish Golf Tourism. With this nomination we are now in the running for four awards over the next month.

    This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design, marketing and on-line booking services to The Old Inn and hospitality business across Ayrshire and Scotland.


    Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    SimpsInns Announce Latest Development for Irvine

    The site of Irvine’s Golf Hotel is set to be transformed into a continental-style bar and restaurant.

    This week, new owners Malcolm and Karen Simpson, of SimpsInns, confirmed they had big plans for the former hotel in Kilwinning Road which will see the hotel being torn down within a year as work starts on Si! Restaurant and Bar.

    The ambitious project boasts a two-storey restaurant and bar complete with a balcony for al fresco dining. And it will bring 40 jobs to the town. Malcolm and wife Karen, who also own the Gailes Hotel, the Old Loans Inn and travel company, Wilkinson Golf, have also bought over the Waterside Inn in Seamill.


    The Waterside is set to be transformed into a five-star hotel and spa, the likes of which have never been seen in North Ayrshire.

    As Malcolm showed the Irvine Herald his ambitious plans for Si! and the Waterside Hotel he said: “The Golf Hotel site deal has taken some time to put together but we are finally at the planning stage.

    “I had a clear vision for the sort of restaurant and bar that I wanted to see open in Irvine and to achieve that I felt it was best to start with a clean canvas and knock the old hotel down.

    “We want to create somewhere fairly informal but with quality dining along with a bar offering continental lagers and somewhere different.

    “We anticipate creating 40 full-time and part-time jobs at Si! and a further 140 at Waterside. We are in pre-consultation with North Ayrshire’s planning department who have been very supportive and we are working closely with Irvine Bay Regeneration.”

    SimpsInns are also about to launch their first ever loyalty card for customers to gain points, whatever hotel or restaurant they choose.

    This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design, on-line reservations software and online marketing services to SimpsInns and their businesses at Old Loans Inn near Troon and Gailes Hotel in Irvine and hospitality and tourism businesses across Ayrshire and Scotland.


    Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    McCaig Electrical Celebrate 25 Years in Business

    Twenty Five Years on – From kitchen table to staff of 50 and electrical contractor John McCaig & Sons has celebrated a quarter century business.

    The milestone was marked with an open day held at the company’s old farm road premises in Ayr and has been further enhanced by a short-listing in the annual Select Awards.

    To help with the celebrations customers and suppliers of John McCaig & Sons attended to show their continuing support.

    Director Frances McCaig said: “ We were delighted at the turn out for our open day, it is with the help and support of such people that has made the past 25 years such a success”.

    John and Frances started the business in 1985, where they worked from their family home, while looking after their two young sons before moving to a leased premises in York Street in Ayr.

    It was always their aim to own premises and they and they achieved this in September 2008. The prominent block 3 Old Farm Road became available and it proved to be ideal for the rapidly expanding business, which now employs 50.

    It was always there wish that their two sons joined the company and they were delighted both of them decided to do so.

    Frances said: We thought it was extremely important John and Jamie had a trade behind them, so both served their apprenticeships as electricians”.

    John now holds the position of Contracts manager and Jamie is Estimator/Buyer.

    Dad John said : “ we feel the experience both our sons have within the company stands them in good stead for the many years they have ahead of them”.

    In 2005, Robert Stirrat, who started working for John McCaig & Sons in 1998, was made a Director. Robert started off as an electrician and has worked through the ranks.

    This article is just one part of the on-line Business Development and PR support available to all clients of The Edge Studios. The E-dge provide web design services to McCaig Electrical and business across Ayrshire and Scotland.


    Contact us by email or telephone 01292 521404 for further information on how we can help develop your on and off line business.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    A Guide to Picasa

    This is the first post in a new series of "A Guide To.." highlighting better practice or at worst opinions on how you might improve your profile online.

    We hope that you find them useful and of course if you do you can always let your fellow businesses know!

    First one to be published is about Picasa and Picasa Web Albums. We use the Google products widely for our own administrative and marketing purposes but also heavily for our web developments and our channel distribution sites. It's a great way of storing, editing and sharing your images for both Business to Business and Business to Consumer.

