LISTEN: Willie Cameron gives his thoughts on how Highland Perthshire should be getting ready for an influx of staycationers
Willie Cameron, the man behind the successful Cobbs Group and Loch Ness Marketing, is calling on Highland Perthshire to be ready for business to open up again when lockdown restrictions ease.
He says that it’s not just enough to offer a roof and bed to the coming ‘staycation’ customers, they have new demands that started brewing since the beginning of the pandemic.
Mr Cameron said: “People are regarded as couch based, contactless consumption, that is the person who’s deciding where they’re going.
“Now, the other thing that you’ve got to take into consideration is that they’ve had a lot of time to think, too much time to think, because they’ve had twelve months of working at home, they’ve had twelve months of not going out engaging, they’ve not been to restaurants, they’ve not been to hotels, they’ve not been on an aeroplane, they’ve not been driving their cars.
“So, they’ve been sitting at home, ploughing through the websites, the social information, they’ve been looking at the influencers.
“The greatest, greatest medium there at the present moment is the influencer, before a young lady buys lipstick nowadays, she looks to see what five influencers say about it before she makes that purchase; well, it’s exactly the same with a holiday.”
For Willie Cameron, the make it or break it moment for him comes down to his customers knowing they’re making the most of their first chance of freedom for the most part of a year.
In his view, customers have to know what they will be getting, they need to be able to find what they want easily, and that service needs to guide them on making the most of the holiday.
He explained: “It’s a big job, it’s not just making beds and doing a good Highland breakfast for them, [business owners] they’ve have got to look into the psyche.
“And the only way to find that is looking to see what the trends are, what is trending out there. Again, you have to look at it from the point of view that they’ve had a lot of time on their hands.
“The increase in dogs in the country, at the present moment in time, is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal, every Tom, Dick and Harry has bought a dog, and they’re looking for places they can take that dog.
“So fortunately, or unfortunately, bed and breakfasts have to be dog friendly, they have to be catering for dogs.”
Mr Cameron also highlighted veganism, wild swimming, shopping and the availability of nearby activates as some of the thing’s customers want and locals should consider helping provide as part of their B&B and tourism broader service.
He summarised: “You’ve got to be like google, you’ve got to be like Wikipedia, you’ve got to be all answering.”
Later adding: “The be all and end all is, they want you to instil in them that where they are coming to, wherever it is in Highland Perthshire, that it’s safe, safe, safe, end of story.”