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Inverness Newsletter 2014

Explore Inverness Start of the Season Newsletter A chance to update ourselves ready for the new season. Thank you to all the businesses for contributed articles.

April 2014

Explore Scotland Ltd 01796 473335 The newsletter  Gives you the latest Inverness tourist business news  Written by the businesses themselves

much of their planning on line.

Explore Scotland News

Would you believe that we have been producing Our focus as Explore Scotland has been to prothe Explore Inverness Guides since 2000, four- vide information on specific areas of Scotland, Good luck to us teen years! In these fourteen years we have much of which does not have a web site or championed by some all in the 2009business or enterprise. I call these the gold nuggets, the special pieces of Tourist Season. information, that when you are on holiday make In thea bit year of your holiday different.

Theweb sites (new in 2012), have Our new Explore made Homecoming use of the latest technology. They are accessible through all types of devices from mobile phones, tablets, net books to desk top computers. They use Google language translator (for all those whose first language is not English), Google Maps to show locations and a direction planner through out the web site. There is also a Trip Planner on each Explore web site, where visitors can go round the web site collecting all the things that catch their eye from Events to attractions and those ‘gold nuggets’ that they do not find on other sites. They can print this off and bring it with them on holiday, to remind

Once upon a time, a few years past, tourism businesses collected information for their customers at Start of the Season Leaflet Days. These events by and large do not happen any longer! This publication brings you news direct from other tourism businesses in the area.

seen a lot of change in how we access the tourist market, how the visitors are looking and finding information for their holidays. The big change in this time has been how the tourism industry has had to embrace the internet. Back in 2000 many holiday makers arrived in their destination and headed for the Tourist Office to collect information. Today visitors do 1


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Explore Inverness Tourism Newsletter 2014

Explore Scotland News them what caught their eye when they were doing their holiday research.

criticisms from accommodation providers over the years which has helped shaped today’s Explore Guides.

We have also learnt that Events can make a big difference to people’s holidays. Events are generally scattered across a whole host of web sites, that most holiday makers will never have the time nor the energy to trawl through. So we have specialised in pulling the events together in one place and made them highly searchable, (see the article on page 6).

Our objective has always been to give accommodation providers a reasonable quality publication, that promotes their area for their guests. Maps supported by good information helps them learn the choices they have and hopefully encourages some of them to stay longer and others to come back again, as there was so much to do.

The big hitters on the Internet. The big money generators on the internet are the accommodation booking engines, (see article on page 7), which charge commission to the owners and the purchaser, making millions in the process.

make these decisions. This is where our Explore Guides fit, the Explore guides do not sell accommodation, which we believe is for the internet, but it does set out to promote the area in a easy to use informative style (no graffiti adverts, where businesses buy a space and splash what ever they want on it, trying to out compete the other spaces sold in the publication). We control the information format and style. Many visitors tell us they collect the Explore guides for the different areas they visit, taking them home as holiday souvenirs.

None of us like to travel to a destination not knowing where we are going to stay. It would be a real lottery and highly stressful. So we prepare for our holiday by searching the internet and taking time to work out where we can stay and get our broad travel itinerary worked out before we leave home. Leaving many of the minor decisions for when we are on holiday, such as where we We see accommodation proare going to eat, and do. viders as part of the Explore Despite all this technology people still like Scotland team. The Explore to have something they can read in their guides were first developed hand, preferably with maps to help them back in 1999 with lots of excellent feedback and constructive

This year 2014, we have expanded the Explore inverness Guide to include the whole of Loch Ness. The area map on the back page has been expanded to show this new area, with new maps for Drumnadrochit and Fort August added. We would appreciate any comments you may have, as good constructive criticism and ideas is what has always helped us to evolve what we do, to contact us e-mail james@explorescotland.net or Tel: 01796 473335.

