Sep 162016

peter-medley2With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

VisitAberdeenshire will swap the north east coast of Scotland for the Nevada desert this October, as the tourism organisation visits IMEX America.

The exhibition, which takes place from 18-20 October in the newly renovated Sands Expo and Conference Centre, will bring the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events (MICE) markets together with tourism operators from across the globe.

This will be the first time VisitAberdeenshire has exhibited at the renowned American business travel event, allowing the organisation to network with 3000 hosted buyers and 2000 attendees to show what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer.

Peter Medley (pictured), business development director at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“There has never been a better time for us to promote business travel to Aberdeen from the USA. Icelandair’s new flight routes via Reykjavik have opened up a more flexible travel schedule to visitors, alongside existing routes via traditional international hubs in London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

“We’ll be showcasing Aberdeen as a centre of excellence for far more than oil and gas.  For example, the research conducted at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University extends far beyond oil, gas and renewables. We can attract further conferences and events to the area by underlining the city’s expertise in key areas including the life sciences.

“At IMEX America, we will stress this diversity of knowledge with key buyers and organisers looking for suitable destinations which have access to world class professionals to host their future conference and event needs. We have previously exhibited at IMEX Frankfurt predominately reaching the European markets, but with improved access to Aberdeen via new flights, the time is right for us to exhibit at IMEX America.

“As with everything in Vegas, it’s on a whole new level with 3,100 exhibitors, 3,000 hosted buyers and 2,000 delegates attending, which makes it a fantastic opportunity for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

VisitAberdeenshire will have much to discuss with those attending the conference, not just about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s far-reaching wealth of expertise but also the region’s developments in meetings and conferencing facilities.

The area’s rejuvenation, he says, shows that despite the current downturn in oil and gas, Aberdeen is still a force to be reckoned with in the meetings and events industry.

He continues,

“Across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, venues and suppliers are continually improving the quality of their offering, and providing new and valuable services to those looking to organise meetings, events and conferences.

“Work is now underway on a £333 million transformation of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) which will have a significant impact on the MICE industry. Relocating to a site near Aberdeen International Airport, the venue’s facilities for conferences, exhibitions and meetings will be greatly improved, and will be augmented by a state of the art performance arena, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities.

“The airport itself is also in the midst of a £20 million expansion programme, featuring new passenger lounges, baggage claim and security services. This is an important step in improving the north east of Scotland’s infrastructure for delegates visiting the area.

“Venues which are traditionally associated with the region’s rich culture – including Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – are also currently being renovated and expanded. These two developments, worth £37 million in total, will provide unique locations for meetings, gala dinners and drinks receptions in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.”

At a time when Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s room rates are at their most competitive level in recent memory, the region has become incredibly attractive not just to meetings and event organisers, but also to those looking to offer incentives to their clients and colleagues. The area’s many historic castles provide a stunning backdrop for hosting dinners for conference and incentive groups, and nearby whisky distillery tours are consistently a hit with visitors.

Peter adds,

“Conferences today are not just about spending the whole day in a meeting room, and there is increasingly a requirement to offer delegates the chance to get out and about, to network informally and relax between sessions.

“The north east of Scotland, for example, is home to some of the best golf courses in the world – from Royal Aberdeen and the Trump International Golf Links to Braemar, the highest 18-hole course in the UK.

“In addition to our wonderful choice of 56 golf courses, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire offer plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, and for team building events to be organised at one of the region’s outdoor centres.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and the facilities on offer to the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events market, please visit

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Jul 142016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Wallace VisitAberdeenshireAberdeen and Aberdeenshire are leading Scotland with more tourism professionals achieving WorldHost accreditation that any other area in the country.
Over 1,300 people working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to visitor attraction managers – have now completed the training, which promotes world-class customer service.

In addition, 73 businesses of all sizes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have attained WorldHost Recognised Business status, including Aberdeen Taxis, Braemar Highland Safaris, the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel and The Spotty Bag Shop.

