£33k funding boost gets region’s mountain bike campaign on the right track

The Leckie family from Innerleithen, Donald and Vivienne with their daughters Anna (6) and Ellie (10) get to grips with just one of the 7stanes mountain biking trails to be found in the South of Scotland.

The Leckie family from Innerleithen, Donald and Vivienne with their daughters Anna (6) and Ellie (10) get to grips with just one of the 7stanes mountain biking trails to be found in the South of Scotland.

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A major campaign to promote mountain biking in the South of Scotland is now underway following a £33,000 cash boost.

The £66,000 7stanes marketing campaign has been match-funded with £33,000 from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund, which is awarded to collaborative marketing projects.

The money has been used to launch a digital marketing campaign promoting all of the 7Stanes mountain biking locations- Glentrool, Dalbeattie, Kirroughtree, Mabie, Ae, Glentress, Innerleithen and Newcastleton - all found in the South of Scotland.

The UK campaign goes beyond targeting lycra-clad enthusiasts and aims to encourage as many people as possible to experience the world-class trails available on our doorstep. Primarily targeting the family and beginner market, the campaign promotes the 7stanes locations positioning them as ‘Scotland’s Biking Heaven’.

A digital marketing campaign ran throughout July and comprised of a mixture of online display advertising, emails to key databases and Facebook activity. The campaign drives traffic to the 7stanes website and Facebook page in a bid to increase web traffic to www.7stanesmountainbiking.com, Facebook ‘likes’ and numbers signing up to be friends of 7stanes.

A number of businesses and groups have supported the campaign by donating prizes for competitions including. Rock UK, Newcastleton Business Forum, Tweed Valley Tourism Consortium, The Breakpad, Galloway Activity Centre, Bottle Green Biking and Gorsebank.

The 7stanes website is also featuring a series of new itineraries. These focus on both the family market and those wishing to enjoy a trip that takes in all seven locations in Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders. The itineraries include ideas, suggested routes and trails and advice on where riders can stay and practise their skills. In addition, PR activity will target the key markets of Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Paula McDonald, Regional Director for VisitScotland, said; “We are delighted to award £33,000 to help the latest marketing initiative by the 7stanes. The location of the 7stanes trails has cemented Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders as Europe’s premier mountain-biking destination and we want to actively encourage more families, groups and individuals to experience the quality of what is on offer. The trails are world-class, the scenery is breathtaking and the accommodation, visitor attractions and restaurants suit a range of budgets. In this Year of Natural Scotland it’s a great time to take an exciting and affordable family break in the stunning South of Scotland.”

Leslie Jardine, Chair of The 7stanes Community Interest Company, said: “This boost in funding provides us with an excellent opportunity to reach our target markets The trails are suitable for both beginners and those who are more experienced and our marketing campaign allows us to reach both these audiences and provide them with the information they need to help them choose the 7stanes for a mountain biking break.”

In addition to the Growth Fund, VisitScotland has also recently supported the 7stanes with a 3 day press visit from Sweden. The swedish magazine Bicycling is the largest of its kind and will publish a dedicated 7stanes feature which highlights the riding culture and the trails and the factors that make 7stanes so successful. It is hoped the feature will be an inspiration to Swedish readers bringing new visitors to the South of Scotland.

Due to significant demand, the current round of VisitScotland’s Growth Fund is now closed for applications but will reopen again in late 2013. Launched in March 2011, the fund has approved 34 applications and invested £2,203,568 in marketing campaigns, involving more than 2,000 businesses across Scotland.