    Find out how we use the tools at The Edge Briefings: A Guide to Picasa

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Updating West Coast Golf Links

    We've been working this week on updating the website and blog for Scotland's West Coast Golf Links - a collection of ten of Scotland's finest links golf courses.

    We've done some updating of the group's homepage the most visible being the insertion of the news items directly from the blog to give the page more immediate interest to the visitor. We've also inserted the Facebook Connect button which should be interesting to monitor as it allows Facebook users to click Like directly from the page and post a comment without even leaving the site. Really cool little function that you should consider for your own website.

    In addition the Blog has had a mini makeover with the addition of a dozen new posts, the addition of the search blog feature and the Share button to the articles allowing it to be published to the users own Facebook

    The blogs get indexed very quickly indeed and should be seen as a positive distribution channel – for example open Google and search for “sunset golf Ayrshire” – it was only published at 12.15pm yet it’s indexed first and second on Google already and ahead of the Turnberry listing itself – this isn’t an issue as it has a direct link back to the website.

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    New Logo For Kilmarnock History Group

    It's always good fun when you're given a blank sheet of paper and allowed a bit of free expression!

    Well as part of a wee project we're doing for The Kilmarnock and District History Group they asked us if we could start with a bit of branding. The project's going to be broken into a couple of phases with the group needing to first of all get their on-line communications in place using social media and then in the longer term looking to working collaboratively with other bodies to create both written and visual on-line archives of all things Kilmarnock.

    The phase one website is due to go live on the 7th of August, The Facebook pages have been set up and the group are testing their blog pages as we speak.

    The logo however has already been completed much to the delight of project co-ordinator Gary Torbett and it is already featured on the Kilmarnock History Facebook Page and Blog

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Fairfield Christmas Brochure

    Fairfield House Hotel in Ayr are a long standing client of ours using our website services and Bookassist for their online reservations. We're just planning out a new social media campaign with them currently which will lead to an improved on-line presence through the use of Blogs, Facebook and email marketing as well as a refreshing of their website for 2011.

    In the meantime the website remains live and performing wonderfully well with a high level of on-line bookings being converted through the site.

    The hotel is well known for its creative festive programmes and it has just taken delivery of the 2010 Festive Brochure. You can download a copy of the programme from the Fairfield House Hotel website.

    Find out more about how The Edge could help your hotel market online.

    Using Google Blogs? Share Your Posts

    You can now make it easier for your posts to get out and about and see more of the world.

    If you're using Google Blogger, go to Design; click on Edit in the Posts section and tick"Show Share Buttons.



    Once saved every post will be accompanied by a Share this Post option which will allow links to your information to be quickly posted elsewhere.




    Worth taking a few minutes to add we'd suggest

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Enterkine Celebrates Ten Years with New Restaurant

    Over the years at The Edge we've worked with the team at Enterkine on a number of projects and currently provide the exclusive Country House Hotel near Ayr in the west of Scotland with their booking engine Bookassist.

    We've also just spent some time doing a quick mini audit and update of the hotel's search terms and key content on The Enterkine Hotel website. In updating the site we were once again impressed by the quality this wonderful hotel offers the visitor to Ayrshire and their continuing commitment to taking it further.

    2010 marks the 10th anniversary of Enterkine being opened as a Country House Hotel and in that time have established themselveas as a Hotel and Restaurant of great merit having been awarded numerous accolades for the quality accommodation and service they offer and, of course, recognition as one of Scotland’s top fine-dining venues thanks to the talents and skills of their award winning Head Chef, Paul Moffat, and his team.

    Much of their success has been achieved through a commitment to develop and continue to grow the hotel and restaurant services. With the introduction of our unique Woodland Lodge and the opening of the refurbished Kirk House they now have more quality accommodation on offer than ever before. More recently, the installation of their stunning permanent Marquee at Enterkine has allowed them to develop their corporate events business and to cater for larger scale weddings, now placing them as one of Ayrshire’s leading wedding venues.

    We look forward to a continuing relationship with the team at Enterkine.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    New Website for Redspire

    We're delighted to have gone live with a new Content Managed website for Glasgow based Retail IT Consultancy Redspire.

