'One stop shop' for hospitality owners and investors sees five-fold increase in room numbers despite Covid

A Scottish business that offers a “one stop shop” for hospitality owners and investors has seen a five-fold increase in room numbers on its books since the start of the pandemic.
Old Churches House in Dunblane, part of Fusion Group. Picture: Weir PhotographyOld Churches House in Dunblane, part of Fusion Group. Picture: Weir Photography
Old Churches House in Dunblane, part of Fusion Group. Picture: Weir Photography

Accommodation Services Trading Company has more than 600 bedrooms on its books – across hotels, self-catering lodges, serviced apartments and B&Bs.

Having retained all its existing staff in the business, the firm is poised to “hit the ground running” when recovery in the hospitality sector kicks in, with an extensive portfolio which now encompasses locations including Edinburgh, Dornoch and St Andrews.

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The business started life eight years ago as Central Reservations for Old Churches House in Dunblane. When acquired by Fusion Group, Old Churches House was fully upgraded to offer modern hotel, wedding and conferencing facilities. Central Reservations also looked after bookings and room rates for The Red Brolly Inn and Logierait Lodges, both in Highland Perthshire.

As the business evolved it began to offer more specialist, one-stop-shop services for hospitality owners and investors, designed to maximise their revenue streams.

In addition to its core reservations support, the re-named Accommodation Services Trading Co – now a standalone business within the wider Fusion Group – offers a line-up of dedicated services to the hospitality and leisure industries. These include corporate restructuring support, together with the likes of property maintenance and landscaping, property protection and security, and utilities and hospitality procurement.

Alex McKie, managing director of Fusion, said: “At the start of the pandemic in March 2020 we were experiencing steady growth with the marketing of some 112 bedrooms across Scotland under the Accommodation Services umbrella.

“This was entirely satisfactory, although we were always looking to take on more in different parts of the country. But rather than stagnating during lockdown we found that we were dramatically picking up new business, attracting several properties from Aberfeldy, Aboyne, Dornoch, Fort Augustus, Motherwell, St Andrews, and now Edinburgh Rooms & Apartments in McDonald Road in the capital.

“I think it became clear to some owners and investors, as the pandemic went on, with hospitality harder and harder hit, that a stronger together approach was needed, along with expertise in managing costs.”

A former customer of Accommodation Services is Neil Menzies of the Royal Dunkeld Hotel, who has now been able to sell the business on and retire.

“Accommodation Services transformed our booking, operating and reservation procedures at the Royal Dunkeld, with their staff feeling like an extension of our own,” he said. “We were able to free up reception staff to spend valuable face to face time with guests, along with pursuing other sales avenues.”

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McKie added: “The experience of Neil at Royal Dunkeld is just one such success story which demonstrates that we now have a very solid track record to put to investors, property, asset and estate owners in the last few years.

“Sadly, we all know now that many hospitality and leisure businesses will not make it out of this pandemic in their present format.

“We’ve recently added a specialist commercial property agency to the Fusion portfolio. Drysdale & Company will service hotels and hospitality businesses that may wish to sell or restructure.”

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