Mearns tour guide operator puts herself on the virtual map

A tour guide operator has successfully launched its own app and grown its commercial offering by 15% after receiving support from DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme, delivered by Business Gateway.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 12:04 pm
Jacqueline van den Akker, founder, Grampian Escapes and Tours

Based in Auchenblae, Grampian Escapes and Tours offers single day food tours in the city of Aberdeen and other tours around the North East of Scotland, combining popular attractions and impressive sights along with off the beaten track experiences.

As the pandemic put all tourist activities on hold during 2020, founder Jacqueline van den Akker approached Business Gateway for help to strengthen her existing skillset and ensure the survival of her business by providing audio tours as a new way to reach customers.

Jacqueline said: “I had to do a bit of research to find out what was already on the market. I then approached Business Gateway for support and advice about how to best go about launching my own series of audio tours in a way that was more flexible and gave me the scope I needed to develop it into a strong offering for my business.”

While working with Business Gateway’s specialist team, Jacqueline was able to develop and launch an app for her business to guide explorers through a series of curated walking and driving tours. The app features untold stories to enhance the user’s experience and appreciation for the areas being explored through the tours.

Through DigitalBoost, she was able to access a grant which funded 75% of the costs for developing and configuring a high-quality white label app and to get it up and running. Now, as the tourism industry starts to reopen, Grampian Escapes and Tours can present its visitors with a diverse offering, as the app compliments the in-person day tours across Aberdeenshire.

Jacqueline said: “Thanks to the clear advice and direction given by the DigitalBoost team, I was able to develop a new offering for my customers, and my goal is to expand this further by adding further tours and translating them into different languages.”

John MacGillivray, adviser, Business Gateway, said: “We would encourage all businesses to make use of the free DigitalBoost service if there are areas where support is needed.”