Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scottish Independence Day? Here's a Date For Your Diary!

So you thought that Homecoming Scotland was politicised in 2009 did you?

Well I'd guess that you ain't seen nothing yet!

As the Celtic heads of their individual parliaments gather today in Edinburgh and the Scottish Tourism Forum make plans for their first post election gathering in Crieff tomorrow it seemed like a good time to reflect on what's ahead following the landslide election result.

We all know a referendum is coming and we all will look at that concept in varying shades that's for sure but there is little doubting in our opinion that it will have a significant (positive) impact on the business opportunities for hospitality related businesses in the run up to it. But therein lies the sixty four million dollar/pound/euro question. When will it actually take place and how do we allow for these opportunities?

Well Mr Salmond, has already made it quite clear that the referendum will happen but not until the second half of the parliament. Both he and his opponents understand fully why this is not going to be a rush job - well we think they must. It6's not to do per se that it needs to be in the second half of the parliament. Not all to do with the work needed to be done to set the ground rules or the platform for a positive vote and surely a lot more to do with maximising the potential for a yes through the correct timing of the vote. Timing is they say everything. Perception they also say is everything. Take your pick. But choose the time when perception of our strengths and potential as a country are at their highest and you will be able to inevitably swing more voters towards the necessary positive.

So what exactly does this have to do with tourism and hospitality and our plans for investing in our business, our area, our regions and our infrastructure?

Well 2014 is in the second half of this parliament's life.

It has already been designated the second year of Homecoming. Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games. The Ryder Cup is at Gleneagles. It is the seven hundredth anniversary of Bannockburn.

It will also be the year of an Independence referendum!

Do you really think that a referendum was intended for any other time? I am pretty certain that that Salmond et al cannot believe that all the scenario planning has come to this. Salmond the supreme strategist must have sat down with a big list of what ifs and couldn't possibly have hoped for such an opportunity as 2014 to secure the yes vote that would have seemed so impossible only a few years ago. The political pieces have fallen into line with a series of events that will see Scotland having the highest profile as a small country for many decades and it would be impossible to image than he won't leverage the opportunity.

Scotland will be the centre of attention in a sporting and cultural sense for sure and will provide the SNP ministers with photo opportunity after photo opportunity to maximise the national pride and sense of optimism that is undoubtedly required to garner a yes vote to such a big question. You can almost see him parading around Hampden in an open top bus - well no you can't because therein lies another lesson learned from the past. Remember the last referendum? It took place in the wake of the disaster that was Argentina; the euphoria that lead up to Ally's Tartan Army marching band had not only been dissipated but many political commentators argue that the hangover of that world cup debacle was instrumental in the defeat in the March referendum which followed.

"William McIlvanney has commented upon the role of sport, in particular football, in the nation's political psyche. (Glasgow Herald 10 September 1988, p.17). The 1979 referendum results on Scottish Devolution occurred one year after the 1978 World Cup campaign in Argentina. During the 1990s McIlvanney was still suggesting that if Scotland had fared better during that World Cup, the result of the referendum might have been different (Jarvie and Walker 1994). The suggestion here appears to be that the exit of the Scottish national football team from the competition may have been a final Sport, Nationalism and the Scottish Parliament blow to faith in Scotland's capabilities to run its own affairs (Gallagher 1991, p.106). This argument has also been given some weight by Harvie (1994, p.197) who conceded that the publicity machine of Ally McLeod, the Scottish team manager at the World Cup, had managed to convince the
Scottish supporters that they were going to win. Reflecting on this in relation to the 1979 referendum, Harvie suggests that Matters political might have been a lot different had they won, and that the 'we were rubbish hangover' certainly contributed to the 1 March outcome. (Harvie 1994, p.197). "
Change the title of the paper above to Sport, Culture, Tourism, Nationalism and the Scottish Parliament and you can see that there has quite possibly never been and never will be a better chance, a more fortuitous set of circumstances perhaps, of a Yes vote in Scottish history.

It also leads you to think that sport and culture will play a major part indeed the critical role, not just in determining the year but the time of the year that will offer the point of highest returns for determining Salmond's  independence vote date.

Let's look at the calendar.
  • New Year's Day 2014 - The start of the referendum campaign. Major speech, a year of destiny even?! "Not just a year of Homecoming for the Scottish Diaspora but a year of Homecoming for Scotland as a nation. The year when our like will be seen again. The year where we take the stone that is destiny into our own hands and shape it with knowledge, with pride and with passion that will see Scotland rise once again in a period of unrivalled opportunity" (Copyright Plan B!)
  • January 2014 - Burns Day/Month - The bard will not be missed out in the evangelical song of self determination even this particular year doesn't celebrate anything in particular. The new museum has opened in Ayrshire and will play a political role in January. Expect some major Burns promotion in the south west of Scotland.
  • 24th June - the seven hundredth anniversary of Bannockburn. It will not be played as an overt anti English card but then you just need to make sure that you celebrate our history and our heritage, fly some standards and let the emotion flow. It will be utilised for sure!
  • 13th of June - World Cup Opening Ceremony in Brazil with the final month one month later. A reason why the referendum would not take place in this particular five week period - and also a very good reason why it wouldn't take place afterwards. If we're there we could be a disaster and the Argentina example will have been learned by Salmond.
  • 23rd of July - Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games and the months ahead will see the SNP talking up Glasgow as if an independence result depended on it! 
  • September 2014 - The Ryder Cup rolls in. The political potential for this event over the coming three years is immense. The role of Scotland in the world of golf will be promoted as it never has been before and the industry should be ready to leap on the money spent ahead of it as it will disappear just as quickly after the last putt has been sunk. 
So when can we expect a referendum? Well not after the World Cup - the Argentina Effect will not have gone unnoted for Salmond. It will not take place after the Brazil World Cup, it will therefore be a Thursday before the 13th of June. It also follows that the maximisation of the feeling of pride ahead of both The Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup would also be beneficial to the vote and therefore the chance of things going wrong (ie factors outwith of Salmond's control) should be avoided. He can manipulate if not control the advanced publicity and PR but hands over event management and critically results into the hands of others. Salmond the Strategist will not take such a risk with his defining moment.

So, that narrows it down. March to June? Thirteen weeks to choose from and the optimum date to be selected from thirteen Thursdays in 2014. Which one of the thirteen will be the lucky one?

Winter problems and gloomy weather? Avoid as far as possible. Bank Holidays? Too many in May makes it another problem with the Spring bank holiday on the 26th of the month. Easter falls on the weekend of 18th - 21st of April writing the latter part of that month out as well.

So let's narrow it down to the following dates: April 10th, May 1st, 15th or 22nd or the 5th of June?

Best bet? Depends on whether we qualify for that pesky World Cup football thingy in Brazil!

If we do I'd go for the 5th of June. One week before the World Cup may be a big risk and one that may be too big for him to take but if we have qualified the kick back will be potentially massive as we head out to The Copacabana and the World Stage; if we don't then they will know by the October of the previous year and that may be what could influence the date to be the 1st of May. June is also the month of Bannockburn and that background emotional attraction of being independent by the 700th anniversary of that victory could influence.

I know even as I reread (and I rarely ever reread anything!) I've never written as big a piece of contrived fiction since my English O Level analyse of "Cynddylan on a Tractor" but to think that Alex Salmond has not already been through this is underestimating the man's intellectual prowess. So I'm phoning up Paddy Power looking for a fiver on the nose for the 5th of June followed by a placing on May 2014.

I'd also safely bet that it's going to be a good time to be in the tourism and hospitality business!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fun Golf Event for Ayrshire Visitors in August

This year will see the inaugural Dundonald Games Links Golf Day incorporating the first Kilted Golf Classic teeing off on Friday 5th August.