Highland Souvenirs We are a small, local family run souvenir and gift shop. We constantly strive to offer our visitors a unique shopping experience and can safely state that we offer the best service and the most competitively priced gifts and souvenirs than anyone else with in the city. We would be happy to help furnish your breakfast rooms with the latest Scottish related coasters, aprons, table mats etc at a 15% discount on production of your relevant business card. Just pop in and we will do it at the till.

We have fluent German, Italian and French speakers and I extend to all readers the opportunity to contact Josef at the shop if you feel you might need a translator, even to the extent of working out if your “Dolphins customers want their eggs boiled or scrambled. are the Just pick up the phone.

obvious

In addition to the usual credit card facilities, we accept euro notes and are the attraction only retailer in Inverness accepting euro coins for and we purchases, even giving change in euros!!

encounter

We are located opposite Costa Coffee on them Inglis street and we trade from 9am till on 10pm, 7 days a week. many of the

trips.” I hope we all have a busy season ahead, good luck to Inverness, martin Highland Souvenirs 15 Inglis street Inverness IV1 1HN Tel: 01463 713 475 2


April 2014

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Lockhart’s Event Catering event from start to finish. We have an excellent team of proven quality suppliers and staff, all helping to make any event a massive success. We also have a superb network of industry professionals, through whom we can source almost anything. We are immensely proud to have Lockhart’s Event Catering has been estab- been awarded the Scottish regional event caterer of the year for 2013; an achievelished for over 15 years. ment well deserved. Providing a professional bespoke service throughout Scotland, we have proven expe- For more information on how we are able to rience in many types of events including help add to your event please contact us weddings, corporate events, TV and film either by e mail, facebook, through our web shoots, field events and much more. Lock- site or by telephone. hart’s are also available to the service and W: www.lockhartseventcatering.co.uk hospitality sector be it general management, restaurant management or event E: john@lockhartseventcatering.co.uk management - so if you are a hotel or a T: 01463 232333 M: 07980560962 corporate company looking to organise an event and are not sure where to start, contact us and we can help to manage your

Groam House Museum GROAM HOUSE GAINS NATIONAL STATUS award. FROM MUSEUMS GALLERIES SCOTLAND Ray Macfarlane, Chair of Museums GallerThe George Bain Collection cared for by ies Scotland’s Recognition Committee, said: Groam House Museum has been awarded “To gain Recognition status a museum must national importance status by Museums prove that their collection is of national imGalleries Scotland, becoming the latest portance. The Recognition Committee unanRecognised Collection of National Signifi- imously felt that the collections cared for by cance, the first and only one in the High- Groam House Museum and Shetland Amenlands. ity Trust are completely unique – there are Described as the “father of modern Celtic design”, George Bain (1881- 1968) was an artist and teacher who devoted his life to the painstaking study of Celtic Art and the techniques used by artists to construct these intricate pictures. Groam House Museum, situated in the Black Isle village of Rosemarkie, is home to a wide range of Bain’s work and is the only collection of its kind. The collection includes his designs and examples of paintings, embroidery, knitting patterns, embossed leatherwork, sculpture, carpets and jewellery.

“The George Bain Collection cared for by Groam House Museum has been awarded national importance status by Museums Galleries Scotland, .”

ies Scotland. The funding boosts the museums ability to conserve the collection and to explore new ways to deliver their visitor experience. The museums also receive a plaque and certificate to display alongside their collections. Bill Bound, Chairman and Treasurer of Groam House Museum said:

“We are proud to gain the award of National no other collections like Recognition. The George Bain Collection is these anywhere in the such that we can exhibit, teach, research world.” and share to a wide audience. We have Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet exciting plans to undertake all these activiSecretary for Culture and ties over the next few years.” External Affairs, said: “The latest announcement brings the total of Recognised Collections of National Significance to 41. These Recognised Collections are located in towns and cities across Scotland. From Orkney to Dumfries and from Dundee to Ayr, visitors are inspired by collections of remarkable historic and social

The purpose of Bain’s work was not to simply recreate Celtic designs but to use this understanding of how significance.” the ancient work was created to inspire new designs and even new methods of working. Recognition status brings many advantages for a museum as it opens up access to The Textiles Collection cared for by Shetland Recognition funding from Museums GallerAmenity Trust has also received the same 3

