EXCLUSIVE: Rolling cap ex programme at The Torridon pays off as revenues and occupancy rise

Bedrooms at The Torridon

The owner of The Torridon in Scotland has revealed to Boutique Hotelier that a rolling capital expenditure programme at the hotel has helped occupancy across the business to rise by 10%.

Dan Rose-Bristow told Boutique Hotelier that over the last five years the team at the hotel, which he owns with his wife Rohaise, have worked to improve standards and service, investing in the resort that comprises four-star The Torridon Hotel, three AA Rosettes 1887 restaurant, The Torridon Inn pub with rooms, activity centre and the Boat House.

Bristow explained that occupancy as a total across the whole business is at 60%, which is a 10% increase on last year. For the 12-bedroom Inn, occupancy in high season reaches 98%, while at the 18-bedroom hotel it reaches 80%.

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The resort operates all year round, which Bristow says is key to securing talented staff by offering them permanent 12-month contracts.

Thanks to the value of the pound, the hotel has also seen a rise in guests from Australia and New Zealand, with June, July, August and September typically being the most popular months for international guests to visit.

The Torridon’s core customer base is 80% British and 20% international; with just under 10% coming from the US and 5% Swiss.

Bristow said that out of the British guests, it’s a 50 / 50 split of Scottish and English, with a new flight path from Bristol run by Easyjet opening up a south west corner of the country that hadn’t been seen before at the hotel.

Bristow also said that the offer of two dining experiences at the resort – the pub at the Inn or fine dining at the hotel – helps to increase guests’ average length of stay.

He says: “We find a lot of Europeans will go for the cheaper room but upgrade for the dining experience, because food is more important to them. Whereas Americans, go for a suite, but then will go for a burger.

“So for us what we’ve seen as a resort is we’ve increased the length of stay. With us having the alternatives, we’ve seen people want to come here, do the activities, and have a choice of restaurants is a bonus, and so that’s been a real positive.”

Over the next few years, Bristow revealed that The Torridon now plans to build eco lodges at the resort, to further highlight the company’s business commitment to sustainability.

“I can afford to build two or three at the moment, but we may build up to eight,” he explains. “We plan to capitalise on that – in the middle of a masterplan at the moment so we want to get the ball rolling asap. Everything usually takes 12 months to plan, end of 2017, early 2018, we hope to start construction, haven’t got planning permission yet and that’s a whole other ball game!”

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