This unique 18 hole handicap stableford event is open to amateur ladies and gents with an official handicap and will be played over the magnificent Dundonald Links golf course. The course is a wonderful challenge but remains a fair test of all golfing abilities with fast, three club greens, some wonderful pot bunkers, an abundance of dunes and some of the best laid out holes in Scotland.

And the Kilted Golf Classic? Although not obligatory we thought that given that it is an integral part of Dundonald Games Week we would add a little bit of fun and offer players the opportunity to compete in Highland Dress with a special commemorative trophy being presented to the winner!

Entry is strictly limited to 80 golfers and it is sure to be subscribed very quickly so do not hesitate to enter. You can reserve a single or a discounted fourball from only £45 per person including coffee and bacon roll on arrival.

For further information and reservations visit Dundonald Games Golf website

£10m Investment in Scotland's Food and Drink Industry

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is to invest £2.64 million over five years to a total funding package of £10.58 million of cash and in-kind investment in a Scotland-wide innovation network for universities to support the Scottish food and drink industr

The Scottish Universities Industry Innovation Network for Food and Drink is a partnership of 17 Scottish universities which will work to meet the research and innovation needs of Scottish food and drink companies. Working in partnership with businesses and their supporting trade sectors, academics from multiple disciplines will work to deliver a range of knowledge exchange projects in areas including food science, supply chain development, waste management, packaging design and marketing for the benefit of industry.

Led by the University of Aberdeen, the University of Abertay Dundee and Heriot-Watt University together with Interface - The knowledge connection agency for business, the Network is specifically designed to meet the needs of the Scottish food and drink industry expressed by its members during a consultation process.

SFC will invest £2.64 million over five years to a total funding package of £10.58 million of cash and in-kind investment. The 17 partner universities will contribute £3.1 million of in-kind support, with trade associations such as Scotland Food and Drink and participating companies also providing £4.84 million of cash and in-kind support.

Scotland's food and drink industry is a key sector of Scotland's economy, generating over £9.5 billion per year, and employing over 360,000 people. The Scottish Government identified the food and drink industry as one of six key industrial sectors drivers for future economic growth in its Economic Strategy.

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: "The Funding Council is delighted to invest in this unique network, which will lead to great benefits for Scotland's food and drink industry and increased demand for the excellent research of Scotland's universities. This is the first time such a multi-disciplinary collaboration of researchers, from almost every Scottish university, have come together to focus on a key sector."

Making the announcement at the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"Innovation is a fundamental part of any successful industry. The food and drink sector is worth billions of pounds to our economy and has a major contribution to play in securing Scotland's economic recovery.

"The Scottish Government wants to see the sector grow to £12.5 billion by 2017, and I am wholly committed to heralding Scotland's larder both at home and abroad through our Recipe for Success vision. This £2.64 million package will bring together the very best talent and research from academia and business, helping to strengthen and expand every aspect of this crucial industry.

"Linking up with our internationally renowned universities can only increase the sector's global competitiveness and provide a valued contribution to our aim of making Scotland a land of food and drink."

The 17 partner higher education institutions (HEIs) are:
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Abertay Dundee
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Stirling
  • Queen Margaret University
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • Scottish Agricultural College

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bookings on Facebook: 5 Tips on How To Succeed

Bookassist's Senior Social Media Strategist Paul Ferry outlines a winning formula for guaranteed success in generating revenue through Facebook.

Bookassist Apps For Facebook were successfully launched at the end of April 2011. With hundreds of hotels worldwide already using the Bookassist Apps on their Facebook pages, it is now time to see how hotels can use the apps to their full potential and earn extra revenue using the power of Facebook.

At Bookassist, we have put together some tips to successfully generate a new revenue stream for your hotel on Facebook using the Bookassist Apps For Facebook. The following tips are based on research and tracking of revenue-generating promotional pieces on Facebook using only the hotel’s Facebook fan base and the Bookassist Apps For Facebook.

