Ortus at leisure in Scotland
During March, a few of us from Ortus attended the Finance Expo in Edinburgh, which is a city I visited for the first time 13 years ago.
Back in 2001 I had just completed the Bank of Scotland (BOS) graduate scheme and, looking back, it was a great time to be part of the company. Along with RBS and Clydesdale, BOS was one of Scotland’s three Golden Sons.
As an employee of such a distinguished company, I had a great time. I stayed at the finest hotels in Scotland, found myself indulged with elaborate training and I enjoyed some amazing away days. I was in the right place at the right time.
13 years on and the Golden Sons aren’t quite so golden anymore. Clydesdale has gone off to Australia and BOS and RBS … well, the family don’t speak about them very often.
I was fortunate not to witness BOS’ struggles from the inside. Fate led me away from Scottish banking and then away from banking completely. Like the rest of the Ortus team I found my niche in leisure finance.
Back in 2001 this might have been viewed as a downward progression, but these days the world is a different place and, while the ancient Scottish financial institutions are having a bad time of it, the leisure industry seems to be booming.
As we walked around town the place was thronging with tourists from all over the world and judging from their bags of tartan regalia and shortbread tins, they were liberally spending their cash.
Indeed, from a recent article posted in TheCourier.co.uk it would seem my impressions of a booming Scottish leisure industry are accurate.
The article confirmed that Scotland’s hotel sector had the highest occupancy and revenue levels of the whole of the UK last year.
It also cited a report by BDO LLP which found Scottish hotel occupancy last year averaged 75.5%, compared with 72.5% in regional UK and just under 72% in England. The room yield difference was even greater – £52 in Scotland compared to £43 in regional UK and £42 in England.
While occupancy was led by Glasgow (79%) and Edinburgh (78%), it was Aberdeen which saw the great revenue growth. The Granite City now charges an average £70 per room, which is a 16% increase on last year and the highest rate outside London.
At Ortus we have always been committed to Scotland and we don’t see it changing. Therefore, it’s nice to see that tourists have the same enthusiasm for using Scottish hotels as we do for financing them.