One of Bain’s spectacular teaching aids from the Collection


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Explore Inverness Tourism Newsletter 2014

Little Italy

Both restaurants benefit from excellent outside seating on Stephens Brae and only a few meters from Eastgate Shopping Centre. The difference between us and all the other restaurants in Inverness is that we are open to serve food all day and our new restaurant, Little Italy Italian Tapas & Prosecco bar is open on a Sunday too. We also do a variety of Prosecco (we have 6 different kinds), Prosecco cocktails & delicious Italian wines and liqueurs. If you’re looking for a real Italian experience then Little Italy is the place to be and now you’re 2014 Is a very exciting year for us as we spoilt for choice! Booking is advisable as we fill up very quickly as the word is spreading through Invernow have 2 Restaurants in Inverness. With ness and beyond. Little Italy being so popular & already trading for 5 years, we decided to expand and open up another Little Italy (nearly) next door in November 2013.

“2014 Is a very exciting year for us as we now have 2 Restaurants in Inverness. ”

The new Little Italy is an Italian Tapas & Prosecco bar with modern, quirky & elegant décor and our original restaurant is an Authentic Italian restaurant which is small and intimate just like one you’ll find in Italy! At Little Italy we are Italians serving real Authentic Italian food, whether it be in small plate style or a meal. We are a family business that’s hands on with our customers and serve all customers as if they are old friends… We speak Italian, Spanish, Afrikaans and even a little French!

“70-71 Huntly St Inverness IV3 5JN Tel 01463 233870”

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Explore Inverness Tourism Newsletter 2014

Inverness Bike Hire at Caledonian Gifts

Caledonian gifts & souvenirs in church street are expanding their bike hire business with more bikes and later opening times. we will be open from 9am until 10.30pm during the summer months.

Perth.

We also run guided bike tours down to Loch Ness and Culloden.

We guarantee to be the cheapest bike hire in town with the best service available. If Our website is www.invernessbikehire.co.uk your visitor breaks down, we will go and get We accept all denominations of Euro. them!! All FX exchanges only convert notes. We can deliver mountain or hybrid bikes We will offer helmets, maps and loads of We accept all coins !! direct to your door or your visitors can come advice. to the shop, opposite the old Mcewans of

The Time Travellers Tavern

previous clients and guests, including Historic Scotland, the Curtis Cup, Dunfermline The Time Traveller’s Tavern are a well es- delivers and numerous hotels to name but a tablished company offering your guests the few. opportunity to be part of a unique, magical and memorable dining or socialising experi- From Themed Weddings, Murder Mystery nights, Valentines dinners, even Medieval ence. Birthdays Banquets, we at the Time TravelTransforming your venue by using history as ler’s Tavern believe that every occasion has a backdrop, we transport your guests in a the ability to be transformed into a fantastic fully interactive experience where the audi- experience. Even if you don’t have a special ence make the show. Whether it is cheering occasion, we have the ability to transform as loudly as they can for their own Knights every night into a special one. fighting in a full contact tournament as part of the ‘Medieval Banquet Experience’, to For more information, please contact us at: sitting back in amazement at our profes- Tel: 01463 232333 (M): 07832374442 sional fire troupe and magician, your guests Web: www.timetravellerstavern.com will leave your venue having felt included in Email:info@timetravellerstavern.com the experience, determined to come back for more. We’ve had some astounding feedback from

Historically Themed Events, Banquets or Travelling Tavern

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Explore Inverness Tourism Newsletter 2014

The Castle Gallery in Inverness IS U or IS U aint connected ?! James Rattray of Explore Scotland is a mine of useful technical information and likes to keep up-todate with developments. This is something I haven’t time to do properly and so it is useful to pick his brains for useful ideas such as using ISSUU. You can find links to on-line publications through the company ISSUU for Explore Scotland and now, also, for on-line exhibition catalogues for the Castle Gallery, Inverness. We found the whole process of uploading very straightforward and are delighted to see our exhibitions presented as a smart online catalogue via a widget on our website. The first catalogue we created in March 2014 was for the ceramics and paintings of Ian McWhinnie and it can still be seen via our website at www.castlegallery.co.uk. We plan to upload catalogues for all our main exhibitions this year. If you are not yet connected to ISSUU.