1. Get In Front Of Your Fans - When to Post

Remember that your hotel’s fans on Facebook receive your hotel’s posts in their news feed on their own Facebook page. They don’t need to be on your hotel’s Facebook page to begin interacting with you. The news feed is where your hotel can constantly get in front of your fans. The key to success is that your hotel needs to post their promotional content as frequently as possibly (but not overkill) to ensure visibility to all of their Facebook fan base. Without telling your hotel’s fans about the latest promotions regularly and at the right times, more than likely they will not interact or not even see the promotional text in their feed.

Remember this is free - there are no advertising costs, there are no pay per click costs, and it is targeted directly at people who have already expressed a direct interest in your product. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

From our research, posting between the hours of 7pm and 10pm will get a higher interaction from your hotel’s fans. Posting throughout the day will receive a substantial amount of views from your hotel’s fans but their interaction isn't as high as later in the day. Research has also shown that weekends can be a good for higher post interaction, but the amount of views will be substantially lower compared to weekdays.

2. Strong Call To Action

Posts should always include links to wherever your hotel’s fans can buy the special offer or view details of the promotion. This includes linking fans directly to the Bookassist Apps for Facebook tabs on your hotel’s Facebook fan page. Adding simple and attractive special offer or promotion related images, or videos, will also improve your fans’ interaction.

Another powerful and simple way to raise your fans’ interaction when they visit your hotel’s fan page is to design a descriptive Facebook profile image that features a strong call to action. Your hotel should design their Facebook profile image to clearly indicate where the Bookassist Apps for Facebook buttons are located. Figure 1 shows two examples of simple but effective Facebook profile image redesigns that encourage interaction.

Figure 1. Making use of the profile image

Sending an ezine, newsletter or mail shot to your hotel’s contacts referring to the your Facebook page’s latest additions (i.e. the Bookassist Apps for Facebook tabs) can also generate awareness of the apps tabs and the new buying facilities on your hotel’s Facebook fan page. It may not convert now but it plants the seed for future conversion.

3. Use The Full Power Of The Bookassist Apps For Facebook

Bookassist developed a suite of apps that hotels can use to gain revenue on Facebook. We have detailed how each app can by utilised to its best ability and functionality.

The Bookassist Special Offers App has shown itself to be the most powerful app of the suite to entice your hotel’s fans to buy. This app has the ability to either show all your hotel’s special offers, a few of your hotel’s special offers, or just show one special offer at a time. This can be extremely powerful if you are promoting the hotel’s latest special offers, trying to fill low occupancy dates with a special offer, or having a special offer sale. For help with setting up your Bookassist Special Offers, simply contact your Bookassist account manager.

Figure 2. Bookassist Special Offers App for Facebook

The Bookassist Book Now App allows fans to make reservations just like on your hotel’s website. This app should be promoted by you as a new facility to make a direct reservation. As mentioned previously, simply designing a new Facebook profile image for your hotel can be very affective way to make your hotel’s fans aware of the Bookassist Book Now App. The app can also be used in conjunction with Bookassist Promo Codes that can be entered in the check availability box to provide your hotel’s fans with discounted rates or special offers. We can configure the hotel’s promo code to be automatically displayed to your hotel’s fans in the check availability box, if the hotel wishes.

Figure 3. Bookassist Book Now App for Facebook

Another valuable attribute to the Bookassist Book Now app and Bookassist Special Offers app is that only people who “Like” your hotel’s fan page will see your hotel’s promo code or special offers. If they do not “Like” the page they will be greeted with messages encouraging them to “Like” the page before they can avail of offers.

The Bookassist Vouchers App can be used to sell and promote your online vouchers. This app can be particularly powerful to promote your hotel’s vouchers around peak voucher sales times, for example promoting online vouchers at Christmas time. Promote the new voucher buying facility by simply adding a link to the Bookassist Vouchers App to your posts.