    We first worked with Graeme Miller of Redspire when we developed a website for the Olympia Skating Club last year and so delighted with the ease of use of our very own CMS, The Claymore Project, that he came back to us recently when his own company website needed a refresh.

    We've brightened the look and feel of the old site up and the content including the metatags, images, links are all client managed.


    Graeme commented on the project, "The Edge has worked closely with us to develop a website that we are very proud of. They understood our requirements from the outset and were able to interpret them into a creative execution that exceeded our expectations. We are delighted with the results."

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    New Branding for Highland Golf Group

    We're getting the final launch of the new website for Highland golf group Dornoch Firth Golf.

    The group comprise of five wonderful links golf courses in the North Highlands - Tain, Dornoch's Championship and Struie Courses and the great layouts at Brora and Golspie.

    The clubs have got together to create a discounted golf pass and over the past six weeks The Edge have been busying themselves with leaflet design, member cards, wallets and of course website and blog development.

    The logo was developed after a meeting with the project leaders and was designed to encapsulate the history and heritage of golf in the area and the links with course designers Braid, Ross and Morris. We feel that the end product captures all of that.

    The whole project reflects this pedigree and plays heavily on it. More to follow in the next week about how the project developed in the meantime you could have a look at some of our other logo and branding projects.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Dornoch Firth Golf Pass look for The Edge

    The Edge are absolutely delighted that we have been selected by North Highland Tourism to develop an on-line presence for the recently formed Dornoch Firth golf development group.

    Following a recent presentation at Royal Dornoch Golf Club, The Edge have been asked to produce a new brand for the group and then take it to a new website supported by an aggressive social media campaign. The project which brings together five courses in the Dornoch Firth area - Royal Dornoch's Championship Links and The Struie, Tain, Brora and Golspie.

    Director Ian McCaig was delighted at the news, "We work with an extensive range of tourism businesses in The Highlands and the securing of this project is really exciting. We know the area well having worked with the courses previously in the Highland Golf Classics and recently we just launched the new websites and on-line marketing strategies for the refurbished Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch and The Royal Marine Hotel in Brora. Late last year we were also delighted to go live with a website for Dragons Tooth Golf Club near Fort William."

    The Edge are also working on a new blog for Castle Stuart Golf Club which support their current website and have been heavily involved recently in the project management of the Cup Final single for Ross County recorded by Highland band Torridon.

    "We recognised late last year that we were working with more and more tourism businesses in the area and decided that we needed a permanent presence in The Highlands. We were delighted therefore to bring on Nairn based Sue McCulloch to work with us on key projects and this is proving highly successful and increases dramatically our direct communications with our clients. An office in Inverness is now a very serious possibility for The Edge"

    The work on the Dornoch Firth Golf Pass follows on from work done in recent years with First in Fife Golf, Links with History, the Ayrshire Golf pass and Scotland's West Coast Golf Links

    The Edge also created the website and Blog site for industry body Golf Tourism Scotland

    "We're proud of the work we've done for golf tourism in Scotland and we hope that we'll continue to build the relationships with this most important of industry sectors throughout the rest of this year." finished Ian McCaig.

    Moray Firth Radio Support Ross County Song

    Great support for one of their local teams from MFR in The Highlands. The radio station has got fully behind the promotion of the Cup Final Single, "We're On Our Way" which was recorded only two weeks ago at The Ironworks in Inverness.

    Not only are they providing great airplay for the track but they've add the Edge designed logo and banner onto the from page of their website with a link through to how supporters can help getting the song into the charts.

    The Edge have provided marketing support not only for the logo design but also in pulling together elements of the original recordning and working with The Music Kitchen in edinburgh to ensure the track was available the week of the final, Ian McCaig was delighted with the results so far. "Dingwall has only a population of I think about 5000 and for the track to chart even in the Scottish Top Forty would be great fun!"

    The Edge have previously had "chart success" before with a UK Top Ten with Runrig and The Tartan Army and a Top Forty with Pudsey, Tartan Army and "We Have A Dream".

    The support from MFR is helping the track go viral and it's looking that even with it only being available on iTunes that it could well chart high in The Scottish Top Forty this weekend.

