Hotel operator set to manage Inverness venue

An Asia-based hotel operator has secured its first management contract in Scotland, a ten-year deal to manage the four-star Columba Inverness, as it looks to grow in the UK.

Compass Hospitality is to manage the Columba Hotel in Inverness. Picture: Contributed

Compass Hospitality president and chief executive Harmil Singh said: “We are gaining a strong foothold here in the UK as we strengthen our strategy of securing further management contracts and acquiring a number of reputable hotels that are evenly spread across the UK.”

The deal was backed by a seven-figure sum by Royal Bank of Scotland, and Matthew Welbourn, executive vice-president of UK operations at Compass, said continued investment from the lender means the firm can “gain momentum into the UK hotel market”.

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Welbourn said the latest round of funding “has allowed us to extend our name into Scotland, a market place we are excited about exploring further”.

Meanwhile, the latest report from accountancy firm and business adviser BDO showed that Aberdeen’s hotel sector remained in the doldrums during February.

BDO’s monthly hotel survey found that year-on-year occupancy in Aberdeen fell 15.6 per cent during February while revenue dropped 39.4 per cent.

However, a separate industry tracker released earlier this week pointed to signs of improvement in the hotel market in Aberdeen, which has been hammered by the fallout from the depressed oil price.

The monthly Scottish Intercity Report from tourism consultant LJ Research showed that hotels in the Granite City recorded the least steep reduction in occupancy in over a year during April.

According to the BDO snapshot, hotels in Edinburgh saw year-on-year occupancy rise 2.4 per cent in February.

Alastair Rae, head of the firm’s audit practice, said: “Aberdeen’s hospitality sector continues to be adversely affected by the low oil price, which is clearly having a significant impact on occupancy.”