4. Make it Exclusive

From our research, there are a few specific actions that contribute to converting your hotel’s fans from lookers to bookers. Actions such as constant promotion of the Bookassist Apps For Facebook in your hotel’s posts and redesigning your hotel’s profile image to indicate the location of the app buttons certainly work. But these are just steps to make your hotel’s fans aware of the apps. The next step is to convert the Facebook fans from lookers to bookers.

Our suggestion to achieve this goal is simple. Provide your hotel’s fans with the feeling of exclusivity. Providing them with an attractive special offer or promotion will best achieve the end goal of a booking.

Figure 4. Making Offers Exclusive

The special offer could be a simple reduction on a B&B rate by entering the promo code or an exclusive Facebook fan special offer.

5. Make it Compelling - Create Urgency

From research, our next suggestion for an effective way to successfully convert your hotel’s fans from lookers to bookers is to put a time limit on your exclusive offering, for example a twenty-four hour room sale or an offer with an expiration date fast approaching. As we have seen from the phenomenal success of daily discount sites, creating a sense of urgency certainly works and by using the Bookassist Apps for Facebook you can effectively create your hotel’s own mini discount site. You might not be reaching the same large audience as the daily discount sites, but neither is your hotel paying the large commissions charged by the daily discount sites nor suffering the significant rate reductions you must provide to have the opportunity to appear on those sites.

Finally, if you have not already installed the Bookassist Apps for Facebook and you use the Bookassist booking engine on your hotel’s website, you can install them today for free by visiting our Facebook page at facebook.com/bookassist and navigating to the “Bookassist Apps” tab for instructions or visit the Bookassist Apps For Facebook product page on our website. If you have any additional questions please contact your Bookassist account manager.

Monday, May 16, 2011

VAT Changes in Ireland For Hospitality Sector

Whilst many in the marketing of Scottish tourism seemed to have dismissed the threat of Ireland as competition we are not so sure. Even though Jedward failed to bring the Eurovision Song Contest back to Ireland for 2011 there are clear signs that Ireland and the operators across the island are not going to sit back and simply squeal.

The argument is made elsewhere in the blogs that Scotland's reliance on the stupidly named "staycation" market is flawed on a whole host of levels but if we extrapolate that Dublin and Ireland's losses in visitor numbers from the UK have been to Scotland's benefit in the past three years then the converse will inevitably be true that any future Irish gain will be rebalancing those scales away from Scotland. There is in my mind some inevitability about this swing. The Irish understand that they have to attract back their main UK market and will push hard to do so. One of the key actions their government has taken is to introduce new VAT incentives with a newly reduced rate of VAT of 9% which will be introduced with effect from 1 July.
2011. This rate applies to a specific range of services in the tourism and service industries and certain specific additional areas as follows:
  • catering and restaurant supplies, including vending machines and take-away food (excluding alcohol and soft drinks sold as part of the meal)
  • hotel lettings, including guesthouses, caravan parks, camping sites etc
  • cinemas, theatres, certain musical performances, museums, art gallery exhibitions
  • fairgrounds or amusement park services
  • facilities for taking part in sporting activities including green fees charged for golf and subscriptions charged by non-member-owned golf clubs
  • printed matter e.g. newspapers, brochures, leaflets, programmes, maps, catalogues, printed music (excluding books)
  • hairdressing services
Most of these activities are labour intensive and the move is designed to encourage activity in these sectors by lowering the cost of business. It remains to be seen if the savings will be passed onto the final consumer but the incentive is clearly mapped out and a differential of 11% between our hospitality VAT rate and the Irish is a large chunk in Euro terms. Add that to any strengthening in the pound over the coming months and many of the "benefits" that Scottish tourism has now taken for granted over the past few years will be instantly eroded. A shift in currency and the VAT regulations could see Scotland be maybe 20% more expensive in the autumn than it is currently product for product?