This means over 50% of staff have undertaken WorldHost training, and owners have signed a commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

While traditionally this kind of training has been aimed squarely at accommodation providers, WorldHost – a renowned customer service training scheme popularised by the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games – brings together all those working in the tourism industry. From transport providers to restauranteurs, the course aims to focus operators’ attention on the entire customer journey and experience.

With the support of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, all libraries and visitor attractions are now working on gaining accreditation, alongside VisitScotland Information Centres, the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.

Elaine Booth, business engagement manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“While business travel levels have been lower in the last 12 months, the leisure market has remained constant. Historically leisure travellers saw Aberdeen as a weekend destination, with high midweek room rates pricing them out of the market. The last year, however, has seen this shift somewhat, and now is the perfect time for tourism operators to ensure that all their staff are providing excellent service to all visitors.

“WorldHost allows tourism businesses the chance to really focus in on the customer journey, and ensure that they are thinking of their guests at every stage of the process. Trainees will learn valuable skills including how to build a rapport with guests, how to empathise with and listen to customers’ concerns, and how to go the extra mile.

“It is so important that everyone working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to hotel managers – is well-versed in providing exceptional customer service, and is thinking about every step of a customer’s visit to the region.”

Those business that have gained WorldHost Recognised Business accreditation are already reaping the benefits, with an increase in solid customer satisfaction feedback. Two such businesses are the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, who achieved the status in March this year, and the Station Hotel in Portsoy which has been accredited for a number of months.

Anna MacKenzie, senior sales manager at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), says that although she feels the venue has always offered good quality service, taking part in WorldHost training has ensured that everyone is working together.

She explains,

“There is now a high level of understanding across all departments of where the customer comes in the whole process – we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone has a role to play in service delivery, from the person greeting them on arrival at the front desk to the event planning team, and this joined up thinking allows us to present an even better service to our customers.

“We as an organisation often have to sell Aberdeen and the north east as a destination before we can sell the AECC as a venue. It’s in the best interests of everyone working in the tourism and hospitality industries across the region to provide the best customer service possible – we are all ambassadors for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and contribute to a visitor’s enjoyment of their time here.”

Susan Cameron, owner of the Station Hotel in Portsoy, agrees that widespread WorldHost accreditation is the route to a boost in the tourism industry in the north east of Scotland.

She says,

“Through programmes like WorldHost, customer care in the north east of Scotland – and across the country – has really improved. The more businesses across the region that complete the training, the better. If everyone is operating at the same level and to the same high standards, there is more likelihood for visitors to return in the future or extend their stay.

“Whether a guest is visiting from Canada or down the road in Elgin, it’s important for everyone to remember the customer journey and ensure that they have the best experience possible.

“Prior to the WorldHost training, some of our staff had been through external training courses and some had been trained in-house. By putting everyone through the same training, it allowed us to ensure that we were delivering a consistent level of service across the business. It also allows a rare opportunity for the whole team to get together and really think about the service they deliver, and refresh their core customer care skills.”

Those completing their WorldHost training in the north east of Scotland are also entitled to an added bonus: access to Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, a dedicated training course that educates tourism operators in the intricacies of the north east tourism industry.

Complementing the joined-up thinking promoted by WorldHost, the online course will allow tourism organisations a greater understanding of their place in the local industry and how they can work to improve the service they provide.

For more information about WorldHost, and Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit and

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Jun 302016

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Glen Lui SMALL

Glen Lui Hotel in Ballater

Ballater’s back on the map – that’s the bold statement from accommodation providers in the Deeside village as the area continues to bounce back from flooding and rolls out the welcome mat to summer visitors.

Ballater’s hospitality trade is in positive mood as they welcome the return of seasonal visitors choosing the village as their holiday base.

In the past couple of months, the Glen Lui Hotel has welcomed parties of fishermen, golfers and an American shooting party – and staff look forward to seeing yet more visitors to Ballater, attracted by its great range of outdoor activities, while being within easy reach of Aberdeen and the city’s attractions.

Susan Bell of the family-run hotel which has 17 rooms says:

“The village is coming to life again and I think there is a feeling of anticipation as everything is getting busier.

