Since the advent of the world wide web in 1989, the travel industry, like so many other segments of our lives, has undergone a technological revolution. Worldwide, there has been a steady decline in brick and mortar travel agencies. In the US alone, the past ten years has seen the number of retail travel agencies decline from 34,000 to just 13,000. Meanwhile the number of OTA’s, online travel agencies has grown steadily and the model seems to morph into something new and different with each passing day. From the original Travelweb.com, the first online comprehensive catalog of hotel properties around the world – to today’s newest players in online booking services, like Trivago and Kayak – the way most people plan and book travel has changed dramatically. And why is that?
Travel planning once relied on three standards; brochures, travel agents and guide books. Each had its own inherent drawbacks – brochures offered canned, well sanitized marketing copy & photography; travel agents were too often incentivized to sell pre-packaged deals, and guide books were more often than not, out of date.
Just as traditional travel agencies have steadily declined, so too, has the traditional holiday brochure - replaced by websites, and travel agents - replaced by travel bloggers. A travel blog is a website written by an individual or team. Some, most perhaps, are individual travel diaries written often by amateur writers, journalists, and dreamers. Many begin as a simpler, high-tech means of keeping family and friends informed about a travel experience - a collection of electronic postcards, easier to post home from far away lands, and archived online - forever. You might think of these as an online version of the "How I Spent My Summer Holiday" school paper. The best of these sites enjoy substantial popular followings.
It is from those beginnings that the professional travel blogging industry has evolved, professional sites that maintain strict editorial standards and offer solid travel advice others can use in their own travel planning. If Scotland is on your radar, one of these sights not to be missed is "Must Visit Scotland."
Must Visit Scotland is the creation of Lisa Henderson, a writer who jumped into the travel industry straight out of university. After many years in the tour business, she now owns Rubber Lips PR, a full-service PR firm specializing in social media, and Must Visit Scotland, a professional travel review service. Her website began, like those noted above, as an archive of the many places she visited in her days as a tour planner. Three years ago however, she moved the site from a personal blog to a professional travel site.
At the heart of Must Visit Scotland are reviews of accommodations (hotels, BnBs, self-catering cottages, etc), restaurants, activities, events, and more. Each review is written by Lisa and derived from her personal experience at each property or event. That's the advantage of a travel blog - they offer candid, up-to-date reports by real people.
All of this information is conveniently organized into "Must" Stay, Shop, Do, and Taste listings and is fully searchable. Must Visit Scotland is not paid for its reviews.
A new feature appearing only very recently on Must Visit Scotland is the video review. Emerging drone technology gives the operator the ability to mount and fly high-definition cameras for substantially less than the thousands of dollars for a professional helicopter and steady-cam film crew. This new technology is perfectly suited to capturing the sweeping landscapes and grandeur scenery found throughout Scotland. Video brings a property to life like no travel brochure could ever achieve. (If you don't think so, see Must Visit Scotland's premiere video review here.)
We live in a world of instant information, another benefit of travel sites like Must Visit Scotland. In addition to Lisa's 1st person reviews, visitors will find click-through links allowing direct communication to property owners and/or service providers. Found an interesting site on Must Visit Scotland? A simple click takes you direct to the property's website where you can check availability, find rates, book reservations or, if needed, ask for further information. You can also contact Lisa via email with questions, comments, and feedback.
Today's travel industry has changed to reflect the changes in the travelling public. While the traditional travel agency remains a preference primarily for only the retired, wealthy, senior traveler, younger travelers, those for whom web surfing, email and texting is a way of life, more often turn to the Internet to begin their travel planning. If a journey to Scotland is in your future, plan a visit first to Must Visit Scotland!
•Must Visit Scotland (the website)
•@MVScotland (Twitter feed)
•Must Visit Scotland (Facebook page)
•Rubber Lips PR (the website)
•Intimation Creative (the website)
•Scot Bloggers (A resource for other blogs about Scotland and/or written by Scots)