That is just one of the reasons why we have to be very very careful about a reliance on our domestic marketplaces and a lot of small businesses across Scotland are feeling some of those ripples already.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arran on the Square - Glasgow City Centre Becomes an Island

Great idea again from the businesses behind Taste of Arran with a takeover of George Square for the weekend of the 14th and 15th. It is this sort of creativity that is required to drive destinations forward and without any reference to the people behind this I think it has little to do with the fact that the area has a DMO (Destination Management Organisation) and a lot more to do with businesses recognising that genuine cross benefiting collaborations have impacts on the bottom line. These businesses work together because they can see how it reduces their costs, improves their profiles and increases their potential sales channels.

The Arran project works because of the awareness of the businesses on the island that together they have something worth working on. It is not simply about a website or a brand or a brochure or a series of meetings; it is in reality about eclectic working together, about synergy. Benefits may not be equally shared around all of the time but you get a sense that events such as this one only strengthen the relationships between those partners.
The project is a shining example of how collaborative projects can benefit tourism but should the benefits all be linked to a DMO? Well maybe we need to ask the guys on Arran that question separately but I'd guess far from it.

Anyway here's the invite to go along and maybe get some inspiration.

Arran on The Square
We have great pleasure  inviting you to join us for Arran on the Square; our island showcase event which is taking place in Glasgow’s George Square.

The event will run from 11am – 9pm on Saturday 14th and from 11am – 4pm on Sunday 15th May when we will bring Arran to the heart of Glasgow for a fun filled weekend which will keep all the family entertained!

Come along and sample some terrific Arran hospitality, not to mention some excellent food & drink; cookery demonstrations
to inspire you courtesy of The Cookschool Scotland.
There will be lots of going on to delight all your senses and keep the whole family happy – just like being on your favourite island. Radio Clyde will be on hand to keep the party going and you can listen to some great island musicians throughout the weekend – a sneak preview of The Famous Arran Folk Festival; have a go at rock climbing or what about trying your hand at golf? With plenty of activities to entertain the kids, you can relax with an Arran Aromatics massage and enjoy some retail therapy Arran-style.

We’re going competition crazy and will be GIVING AWAY loads of great Arran prizes including more than a dozen ALL EXPENSES PAID short breaks to Arran …..
Follow us on facebook to keep up to date with all the latest news

Radio Clyde will be on hand to keep the party going and there will be over a dozen opportunities win some fantastic short breaks to Arran!

Everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.

Find Out About Astronomy Tourism

Over a year ago, Galloway Forest Park was awarded the accolade of becoming one of the 5 Dark Sky Parks in the world. With a large proportion of Galloway Forest Park located in Ayrshire, Steve Owens, Dark Sky Development Officer, will share information and opportunities for Ayrshire businesses in fulfilling some of the requirements of stargazing tourists.

The night sky is free - and you can sell it and you can find out more at a Buffet and networking evening at the award winning Loudoun Hill Visitor Centre.

The event is being hosted by Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce in association with Lanarkshire Chamber.
on the17th May 2011 from 5pm until 7pm at Loudoun Hill Visitor Centre with key speaker being Steve Owens who is the Dark Sky Development Officer, Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

The cost is only £6.00 (incl.VAT) and includes a buffet - book online here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Prestwick St Nicholas co-hosts the Scottish Area Team Championship

Prestwick St Nicholas is co-hosting, along Prestwick Golf Club, the Scottish Area Team Championship on the 14th and 15th May.

The field will feature 96 of the country's leading amateur players (including internationalists) representing their respective areas. The Ayrshire six man team consists of Scottish and South African Amateur Champion Michael Stewart (Troon Welbeck), a trio of Kilmarnock Barassie players - the new Ayrshire Strokeplay Champion Jamie Mackay, 2010 Ayrshire Matchplay winner Euan Brown and Scotland boys international Jack McDonald, and bidding to go one step further than their semi-final appearance last year are Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) and John Haggarty (Loudoun).

