About the Oban & Lorn Tourism Alliance Ltd
Oban and Lorn Tourism Association, (OLTA) was formed as a pressure group in the early 90s as a direct result of the loss of Oban, Mull and District Tourist Board. Initially, self financed by membership subscription, the Association set out ‘to put Oban Back on the Map’. OLTA worked with West Highland and Islands Tourist Board until a further change to the Scottish Tourist Boards led to the creation of 14 new areas. In 1996, OLTA gained funding from the new Area Tourist Board - Argyll, the Isles, Stirling, Loch Lomond and Trossachs - and became the Area’s first local marketing group. Membership became automatic for any member of VisitScotland and included over 450 businesses.
VisitScotland continued to undergo changes and since the abolition of Area Tourist Board membership, OLTA is now back as a ‘stand alone’ venture with members subscriptions, web advertising and sponsorship providing funding for a variety of marketing initiatives. In 2012 the Association joined forces with other local marketing groups to form Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative. This umbrella Destination Organisation allows OLTA to benefit from bulk purchase discounts on print and distribution and gives OLTA access to wide range of promotional events (such as EXPO) which would be beyond our budget operating alone. OLTA's website is linked to Explore Argyll - which is a region wide website for the Argyll and Islands area.
This year (2015), the Association's journey continues as a cooperative company limited by guarantee. The company has been called Oban & Lorn Tourism Alliance Ltd for continuity as so many members use the acronym OLTA.
- One of the first tourism marketing groups to utilise the world wide web with www.oban.org.uk launched in January 1996.
- Production and distribution of over a million dedicated leaflets promoting Oban and Lorn and now part of an area wide suite leaflets - again with a dedicated leaflet for Oban and Lorn and a print run of over a million.
- Production of a comprehensive guide book for the area (with a budget of £20k), supported by the local council, area tourist board and advertising.
- Newspaper competitions with leading regional papers, advertorials and feature articles supporting both the new website and guidebook.
- Sponsored map for visitors - this is now managed by BID4OBAN
- We were one of the first marketing groups to incorporate a webcam, quickly becoming one of the top 50 in the world and top 5 in the UK. For the last several years we have featured two webcams on the site and they remain amongst our most popular pages.
- TV ad & marketing campaigns for Oban and Lorn. Our initial campaign back in the 90s cost £45k and included 85,000 inserts in The Herald and 20 poster ads on Glasgow underground stations to support the TV advertising. The TV ad also featured on the website. Since then we have advertised regularly on TV and our most recent TV ad is featured on our home page.
- Experiential marketing - we took Oban and Lorn to a major Glasgow shopping mall.
- Radio advertising - campaigns on Clyde FM and other central belt stations.
- Outdoor advertising in the central belt of Scotland with branded taxis, bus sides and station platform posters.
- Oban Goes MobileResponsive: The website has been completely redesigned to be 'mobile responsive'. Additional search features and advertising opportunities have been added and new pages and branding introduced.
- Motorway Advertising: OLTA has used outdoor advertising in the past but this year has seen a new development with large (lorry side) adverts on key motorways across the central belt.
- Branded Cabs: We have branded cabs operating in Glasgow and Edinburgh city centres and this year they feature the Love Oban logo.
- Posters: Our advertising features in every gondola at the Nevis Range, FortWilliam and on the back of every loo door at the Green Welly stop at Tyndrum.
- TV Advertising: OLTA's latest TV ad ran on the new STV Glasgow channel (Sky 117). The ad can also be viewed on our YouTube Channel.
- Instagram: #ig_Oban is our new instagram account. Feel free to tag your photos of Oban and we may feature them on the home page of our website.
- Social Media: OLTA has a popular Twitter account @obantweet and Facebook page facebook.com/obantourism with many thousands of followers - join us and keep Oban trending!
Our branded cabs have been re-booked for 2015 with an increased number of taxis in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Our social media programme continues to grow and develop and this year we have once again been successful in obtaining additional funds from VisitScotland's Food and Drink Growth Fund. Growth Fund activities include:
- Oban Morsels - 3 short videos focusing on seafood and shellfish, meat and game, whisky and chocolate and one 4 minute fully narrated video on Food and Drink in Oban and Lorn
- Oban Blog - a new feature on our website focusing on food and drink suppliers, producers and personalities
- Bloggers - guest bloggers promote Oban and Lorn's food and drink offering - Greg Dillon of Great Drams has already produced a piece on Oban Distillery.
- Inverawe on pack promotion - a first for OLTA - an 8 page peel and reveal label on packs of smoked salmon with a 4 day accommodation prize courtesy of OLTA members - Loch Melfort Hotel and the Ranald Oban with runner up prizes of smoked salmon provided by Inverawe Smoke House. This competition attracted over 600 entries and the prize winners have been notified.
- Scottish Field - editorial each month and a reader competition with prizes provided by OLTA members Eeusk and Aspen Lodge.
- Online Promotion - a mix of bought space and self generated coverage on all social media channels.
- STV advertising - the video clips produced for the Oban Morsels YouTube channel will be used for TV advertising later this year.