Industry Toolkit

Sense of Place Toolkit Section 1: Sense of Place


  1. What is Sense of Place?
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How Can We Use Sense of Place?
  4. Tools to Create Sense of Place Content

What is sense of place, why is it important and how can we use it?

1. What is Sense of Place?

Sense of place means many things to many people, however broadly, it usually brings together the unique qualities and characteristics which add up to make a location stand out and stay memorable for visitors and locals. This could be through memories and experiences, people and feelings, sights and sounds, events and activities.

Every place has distinctive qualities which add up to make it special in some way. By recognising and valuing these qualities, tourism and hospitality businesses can really take advantage of them to enhance their marketing and promotional activities and enhance their visitors' experience of the area.

Highlighting the Loch Lomond area's unique qualities and features can be used in the development of new tourism products and business partnerships, which can also contribute greatly to enhancing an area’s sense of place and therefore benefiting the visitor.

Top Tip

"Being local is not enough - you have to be good." Get insights into developing sense of place in other destinations from the Learning from Norway Case Study.

Further information and resources

Find more case studies, insights and reports in the Business Loch Lomond Knowledge Section.

2. Why is it important?

Why is sense of place important to you as a tourism business? Most people like to visit places which are authentic and unique and hold a strong attraction for a particular reason, activity, special feature, event or festival. The more a destination does to enhance its uniqueness, the more attractive it becomes to visitors.

Being knowledgeable and confident about what makes the area distinctive encourages more visitors, longer visits, and repeat visits which benefit the wider tourism community of businesses and the local economy. Creating customers helps create jobs and opportunities for growth.

Top Tip

"I absolutely love being out in Loch Lomond, meeting people from across the world and showing them how special it is."  Owner John Stevenson of Experience Scotland's Wild uses video, social media, blogs and customer reviews to highlight Loch Lomond's special characteristics to potential new customers. Find out more in John's case study.

3. How Can We Use Sense of Place?

We can use sense of place to:

  • Be knowledgeable about our own tourism products and services, our area, and communicate these clearly to visitors and guests.
  • Provide visitors and customers with relevant, up to date information (in lots of different forms, online and offline) which will influence them in their decision-making to choose Loch Lomond, The Trossachs and Clyde Sea Lochs for a break, holiday, daytrip, event or festival.
  • Encourage visitors to book with your business, buy from your business, and make the visitor travel experience memorable, so that they'll want to repeat the experience, share it with others and return more than once!

As a business, you're probably using sense of place already, in all or some of these activities for your visitors. Perhaps you have other tips to share?

  • Promoting local places to visit, eat and drink and stay
  • Finding hidden gems or special viewpoints off the beaten track
  • Recommending local walks, trails and cycle routes
  • Highlighting special events and festivals in the destination
  • Providing maps, leaflets, visitor information in print and online
  • Showcasing and celebrating local food and drink producers
  • Partnering up with other businesses to provide offers, discounts and benefits to your guests
  • Promoting ways to enjoy wildlife and nature
  • Making recommendations for different types of visitors: families, groups, couples, independent travellers


Top Tip

Think about how you can use sense of place for visitors at all stages of their journey: trip planning (dreaming) during the trip (experiencing) and post-trip.(sharing).

Further information and resources

The Love Loch Lomond website is a key resource for visitors, including a What's On listing, blog, accommodation, places to eat and drink,tours and attractions and things to see and do.

The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park website offers valuable information for visitors, including maps, trails and events.

4. Tools to Create Sense of Place Content

Create Your Own Sense of Place Content

It's helpful to have a set of great tools to help you create your own content quickly and easily for visitors. This content could be:

  • Great photos of your venue, attraction, food and drink, surroundings, seasons - worth editing the photos to make them the best they can be.
  • Social media posts  - for example, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Videos - short videos created and edited on a smartphone can be just as effective as more expensive options
  • Blog posts, news articles and website content using photos and videos
  • Infographics
  • Flyers, menus info sheets and other printed materials
  • E-Newsletters using Mailchimp or similar platforms

Useful Tools

VisitScotland Free Digital Media Library - register for access - download photos for use in tourism content.

Free Photo editing tools - Canva's free version offers photo editing and copyright-free imagery as well as templates.

Copyright free imagery: Pixabay and Unsplash both offer copyright-free imagery.

Templates for flyers, social media posts, infographics: Canva offers both free and paid versions.

Video software and editing tools - iMovie app is useful for editing videos on your mobile.

E-Newsletter tools/software - Mailchimp is one of the most popular free versions -it will ensure your campaigns are mobile-friendly plus provide usage stats.

Social Media Dashboards - Hootsuite offers a free version which allows you to manage up to 3 social media channels - it's accessible on mobile devices too. For more advanced users, Sprout Social and Buffer are alternatives.

Check out more ideas for Mobile apps to help create content.

Top Tip

A visual image is one of the closest ways we can come to experiencing a destination without physically going there. Good, strong images will influence someone’s decisions, expectations and emotions before they even set foot at the location. Find more top tips on content marketing from the Digital Tourism Scotland Topic Library.

Further information and resources

Get tips, guides and check out workshops for getting to grips with all things digital from Digital Tourism Scotland.

More Inspiration

Related Resources

Sense of Place Toolkit Section 2: Our Destination