Self-catering bookings soar to skills gap revealed… some short news briefs


Bookings soar for self-catering

Early research shows that in the first 24 hours since Boris Johnson announced plans to ease lockdown and First Nicola Sturgeon gave an indicative date of 15th July for Scotland, bookings for holiday accommodation took off.

Self-catering bookers revealed on Radio Scotland that they had 700 Scottish bookings in 48 hours – double the number of bookings in their previous busiest period. While hotels too have reported healthy bookings outwith the central belt of Scotland.

However, hotels owners are not only relying on VisitScotland to promote their businesses but are instead taking a serious look at how best they can utilise marketing spend to fill their rooms. The VisitScotland marketing strategy, just launched, has as its main focus a ‘Hero’ film with the message ‘You don’t have to travel far’.  The film features some of the tourism industry from across the country representing the different sectors including attractions, activities, food and drink and accommodation.

Skills gaps revealed by Flow as venues get set to re-open

Flow Hospitality Training has revealed that hospitality workers have knowledge gaps which need to be filled before they return to work. The most pronounced area where teams struggled was around understanding how they could help keep customers and colleagues safe, with 61% of workers being unable to correctly identify useful steps. The next biggest gap was in the basics of effective cleaning standards, with 22% of workers needing refresher training. While 17% were unsure how to best re-engage with their colleagues again returning to work.

Flow Hospitality Training customers have free access to the new Covid-19 comeback modules, whilst new clients are being onboarded quickly to help them prepare for these new challenges in their businesses.

The Spirit of Arran – ‘Project North & South’.

Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd has laid the groundwork to create a unique Blended Malt by filling casks with new spirit from both their Lagg and Lochranza distilleries on the Isle of Arran.

Both distilleries underwent a period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic but began production again on 11th May. The first runs of new spirit from each distillery were vatted together.

Director of Operations & Production for Lagg and Lochranza Distilleries, James MacTaggart said, “This is a first for Isle of Arran. We are aware of blended malts where the whisky from one distillery is married with that of another, or blended whiskies created by mixing grain with malt whisky, however, this is the first time that we know of malt whisky from two sister distilleries being blended at the spirit stage. As the owners of two wonderful distilleries on the Isle of Arran, we felt it was right to join the two sides of our island together and produce a whisky that would always be a marker for this unique period in time.”

The Tower Restaurant closes its doors

Twenty-two years after first opening, The Tower Restaurant on top of the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street is closing.

Proprietor James Thomson comments,“The Tower was the first rooftop restaurant in Edinburgh and quickly gained a worldwide reputation for great food and service which has stayed with us down the years. Covid-19 presents us with some insurmountable difficulties and, with our lease coming to an end anyway, we’ve had to take the decision not to reopen.”

James also owns The Witchery and Prestonfield in Edinburgh. It’s hoped both those businesses will be able to reopen on July 15th following final confirmation from the Scottish Government.

No 1 by volume say Budweiser Brewing Group UK&!

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, part of AB InBev, has become the number one brewer by volume in the UK, in total trade YTD.

Paula Lindenberg, UK President, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said, People are choosing the brands they know and love, and we’re proud that the quality of our beer portfolio and our iconic brands meet the demands of Britain’s beer drinkers today. We have ambitious plans to grow in the on-trade, and we look forward to the reopening of the sector. We’ll be harnessing the strength of our brand portfolio and the dedication of our teams to play a leading role in the recovery.”

The brewer launched Save Pub Life in March to provide urgent financial support to the trade during the closure period. The initiative enables pubgoers to buy a gift card to spend at their local pub once it reopens, with Budweiser Brewing Group matching the value of the gift cards. So far, the programme has directly contributed more than £1 million to the nation’s pubs and bars, when they need it most.