As we continue to trudge through the snow and try to wrap up to keep warm in arctic temperatures, Elaine at Hello takes a look a what weather like this means for incentive and corporate travellers….

Went I got into my car this morning the temperature gauge was reading -8˚C. In normal conditions this would have freaked me out, but over the last few weeks I’ve grown accustomed to not seeing temperatures above freezing.

For many places around the world this is the normality of winter life, but here in Scotland, especially in central Scotland, we’re simply not used to arctic temperatures.

And it shows. Our transport network broke down, people panicked, businesses and schools closed…it really was a ‘white out’.

Many people have ask, ‘why can’t Scotland (and indeed the UK), cope?’ A fair question, but one that can be a little unfair for a country that generally doesn’t usually have to prepare for such extreme weather.

But over the last few weeks the realization has set in that we do need to prepare and be ready – something that I think is now finally being addressed!

 

So what does all this mean for business and corporate incentive travelers who are visiting or planning a winter visit to Scotland?

Here’s my thoughts on what makes it fun, the downside to the snow and how you can be prepared for your visit.

 

Winter Wonderland Fun…

1. Scotland is a picturesque country most of the year, but with snow covered hills, frosted trees and frozen lakes, the scenery is more than breathtaking!

Even the cities take on a whole new character in the snow - an absolutely ideal trip for any budding photographers out there!

2. The snow offers opportunities for winter sports in Scotland, like skiing & snowboarding. Although there's not always guaranteed snow, skiing in the highlands can be an exhilaratingly different experience to skiing in other winter destinations.

For the less active, both Glasgow and Edinburgh have outdoor ice skating available for the festive period, in wonderful locations like George Square and Princes Street Gardens.

3. Although the winter weather can limit the amount of outdoor activities you can do, remember, you can receive the best hotel rates of the year!

We’ve already seen a big increase in January incentive groups for 2011 who are taking advantage of this saving!

4. Not directly linked to Scotland’s weather, but the first part of the year can be when your employees are ‘de-motivated’ and slow to get back into full productivity after the excitement and festivities over the holidays. What better time of year to incentivize your staff?

The Down Side to ‘Snowed-in Scotland’

Ok, I’d be lying if I told you that there wasn’t a downside of travelling to Scotland in the winter, so here it is….

1. We would always advise winter travelers to stick to the central belt, in particular Glasgow or Edinburgh, especially if there is the chance of bad weather.

Although you might miss out on seeing more of the country, both cities, and their surrounding areas offer great all-year-round incentive activities.

2. Your choice of incentive activities can be reduced in the winter months, whilst outdoor activities can be disrupted / cancelled by bad weather.

Yet, there are loads of other great things that you can do indoors – your DMC should be able to offer you a creative, fun and rewarding activity program that isn’t hindered by untimely bad weather!

3. The transportation system. Now I wish I could tell you that our transport system is a robust weather-proof system, but unfortunately that isn’t the case - at the moment that is. What I will say is that the last few weeks have really given the Scottish authorities the wake up call they needed to plan and prepare for adverse weather.

Plus, your DMC should know to propose accommodation, venues and activities that are all easily accessible. Ultimately we can’t guarantee or predict what would happen if adverse weather does hit, which is why I’m about to tell you how to be prepared :)

Be Prepared!

1. Ensure your DMC and hotel accommodation have a Duty of Care to look after you and your guests.

We wrote a blog about this earlier this year called, Dealing with Incentive Travel during a Disaster.

2. Make sure you understand your airline’s cancellation & refund policy.

3. Keep up to date with what’s happening with the weather, airports, roads etc.

Some useful links are:

Metcheck

Traffic Scotland

Glasgow International Airport

Edinburgh International Airport

Useful tweets to follow:

Edinburgh International Airport

Glasgow International Airport

Traveline Scotland

And of course our own Twitter feed will keep you up to date!

Have a great Christmas everyone!

Elaine

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