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Grantown B&B books its journey back towards tourism 'normality'

By Tom Ramage

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The road back to “normality” is clearly not going to be an easy one for the tourist industry in the strath.

Even one of the top, multi-award winning accommodation providers told the Strathy: “Since reopening on April 26 bookings have been minimal compared with a usual year.”

But Neil and Anne MacDonald, at The Spey in Grantown, were staying positive after all the gruelling challenges of the pandemic year.

Neil and Anne MacDonald at home in The Spey
Neil and Anne MacDonald at home in The Spey

Mr MacDonald said: “With the relaxations from last Monday we are optimistic about seeing more guests through the door.

“The summer is currently quieter than we would usually expect, without our European and international guests, but we are hopeful of a better season than last year.

“We’re incredibly grateful for those who have booked with us now or previously, and every stay helps both us and our community.”

The couple are totally committed to their cause, having gone so far as to reverse the Grantown trend by turning a private home back into a B&B business. They bought it in 2017 and said: “It had changed from the Dunvegan Hotel to a house in 2000 and we changed it back to a commercial property.

“We opened in April 2018 and won our first award in 2019 Scotland’s Hidden Gem. We achieved Green Tourism Gold status in 2020.

“Now we’re in the running to repeat the achievement this year.”

The MacDonalds were also recently notified of another award to add to their haul and are “really proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time”.

Mrs MacDonald said: “It’s great that we’re now finally allowed to welcome guests back. Life is regaining a bit of normality.

“We can start earning our livelihood again and can focus on what we do best - looking after guests.

“We’re following protocols for cleaning, sanitising etc, and every guest receives a pre-arrival email seven days beforehand.”

To find a more level playing ground with the “big boys”, they have teamed up with the booking system eviivo.

Mr MacDonald said: “It’s a huge help since it auto generates emails, when booking is made via our own website or with another operator. You can set what you want to tell guests, and you don’t have to remember to do it, it does it all for you, so your admin becomes a lot less.

“Guests can check in online, and we can set when and how they pay you.”


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