The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry has been undeniable as hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation have shut down to help support public health efforts to keep the virus at bay.
Now, as Scotland begins to emerge out of lockdown, there are no signs that international travel restrictions will ease, making a surge in ‘staycation’ bookings across the country likely. However, it is understandable that after an extended period of closure, business owners may be unsure of where to turn for guidance and support about reopening.
We are here to help shed some light, Business Gateway’s support and guidance remains in place, with, our teams of local advisers across Scotland there to help. Our advisers can provide specialist, tailored 1:1 support, via phone or Skype to help your business cope, discover possibilities, and take advantage of the resources available.
Our programme flexes to the needs of businesses and, throughout the pandemic, thousands of business owners have accessed support via our suite of online resources.and guides covering topics like HR, marketing, restructuring, working remotely and e-commerce. We also have a programme of national webinars exploring everything from how to write a business plan to marketing on a budget.
Technology has also embraced as a great leveller throughout 2020, with many utilising social media to drive sales, reach customers and expand their reach. Despite significant challenges, the sector has adapted to introduce different ways of working to continue to reach customers and ensure survival. As the hotel and tourism industry begins to transition to the ‘new normal’, it’s undeniable that digital capabilities are vital for businesses to survive.
An example can be found in The Old Manse of Blair, a boutique hotel in rural Perthshire. As well as advice with the furlough scheme and government guidelines, Business Gateway provided support with the introduction of virtual check-ins and a food delivery service for its self-catered lodges.
Enhanced digital capabilities will continue to be vital as Scotland moves through the reopening stages, and for some, this remains key, as a recent survey to our network revealed that 51% had not yet invested in their digital capabilities.
For those wishing to change this, DigitalBoost, Business Gateway’s national digital training programme, can help equip you with the skills you need to do just that. Designed to help you build platforms, communicate, and find more customers, the free programme of resources is available to all with a range of useful services such as a free health check, 1:1 support from a digital expert, online tutorials, and practical guides on topics including social media, cyber resilience, data analytics, digital marketing strategy and e-commerce. We also have a series of online webinars for those in the hospitality sector, in conjunction with VisitScotland.
Business Gateway knows that lockdown will have sparked ideas in future business-owners, and what was once a ‘passion project’ might encourage that step into self-employment. Our teams are on hand to help turn these ideas into reality and is equipped to help put together t a business plan that takes stock of the current environment.
Ultimately, while the past year has dealt the industry with unimaginable challenges, businesses have also proven their resilience, creativity, and adaptability. Looking forward to a brighter future, Business Gateway is committed to working with businesses as a partner, to help equip the hospitality and hotel sector with the tools and skills needed to thrive.
For more information and to learn how Business Gateway could help you, please visit their website at https://www.bgateway.com