Dramatic increase in holiday cancellations in the Scottish Highlands

With new coronavirus restrictions being enforced across the country, letting companies in the Highlands are noticing a massive increase in the number of cancellations so far this month in comparison to last month.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 11:54 am
A Thistle Holiday Lets property in Brora, Sutherland.
A Thistle Holiday Lets property in Brora, Sutherland.

Jeannie Urquhart, manager of Thistle Holiday Lets, a holiday letting company based exclusively in the Highlands said: “the cancellations are constant, almost daily and most of our successful bookings are super last minute. Most people cancelling are from areas in England that are high risk and in stricter lockdown.

“Everyone’s just nervous to go anywhere.”

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Thistle Holiday Lets originated in 2017 and experienced a huge boom between May and September this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Urquhart said the team were working 24/7 to ensure that they didn’t miss any opportunities for new bookings.

Balranald Shepherd's Hut in Sutherland

She said: “The trouble in general was that with the rate people were cancelling and booking because of the pandemic, it was really difficult to keep up with the properties that were available and when.

“That’s obviously now what we’re dealing with again with the increasing number of cancellations. People just don’t know if they are allowed to travel and the rules are constantly changing.

Ms Urquhart added: “For the most part, all of our clients and our guests have been very understanding given the current circumstances.

“Even though we’re seeing loads of cancellations for the coming weeks and couple of months we have noticed a lot of new bookings coming in for 2021 already which is promising.”

A Thistle Holiday Lets Property

Norma Fraser runs the Great Glen Hostel in South Laggan, along with two holiday houses in the surrounding area and one in Inverness, said: "We were booked solid in Holly

House until mid November but all of the reservations have been cancelled.

"We had two last minute bookings for the two weeks of the October holidays but we had to reduce the price greatly for them. The house sleeps ten but it’s only small families coming who don’t want to pay full price.

"Another one of our houses nearby has had all it’s bookings for October completely cancelled.

"I haven’t had any bookings for the house in Inverness at all and our hostel, the Great Glen Hostel is pretty much empty every night, it’s shocking really.

"I’m sick of it all now.”

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