“Shops are looking better and there’s only a few yet to reopen. We’re looking forward to Ballater Victoria Week, Ballater Games and Etape Royale and then our big winter festival which will feature an ice rink and reindeer and these will all result in a lot of activity in the area.

“There are people milling around at the monthly farmers markets too. Ballater has suffered its setbacks with the floods and the fire at the Victoria  Station but now everyone wants to push Ballater as much as possible.

“I think everyone is pulling together and looking forward to all that’s ahead.”

Deeside, with its natural beauty and its close connections to the Royal family who arrive at Balmoral Castle for their annual break in August, has long been a favoured destination with visitors.

Alan McCorquodale of the Alexandra Hotel says that Ballater makes a great base for exploring the wider area.

“There are rays of hope all around the village as businesses are refurbished and reopening and community events that will help draw visitors to the area are being planned.

“Great progress has been made and there’s a real push on now to show that Ballater is moving forwards in the right direction.

“In a relatively short time, Ballater has come a long way in overcoming the challenges and hurdles that Storm Frank brought in its wake.

“Six months on and it’s a completely different picture from the images of the flood-ravaged village that filled the newspapers and were broadcast on television news.”

Richard Watts, chairman of Ballater Business Association said that the village is fortunate to boast a great range of bed and breakfast establishments, caravan park open for tourers and campers, guest houses and hotels and that all are well prepared for the school holidays and visitor market.

“We’d encourage visitors from near and far to come and enjoy a break in Ballater and experience for themselves excellent hospitality at our great range or accommodation providers. It’s easy to find them at

“Our village has a huge amount of vibrancy and vitality, and we’d encourage visitors, be they day trippers or holiday makers looking for a longer stay, to come and see all that Ballater and the surrounding area has to offer.”

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Jun 172016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association launches new tourism awards at Dunnottar Castle

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association tourism awards launch, at Dunnottar, July 2014.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) are heading into the finishing straight, and those who want to enter the prestigious scheme are being urged to get a sprint on to beat the fast-approaching deadline.
Entries close later this month on June 30, and ACSTA organisers are sounding a final call to businesses and individuals across the region to ensure they are part of the annual showcase of top tourism talent.

The awards – now in their fourth year – celebrate the very best of the area’s tourism offering, from restaurants and pubs to hotels and guest houses.

There are also accolades for top events and visitor attractions, and a brand new category for best sports event.

Individuals who make a real difference to the experience of tourists – whether they are visiting for business or leisure – will also be recognised with sections for hospitality heroes, rising stars and local ambassadors.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says the competition is heating up, but organisers want to see even more entries to ensure those who are making a significant impression on the tourism sector get credit where it is deserved.

He adds,

“The awards are not just for large operators and hotels that are part of a national or multi-national chains – this is about recognising those who go the extra mile to provide excellent service regardless of their size.

“We sometimes hear that operators have not entered because they are small in comparison to other entrants. That’s irrelevant, as what we are interested in hearing about is what they do improve the tourism offering, not how many covers they seat or what their turnover is.

“Over the past three years we have had a wide variety of winners, from charities and community groups to national chains. There is a huge benefit to taking part as even being shortlisted shows customers that a very high quality experience is being offered.

“The awards are completely free to enter, so there is absolutely nothing to lose. With the addition of the new category this year for sporting events, there is now even wider scope for operators to showcase what they provide. I would urge anyone who has not already entered not to delay and make sure their nomination is with us before the June 30 deadline.”

Entrants in each category will be shortlisted, and those who are finalists will go before an interview panel or have an undercover visit from the judging panel. ACSTA is a regional heat for the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – and winners will go on to represent the north east in that event in 2017.

The full list of awards categories is:

  1. Most Hospitable Hotel
  2. Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  3. Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation)
  4. Best Informal Eating Experience
  5. Best Restaurant Experience
  6. Friendliest Pub/Bar
  7. Best Cultural Event or Festival
  8. Best Sporting Event
  9. Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  10. Working Together for Tourism
  11. Best Visitor Attraction
  12. Tourism and Hospitality Hero
  13. Innovation in Tourism Award
  14. Regional Rising Star (age -30)
  15. Regional Ambassador (age 31+)

Entry into the awards is free and can be made at The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016.

