Child friendly activities on Cumbrae

Charlotte Dougall

Looking to keep little ones entertained on your trip to Millport? We've got the best places on the island of Cumbrae to keep children fed, watered and entertained.

Play Crazy Golf & activties

In the centre of Millport town at the waterfront you can get a round of Crazy Golf. A challenge for all ages, how many shots will you take to complete the course?The sixteen-hole crazy golf course is a popular choice for visitors and locals.

Also on the site is a range of also children's activity equipment including trampolines and swing boats.

Learn at the Garrison House

The library at Garrison House is in the middle of Millport and you can get internet access and it is of course home to a wide range of reading services for all ages. Along side the library is the museum which tells the story of the island from fishermen, smugglers, lighthouse keepers, sailors, tourists, and scientists. The Cumbraes owe their colourful history to both locals and visitors and you can learn all about it here.

Ice cream at the Ritz

A mainstay on the Millport seafront. The Ritz is a popular choice for a bite to eat or an ice cream cone. Ice cream is a must have it's freshly made on site at the cafe is utterly fantastic.

Selfie with the Crocodile Rock

Grab a selfie with the most famous Rock on the island. Crocodile rock looks... well like a crocodile. The rock has been a tourist attraction for over 100 years and is at the seafront in the town of Millport.

Top 5 places to eat on Cumbrae

Michael Hayes

Round Island Cafe

In the heart of the town. This popular cafe is the perfect spot to pick up a cuppa and cake. Prices are reasonable, child friendly and with disabled access.

Our pick the scones and empire biscuits but if you have some extra room get yourself an ice cream.

Crocodile Chippy

Only opened some of the week. This is the best chippy on the island. It's actually one of the very best on the west coast. Fresh fish, generous portions.

Top pick? Special fish supper. Huge portion, will keep you fuelled if you've cycled here.

The Ritz Cafe

A mainstay on the Millport seafront. The Ritz is a popular choice for a bite to eat or an ice cream cone. Ice cream is a must have it's freshly made on site at the cafe is utterly fantastic.

The Garrison House

Millport owes its origins in the 1700s to the people who attempted to smuggle contraband into the Clyde and to those who tried to stop them. The Garrison House is a museum telling the history of the island but also has a great tea room with hot drinks and snacks served through the day.

High Tide Cafe

High Tide Cafe at Fintry Bay serves tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and many other refreshments in a beautiful seaside setting. We are proud to be located on the Isle of Cumbrae and to be part of a fantastic community. We want to create a welcoming hub for visitors, walkers, cyclists and members of the local community.

Breakfast 9am till 12pm only.

The Kitchen takes last orders at 4.30 pm.

10 Must Visit Attractions on Bute

Michael Hayes

Mount Stuart

A flamboyant Victorian Gothic House set in parkland planted with species from all over the world. The Crichton-Stuarts held extensive lands in Wales and elsewhere, and became even richer from developing industry around Cardiff. The 19th C 3rd Marquess wanted to recreate the Middle Ages to his own specifications, and restored Cardiff Castle and nearby Castle Coch. Mount Stuart was his next project. It's built in warm red sandstone, with a notable marble hall and chapel, and richly decorated. In 2016 a Shakespeare First folio was discovered in the library.

Mount Stuart is opened from Mid March to Mid December is a popular wedding venue. Adult admission is £13 and parking is onsite.

Rothesay Tourist Information

In the heart of the town, a short walk from the ferry terminal at the centre of the the putting green. This is a free tourist information point and museum. Interactive exhibits will keep the kids entertained and the story of the island through the ages will be fascinating to adults.

Rothesay Castle

In the heart of the town, a short walk from the ferry terminal. This is a "compound" castle, unusual for Scotland, first built in Norman times. It has a circular curtain wall: four towers were later added, of which only the "Pigeon Tower" survives. It was well smashed up by Cromwell, and then again during the Monmouth Rebellion. From the 19th C the Marquesses of Bute made considerable efforts to restore it - or at least to their spec for what the Middle Ages ought to have looked like. Lots of restoration work has been going on. Access is for an Adult £5.

Seals of Scalpsie Bay

Scalpsie Bay is also on the west coast of the island and the beautiful and secluded bay with reddish sand is the perfect home to seals. Over 200 seals call the bay home.