    Visit Moray Firth Radio online for more information

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    We're On Our Way Downloads Page

    It's just over a week until Ross County hit the A9 and all B roads' off it south to Hampden Park for the biggest game in the club's history - their Scottish Cup Final showdown against Dundee United.

    The whole of the North Highlands is buzzing and we're guessing that not much else will happen this week beyond Inverness. The Staggies really are on the Way.

    And talking of which the iTunes single which we've been helping promote is dues for release on Monday morning.

    To keep the momentum going we've created some online promotional material for Torridon to ensure that Ross County fans - and anyone else who wants to - can easily promote and find their way to downloading the single and hopefully get it into the charts next Sunday. Wouldn't it be perfect just as the open topped bus pulls into Dingwall with the Cup...

    iTunes
    The single is only available to buy on iTunes from Monday 10th of May. All proceeds will be going to Highland Disability Sport.If you don't have an iTunes account you'll need to set one up - pretty painless - click to find out How to Set up an iTunes account


    Anyway both of the banners below link directly to the page selling Torridon & The Staggies "We're On Our Way".

    A4 Poster Download
    We've also asked Ross County fans to download and print a poster (right) to encourage sales from Monday.

    That can also be downloaded from here.

    We're On Our Website Way Banners

    If anyone wishes to drop the code for either of the banners below into their blog or their website it can be done from The Torridon & The Staggies Downloads page


    Torridon and The Staggies - We're on our way

    Torridon and The Staggies - We're on our way

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Integrating Email Lists and Facebook

    Interesting little App from our preferred email marketing software partners ConstantContact which allows you to create a list sign up on your Facebook page.

    We're just pulling together all of the elements of the integrated online marketing campaign for The Royal Golf Hotel and its sister hotels Loch Ness Country House Hotel in Inverness and Royal Marine Hotel in Brora and whilst creating their email tempalates and sign up lists we added the Sign Up tab to their Facebook page.


    The Facebook Fans (or likees!) can now click on the the Join My List tab and sign up as they would from the hotel's own website. Seems to us a useful tool in bringing together opportunities for multiple distribution methods.


    You can try ConstantContact for free for up to 60 days and of course The Edge will work with you in developing it into your overall online marketing campaign.

    Find out more about ConstantContact with The Edge

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Golf Tourism Video Gets Expo Broadcast

    The Edge were delighted to have worked with Golf Tourism Scotland to produce a short corporate video to highlight their raison d'etre, aims and objectives and partnerships.

    The video was scripted, story boarded and finally mixed down by The Edge Studios with superb video production from Studio Scotland.

    It's not the first video production that we've pulled together over the years and there are a couple of more projects in the offing. However in working through the many stages of the project you can't help but thinking that the use of video will become increasingly important in a whole host of business sectors helping to get clear unambiguous quality and product messages across online.

    We've still got some final edits and voiceovers to do for the final DVD version but the Expo version of the GTS video went down quite well on what was one of the shows busiest stands.

    Torridon Artwork comes together for Ross County Song

    So this time last week we didn't know that there was going to be a Ross County Cup Final song. Now we're just a few days from a live recording of the track at The Ironworks in Inverness, the distribution deal has been arranged with top Scottish record label The Music Kitchen - owned incidentally by Stuart "Woody" Wood of Bay City Rollers fame - and we've now even managed to get the artwork togethe ready for the weekend newspapers!

    Torridon already have a pretty cool logo already and almost at first look we had an idea of how we'd take it forward. We had to take the track title "We're on Our Way" and make that prominent as well as building in the team colours, sponsors logos and yet not lose the feel. We also needed to think about the track listing for iTunes as well to ensure that the fans can look back in fifty years time and say that they were named on a top forty chart hit! So the band title for the track quickly became Torridon & The Staggies - Ross County's nickname and now a famous Highland live act!

    We took the wee Torries and gave them three Adidas stripes (size 41 Bambas would be nice thanks) the main sponsors logo and away we went.

    So that was it. From briefing to logo in about four hours. We hope you like the results.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Tartan Army Greatest Team

    Following up on the previous post about the power of email marketing we thought we should bring you the results from the Tartan Army poll to find the greatest team. The email questionnaire created by The Edge for Scottish Television and the Tartan Army resulted in more than 600 responses and the following 4-4-2 team...