Jun 102016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Jenni_head and shoulders 1Representatives from local tourism body VisitAberdeenshire are heading south of the border to promote the north east of Scotland to international MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) buyers later this month. Business development director Peter Medley and Jenni Fraser (pictured), business development manager, will attend The Meetings Show in London from 14-16 June, to promote the region to the lucrative meetings, events and conferencing market.

Over 5,000 meetings industry professionals from across the globe will attend the exhibition, where they will have the chance to learn about the new developments in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s venue and incentive offering.

As well as exhibiting to the masses, Peter and Jenni will meet with key business MICE buyers in order to discuss the finer details of what the region has to offer business travellers.

Peter Medley says,

“Attending events like The Meetings Show is an incredibly important step in marketing Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a business travel destination to the wider world.

“Although business tourism has dipped in the north east of Scotland over the past year, there are a number of new developments which will make the region an incredibly attractive prospect for those organising world-class conferences and events.

“Hotel room rates, which were once at an all-time high thanks to the high level of energy industry professionals visiting the city, are now at a much more affordable level, making the region much more enticing to those looking for an affordable – and well-equipped – destination to hold a conference or event.”

Improvements to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s infrastructure are making it easier than ever before for overseas travellers to arrive in the north east. Aberdeen International Airport is currently undergoing a £20 million expansion programme, which will see its landside, airside and security facilities improved and updated.

Coupled with new flight routes from Icelandair, which open up faster routes to many US cities and other global destinations, it has never been simpler to travel to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

But it is not just the region’s travel facilities which are being overhauled. The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) is about to undergo a massive £333 million redevelopment and relocation, which will see it moved closer to the airport and the Western Peripheral Route.

Due to open in 2019, the new AECC will provide greater connectivity and convenience for those travelling to exhibitions and conferences in the area. New flexible space – including a subterranean area for holding large exhibitions – will provide greatly improved facilities for those organising events.

Similarly, Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – both situated in Aberdeen city centre – are experiencing major renovations worth £30 million and £7 million respectively. Providing the perfect venues for gala dinners, drinks receptions and conferences, these new and improved venues will be major assets to the region’s business tourism offering.

Peter concludes,

“When many think of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, their mind springs immediately to oil and gas, however the region has much more to offer meetings and conferences in all sectors – as evidenced by the wide variety of events celebrated by the Team Aberdeen Ambassador Awards earlier this year.

“The north east is also well equipped to cater for the incentive travel market. We are incredibly lucky to have a number of world-class golf courses in the region, including Royal Aberdeen and the Trump International Golf Links. Add to this a number of spectacular whisky distilleries which offer tours and tastings throughout the year, and it becomes quickly apparent just how much the region has to offer.

“We look forward to meeting event organisers from a wide variety of industries at The Meetings Show in London, and revealing to them exactly what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can provide.”

For more information about VisitAberdeenshire, visit

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Apr 292016

ACSHA’s Mike Edwards and Alzheimer Scotland’s Andrea Watt celebrate the hoteliers’ donation. They are joined by regular resource centre users Andy Clark and Dorothy Melia, and Resource Centre manager Brenda Stewart.

With thanks to Eoin Smith.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association (ACSHA) has announced that it has broken its fundraising target for one of the country’s leading dementia charities – thanks to a four-figure boost from its recent cycle-a-thon.
Hoteliers today handed over a cheque for over £27,000 to Alzheimer Scotland at the charity’s recently-opened Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre at the culmination of a year-long fundraising period.

The 3,500km cycle-a-thon, equivalent in length to the Tour De France, took place on static bikes in Aberdeen International Airport and hotels across the region.

Staff, management – and even some guests – from a dozen hotels pedalled their way through 24 gruelling hours to raise over £4,000 for the worthwhile cause.