Scalpsie was used for a variety of military purposes in WWII. The timber posts sunken into the sand are the remains of WWII anti-glider defences as the area was thought to be a possible landing site for a German invasion. The small cottage above the beach was more recently used up until the Cold War as a listening post for enemy submarines patrolling the Firth of Clyde. Scalpsie has two viewpoints; one is called Seal View below the road from which a colony of some 200 seals can be observed on the rocks to the north of the bay. The other viewpoint is set above the road and commands a fantastic panoramic view of Arran and the Holy Isle. The whole area is waymarked and pathed to all the sites of interest.

Serpentine Road

The Serpentine Road snakes its way through the heart of Rothersay. When you reach the top you will be greeted with fantastic views across the water towards the mainland.

The road is Scotlands own little version of the famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.

Loch Fad

The deep loch is stocked with trout, and pike, perch and roach which makes it a popular spot for fishing. Rowing boats and rods are available for hire. In summer 2018 Bluebird K7, the restored speedboat of Donald Campbell (1921-1967), undertook trials here after a lengthy restoration process. Loch Fad Day ticket (5 fish) £25.

Ettrick Bay

Ettrick Bay on Bute's west coast is a large sandy beach. Easily accessible by car or bus. The bay is popular on a summers day to take a dip in the water. The tea room at the bay is a popular spot for lunch.

Bute Brewing Co.

Conceived in 2014 by Aidan Canavan, a biologist by training, Bute Brew Co. is situated in the centre of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. The Brewery is open for visitors so you can come in and see how we make the beers, sample the beers in our bar and beer garden. You can also buy bottles to take home or as a fantastic gift for someone if your feeling generous! Beer is available on draft or bottle in most of the pubs and restaurants around the island.

Victorian Toilets

Yeah for real. These toilets are well worth a visit. 40p entrance. The male toilets are a fantastic, working, look back to the Victorian days. As these are working toilets ladies can only enter if they are not in use.

Putting Green

A trip to the seaside isn't complete until you've taken a round of putting in. Compete at the front surrounded by the lovely gardens and fountain.

Going to Bute? Download Pocket Leap to have more great content in the palm of your hand, even when there's no signal.

How to Use Data to Your Advantage

Charlotte Dougall

One of the biggest advantages of digital technology is the wealth of valuable data it provides us with.

This data has changed the way digital marketing works, with marketers now needing to dedicate a huge portion of their time to collecting and analysing the information provided to fully optimise their efforts. In the past, traditional advertising methods didn’t offer much insight into how audiences interacted with them, making measuring their success a bit of a guessing game. Now, with an overwhelming amount of information sources, you can eliminate this guesswork and use the data provided to uncover opportunities and fully understand what works for your business.

What information can you uncover?

There are countless types of data available to use nowadays, and with it you can access a valuable window into the minds of your customers – which can be used to your advantage. With digital you can discover everything from where your customers are based and what their interests are to their shopping habits and business preferences. This data helps you curate a better understanding of who your customer is and the value you can bring to their lives. You’ll be able to anticipate the problems they have, and how you can provide the solution.  

What impact does this data have?

But how can you use this understanding to your advantage? By creating a concrete knowledge of your target customer, you’ll be better placed to refine your offering in order to provide the best possible service for them. You’ll know their likes and dislikes, which you’ll be able to translate into your business, and you’ll know where to communicate with them based on where they hang out online. With this, you’ll be able to target your marketing communications to the most relevant audiences, ensuring you get your business in front of the right people at the right time.

You can use this data to uncover potential opportunities for new services, or to highlight ways in which you can make your current practices better for your customer. Maybe you’ll figure out a way to streamline your booking process or share information with your customers in a new way. You’ll be able to better predict the success of new ventures, such as releasing a mobile app, which can help you avoid costly business mistakes as much as possible.

Why does customer data matter?

These uses have one overwhelming advantage – saving you money. Gone are the days of money down the drain by advertising to irrelevant audiences. Using the data gathered about your customers, you can build deeper relationships with them and encourage them to be loyal to your business. Acquiring new customers can cost five to ten times more than keeping current customers, and on average repeat customers spend as much as 67% more with your business – so it’s in your interest to keep them happy. 

Data is an incredibly valuable tool, and when used wisely can really make or break your business. Want to learn more about the value of digital technology for tourism? Sign up to receive our free Digital Tourism ebook.

Why You Need to Integrate Your Digital Strategy

Charlotte Dougall

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to digital - your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter, your app, maybe an Instagram account and a blog, too. The list goes on. No matter how many platforms you use as a business, it’s essential to ensure that your digital strategy is integrated and cohesive across each and every one of them.

