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What Makes Scotland The Next Big Thing In Hospitality Management

With talk of  independence on the cards, what potential does Scotland hold for anyone looking for a career in hospitality management?

Once you’re suitably tooled up with an HND Diploma in Hospitality Management, you’ll have some important decisions to make. You might already have your heart set on running a particular boutique hotel or beachside complex. It’s important to consider all the options though – including taking a closer look at places you’d never considered.

Scotland’s got a pretty important decision to make next year – namely whether or not to go it alone and opt for full independence, or stay within the United Kingdom with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Supporters of independence will point to the country’s successful industries – with tourism often being cited close to the top of the list. For a country with a population of just over 5 million people, the fact Scotland can boast a tourism industry worth £4.3bn a year is no mean feat. The country employs 185,900 within the tourism sector.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider joining that workforce …

The new breed of golfing resorts

For some, it’s “a good walk spoiled”. For the Scottish, golf is big business. A recent report from KPMG suggests that golf in Scotland generates £1.71 billion in revenue each year and employs more than 20,000 people. It might be the home of golf, but up until recently it wasn’t necessarily regarded as the location of choice for a golfing holiday. For one thing, you can’t rely solely on heritage to bring in customers – especially if you’re competing with the yearlong sunshine of Spain and the Algarve.

Then came the fight back. The industry realised that to compete on a global level against the southern European destinations, it needed to offer a world-class service. After all, what might be enough to cater for the executive away-weekend crowd might not be enough to tempt the type of golfing holidaymaker willing to travel anywhere in the world.

Much publicity (not all of it entirely positive,) has surrounded Donald Trump’s state-of-the-art Menie estate resort – boasting a five-star 450-bed hotel, 500 homes and 950 short-term lets. It’s not the only all-singing, all-dancing golf resort in Scotland by any means though. The Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire provides a great example of how existing golfing resorts have changed to meet the expectations of a more diverse customer base.

Originally opened in 1906, it was pretty much the first golfing ‘resort’. For years it was safe, staid and was hardly going to set the world alight as a place to keep the whole family entertained. What bought it bang up to date was a multi-million pound makeover following its acquisition by the Leisurecorp Group in 2008 (in time for hosting the 2009 Open). Boasting a luxury spa, horse riding, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting and fishing, as well as a new set of self-catering apartments aimed at families, there’s certainly plenty to interest non-golfers at this re-vamped site. Armed with a hospitality management diploma, being able to work in this type of world-class resort is certainly an enticing prospect.

The Edinburgh Festival: when an entire city is fully booked

If windswept dunes aren’t your bag, take a closer look at the capital. August is International Festival time. As someone involved in the management of a hospitality operation, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to achieve 100% occupancy for an entire month.

This is the month when, at any particular time, the population of the city doubles to well over 1 million– so to the uninitiated it may seem like the easiest job in the world to fill your hotel. It’s nowhere near that simple. It’s certainly not as easy as sitting by the phone and waiting for the bookings to roll in! After all, this isn’t a fixed event like Hogmanay or a Six-Nations fixture at Murrayfield. Hundreds – if not thousands of events and performances are happening simultaneously. Some visitors will be staying for one or two nights; others for potentially much longer. The market is out there, but how do you maximise your resources to get the most out of it? Which bookings do you take and which do you turn away so as to avoid rooms lying unoccupied?

Successful rooms division operations management is a complex niche area – but fortunately it’s one that can be taught. What better venue to demonstrate your skills in this area than against the backdrop of the world’s largest and best-known festival?

Whisky Galore!

Not every wants to be city-based – even in a city as beautiful as Edinburgh. What’s more, a key skill you’ll pick up on the Hospitality Management Diploma is to spot emerging trends and new markets. So where are the potential growth hotspots in the Scottish tourism market? The grouse moors are one place to look. As habitat management, predator and disease control improves, expect this to be opened up much more widely to the lucrative Far Eastern and US markets.

Scottish Whisky bottles

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And then there’s whisky, of course. Up to now it’s mostly been one-way traffic – with scotch being shipped off abroad to the tune of £4 billion each year. It was inevitable that at some point people would want to visit the source of their tipple of choice in meaningful numbers. The most recent figures from the Scottish Whisky Association point to around 1 million annual visits to Scottish distilleries – and the burgeoning Far Eastern interestin the aqua vitae suggests an upward trend.

Don’t be too surprised if you see Scotland’s first dedicated ‘whisky resort’ announced some time soon – (possibly with a heavily oversubscribed internship scheme)!

The Land of Opportunity

Golf, Theatre and Comedy, Grouse Shooting, Whisky – it doesn’t end there. Did you know that some of the finest wave flying for gliders is to be found in Deeside? Or that salmon fishing draws in the crowds each year?

If you were planning a Scottish hospitality enterprise, what would you pick?


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