A Scottish mountain bike business has achieved a 50 per cent surge in bookings compared to last year by employing skills developed through a national digital support programme.

With the help of Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost scheme, Ride in Peace Adventures (RIPA) was able to develop a high-quality website and integration of a new tour operating booking system, which allows a more user-friendly way for customers to book.

The founder of the Aberdeenshire-based company, Chris Roper, also attended various workshops to support increasing the brand’s following on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Nestled between Deeside, Donside and the Cairngorms National Park, RIPA offers mountain bike coaching, guiding, and riding adventure.

With a multitude of coaching and guiding qualifications under his belt, Roper initially approached Business Gateway in 2017 during RIPA’s launch phase, where he was signposted to a range of courses to help get his venture off the ground. He accessed support with business planning, bookkeeping and finance.

Now, as the tourism industry starts to reopen, RIPA plans to develop tours for local and inbound tourism across various communities in Aberdeenshire.

Roper said: “The pandemic has highlighted how useful social media is when you’re looking to grow your customer base, so this was a priority area for us during lockdown.

“Thanks to the clear advice and guidance given by the DigitalBoost team, I was able to develop a social media strategy and reach potential target audiences. RIPA bookings for the 2021 are looking strong considering the challenges we have all faced.  We have also been able to develop a website that meets our needs, allowing us to enhance our efficiencies and spend more of our time delivering a quality experience for our customers.” 

Maryann Bove from Business Gateway, said: “Chris’s passion and vision for mountain biking coupled with his industry expertise is what sets RIPA apart from competitors. By working with our expert team, RIPA has been able to adapt to a virtual world and is now in a stronger position to reach new customers and raise brand awareness.

“Despite restrictions easing, digital channels and communicating online with customers will continue, so we would encourage all businesses to assess their current platforms and make use of the free DigitalBoost service if there are areas where support is needed.”Business Gateway offer a range of professional resources, support and tools to help businesses and those in business learn new skills, create new opportunities and develop sustainable strategies for growth.

Business Gateway, which is delivered by local authorities throughout Scotland, works in collaboration with a wide variety of organisations, including Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to help deliver advice and support to Scottish businesses.

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