The Winnock Hotel is developing effective nature tourism products linked with other Green Tourism businesses. Clients may enjoy packages including the Seabird Centre, Highland Mountain Safaris and Ardgarty Red Kites. A new and exclusive Panda Experience with Edinburgh Zoo together with Loch Katrine Steamer cruise has also been developed. Overall the development of these packages has been effective in increasing occupancy to be the most successful hotel in the Loch Lomond’s National Park and to develop an ongoing and loyal following, some customers of which have been to the hotel over a dozen times. At least 2 new holiday packages are designed every year and this year already, over 400 dates with visitor attractions have been booked.
The main investment has been through staff time in developing the tours. One risk is that successful tours may be copied with accommodation in lower standard accommodation. Coach tour providers are chosen based on quality, price and efficiency.
It has been estimated that provided the tour is successful, the costs of researching and developing the tour and the risks of lower occupied tours means that practically it can take about 3 years to recoup investments. However, it should also be noted that providing these tours helps retain customers as well as adding new ones and it is proven that marketing to existing customers is a very effective way in raising revenues. These packages now provide 75% of the hotel’s business.
These packages help retain business, with the hotel achieving a high occupancy often at times of the year when business is traditionally slow. By March each year, all the holiday packages in the current year will be sold. This successful promotion of sustainable tourism and nature conservation has allowed the hotel to expand to 73 rooms.
David Fletcher, General Manager, of the hotel said:
“When the financial crisis hit, we noticed that many hotels had started a race to the bottom to offer the cheapest rooms to get business. We found that we were now competing with the Hilton and Marriot Hotels. However, speaking to our customers we found that they wanted value for money, not just the cheapest price. So, instead of joining the race, we decided to start adding value by being more creative with our holiday packages, finding new and exclusive things for our guests to do. We now have different holiday packages available throughout the year, visiting some of the best visitor attractions in the area.”