Reshaping self-catering tourism in Scotland
More than a revamp
EmbraceScotland wanted to bring more bookings to their valued network of holiday cottage operators. The new website not only needed to perform completely differently, but also needed to become the first choice for unique self-catering holidays in Scotland.
A holiday bookings website for explorers
Before any designs, code or copy, a month-long strategy phase clarified many of EmbraceScotland’s unknowns entering into the project and helped bring us firmly into the world of Scottish self-catering and the goals in which the website needed to achieve. A series of Discovery Workshops defined and developed user personas, key user journeys and a taxonomy of new features and functionality.
The overarching approach to design came down to creating a sense of tangibility through a digital platform. User experience considerations felt throughout the site came from Discovery insights, collaborative benchmarking and a need to put the curious holiday-goer first. The site’s visual identity came from more natural sources - Scotland’s landscape and famed natural history. EmbraceScotland’s intentions went beyond holiday bookings - they sought to embody the authentic sensory experience of spending time in Scotland. The site needed not only to convert potential visitors but also to leave people with a meaningful impression of Scotland, making them more likely to return to EmbraceScotland.
To bring the right eyes to the site, search engine optimisation remained an integral cog throughout. Working harmoniously with the design and development effort, an auditing effort identified areas of improvement and the opportunity to climb an in-demand space on search engines. We led with fulfilling niche areas of demand, showcasing the expertise and premier customer experience the operators with EmbraceScotland offer. Copy throughout spoke to this expertise, in the comforting tone of a friendly, knowledgeable local.
Futureproofing a consumer-facing membership platform
EmbraceScotland is a consumer-facing platform that ultimately aims to provide value to the engaged, vibrant membership community of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers. The platform strengthens the value of membership whilst giving potential visitors better tools to carve out a meaningful holiday experience.
And overhauling EmbraceScotland’s current platform brought a number of distinct technical challenges to navigate. The vast membership meant a variety of integrations for booking calendars, imagery, rating systems and more, and the sustained focus on improving user experience led to drastic changes in search result functionality.
With EmbraceScotland, our team of designers, developers and project managers transformed what EmbraceScotland could do for users, and how members regarded the platform within their membership.
Digital marketing for bespoke personas
Armed with detailed profiles of holiday-goers, and with a distinct set of KPIs accompanying a strong visual identity and tone of voice, work began on promoting the new site. Organic social targeted the curious explorer in need of inspiration, and a four-figure growth in following on each platform prior to launch laid the foundations for a widespread campaign.
An omnichannel digital marketing campaign complemented the launch of the site, with a unique perspective on staying in Scotland. The campaign’s advertisements pointed towards individual properties of interest and popular regions within Scotland whilst managing to convey the values of self-catering tourism in Scotland. The benefits of flexibility, freedom and seclusion influenced asset design, campaign planning and social targeting.
The launch campaign saw tens of thousands of engaged visitors that stuck around when they landed on the new site. They not only explored regions and themes across the site, but they also converted far better than any user segment on the previous platform. Continued organic social effort only bolstered valuable traffic, and building upon campaign insights, content began focusing on stories from cottage owners themselves, as well as the proactive promotion of late availability offers across the portfolio of EmbraceScotland properties.