So, what is integration all about? To put it simply, it means coordinating all parts of your customer communications in a way that creates a consistent message. It’s about having a cohesive approach to your marketing, considering all platforms and creating a seamless overall experience. It’s not enough to have multiple marketing channels, you need to ensure your channels work as a team to publicise your message to as many people as possible.

If a potential customer sees a television advert about your product one evening, then when they’re scrolling through Facebook in bed that night they see a further advertisement in their feed, and the next day they spot an advert for your business in the paper they picked up on the train you’ve had three crucial contact points with them. This increases the awareness of your brand, and makes the viewer substantially more likely to remember your company when they need it most. 

But if the advert they see on Facebook isn’t really all that relevant to the other messages you’re putting out there, or even worse is contradictory, they’re more likely to be turned off by the inconsistency. If a potential customer sees you advertising a certain deal on Facebook, they want to be able to see that deal available on your website so they can learn more. It’s all about consistency.

Co-ordinating your marketing communications for repeat exposure at different points of the day helps to increase awareness of your brand as a whole. In the current climate, consumers are bombarded with hundreds of advertising messages each and every day, and as a result they don’t care enough to pay attention to too many varying messages. A consistent message makes it easier for consumers to digest what you’re trying to say, increasing the chances of their intent to purchase and ultimately reminding them about your business.

Integration is about more than having a consistent brand identity – although it helps. As much as your brand needs to be recognisable across each of its platforms, online and offline, the most important thing is having a constant brand message that translates across each stage of your business. You should also consider the timing of your messages – is the post that’s going up on your Facebook page saying the same thing as what’s on your website, or are they contradicting each other? Consumers interact with your business in different ways and through various different touch points, so you should be striving to ensure that they’re all getting the right message, no matter where they may be finding you.

At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to make your message as easy to understand as possible. You want to avoid confusing your customers, ultimately making their experience with your business as hassle free as possible.

Thinking about using an app to boost your business? See how Pocket Leap can help.

Scotlandhour: Digital Travel Takeover November 2017

Michael Hayes

The team here at Pocket Leap are excited to say we're cohosting the #ScotlandHour Twitter chat this month for a digital takeover and we hope you can join us on the evening of Wednesday 29 November, from 9-10pm.

The aim of this digital travel chat is for the #scotlandhour community to share their tips, insights and thoughts on the best travel apps, games, VR, AR, and your sources of digital travel inspiration for exploring and experiencing Scotland. Which apps or digital services make your stay or travel plans more fun, easier or better?

What is #ScotlandHour?

ScotlandHour is a monthly chat on Twitter. On the last Wednesday of the month, Twitter users are welcome to join the chat and answer questions using the hashtag #ScotlandHour. Each month a set of questions are decided and published ahead of time that will be used throughout the hour as topics of conversation.

It’s a chance for travellers to chat and plan a visit to Scotland and for people and business in Scotland to shout about why our country is so amazing.

The whole Pocket Leap team will be taking part in the chat - Michael (@_MDHayes), Charlotte (@colourscarousel ) and Chris (@chrisasaur) - so give us a follow and say hello to us beforehand.

#Scotlandhour Questions for Wednesday 29 November 2017, 9-10pm

9:00pm Q1 How do you uncover hidden gems in Scotland via digital sources? #scotlandhour

9:10pm Q2: What is your must-have app for travelling around Scotland? #scotlandhour

9:20pm Q3: Apps, VR, AR, gamification: Any good #travel experiences to share?  #scotlandhour

9:30pm Q4: What content do guests want in a hotel app? #scotlandhour

9:40pm Q5: How important is digital to your own experience as a guest/visitor? #scotlandhour

9:50pm Q6: Share photos/videos from an unforgettable Scottish travel experience! #scotlandhour

To take part get onto Twitter on the 29th November, use #ScotlandHour in your Tweets and feel free to tag us (@pocketleap) if there's anything you'd like to talk to us about.

4 Ways to Use a Mobile App for Your Tourism Business

Charlotte Dougall

The beauty of mobile apps is that there are endless ways to use them. Technology can easily be altered and adapted to fit your needs as a business, be that to streamline your operations or to showcase your product offering on a brand-new platform. Mobile apps benefit from enhanced features like portability, connectivity and analytical insight, but how can you use these functions to enhance your tourism business? Here are four ways you could potentially use a mobile app.

As an Information Source

One of the primary benefits of having a mobile app is the portability. Your customers can take your business with them, wherever they might be. Use this to your advantage and create a handy information source that provides them with all the relevant details about your business at any given time. Use an app to promote recommendations in the local area, or suggest a particular route to take around your attraction. Use push notifications to share timely updates as and when they’re needed, putting your business at your customers’ fingertips no matter where they are.