    Manager: Jock Stein

    Craig Gordon

    Richard Gough
    Danny McGrain,
    Willie Miller
    Alex McLeish.

    Graeme Souness
    Jimmy Johnstone.
    Jim Baxter
    Billy Bremner 

    Kenny Dalglish
    Denis Law


    You can view the full breakdown of the vote on the STV website

    Email market research is an immensely powerful and very immediate method of getting customer feedback and opinions. We use email marketing for detailed analysis of guest comments post hotel departures, for analysing market activity and we can even embed topical polls into your homepage.

    For more information on how The Edge can assist your online market research give us a cll on 01292 521404

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Ayrshire Hospitality Business Increases Social Media

    Just started work today on increasing the social media presence of the businesses of Meridian, Caprice and The Ayrshire and Galloway Hotel.

    The Edge revamped the sites of the well known Ayrshire wine bars and hotel a couple of years ago and following an account review with owner and management a refresh of the website and addition of new blog, facebook and ae-mail marketing camapign was decided upon.

    At the same time The Edge will undertake a Key Content Builder project which is aimed at improving content and search tags and increasing the traffic through the sites.

    The use of social media can undoubtedly build the online profile of any business and fast moving enterprises such as pub groups can both reduce costs and increase sales. The return on investment from a strategic online marketing stratgey can be quite dramatic.

    So if you think that having a website designed three or four years ago constitutes an online marketing strategy why not give us a call and we'll explain how we could help your business communicate more effectively.

    Plan B on Side With The Staggies

    The thing about working at Plan B is you're just never sure what the next phone call is going to bring...

    So it shouldn't have been a surprise when we got a phone call late last week from Kenny from Highland band Torridon asking if we could help out with their idea to release a single to mark Ross County's historic Scottish Cup Final appearance at Hampden next month.

    Of course when we're asked to do these things the brain tells you to hang up, the heart however tells you that this is why you're in this business and not in banking. It's about taking some time out to smell the roses and just enjoy the project to the full.

    So yes it was and since yesterday morning we've been finalising details with the venue - The Ironworks in Inverness; we've sorted out the sound recording with Dingwall based Highland Backline; met with The Sun discuss some promotional opportunities; discussed the lyrics with the band and hopefully have finalised a distribution deal for the proposed launch of the single on 10th of May.

    It's great fun, not perhaps a day to day occurence but it's great to be involved in, absorbing, challenging and requires us to be able to think quickly, adapt, adopt and decide at on the spot. We'll keep you up to date with the progress of the song which is being recorded live in Inverness on Tuesday 27th April.


    Good luck all involved

    Highland Heroes Ready for Hampden Chart Success

    “Torridon and The Staggies” getting ready to sing their way to Hampden 

    Ross County supporters are getting ready to lend their vocal support to a potential chart topper! Having already played their way to the top into next month’s Active Nation Scottish Cup Final against Dundee United at Hampden Park, supporters of the Dingwall based football club – and Scotland’s most northerly professional team – have the chance on Tuesday 27th of April to be heard on the official club song.

    The track is an adaptation of The Proclaimers, “I’m On My Way” and is going to be recorded live on Tuesday at The Ironworks by popular Highland band Torridon.

    Kenny Smith of Torridon explained, "It’s been in the pipeline to record a Ross County song for a while now, and beating Celtic in the semi-final has offered the perfect inspiration. Having been at Hampden when Runrig recorded Loch Lomond with the Tartan Army, we felt it was so important to have the Ross County fans provide backing vocals on such a rousing song."

    Kenny then made contact with The Proclaimers to get their approval, the club gave their support and he then booked The Ironworks, live music venue in Inverness for the night.

    He continues, “It will be a free gig at The Ironworks and we’re hoping as many Staggies will come in with strips, scarves and semi final flags and sing the roof off the place!” We’ve made some changes to the words to make the song theirs but they’ll quickly get the hang of it we’re sure. It is hoped that the track will be released as Torridon & The Staggies!”

    “We’re On Our Way” as the new version will be called, will hopefully be released exclusively on iTunes on the 10th of May and it is hoped that every fan heading to Hampden (and indeed a few neutrals) will buy a copy – if they did it could easily chart in the UK Top Twenty!