Maureen Minchin. Her bowls, plates, mugs, jugs and other vessels are painted with superb free flowing drawings of wildlife. She lives on the remote peninsula or Ardnamurchan and the flora and fauna of her wilderness surroundings have been a great inspiration to her work.

“handdecorated, earthenware ceramics by Maureen”

Each year Bonhams in London invites particular ceramicists to provide a few pieces for an auction of contemporary ceramics – the antiques of the future, maybe! Maureen’s exhibition preview at the Castle Gallery will be held on 3rd October 2014, and if the last one is anything to go by, we will have customers queuing down the street and then rushing into the gallery to grab their purchases, a bit like a Harrods sale. Please contact the gallery if you would like a preview invitation.

I particularly like her depictions of otters, tiger moths, goldcrests, red squirrels and Antiques of the future herons. I am not the only one to admire her work however, as serious ceramic collectors Later this year, in October, the Castle Gallery and reputable auction houses have begun D eni se Co l lin s D ir ec tor, will be hosting a solo show of handCastle Gallery, Inverness decorated, earthenware ceramics by to notice her pieces. I would recommend it.

Explore Scotland - Social media and What’s On I would like to introduce myself as part of the Explore Scotland Team. My name is Fionna and I co-ordinate the social media sites Facebook, Twitter & Google+ for Explore Scotland and look out for events to add to the events (What’s On) section of the Explore Scotland web sites.

that print off the months events brochure and leave it in the reception for their guests, reprinting if guests take it away with them. Adding events FREE of charge – if you are running a tourist event (it can be of interest to locals too), and would like it to be included in the above, all you have to do is:-

Events – What’s On. We coordinate the events in the area on the What’s On section of the web site, by highlighting the events in the area. If you are on holiday, how much time do you spend trying to find out where all the events are? Surely better to have them all in one place! What makes the Explore What’s On so spe-  cial? Well you and your guests can:-

 

Go to the Explore What’s On web site section.

Top left, just under the logo, click on ‘Submit your event’ link departure for your guests. Print specific days events, to suit  your guest’s stay – so they have all the events during their stay.

Fill in your event details.

This will come to us at Explore Scotland and we will double check all the content before publishing it. We try and do this process as quickly as possible, usually with in 24 hours, your event will be live.

Monthly What’s On brochure. Sort events by category; family, muEach months events are compiled in to an sic, outdoors, markets, talks etc. on line brochure which you can print off for Social Media. Sort events by date of arrival and your guests. We know hotels, Guest houses, I manage the day to day Explore FaceBook, 6


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Explore Inverness Tourism Newsletter 2014

Explore Scotland - Social media and What’s On (cont). Twitter and Google+ channels, talking each month in the What’s On. I would like to take this opportunity to ask about and championing the area, promotyou for some help and I look forward to If you would like me to help promote an ing many of the events that are on during hearing from you. event coming up, please make sure the details are in our What’s On page. You can send a photo too and I will add it to the entry to help enhance it. I will then post and talk about your event on our social media sites and help you get your message out. Also let me know when you have something to say and you would like our support in helping to get the word out, we will be delighted to support you, if at all possible. You can contact me on Fionna@explorescotland.net

The Big Hitters on the Internet! The big hitters - accommodation booking engines dominate the Internet

The current big players that we hear many accommodation providers talk about are Bookings.com, Late Rooms, and Trip Adviser.