To Create an Immersive Experience

You could also use a mobile app to bring your business to life, taking your customers beyond what they’re standing in front of and placing them into a new world. Using new content types, like video and virtual reality, allows your customers to experience your business and a whole new level. Use mobile to help make your business stand out, and give your customers an experience they won’t be forgetting any time soon. The result? Satisfied customers who are more likely to return and recommend. 

Find out more about enriching the customer experience with mobile

To Make Interaction Easier for Your Customer

The best thing about technology? It’s great at making things easier. You can pass this benefit on to your customers and improve the efficiency of the ways in which they interact with you and your business. A mobile app offers the opportunity for your customers to book an experience with your business in just a few clicks. They can store tickets or reservations on their phones, cutting out the need for printing or fumbling around in emails. Simplifying your customers lives makes them happier, and happier customers tend to be loyal customers.

To Simplify Your Business Processes

Whilst mobile apps are great for your customers, you can also use them for the benefit of you and your employees, too. When used correctly, mobile apps can do a fantastic job of streamlining processes such as timesheets. They make a great marketing tool, and can help to reduce the overall workload by automating processes and answering customer queries, too. Digital solutions can cover everything from training and on-boarding to the day to day running of your business.

Want to learn more about how an app can help your business? Get in touch today.

When Is a Mobile App Relevant for Your Business?

Charlotte Dougall

As much as we harp on about how valuable a mobile app can be, it’s important to recognise that it might not always be the most relevant investment for your business. There are countless benefits to having a mobile app, however if it’s not a suitable move for you as a company then it could a waste of precious time and resources. It’s worth considering exactly how an app would fit in to your business, and the impact it would have on how you work, in order to make an informed decision about the relevance of an app for your brand.

One of the main things to consider is the way in which your business works. Different types of organisations have different needs, and no two businesses will operate in the exact same manner. Will an app help streamline your operations, or enrich your customer experience? Carefully think about how an app can fit in to the day to day running of your business and if it will really bring any benefit to the way you work. Maybe you could use your app to make your employees lives easier – which is always a good thing to do – or it might be a case of helping your customers get the information they want, when they want it. There are endless ways to use a mobile app, and it’s all about finding the best way for your business. 

It’s crucial to think about your bottom line, too. Can you really afford to bring an app on board as part of your strategy? Luckily, Pocket Leap helps to reduce the costs typically associated with building a mobile app, making the technology more accessible to businesses of all sizes. With a mobile app, you’ll also need to invest a bit of time in keeping your app up to date with the most relevant information. With a content management system, like Pocket Leap, this is really simple to do and ensures that your users are getting the right information at the right time. Overall, though, technology can go a long way in saving you money on your day to day business operations. Using the right technology in your business can help boost your efficiency, and optimise the way you use your valuable resources like time and money.

Your customers should be at the heart of your business, so it’s important to pay careful attention to how they interact with your brand. Understanding your customer is important at any stage of your business, as they will influence everything from which digital platforms you use and how you set your pricing to the way you word your marketing. If you don’t think your customers would really use your app, is there much point? But if you think you can really optimise the way they see your business, then it’s time to bite the bullet. Keeping your customers happy is vital, and a mobile app could be the perfect way to do this.

Ultimately, your mobile app must integrate with your overall business strategy. You can’t just push a mobile app out into the world with no rhyme or reason and expect your customers to use it. It’s important to consider not only how you’ll make customers aware of your app, but why they should be downloading it in the first place. It has to have a unique selling point that adds value to their overall experience, or else it’s just not going to work. When used correctly, a mobile app can become a powerful tool to attract, keep and satisfy your customers or staff.

Think a mobile app is right for your business? Dive right in with Pocket Leap and get started building your app in a matter of minutes.

Why You Need to Enrich Your Customer Experience

Charlotte Dougall

In the ever-saturated business environment, you need to be striving to ensure that your customers are experiencing the very best of your business. It’s not enough to just show up anymore, you have to show up and stand out. Keeping your customers happy should be at the core of your business, but it’s about more than serving them the right product at the right time. Everything your business offers, from start to finish, must be carefully created with your customer in mind. But why is this so important? Well, if you want to be successful in the competitive environment that currently exists, your customers are key. If you don’t have those all-important customers, your business will struggle – and your customer experience should reflect this.

