Travel & Tourism
The Walt Disney Company
National Geographic, Carat
Slow Up In Scotland
VisitScotland briefed National Geographic to develop a campaign that would broaden perceptions of what they could experience in Scotland that would ultimately lead to a change in beliefs and behaviour when considering their holiday choices.
After a lengthy period of uncertainty for travel, restrictions were finally eased, and pent-up leisure demand was ready to be unleashed! With tourism an important contributor to the national economy, VisitScotland looked to strategically inspire, educate, and capture a share of the US and core European travellers, including UK, ready to holiday again.
With travel trends array, and an extremely competitive advertising environment, VisitScotland had to anticipate where and when visitors would travel to manage the destination experience for the benefit of locals and tourists alike. VisitScotland had carefully considered WHO they would target and HOW they could position themselves and WHAT their message should be. Positioning Scotland as a destination for responsible and mindful travellers would encourage a pace and style of travel that is sustainable for Scotland.
Together with messaging and content focused on the lesser-visited regions and experiences available, the right campaign and media partner would enable the destination to build new perceptions amongst the target audience, encouraging new and different travel experiences throughout Scotland.
The Content Solution
‘Slow up in Scotland’ was designed to open new windows on the Scottish travel experience, using the lens and storytelling voice of National Geographic photographer Michael George. Tapping into the trend of slow travel, by sharing new perspectives of Scotland the content was created to encourage consumers to do something different from the usual “48 hours in” itinerary. A combination of videos, articles and picture galleries crafted to inspire and educate travellers to discover a pace and style of travel for authentic experiences that will benefit both host and guest.
Our campaign focused on three interwoven themes: slow travel, community tourism and lesser-known places.
For slow travel Michael George headed to the Scottish Borders where he featured in a hero film for nationalgeographic.com and YouTube. The human stories researched and shared by Michael were designed to convey a sense of place and encourage high dwell time – both with the content and in the travel experience itself. Soft music, gently inspiring language and use of photographic frames evoked a sense of new discovery to encourage audiences to explore further.
Use of maps and captioning on video content supported education and would promote action though search channels but with the same subtlety that would ultimately encourage a pace and style of travel that is sustainable for Scotland.
For community tourism Michael captured stills, editorial and contributed a photo essay exploring rewilding efforts and community culture in the region of Badenoch; and for lesser-known places we curated an immersive gallery of images from across Scotland, showcasing little known views and perspectives.
The content all appeared on a dedicated hub hosted on nationalgeographic.com https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destination/paid-content-visit-scotland
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
With consumer travel trends still extraordinary, a targeted travel-led publisher such as National Geographic can offer a qualified traveller audience at scale versus a niche “in-market” audience that could have been more difficult to scale. Further informed with insights from a previous campaign National Geographic had run for VisitScotland, the content and media strategy were created with responsive media optimisations as appropriate.
Video formats were chosen to be the main drivers of engagement and dwell time and afford amplification through organic access to the National Geographic YouTube channel. In tandem, video pre-roll across National Geographic and Disney YouTube allowing for increased reach and targeting.
The inspirational content also enabled the campaign to leverage the visual power of Instagram with organic stories on the social media hero account @natgeotravel with the aim of driving video views and photo essay interactions.
Combination tactics allowed flexibility and delivered targeted reach and relevance: Use of global, local, and paid tactics across Facebook, and market- targeted run of site traffic drivers on nationalgeographic.com were supported with localised plans and language assets to give maximum reach and relevance in the core European markets.
To further amplify the digital content and to create buzz and engagement , we proposed a UK National Geographic Scotland social takeover on Instagram and Facebook accounts, a media first for the travel category. Every Thursday for 4 weeks, we posted content from the campaign aligned to the key themes, to build momentum and minimise any fatigue. Being present weekly during the identified planning and booking period was also intended to drive potential visitors to research further and book. The posts were designed to inspire and inform with ‘did you know’ facts in the caption or prompts for people to share their Scotland travel memories and wishes. Finally, Michael George and fellow photographer Jim Richardson both captioned image posts on their feeds sharing their Scotland travel memories.
In total the campaign generated 3.3million video views across social media and nationalgeographic.com. 96,523 unique users engaged with 125,403 pages, with high site dwell time of 2 minutes 35 seconds. All local sites performed above average as users deeply engaged with the content, especially in the UK, Germany, Netherlands & Spain. Strong performing social media demonstrated that National Geographic global social platforms are important touchpoints– reaching audiences that live ‘in app’ as opposed to ‘in brand’. The activity drove 6500+ visitors to the VisitScotland website.
In line with the stated campaign objectives to broaden traveller perceptions of what they could experience in Scotland, the post campaign research found over 85% of respondents reacted positively to the campaign messaging.
Positive responses to ‘In your Own Words what do you think the main message of the campaign is?’ included “I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland and now I want to go there more because the message brings more curiosity to it” and “ To visit the coasts of Scotland. Showing the beauty that is missed by people visiting the main cities rather than outskirts and hidden gems” and “Also see places at your own pace, cycling can take you to destinations that educate and open your eyes to different places”
“National Geographic Creativeworks created some truly stunning, inspirational digital content that demonstrates the unique and authentic experiences that can be enjoyed in Scotland. It’s been a fantastic collaboration to reach audiences in key markets to encourage visitors to slow down, take time and really discover all Scotland has to offer. By highlighting stories from the Scottish Borders and Badenoch, as well as wider regions, we helped ensure we spread the benefits of tourism as widely as possible. This is particularly important as the Scottish industry looks to recover from impacts of the pandemic” VisitScotland.