The tourism industry in the Highlands and Islands has had a lot to shout about this year and System2 is delighted to have been able to help the industry’s voice be heard.
Another busy year reached a peak this month with the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA), just as Lonely Planet listed the region as the only UK destination in its Best in Travel 2019 Top 10 areas.
The awards showcase and reward the best individuals and businesses in the sector which is so vital for an area like the Highlands and Islands. The consistently high standard of entries demonstrates the quality service provided across all areas of the hospitality industry and the level of work, dedication and innovation that is needed to keep this area an attractive option in a very competitive market.
As PR managers for HITA, System2 has played an integral role in promoting one of the sector’s most prestigious awards schemes. Working with the awards’ organisers and board members, the media partner Scottish Provincial Press, as well as the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and headline sponsor SSE, we helped highlight the work of HITA from this year’s launch to the glittering awards ceremony.
In March we were involved in arranging the launch event at Culloden Battlefield with a photo call, video shoot, news release and 12-page newspaper supplement.
A subsequent series of blogs and video posts from the HITA chair, sponsors and previous award winners helped encourage entries and nominations, as did a Q&A and video with the awards judges’ chair to explain the criteria required.
Throughout the campaign, we kept followers informed of new developments, including two competitions held in partnership with Inverness College UHI as part of the Year of Young People.
As part of the judging panel for these awards, we were impressed with the high standard of entries to produce a marketing campaign aimed at the next generation of visitors to the Highlands and Islands and also to find new, young presenters for the award ceremony. In the end, two students were chosen to front the ceremony, a first for HITA in having an awards finale without a professional host.
Having announced the awards shortlist, System2 also heralded the winners with social media and video posts, as well as a series of news releases targeted to promote trophy winners from Argyll to Sutherland and from the Hebrides to Speyside.
A second, 12-page supplement helped capture the evening’s successes and looked forward to the Highlands and Islands’ winners going forward to the next year.
System2 has now worked on four successive HITA campaigns. In that time, we have helped increase HITA’s reach among industry colleagues and with the media.
The number of Twitter followers is presently 1,421, a five per cent increase since the start of this year’s campaign. That number is also 15 per cent up on last year and 40 per cent higher than in 2016. Facebook likes have also risen by 21 per cent since 2016.
In addition, our videos also attracted 4,800 views this year, while the HITA website received 3,443 views.
Our relationship with HITA has given us the pleasure of working with some remarkable and inspiring people and provided an insight into the amount of work that goes into welcoming visitors to the Highlands and Islands.
And it has also provided us with an ever-growing ‘bucket list’ of places to experience the best of the Highlands and Islands.
Craig Ewan, the HITA chair, said: “As chairman of HITA, I have been very satisfied with work that System2 have carried out this year on all accounts.
“The quality of the articles written have been very professional and have kept all stakeholders happy; sponsors, shortlisted applicants, winners, judges and the board of directors.
“The System2 team work efficiently using their initiative well. They are also very nice people and easy to work with.”