    All those involved are working around the clock to get the single online in time for Cup Final with the track being mixed during the night after the gig and then sent to top Scottish record company The Music Kitchen in Edinburgh. Former Bay City Roller, Stuart Wood from the Edinburgh record label explained, “With such a short period of time to the release date, we’ll all just have to pull out the stops in the hope that we can get the track online in plenty of time so unfortunately if an all nighter is required then it’ll have to be!”

    Torridon and Ross County were also both keen that any proceeds from the single would go to a good cause and they quickly decided that the charity to benefit would be Highland Disability Sport, an organisation focussed on providing opportunities for less-abled sportspersons across The Highlands.

    Charlie Munro from Highland Disability Sport was delighted with the news, “Like the rest of the Highland population, we were delighted when Ross County got to the final but it’s even better news now that we may benefit from the release of the single. It’s great for us that Torridon and the football club have recognised what we’re trying to achieve in The Highlands. We can’t way to hear the final version!”

    Ross County themselves are just taking it in their stride it would seem!

    Douglas Fairley, Commercial Executive at the club explained, “The interest generated by the Final is simply fantastic, the Club has been absolutely inundated with offers, people and businesses desperate to be involved, not surprising really as this could be a once in a lifetime experience for the Highlands. Kenny and Matthew have been indirectly involved with Ross County for a number of years and when they approached us with this concept we were delighted to give it our approval, it could be a great weekend with a Cup Final and a Top Forty Chart Hit the following day!”

    The Ironworks in Inverness will be able to hold up to 600 Staggies on Tuesday night and while there are likely to be tickets on the door the organisers recommend visiting www.ironworksvenue.com for up to date information on reserving tickets

    For Further Information Contact

    Ian McCaig | Plan B

    Office: 01292 521404

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Social Media with Purpose...

    We're always banging on about Social Media requiring purpose or it's not worth doing. It must achieve an objective, develop brand, create revenue, reduce costs.
    Something other than finding pink animals in a neighbour's farm or sitting down for another glass of wine!
    Anyway, the ability of social media to communicate quickly is truly amazing.
    As part of our management on online marketing for The Tartan Army, we are always dealing with media requests for something or another about The Tartan Army's opinions or actions; so it was no real surprise to be approached by Scottish Television this morning with a request for a Tartan Army spin on Scotland's Greatest Team - a programme finishing this week with votes on who should play in a 4-4-2 team.
    So rather than giving them a single opinion we've put together a ConstantContact Questionnaire online and driven it through the Tartan Army facebook page which The Edge set up for them.
    The results will be collated real time online and sent in spreadhseet form to STV pre broadcast.
    Now you can imagine how online polls could benefit your business' customer care.
    Give us a call.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Open Rooms Website for Ayrshire Cottage

    When we at The Edge developed our SiteBuilder Lite and the subsequent Open Rooms CMS Website package for accommodation providers it was always with the veiw that as an entry level pacakge it should provide good solid design backed up with easy to use content management and supplemented by strong SEO from the outset.

    If ever there was an exampale of what we were trying to achieve it's been over the past few days with new business Rose Cottage in Maidens.

    The cottage has been bought by Guy and Jo Redford and will be let out to families and golf groups seeking quality self catering accommodation a mile from Turnberry.

    Following agreement to go ahead with the development of an Open Rooms website on the Friday the site has already gone live on the Tuesday with new domain name, content, imagery and every page tagged and submitted. The cottage now has its own Google account complete with Picasa Gallery, Google Analytics account and content managed website.

    There is no reason why any tourism business regardless of how small should not have a porfessional presence on the internet. Jo provided us with about ten pages of copy and a couple of dozen digital images of the preoprty which gave the feel for both the product and the market place. In return we've produced a high quality entry level Content Managed website which they can now drive forward.
    It is anticiapted that they will add Bookassist online availability in the next few weeks and the availability checker jsut simply drops into the site.

    If you are a self catering operator in Scotland or indeed beyond and you haven't looked at your online marketing strategy in the past couple of years you really could do worse than have a look at what an entry level website should comprise of.

