Sales surge at hotel group that runs establishments in some of Scotland’s most scenic locations

A Scottish hotels group that runs seven establishments in some of the country’s most scenic locations has reported a 130 per cent leap in booking revenues following the announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown.

Crerar Hotels said it had seen the sharp week-on-week increase after the First Minister outlined key dates for bringing Scotland out of lockdown.

Online visits shot up by 170 per cent, pointing to strong demand from staycationers. The group plans to reopen its seven properties on April 26.

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Founded by Paddy Crerar, the firm’s portfolio comprises Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, Thainstone House, Oban Bay Hotel, Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, Golf View, The Glencoe Inn and Deeside Inn.

Crerar Hotels CEO Chris Wayne-Wills outside the Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa. Picture: Robert PerryCrerar Hotels CEO Chris Wayne-Wills outside the Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa. Picture: Robert Perry
Crerar Hotels CEO Chris Wayne-Wills outside the Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa. Picture: Robert Perry

Chris Wayne-Wills, chief executive of Crerar Hotels, said the firm’s reservations team had taken more than 1,800 bookings in the days immediately following the Scottish Government announcement – with many guests looking for longer stays and personalised itineraries.

“Our reservations team have been exceptionally busy since the First Minister announced April 26 as the date for Scotland’s tourism industry to be able to re-open – with booking revenues almost tripling week-on-week,” he said.

“When speaking to our future guests, it seems the real luxury they’ve been missing from their lives since the pandemic hit last year is something we used to take for granted – and that’s choice.

“There’s a real appetite to spend longer breaks with friends and family, celebrating missed milestones, making up for lost time and making memories in a way none of us have been able to for at least a year.”

The country’s “stay at home” order is to be removed on April 2, with Scots instead advised to “stay local”.

From April 5, click-and-collect retail services, along with garden centres, car dealerships, homeware stores and barbers and hairdressers, will also be able to reopen.

Scotland will then move out of lockdown and return to a levels system – starting with a “modified level three” – on April 26.

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On the same date, travel restrictions across the country will be dropped, and a host of other venues are allowed to reopen, including libraries, museums and galleries, gyms and pools.

Wayne-Wills said the immediate rush of staycationers eager to cross local authority boundaries would breathe life back into the tourism industry.

“Our hotels and inns sit within some of Scotland’s most iconic locations, meaning that guests can really appreciate outstanding surroundings,” he added.

“The ‘I Choose’ campaign that we launched in preparation for coming out of lockdown really homes in on those messages – we want to make it clear to guests that, whatever they want, we can make it happen at any of our locations.

“Last year when hotels were looking to re-open after the first UK-wide lockdown, safety was the new luxury for guests, but keeping our guests safe goes without saying and that’s why we believe the new luxury for travellers in 2021 is choice.”

The firm said it had been “investing heavily”, including a £3 million refurbishment that is under way at the Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa.

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