Aberdeenshire tour guide operator pushes button on walking and driving app

An Aberdeenshire tour guide operator has responded to the pandemic by launching its own app and ramping up its commercial offering.

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 sights along with “off-the-beaten-track experiences”.

As Covid put tourist activities on hold during 2020, company founder Jacqueline van den Akker looked to strengthen her existing skillset and ensure the survival of her business by providing audio tours as a new way to reach customers.

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She 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.”

Jacqueline van den Akker, founder, Grampian Escapes and Tours, has rolled out the new app.
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Van den Akker 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.

The firm accessed a package of support through the Business Gateway service, which also included social media development and search engine optimisation, as well as attendance at various workshops.

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John MacGillivray, adviser, Business Gateway, said: “Jacqueline’s passion for storytelling coupled with her industry expertise is what sets Grampian Escapes and Tours apart. It is rewarding to see how she has adapted to the pandemic and managed to reach new customers by working with our team.

“Despite restrictions easing, an alternative digital offering for customers will help the business thrive.”

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Van den Akker added: “When the pandemic hit, I knew it was vital to find ways to raise the profile of Grampian Escapes and Tours for increasing our brand awareness.

“Thanks to the 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.”

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The DigitalBoost digital upskilling programme is delivered by Business Gateway.

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