    All the very best to Jo and Guy from the Edge!

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Sitebuilder ProGolf Unveiled

    The 2010 version of Sitebuilder ProGolf has now been launched across the UK and Ireland by The Edge Studios in Ayrshire.

    Sitebuilder ProGolf allows for the creation of a fully updateable website using the multiple functions of our easy to use online content management system and creates your website based on individual designs. The management system allows the creation of your own multiple pages for events, features, news or promotions and these are easily dropped into your website structure. The ability to add feature pages has never been easier and requires only a basic knowledge.

    Sitebuilder ProGolf is driven by The Claymore Project, an easy to use content management system to keep your website up to date and additionally manage your Image Gallery, your YouTube account and access your Site statistics, Adwords campaign, FlickR or TripAdviser accounts. It can even show local attractions on your Google map and will manage your own website descriptions for the Search Engines.


    While doing work on the website design package and had another look at Lawrence Young's Dragon's Tooth Golf Course site again. He's got a nine hole course next to the Balluchulish Hotel near Fort William yet the site content, imagery and tone shows up many larger operations.

    His understanding of the need to showcase his product made developing the site a pleasure and by choosing to use Sitebuilder ProGolf ha can manage his content, imagery, video footage and social media.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Understanding Retrun on Investment

    Understanding ROI? Hmmmmm...

    Why bother? Well most don’t but if you start getting into the habit of looking at your marketing spend and analysing just what it generates you may very quickly realise that you’re facing the wrong way. It can be a serious wakeup call and when applied to the potential returns from online marketing be a “Road to Damascus” moment.We ran an articale at the beginnng of the year about ROI being King and the result was a few emails requesting more information on how best to interparate Return on Investment. So we have tried below to give an insight from our perspective.

    The oft raised issue with online marketing is understanding just what you’re paying for when it comes to your website and associated spends. Using a basic ROI calculation may help you understand just a little bit better why diverting your spends towards your online marketing is well worth considering.

    Very basically Return On Investment is calculated by working out the returns on your activities against the resources put into achieving those results.

    In formula terms ROI % = ((Returns – Investment)/ Investment) x 100

    Calculating Returns

    Returns on investment should not be based on simple sales but the contribution or Gross Profit figure. Room sales should, for example, include the additional Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) including servicing, commission paid on the sales and other directly related costs.

    While many marketers will happily calculate the ROI based on sales only it is not a truthful figure for your business and you should always use the Gross Profit figure. An online marketing campaign aimed at increasing room sales must be calculated on gross profit of those sales not the total sales. Similarly so should any F&B promotion or campaign.

    Therefore the figure can more accurately be represented as

    Return on Investment = (Gross Profit – Investment)/Investment
    Simply divide it by 100 to calculate your percentage

    Calculating Investment

    For an online marketing campaign for example, the following annual costs should be included in the investment side of the calculation.
    • Website design costs
    • Pay Per Click Costs
    • Emarketing costs
    • Project Management Time
    We would suggest that direct cost of the sales is calculated in the returns side of the equation. For instance for a restaurant promotion

    Website Design Costs

    Obviously include the development costs but ensure to spread the costs over the lifetime of the site. Don’t plan to hold on to your website for more than two years – so spread the costs over the projected lifespan. Include all related costs for maintenance, hosting, email services.

    Pay Per Click

    Online advertsing costs are easily managed. Set a planned budget for the year but track results. Is it converting to bottom line?

    Look at your offline advertising budget and consider matching it (not always appropriate but good starting point – remember ROI!)

    Emarketing Costs
    • Licence or fees - £20 - £50 per month?
    • Build in time to write newsletters – 2 hours each?
    • Analysis – 1 hour a month?
    Project Management Time

    Be realistic and include the time you or a member of your team need to devote to making the project work. In online marketing time is the most precious resource and without allocating it your online projects will fall short
    • Management of direct online availability – Five hours a week?
    • Management of website copy – two hours a week?
    • Management of Blog articles – five hours a week?
    • Facebook and other social Media – five hours a week?
    • Management of Review sites (such as TripAdvisor)and website references – two hours a week?
    Only you can look at the time you have for your online marketing costs but whatever you do make sure you use an estimate and don’t discard. To achieve results online someone’s time is required. The website, the social media, the booking engine, the search engines are the vehicles available for your business but you have to take the responsibility of getting behind the wheel and driving the vehicle.

