Return of coach tour breaks brings new hope for Scottish hotels

The award-winning Winnock Hotel is a traditional coaching inn based in the picturesque village of Drymen, overlooking the village green and set within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park.It is one of the Scottish businesses set to benefit from a return of older tourists, who have begun booking coach tours this year on the back of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The award-winning Winnock Hotel, a traditional coaching inn near Loch Lomond, is welcoming a potential return of older tourists buoyed by the Covid-19 vaccination rollout
The award-winning Winnock Hotel, a traditional coaching inn near Loch Lomond, is welcoming a potential return of older tourists buoyed by the Covid-19 vaccination rollout

General manager David David Fletcher explains how the crisis has affected the hotel.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has devastated our business this year, going from £3 million turnover to next to nothing,” he said.

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“Thankfully we are in a stronger position than many, which allowed us to make a decision at the beginning of March 2020 to retain every single member of our team.

“We have stood by this decision throughout, thanks to some hefty loans and heavy investment from the hotel owner, David Warnes.

“Although we are a small, independently owned hotel, we have built a very strong relationship with both the privately owned and wholesale coach market.

“Pre-Covid-19, the coach market accounted for slightly over 50 per cent of our total revenue. Our strength within this market has been innovation and quality.

“We never believed that we would be closing our doors for good.

“During the lockdown periods we have not been sitting back and waiting for life to return to a new normal. We have been working on new holiday packages for both coach tourism and leisure travellers, incorporating family adventure holidays with e-bike tours, walking holidays and many more outdoor and water-based activities.

“In addition to this, we have recently started a complete kitchen refit, replacing many of our windows and renovating bedrooms.

“However, a full-scale rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will hopefully start to give many people more confidence to travel and we believe that the coach market will slowly start to recover.

“We welcome this happening soon so that we can start to operate at the occupancy levels we have achieved for so long.

“This will allow us to start bringing every one of our staff back from furlough and start working towards the next chapter in the Winnock Hotel's future.”

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