Covid-19 & Aviemore
Well this has been a bit mental hasn't it?
With the arrival of Covid-19 to the shores of the UK, we all know what happened next and the impact of the subsequent lockdown. Legislation in Scotland specifically referred to self-catering accommodation with an immediate prohibition on operating, so we shut down straight away to comply with the law and to keep people safe.
This caused massive disruption to our incoming guests, but Cottages our agent whilst hard to reach, was working behind the scenes to action those holidays that would be affected soonest.
There's been lots of bad press about Cottages recently, however my own experience as an owner was that my booked guests were all dealt with in order of booking date, and no-one has come back to me saying they had any issues.
The bigger issue though has been the impact on Aviemore.
Places like Aviemore are fragile and susceptible to something like this because the entire economy is predominantly tourism based. As such, the much loved Mountain Cafe has recently updated their Facebook to say they're shutting down in Aviemore due to the issues caused from trading ceasing. A huge blow as this site was incredibly popular with the tourists but at the same time, an opportunity for other eateries to capture that market.
How will tourism fare? Will it return to pre-Covid levels? Will it boom to a new high as people opt for 'Staycations' and stay in the UK rather than travelling? If the quarantine rules stay in place then this would be probable, but how will the UK holiday destinations cope with the extra demand and strain?
It also brings unique challenges for owners of self-catering properties. For example, Cottages have launched a 'Safer Stay' initiative, which they're asking owners to comply with. In effect it means a property should be emptied of all non-essential items and only the basics provided - removal of books, DVDs, board games, excess utensils and crockery / cooking aids, etc, etc.
How will this make a guest feel? Will it make them feel safe? Will it make them annoyed that some of the small extras and features are missing?
It's a challenging time for everyone as businesses try to survive and people try to figure out what they feel safe and comfortable doing.
All we know for certain is that we're still here and we're still ready to open. The grass has had a health month of growing, the house has had a chance to rest and get deep cleaned and we're looking forward to welcoming everyone back!