The 5 WOWs of Scotland

Until recently, my experience with Scotland was limited to William Wallace shouting “Freedom!” in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart or envisioning Hogwarts nestled on a Scottish hillside while reading the Harry Potter books with my children.  Just like the book is always better than the movie, first-hand experience is always better than seeing it on a screen.  And as stunning as Scotland is on film, nothing compares to experiencing its rugged beauty and character in person.

I have been all over Europe and the UK but had never set foot in Scotland until this past week with a group of select clients.  Without a doubt, Scotland makes for an incredible incentive travel destination and here are my top 5 reasons why:

#5 Beauty

Rough Guides recently rated Scotland as the world’s most beautiful country and stated “ruined castles really do perch on just about every hilltop, in summer the glens inevitably turn purple with heather and if you end up in a village on gala day, you just might bump into a formation of bagpipers marching down the street.” Scotland is that and so much more.

#4 Activities

From falconry to river rafting, or horseback riding to the quintessentially Scottish sport of golf, Scotland has it all.  In one short week, our group experienced falconry, sport shooting, archery, GPS scavenger hunting, golf at St. Andrews, tours of hilltop castles, shopping, afternoon tea at the Balmoral Hotel, and a private tour of the Crown Jewels at Edinburgh Castle.

#3 Venues, Venues and more Venues

Scotland is truly blessed beyond most destinations to have more breathtaking, unique, and affordable venues for group events than most places in Europe.  The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Gleneagles, and the Balmoral Hotel are just tip of the iceberg.  I simply loved how compact and accessible the city of Edinburgh is. With it’s Royal Mile, Old Town, New Town, and nearby Arthur’s Seat with its breathtaking vista, Edinburgh is easily walkable, very safe, and far cleaner than so many other iconic European capitals.

#2 Partnerships of Mutual Trust & Belief

A huge thanks to my friend Yves Lemarchand and his team at Experience Scotland Conferences & Incentives who are celebrating 25 years in the industry.  We share the common belief in crafting incredible, uncommon, and bespoke travel experiences for our guests. The Destinations Team enjoys this excellent working partnership.

#1 Bucketlist-ability

Scotland is wonderfully unique with its wild landscapes, Scottish culture, delicious cuisine, and friendly people.  It’s a bucketlist-worthy location with surprises, ancient and modern, around every corner.  Any incentive program with Scotland on the headline will turn heads, make noise, and drive excellent behavior to achieve performance goals.

My trip to Scotland made me believe that I was made for wearing a kilt, savoring afternoon tea, and commanding my own Harris Hawk on the battlefield.  Don’t be surprised if it transforms your team from muggle to magical and leaves them shouting “Freedom!”