With so many other businesses out there, chances are that at least some of them do what you do. It’s hard to find a totally unique business concept nowadays, but by investing time and energy into creating the best possible experience for your customers, you can stand out from the crowd. These days, customers are becoming increasingly less focused on what you provide, and are more interested in how you provide it. They want straightforward processes that actually work and add value to their experience, without any added hassles to access them.

Bringing a new level of customer service to your business is vital in building relationships for the future. The customer experience allows you to showcase your best bits and creates a platform to bring some of your brand’s personality to the forefront. People like to know that there are real people behind the business they’re buying from, and adding your unique brand personality to your overall offering can help you connect with customers on a personal level. Brand perceptions are largely driven by feelings and emotions, so using your customer experience to boost these personal relationships can go a long way in selling your services.

Creating a seamless customer experience encourages satisfaction, and satisfied customers are loyal customers. Customer loyalty is a huge factor in the success of your business, and everything you can do to maintain your customer base will be massively beneficial in the long run. At the end of the day, going the extra mile to make your customer experience that little bit more enticing will cement your position in your customer’s minds. They’ll be much more likely to remember that brilliant encounter they had with you, and as a result, they’ll be more inclined to return and recommend your business. Customers who are genuinely interested and engaged with your offerings tend to spend more time and money with your business, as well as acting as brand advocates, sharing their satisfaction with those around them.

There are so many ways you can enrich your customer experience, and a mobile app is just one of them. Want to find out more about using a mobile app to create a more engaging experience for your customers, no matter where they are? See how Pocket Leap can help you.

The Importance of Innovation

Michael Hayes

Last weekend I was over in the East of the country for the first Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge organised by Product Forge, The Data Lab and Scottish Enterprise. Edinburgh’s tourism industry is a powerhouse and one of the most important economic sectors in Scotland, delivering £1.3 billion of spend and supporting more than 30,000 local jobs. These figures are rising and this high growth can bring challenges in destination discovery, forecasting the tourism population and navigation and planning around the city.

The format

The Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge was a hackathon that started on Thursday evening and culminated in a series of presentations on the Sunday evening. The event brought together tourism experts, software engineers, data scientists, digital designers and entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions to key challenges facing Edinburgh and other Scottish cities and locations in regards to tourism.

Whether you already had an idea that you wanted to prototype or were just looking to make new connections the event brought together talented people with a shared interest in innovation within the tourism industry.

The presentations on the final night were to a panel of industry experts who picked a winner which was Team Budi with their product Tru Scot which encouraged users to explore the city of Edinburgh and in doing so collect points.

Why innovate?

Technology is always advancing. If you're standing still you're actually falling behind. So taking a fresh perspective, adopting new technologies and ways of thinking is essential for Scotland to continue to compete at a global scale. That goes across the tourism sector, from discovery to the experience itself to after the fact.

The mixture of talent given the time, resource, and focus to tackle these problems gave several benefits:

  • Increased awareness - Both to the tourism sector of available technologies and their benefits and to the technology sector and the needs and challenges of the tourism industry in Scotland.
  • Networking - The event brought together such a diverse group of talent the connections can only lead good things.
  • Fostering talent - The next generation of leaders in the tech and tourism industries aren't just going to fall from the sky. These types of events are essential in the development of skills and abilities.
  • Focus - having great minds focused on a niche area over a time period like a weekend means new ideas and ways of thinking can emerge.

Why it worked

I've organised and taken part in several hackathon type events before. Some work, some don't but in my book this was a success and I think there are a few reasons for that:

  • Diverse group - The attendees were really diverse on several fronts. From students to folk with years of experience there was great diversity in experience, gender (many hackathons are dominated by males) and skillset. Too many hackathons have an imbalance in one or more ways (too many developers, or not enough) but that wasn't the case at ETIC.
  • Mentoring - My fellow mentors had great depth and breadth of knowledge that they were more than willing to impart. Curating a group of mentors willing to volunteer their own time is difficult but again the team behind ETIC did an amazing job on this front.
  • Communication and organisation - the team behind ETIC made sure everyone was on Slack, timings were clear and well communicated and what was expected of all parties (mentors, participants, judges) was clear.

What's next?

Often a hackthon comes, there's a blitz of activity then it quickly washes away. I hope that won't be the case for ETIC. Hopefully there will be follow on support for ideas and products that will allow them to continue and the relationships and networking will lead to something.

I also hope the event opens the eyes of the technology sector to the massive opportunities across tourism. And for the tourism sector I hope they also have their eyes open to the talent and abilities of the technology sector on their doorstep and embrace new ways of thinking and operating.