Creating and maintaining a sustainable accommodation business is the focus of our latest case study on the self-catering East Cambusmoon Holiday Cottages in Gartocharn, Scotland. Here owners Deborah and Steve Macken tell us a bit more about their award-winning business.
"Our holiday cottage business was established in 2007 and has grown from strength to strength, consistently getting excellent reviews from guests, achieving year on year growth in turnover, and winning some very attractive awards including awards for Success in Sustainability, The Glasgow Institute of Architects award for sustainable design and, most recently, the Thistle Award for the Best Self Catering in West Scotland.
"In the early days we had an online calendar so guests could always check availability, however it was the move to freetobook’s calendar in 2016 which helped move our online bookings service forward. Hurrah for some clever and easy to use software!
"Sustainability takes many forms, we fundamentally created well designed holiday cottages from derelict farm buildings. It’s easy to ensure a high level of comfort all year round without fretting about the cost because of our investment in renewable technologies, air tight buildings and extra insulation which keep guests warm whatever the weather outside. Everyday operations such as choice and use of eco-friendly cleaning materials, where we buy our consumables (big shout out to Glasgow cooperative Green City for that aspect), purchasing from local businesses and truly engaging with a circular economy approach to the way we do things is genuinely important to us and our visitors feedback is very positive about this.
"Business sustainability is also critically important, maintaining strong bookings enables us to manage a successful business with a long term future and having our own website with booking software which is easy to use for customers and ourselves is part of this.
"We also believe in continuous reinvestment so in 2017 installed EV charging points, we now have 4 in total, which make life very easy for guests with electric cars, mainly charging overnight so they can start a full day of exploring and enjoyment. In 2019 we have invested in battery technology which means we can store surplus solar generated power in batteries to be utilised when solar generation dips. Smaller ‘win’s include increasing planting for bees and insects, we have 5 bee hives on site, and providing under cover cycle racks to encourage people to explore more of the area by bike.
"There’s always something new to do but we find our guests respond really enthusiastically to a more sustainable future yet still enjoying high quality comfortable holiday accommodation.