After a challenging few months for everyone, the tourism industry has been preparing to reopen its doors and welcome visitors once more. There has been lots of work going on behind the scenes to Get Tourism Ready, as businesses put new measures in place to help protect staff, customers and communities.
Garleton Lodge is a five-star luxury B&B/small hotel, restaurant and spa nestled in the countryside between Haddington and Gullane in East Lothian – Edinburgh’s Coast & Countryside.
The luxury accommodation has put several measures into place to plan for reopening on 15 July, in line with Scottish Government guidance. Set out in their ‘Commitment to Guests’ these include the introduction of flexible terms for bookings made directly with the hotel, giving guests confidence and protection in the event that circumstances change.
Although Garleton Lodge has always considered hygiene and cleanliness to be of the upmost importance, they have made changes to some of their daily practices and services in order to minimise the risk. These include new check in and out arrangements, social distancing guidelines and the introduction of a hand sanitisation station at reception.
They have also developed their own Garleton Lodge app which guests can download onto their mobile phone or tablet in advance as well as use throughout their stay. In addition to providing guests with details of all of the facilities at Garleton Lodge and a guide to 'Places to Visit and Things To Do in East Lothian', the app also provides guests with full COVID-19 information in terms of ‘What to Expect When Staying With Us’ and ‘What We Ask of You’.
Whilst the spa facilities remain closed for the time being, the bar and restaurant will open as normal (subject to social distancing) and guests enjoying table service for breakfast.
Garleton Lodge has also used the lockdown period to progress their Cookery School plans. Working in partnership with nearby Kitchens By Coast they are gearing up to launch a new pop-up cookery school. Initially offering cookery classes on a local basis, featuring local produce, it is hoped to move quickly to offer classes on a residential basis to guests at Garleton Lodge.
After a busy – and worrying – first month of lockdown spent postponing and rearranging this summer’s bookings we turned our attention firstly to ways to enhance our guest experience and give visitors the confidence to book to stay with us after lockdown. The idea for the app came from this exercise and will now be an important part of our engagement with guests moving forwards.
As lockdown continued, we took a look at our plans for the Cookery School and identified the pop-up as a way in which we could get this up and running quickly to offer guest experiences – an ideal gift for a loved one or an individual treat – either way, something to look forward to after weeks of isolation and lockdown.