What are the opportunities in the country sports market for you?
Whether already operating in the sector or running a tourism business in Scotland, there are still a number of different ways in which businesses can collaborate to improve the country sports visitor’s experience of Scotland. This might include a traditional country sport business making some small changes in how they present their core product (online bookings, tour operators etc.); or significant changes to the product or service that they offer through diversification into new areas.
Businesses close to a country sport provider might want to collaborate and engage with the provider to offer a stronger regional proposition to visitors. No matter how a business might want to change to become more attractive to the visitor, it should start by understanding what the visitor wants from their experience and develop the product or service to meet that expectation.
How can you create the perfect country sport experience?
How can you stretch your season using country sports?
Every business is different, so will be the potential opportunity, however, some ideas to get the process stared could include:
Country sports is about the thrill of being out in Scotland’s stunning landscapes, interacting with nature.
Understanding who the visitor is
VisitScotland has identified and segmented the visitors who are coming to Scotland. A suggestion of how just two of these groups could be exposed to the opportunities afforded by country sports are reviewed here:
(1.2 million UK households, 9% of target UK households)
“Adventure Seekers want an active holiday where they can enjoy both outdoor and cultural activities. They will venture off the beaten track and will be engaged by trying new things and pushing their limits and experiences. Holidays will really energise them”
Tourism businesses could adapt their advertisement of their product by highlighting to these types of visitors the scenery, nature, rural outdoors, cultural activities and experiences which will challenge them or appeal to their sense of adventure whilst enjoying country sports.
Country sports organisations can make themselves more attractive to the ‘adventure seeker’ market, who is looking for multiple challenging experiences, by providing details of all the other nearby attractions and activities which a visitor can enjoy in addition to their own product or service.
(1.6 million UK households, 12% of target UK households)
“Food-Loving Culturalists will seek out a relaxing holiday experience where they can enjoy great food and drink and engaging cultural activities. They enjoy short breaks in the UK and will recommend quality experiences when their host has gone the ‘extra mile.’”
The public’s awareness of game and the wide variety of fish available in Scottish waters is growing; this, coupled with a desire to appreciate the provenance of their food, means that a country sport provider that can promote a ‘field to plate’ packaged holiday is a very attractive proposition to this market. Food providers should take this opportunity to attract this type of visitor by listing local game on the menu.
Country sports can be perceived as expensive and there is very little awareness of the range of price levels on offer – from £3 to £20,000 for large groups.
By developing and promoting different packages, providers could extend their season; for example, fill empty spaces with mid-week special deals, create out of season ‘learner’ packages for practising stalking or shooting, or develop ‘introduction to’ packages which sees the visitor spending more time exploring the countryside and understanding the environmental benefits to the sport. Making the best use of downtime at an estate’s existing facilities can also offer new opportunities for businesses.
Could there be scope for collaboration with other tourism businesses? Perhaps a local business could bring visitors to use only part of the regular full service e.g. just stalking, no shooting, which would attract a unique price point? For example, a small sightseeing trip organised by a tour group visiting a working estate to meet a ghillie and learn about the necessity of land management, practise target shooting, see a cookery demonstration of the quarry, before enjoying a meal and moving on. This short activity could be undertaken during quieter periods, thus generating income during ‘down time’ for the estate and providing a unique product for the tour operator.
Next: What is the sector’s strategy?
Funded by Scottish Enterprise