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Scottish Tourism Set For Boost

Private House Stays, one of Scotland’s leading online accommodation booking portals, is set to boost the country’s tourism thanks to a £20,000 cash injection.

The bespoke tourism company, which is based in North Berwick, is poised for significant growth after being awarded a £15,000 grant from East Lothian Council, with founder Cassie Bouverie also investing £5000 of her own money into the project.

The company successfully applied for a Business Growth and Sustainability Grant under the Local Authority Covid-19 Economic Recovery (LA-CER) Fund.

Ms Bouverie was delighted to receive news of the funding boost and says it will allow her to implement the next phase of her growth strategy as the business continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“We pride ourselves on offering an authentic and personal local accommodation experience and this grant will allow us to further enhance that offering,” said Ms Bouverie, who has approaching 100 properties throughout Scotland on her website, which also lists over 4000 attractions and experiences.

“I’m very appreciative of the assistance from East Lothian Council – there’s a huge amount of help out there if businesses know where to look.

“I want to make booking privately-owned accommodation through our website as simple and easy as possible. We have a lot of exciting plans which we can now look at in detail with the good news about our successful application combined with my own investment.

“These include upgrading our software and building a new framework for owners to create one, three and five-day itineraries.

“We want people to stay in Scotland longer, spend more time enjoying what our beautiful country has to offer and, in the process, enhance the local economy of the area they’re in.

“All of our regions have so much to offer that I think we need to stress to visitors there is little point in them trying to see the whole of Scotland in one week; they would get more out of staying longer in places.”

Private House Stays, which was founded in 2010 by Ms Bouverie after she spent 12 years running her own B&B in Edinburgh, is an official online booking partner of VisitScotland. It features a range of accommodation options throughout Scotland, including self-catering, lodges, inns, hotels, B&Bs and glamping sites.

“While running my B&B, the percentage of revenue lost to third party sites was a constant source of frustration but it seemed unavoidable as the larger companies held all the power,” she said.

“This experience led me to creating Private House Stays and I’m intent on educating businesses about becoming less reliant on online travel agents.

“With our upgrade, we will be able to promote specific areas for visitors to enjoy, and that can have very positive effects on the places they visit. Owners can create itineraries on their listings which will be a big help for guests who are then more likely to book.”

Elaine Carmichael, Economic Development Team Manager at East Lothian Council said: “We are delighted to have awarded Cassie this grant from the Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery (LA-CER) funding, provided by the Scottish Government.

“The purpose of the funding is to support local businesses to recover and grow following the difficult trading conditions of the last few years.

“As we know, the tourism sector was hit particularly hard, but Private House Stays has remained resilient during very difficult times.  We were impressed with Cassie’s ambitions to develop her business and glad to be able to assist with implementation via the grant.

“East Lothian Council’s Economic Development team look forward to continuing to work with and assist Cassie and her team and to seeing the results of the support.”

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