We purchased Guisachan Guesthouse four years ago; giving up our jobs, selling our house and moving from the south of England in the process. Phill is a keen landscape photographer, and the move enabled him to be close to the scenery he loves to capture.
In the four years we've been here, we have seen the business grow as we have invested heavily in the building and business, and sought to provide our guests with a comfortable and enjoyable stay in this wonderful location in the Scottish Highlands.
In a usual summer season we employ about 10 local people to help us run the business; from waiting staff and housekeepers to reception staff.
2020 was going to be our year of consolidation after four years of significant investment, but that was put into jeopardy when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. After weeks of uncertainty about which way things would go, on 22nd March the Scottish Government told the hospitality industry to not to be accepting visitors meaning we had to close overnight.
Prior to this, our booking diary for the summer season (April to October) was looking very healthy and we were gearing up for another incredibly busy and rewarding season. Then over the space of a few short weeks we have seen bookings for the summer season begin to evaporate.
We have been forced into closing our business for the whole of April and although potentially we could be open again at some point in May, advance bookings have all been cancelled so we have lost 100% of our income for April and May alone. This could potentially go on through the summer. Even if we do re-open, business will be a fraction of what we would normally expect. Many of our guests normally come from oversees, and this is unlikely to be the case for some time even when we do re-open.
We are doing what we can to help our staff; our four permanent employees have been furloughed (and we will get some help for this), but we've been forced into not re-employing our seasonal staff until such time as we re-open which obviously has an impact on their finances.
Our bank has helpfully offered us a payment holiday on our mortgage, but whilst this helps our immediate cash-flow, what we owe will continue to increase and ultimately we will have to remortgage if possible to offset our losses.
Our business insurance unfortunately doesn't cover us for this pandemic because it is not cover that our insurers offer; only if something physically happens to our guesthouse or if we are unwell would we get anything from them.
Crowdfunder are offering up their platform to allow all UK small businesses to pre-sell their meals, events, hotel bookings etc. for cash now on a promise to redeem these at a later date.
So, with your help we can keep our business going during this global crisis, by supporting us with funds now that you can redeem at a later date when the pandemic is over and we can all start moving around again and enjoying the wonderful Scottish Highlands.
This appeal is specifically to request forward funding for some of our future bookings, but even if you want to give just a small donation of £5 we will send you a full size digital copy of one of Phill's images of the area for you to enjoy (please see the video) as a thank you.
Pledge £10 or more and that will be deducted from the cost of any future booking with us.
Pledge over £50 and we'll deduct 125% of what you pledge off your next booking with us (up to the value of the booking).
Pledge over £100 and we'll deduct 150% of what you pledge off your next booking with us (up to the value of the booking).
Any pledges over £10 can be used for bookings with us until 31st December 2023 so you've plenty of time to redeem the pledge.
We will send you a PDF voucher which you can redeem against your future booking. No cash refunds on vouchers available.
Beat the lock-down blues with a holiday to look forward to when this is all over!
The funds raised will simply be to enable our business to get through this difficult time during which we have been forced into closing our business to all guests, enable us to continue paying our mortgage, staff and bills and make sure we will still be in business when things return to normal; and hopefully mean we don't need to borrow more in the long term.
- The name you enter is what we will use to verify any future bookings. If it is a gift you need to enter the name of that person, not you.
- Please double check the e-mail address you enter as that is the only way we can get hold of you.
- If there is any space to add a phone number, please do that so we have a second way to get hold of you.
Thank you from Carmen & Phill for reading this and a huge thanks in advance for supporting us and others in these unprecedented times.
Please take a look at our website at https://fortwilliamholidays.co.uk