I remember back in 2000, there was a web site called Smooth Hound, that was the Bookings.com leader in providing bookings for accommoWikipedia tells us “Booking.com dation providers. Almost every where we is a Dutch online booking portal, went we would see their stickers on the owned and operated by Priceline. doors of hotels and guest houses. It was established in 1996, and I have just done a quick search and Smooth offers accommodation booking. Hound is still around, but I no longer see it It claims to deal with more than appearing in the accommodation searches 550,000 room nights reservations per day, and in 2013 acas it once did. counted for more than two thirds of Priceline's revenue. It was acquired by Priceline in 2005. Booking.com is available in No registration fees, subscriptions or fixed more than 41 languages.” costs - Registration with Booking.com is Who are Priceline? Wikipedia completely free. There are no sign-up or tells us “Priceline.com is an subscription costs. American company and a commercial website that claims to Commission-based model - Guests pay you help users obtain discount directly, so you don’t have to wait for payrates for travel-related purchas- ment. You will receive a monthly commises such as airline tickets and sion invoice from Bookings.com based on hotel stays. The company is not the guests that stayed with you that month. a direct supplier of these services; instead it facilitates the provision of travel services by Trip Advisor.com its suppliers to its customers. It is headquartered in Norwalk, Wikipedia tells us “TripAdvisor was an early adopter of user-generated content. The Connecticut, United States.” 7


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The Big Hitters on the Internet! (cont). ming up online support than 1. cooking, but to ignore TripAdvisor would be peculiarly arrogant, and self-defeating.”

Monitor your TripAdvisor page. You can not expect all feedback to be positive, do NOT get upset when you are criticised.

So Trip Adviser is a necessary 2. and important part of a tourist businesses marketing, whether you like it or not.

Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, diplomatically and with as much objectivity as you can muster. Remember try as it might, TripAdvisor cannot ensure all reviews are from genuine customers.

As one commentator said, “Love it or hate it, no one in our industry can afford to ignore Trip Advi- 3. sor.”

You can report reviews to TripAdvisor you consider are false and TripAdvisor does claim to investigate and remove any that it believes are suspicious. This process can be frustratingly ineffective as it is almost impossible to prove a review is not genuine.

One restaurant owner of a very good establishment in Highland Perthshire told he that “The restaurant standards around here are generally of a very good standard” “Barely a adding “It was due in some greater or lesser extent to week goes by website services are free to users, who proTrip Advisor, you just can not igvide most of the content, and the website is without the nore it.” supported by an advertising business modrestaurant el.”and “TripAdvisor Media Group operates So what should you as a business seventeen travel brands.” owner do about Trip Advisor? industry and The site that many business owners hate, Trip Adviser does have a page with while many agree at the same time using it ‘Top Tips for Dealing with Negative to help them make their holiday choices. reviews on Trip Advisor’ The Guardian sums up the situation quite Our suggestion is:well in an article “Barely a week goes by without the restaurant industry and TripAdvisor falling out. Last week, it was reported that mischievous web-users had propelled a fictitious venue to a top ranking in Brixham, reports followed this week about how it was all a ruse to prove you can game the system, while, despite vociferous objections from its owner, a Yorkshire restaurant had numerous positive reviews removed, after TA's filters judged them suspicious. Claims and counter claims swirl around such stories, most generating more heat than light.” The article sums up the situation quite well too “Me? I'm happy to go one better and admit that in researching my "budget eats" series for the Guardian, I find TripAdvisor invaluable. As one of several research tools (local contacts, trawling guides, blogs and so on) it regularly points me towards excellent cafes and restaurants that I would otherwise have missed. TripAdvisor is very quick, it's very democratic and so, particularly at that sub-£10 pricepoint, it's useful. Of course, places crop up in any town's top 20 that are there because said venue does an enormous carvery/it's Nando's/the chef spends more time drum8

TripAdvisor falling out.”

Importantly, remember with TripAdvisor take everything you read with a good pinch of salt, enjoy the positive reviews, take heed of the constructive criticism, and if you receive false reviews be flattered as some one sees you as a threat! John McEnroe said, “Everybody loves success, but they hate successful people.”


Explore Inverness Newsletter 2014