The mammoth biking effort was just the latest in a series of fundraising initiatives undertaken by ACSHA in the past year – including the launch of a new lager with Deeside Brewery, participation in the city’s annual Memory Walk, and the auction of a bottle of Pol Roger Vintage Cap 1943 champagne.

Mike Edwards, owner of the Mariner Hotel, has spearheaded ACSHA’s fundraising efforts throughout 2015/16. Alzheimer Scotland is a charity close to Mike’s heart, as his father – a well-respected member of the hospitality industry in the north east – was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2008, aged just 59. In the Aberdeen area alone, there are around 300 people under the age of 65 living with dementia.

He says,

“The cycle-a-thon marked the big finish to our year of fundraising for Alzheimer Scotland, and it was fantastic to see so many of my colleagues and peers in the hospitality industry squeezing themselves into their cycling gear and jumping on the bikes.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have exceeded our fundraising goals for Alzheimer Scotland, and this is all thanks to the generosity and determination of hoteliers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“I would like to personally thank the members of ACSHA who have worked tirelessly over the past year to raise funds for such a worthwhile charity.

“Dementia affects those in all walks of life, and the new Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre has quickly become such a valuable haven of support and advice in the city. Each and every penny raised will go towards improving the quality of life of those living with dementia in the north east, and their carers.

“Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association is proud to support Alzheimer Scotland’s work in the north east of Scotland.”

Andrea Watt, Community Fundraiser with Alzheimer Scotland, adds,

“With over 90,000 people now living with dementia and the number on the rise, Alzheimer Scotland is passionate that nobody should face dementia alone. It is our mission to challenge dementia once and for all by working with our supporters and partners to increase awareness and raise funds.

“We are incredibly grateful to the support provided by Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association over the last year. Their hard work has provided a welcome boost to our operations in the north east and will be invested back into the new resource centre which provides a vital source of information and support for those living with the condition.”

The money raised by ACSHA will go towards funding Alzheimer Scotland’s operations in the north east, including the Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre which was opened last year.

In addition to monetary donations, a number of ACSHA members have also signed up to the Dementia Friends initiative, which aims to make public venues more welcoming to those with dementia and their carers.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association represents 49 independently operated hotels and conference venues, along with a further nine associate members. These hotels provide around 4,500 bedrooms in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. ACSHA is committed to improving the quality and standard of hotel services and to furthering the overall standards of excellence and hospitality within the region.

For more information about Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association, visit

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Feb 292016

Lesley Mitchell (centre right) defies the odds to drive off the top prize in a UK wide draw organised by hotel group Village Hotels.

With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

Lesley Mitchell has never won a prize in a competition before. So when her name was selected to win a Mini Cooper in a UK wide draw that attracted tens of thousands of entries she simply could not believe it – and little wonder. Statistics show she had a greater chance of scoring a hole in one at golf or being injured by a firework than winning the brand new motor.

Lesley’s ticket was selected from more than 100,000 entries to the Village Hotel Club’s promotion to win a dream car.

The chance of winning a striking Mini One 1.2 Petrol attracted a massive swell of interest from revellers at each of the hotel group’s 28 hotels across the UK, from Aberdeen to Bournemouth,  Edinburgh to Cardiff, and Glasgow to Blackpool.

When Village Hotels called Lesley by phone to break the fantastic news that she had won the car – worth £14,000 – she thought it was a workmate playing a prank. She and her colleagues had entered the draw while enjoying their office Christmas lunch at the Village Hotel in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, but none of them expected to be among the prize winners.

“When I got the call saying I had won I just automatically assumed it was some kind of hoax,” explains Lesley.

“We all entered the draw but never in a million years did I expect to win – I thought this can’t be right.

“It was a total shock as I have never won anything before, but after several conversations and emails from Lynn Fraser at the Village Hotel Group I realised it was true, it was a lovely surprise. To have won dinner, or a weekend break, would have been really nice but to win the Mini is the icing on the cake.”

The Mini prize looks set to bring maximum benefits for Lesley, who lives in Insch, Aberdeenshire, and is company secretary and office administrator for a chemical business in Bucksburn.

