Dornoch Castle Hotel smashes initial crowdfunding target to stay afloat amid Covid-19

The hotel has been owned for the last 20 years by the Thompson family. Picture: contributedThe hotel has been owned for the last 20 years by the Thompson family. Picture: contributed
The hotel has been owned for the last 20 years by the Thompson family. Picture: contributed
A Highland hotel has launched a crowdfunding campaign to stay afloat during the current Covid-19 pandemic, reaching its initial target of £40,000 in two days.

Dornoch Castle Hotel, owned for the last 20 years by the Thompson family, had faced cancellations costing upwards of £70,000, with its running costs £8,000 a month.

MD Colin Thompson said the firm was “heartened” by promised state support, but “when we dug a little deeper, [we] found that the reality of help for businesses and individuals is a far cry from what has been promised”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The hotel has furloughed 22 staff but Thompson highlighted delays in the money coming through from the government and the hotel’s rates being the second-highest in Dornoch.

He added: “We are a seasonal business which works very hard at extending the trade during the shoulder months of the year, and also to build up strong bookings for the forward season which help to carry the quieter times.

“This period is also used for refurbishment and repair to ensure a good product moving forward. The new season’s trading covers this in a normal year. 2020 was showing to be a wonderful year ahead, with strong forward bookings for accommodation and weddings, and high optimism was witnessed in our customer base both from the UK and abroad.

Read More
Edinburgh-based eco start-up Pawprint smashes fundraising target

“Due to Covid-19, this excellent view of the future season has had to be quickly put to one side.”

Thompson – who runs the business with wife Roz, Philip and Simon, and manager Matt Logie - said: “For us, inaction was not an option if we wanted to continue trading and growing in the future, plus keep our essential employees. So we decided to try crowdfunding.”

He said it has been a “stunning success,” having raised more than £53,000 – and with a stretch target of £100,000.

“The immediate pressure of wages, dues etc can be covered to keep us in a holding pattern, and this will help us back to be in a good position for the partial then eventual full trading – at some unknown date in the future.”

The hotel also has a gin and whisky distillery in its grounds, and it has been making hand sanitiser throughout the crisis.

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Frank O'Donnell

Editorial Director

Related topics: