There is no doubt that this has been a strange and difficult time for the tourism industry, and we are continuing to face unprecedented challenges.
We made the decision to close Glenapp Castle in March in line with the government’s advice. Initially, it was eerily quiet, and we only dealt with booking postponements and a small number of cancellations. Despite entering into unchartered waters, the core un-furloughed Glenapp Castle team remained positive. We enjoyed working remotely with our guests on postponing bookings and were glad to see that the majority, around 85%, were keen to rearrange rather than cancel altogether.
In recent weeks, as other parts of the world are reopening, we have seen a rise in new bookings. We have had some exclusive use enquiries from the US, a number of individual bookings from European guests for later this year, and a good number of enquiries from UK customers who would normally holiday abroad but have made the decision to stay in the UK this year.
Glenapp Castle has always been a destination hotel and it is fantastic to see that we are attracting some new customers from the UK. We anticipate that the hotel will become more of a holiday destination than a short break stay. We are expecting a strong last quarter!
In terms of planning for the future, we are lucky that we have 110 acres of private estate and local woodland surrounding Glenapp Castle, meaning social distancing is something guests can easily undertake here. We are also fortunate to have a number of areas for dining which will allow for necessary spacing, enabling guests to feel comfortable and at ease.
In addition, we continue to plan for the launch of The Endeavour, Glenapp Castle’s brand-new penthouse apartment, in September 2020. Through the conversion of the Castle’s entire top floor, The Endeavour provides 4,000 square feet of luxurious accommodation. With the option of private dining, this self-contained apartment will align with traveller’s needs and is ideal for those who are wanting to enjoy the luxury of the hotel in a private setting.
With a newfound appreciation for nature and a desire to find a holiday whereby we can self-isolate, we expect to see a greater demand for our Hebridean Sea Safari. This unique experience gives guests the opportunity to see incredible marine life including basking sharks, dolphins, minke whales, and seals but also the rare chance to explore the remote islands of Jura, Islay, Eilean Mor MacCormick and Gigha. This is the perfect way for guests to explore the outdoors in isolation.
Finally, we have created our new ‘stay safe’ policy which gives our guests confidence that they will be safe and comfortable. We can’t wait to open again and welcome back returning guests and of course new ones.