“Many years ago, in my youth, I had a Mini and this will be a lovely run-around,” Lesley continued.

“I’m calling this my ‘Mini Me’ and it will be my weekend car.

“I moved house last year and had the perfect Christmas in my new home, and then to find out I had won a car was just lovely. “

Lynn Fraser from Village Hotels said:

“It was wonderful to break the news to Lesley that her ticket had been picked at random as the winner of our nationwide draw which attracted over 100,000 entries from customers at our hotels the length and breadth of Britain.

“It’s not every day you hear that you have won a prize, let alone won a Mini, so it’s hardly surprising that Lesley was rather taken aback by her good news and that it took some time to sink in.

“It’s a wonderful car and everyone at Village Hotels hopes Lesley really enjoys her new driving experience.”

Village Hotels has 28 hotels located in towns and cities across the UK, boasting modern and friendly accommodation and excellent facilities. For more information, visit



Aug 212015

With thanks to Jennifer Kelly, Tricker PR.

Spitfire burger

Andrew’s Spitfire Burger

When Andrew Brown, a Merchant Navy engineer from Peterhead, visited the Taste of Grampian Festival at Thainstone centre in June, the last thing he thought he would be crowned was The Aberdeen Skyway Hotel’s very own burger king…and it was all down to a spam fritter.
The Aberdeen hotel was a prominent feature at the local foodie festival, offering samples from its latest aviation themed burger menu.

But what The Aberdeen Skyway Hotel was really looking for was a new invention for the menu, created by imaginative festival goers.

From chocolate to yoghurt, fruit to pigs cheeks; some of the entries could be considered unpalatable. For Andrew (28), his Spitfire creation consisted of an Aberdeen Angus burger, topped with a spam fritter, habenero salsa, Swiss cheese, rocket, chard salad and a hefty spread of chilli mayonnaise. The chefs carefully selected Andrew’s creation because of its creativity and well balanced flavours.

Andrew explains:

“I couldn’t believe it when the hotel called me to say my recipe had won – it was actually my friend who persuaded me to enter, knowing my love of a good burger. I’d never made the recipe but I knew the ingredients would marry up well.

“I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with one of the chefs creating my burger and when I finally got to try it, it was every bit as amazing as I’d imagined. The key is in the name though with a definite kick coming from the chilli.

“It’s definitely the most unusual competition I’ve entered and to have my dish on the menu is quite an accolade, even if I do have to put up with my friends calling me the burger king from now on!”

And it would appear that Andrew is not alone in his tastes as the burger has become a huge success since it has been on the menu.

Alison Christie, general manager at The Aberdeen Skyway Hotel, says:

“Guest feedback and input is hugely valuable to us. We strive to ensure that every visitor experience is a positive one; an ongoing achievement reflected in our recent Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award.

“We know that the Taste of Grampian Festival attracts keen foodies from the area and decided what better way to develop a new, creative menu item? Thirty people entered the competition and although there were some unusual ingredients, the majority were superb.

“We added Andrew’s Spitfire to the menu at the start of July, giving summer visitors an option to try something unique during their visit. The competition has been such a success that we may look to do it again in the future.”

The Spitfire burger will remain on the menu until the end of August and is priced at £14.

The Aberdeen Skyway Hotel is part of The Hotel Collection, which has two other venues in the city – The Aberdeen Altens Hotel and The Caledonian Hotel. There are 446 bedrooms across the three venues, and each has conferencing and banqueting facilities. The Aberdeen Altens Hotel also has a health and leisure club. Further information is available at

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Apr 142015

NEWSLINE MEDIA LIMITEDWith thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

An Aberdeen hotel has been recognised in a national accreditation scheme which aims to identify the country’s best meeting venues. Thistle Aberdeen Airport has been awarded a commended rating by BDRC Continental – a meetings sector research specialist – based on feedback from customers.

VenueVerdict Accreditation, which is based entirely on genuine and verified customer reviews, means that Thistle Aberdeen Airport is delivering a level of customer service to meetings and events customers which is considered to be above the national average.