    An online marketing campaign without a driver should not be expected to reach your destination on time or on target

    Calculation of Return on Investment – Web Campaign
    Returns

    Estimated Additional Sales
    25000
    Gross Profit %
    85%
    Return (Gross Profit) on Additional Sales
    21250


    Investment

    Project Costs
    2500
    Costs of Time
    2500
    Total Investment
    5000


    ROI
    3.25
    ROI %
    325.0%

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Royal Golf Hotel is Back with an Online Edge!


    The Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch is reopening and The Edge are delighted to have been appointed to develop the hotel's online presence ahead of its April opening.
    In advance of Christmas we were asked to make sure there was at least a temporary presence online and Steven in our design team has pulled together the holding site which incorporates a Google map, external links and the Bookassist online reservations system.
    The Royal Golf Hotel Facebook page has also been launched and will form an important part of the hotel's social media campaign over the coming weeks.
    It's really great news for the Royal Burgh of Dornoch that the Royal Golf Hotel is reopening and we look forward to working with Grant Sword and his team to maximise the returns from the website.

    ROI is King!

    Excuse the schoolboy French pun but as we move into 2010, Return on Investment really is King.

    Every penny spent must lever the maximum return possible in all areas of the business. No more so than with online marketing.

    So what should you plan to do in 2010?

    Well this year is being labelled by many online marketing gurus as “The Year of The Independent”. So what does that mean?

    Well in our eyes it means that the technology has come of age and now allows the independent operator access at an affordable cost to the same tools previously only available to the larger operators or to the Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

    Accommodation providers need to focus on developing online marketing initiatives that bring the highest rates of return in terms of higher rates, lower commissions and the most bookings.

    So what should you’re online focus be for the next twelve months? Well it should be the things that have got the best means of providing the Return on Investment.

    Concentrate on the basics as they consistently bring in the most bookings and the highest returns. Some industry analysts estimate that more than 75% of hotel website bookings originate directly from these four basic areas alone.
    • Website Redesign
    • Search Engine Optimisation
    • Paid Search
    • Email Marketing
    Website Redesign
    If you haven’t done your website in the past eighteen to twenty four months then it is most likely that it requires some sort of surgery. New technology will have passed it by, the design may be dated. A new website with positive images, rich content and integration of social media is now a basic of any hotel website.

    It almost goes without saying that a fully integrated online reservations system such as Bookassist is essential.

    More about Website Design with The Edge

    Search Engine Optimisation
    No point having the best website in the world if no-one can find it. Don’t expect loads of business just because your hotel name comes up first. The vast majority of your potential bookers are not looking for you by name. We’ve developed our own 3-6-9 SEO Audi which will help you analyse your website not only month on month but against your key competition. Management of SEO terms and your website content is an ongoing process that once again can provide stunning increases in traffic leading to greater opportunity to convert.

    It is essential and whilst the investment may be unseen, the results are not.


    Paid Search
    If used without caution it can be expensive but managed properly pay per click can provide excellent rates of return on the money spent. It really is worthwhile to allocate a decent budget to paid search for 2010 and monitor click throughs and bookings generated. It can be easily managed and monitored and should not be overlooked.

    Email Marketing
    Direct contact with your previous customers is maybe an accepted principle but it like the other basics above requires creativity and strategic planning. It’s no longer just about sending out brochures. It may involve post departure email questionnaires, deep linking to exclusive offers and certainly strong management of the design and content of newsletters. Mailing to customers who know you is very rarely viewed as junk or annoying, it may not be relevant at that particular time but one of those occasions it will push the button.

    If you can focus the majority of your 2010 online marketing budget and efforts on these four areas and monitor your results so that you can allocate more of your budget to those specific elements in each initiative that works.

    It doesn’t mean you systematically ignore Social Media and other offline tools but get the basics right when money is tight and can see dramatic increases in Return on Investment.

    For more information on improving your ROI give us a call on 01292 521404 or send us an email