The format will see all 16 teams play 36 holes stroke-play on Saturday 14 May (one round over Prestwick and one round over St Nicholas) with the leading 4 teams qualifying for match play on the Sunday to determine the medal positions.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New CEO For Edinburgh Marketing

Marketing Edinburgh has announced the appointment of Lucy Bird as its new Chief Executive. Presently Director of Customer Services, Fundraising, Marketing & Communications at The Sage Gateshead (a spectacular Foster building and award-winning international centre for music and music education) Bird will take the helm of the public-private organisation in June.

With 30 years of experience, having worked in independent television, corporate entertainment and the arts, as well as receiving The Garrett Award (a national award in recognition of a significant professional achievement in fundraising) in 2003, Bird will now be responsible for the promotion of Scotland's Capital across Marketing Edinburgh's visit, invest, live, work and study agendas.

One of Marketing Edinburgh's main aims will be to align promotional spend across public and private city partners, making the most of shared objectives through co-ordinated financial and strategic collaboration. The single lead body, which will be formally introduced in April, was created as the city's official marketing organisation following the integration of DEMA (Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance), Edinburgh Convention Bureau and Edinburgh Film Focus.

Alan Johnston, Non-Executive Chairman of Marketing Edinburgh said, "We needed someone extraordinary for this role - someone with vision, tenacity, commercial understanding and natural leadership skills. We've found all that and more in Lucy.

"Like all great communicators, Lucy has a way of making you believe that anything is possible and it's clear from her positive attitude that she's a person who's determined to find solutions in even the most challenging of situations. Her manner - diplomatic yet decisive - and fresh, outwards-looking perspective will definitely complement our stakeholders, who are a fairly diverse group.

"But it is Lucy's track-record that made her stand out. From building valuable public-private partnerships, to her understanding of what it takes to create a successful campaign, Lucy is an exciting appointment for a progressive, international city such as Edinburgh.

"We look forward to Lucy leading the team and are confident that Marketing Edinburgh will go from strength to strength under her direction."

Lucy Bird, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh added, "I'm honoured to have been chosen to lead this new company and the local, regional and international promotion of Edinburgh. I've always felt that Edinburgh is in my DNA with my mother and father having been stationed at Rosyth and married in the dockyard chapel and then living in a flat in Broomhall for the first years of their married life. Edinburgh was always talked of with great warmth and affection throughout my childhood. As an adult I've been a frequent visitor to the city with my husband Geoff and both our sons enjoyed and benefitted enormously from their time as students at the University of Edinburgh. We've owned a flat in the New Town since 2006 so I know what a great city Edinburgh is to study in and to visit.

"Leading a new business always brings challenges and opportunities but I know we are starting from a great base with a strong board, great commitment from our staff and a fantastic product. We've a clear mission and opportunity to market Edinburgh to the world. It's really exciting.

"I love dealing with people and this role is all about building and sustaining relationships and partnerships. I enjoy working across and through both public and private sector agendas, finding ways to make things happen and ensuring that the right people feel ownership of those ideas and the delivery strategies surrounding them. I believe I've built really strong relationships with both public and private sector colleagues in the North East and I aim to do so in Edinburgh too.

"Over-and-above my track-record, I bring a genuine passion for Edinburgh to the role, as well as a dogged determination, strong work ethic and a belief in team-working. I do have a sense of humour too though. It's important to be able to laugh!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Edinburgh No. 9 European Destination in Trip Advisor Poll

The annual TripAdvisor Click on Us and Book a High Commission Room in the Destination of the Year Awards have been published today. We'll go through them in detail but interesting that Edinburgh came ninth in the awards and here's the proof below... What was that? Where is that castle? A hidden garden in Holyrood perhaps? Somewhere down the New Town that no-one sees? Perhaps a magical garden in a close on the Royal Mile? Nope it's the famous Edinburgh attraction of Armadale Castle in postcode EH312 normally know as Skye. Anyway I know it's petty to point out the errors of TripAdvisor. They'd never get it wrong would they...