The four-star venue has a main ballroom capable of seating 250 guests, along with a number of smaller meeting rooms. The hotel provides meeting space for several global oil majors located in the Granite City, and is one of only a handful of hotels in Aberdeen to hold full emergency response plans for customers in the energy sector.

Although it has a large corporate customer base, it is also a very popular venue for weddings, dinner dances and charity events. It staged a variety of different events in 2014, with a high proportion of year on year repeat business.

The accreditation from VenueVerdict applies to the period from January to December, 2014. Thistle Aberdeen Airport general manager Alison Christie says that the venue receives consistently high feedback from customers.

She adds,

“To have that positive feedback formally recognised through the VenueVerdict Accreditation underlines that we are able to deliver consistently high standards. We always strive to go above and beyond for our customers in terms of their expectations, so we are very pleased to have this acknowledged.

“We believe that each and every event is individual, so therefore we should be delivering a level of service that reflects our willingness to put the customer at the centre of the whole process. It is that approach that has consistently earned us high praise from our customers, and keeps them returning to the hotel.”

During the period from January to December 2014, VenueVerdict featured 375 participating meeting venues and hotels in the UK and Ireland. The results were derived from around 21,250 individual pieces of feedback.

Thistle has three hotels in Aberdeen – The Caledonian, Aberdeen Airport and Aberdeen Altens. There are 446 bedrooms across the three venues, and each has conferencing and banqueting facilities. Aberdeen Altens also has an on-site leisure club and spa. Further information is available at


Mar 272015

acsha logoWith thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association (ACSHA) is remaining upbeat about the performance of the sector, despite a decline in occupancy rates last
Figures released by hospitality research company STR Global shows that occupancy fell by 8% to 70% between January and February, and by 2.6% overall in the 12 months from February 2014.

In comparison, however, the average daily room rate dropped by 2.9% to £94.85, while the number of bedrooms available over 12 months increased by 4.6% due to new building projects.

Over 1,000 additional hotel rooms have been created in Aberdeen since 2013, with two further major hotel openings planned for sites at Aberdeen International Airport later this year.

ACSHA chairman Chris McGuinness believes that, in addition to the increased number of bedrooms, falling oil prices will also have influenced the February figures. He says that members of the trade organisation are taking a measured approach to the slump in the energy sector.

He said,

“There are a lot of very experienced operators in the city who have witnessed the cyclical nature of the energy sector over many years. We know only too well that the oil industry has peaks and troughs: the sector has enjoyed a phenomenal performance over the past couple of years, so the current downturn has not been unexpected.

“We expect to see a reduction in the amount of discretionary business travel as a result of the downturn, with less people traveling into the city for meetings and training courses. However, we are not panicking by entering into a rates war as previous experience tells us that this will not be a long-term issue.

“The current decline will not last forever, and as global demand for oil starts to increase so too will the price of Brent crude oil. When that happens, Aberdeen’s hotel industry will be in a stronger position than before with more bedroom availability for those visiting the city on business.

“For many years we have found ourselves in a situation where we did not have enough supply to meet demand. That should now start to balance out and the gap in performance between Aberdeen and rest of the UK – which has previously been far too big – will get closer.”

ACSHA has worked closely with destination management group VisitAberdeen to market the city for weekend breaks, and will continue to in efforts to help position Aberdeen as a leisure destination.

Mr McGuinness adds,

“The high demand for bedrooms midweek means that Aberdeen has some of the best value weekend rates anywhere in the world. Supporting VisitAberdeen continues to be a priority for ACSHA.

“We must not forget that there is more to the hospitality industry than bedrooms, and anecdotally members are telling us that revenue from food and beverage sales is rising year on year and meetings and events, which includes weddings, is also performing at the level it has in previous years.”

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association represents 43 independently operated hotels and conference venues. These hotels provide around 4,100 bedrooms in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. ACSHA is committed to improving the quality and standard of hotel services and to furthering the overall standards of excellence and hospitality within the region.

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