Linda Johnston came to the Isle of Arran, Scotland on a contract as a physical education teacher. The island had no swimming pool, and so, to build and pay for a pool, she and her husband did the next logical thing – buy a country house hotel. Over thirty years on, Auchrannie Resort consists of the original hotel, two swimming pools, a spa resort, leisure facilities, a number of co-ownership lodges, retreats, a playbarn and much more.
Linda had no previous experience running a business, but she’s committed to learning, growing and putting in the hard work. Conscious of wanting to retire in the future, to ensure Auchrannie is left in good hands, they have moved to employee ownership. It’s a fascinating concept putting people over profits, and we discuss that and much more in this episode.
We start off by discussing the pool that started it all and go on to discuss:
- The employee ownership model
- The percentage of business that comes from dog lovers
- Developing a strong relationship with your bank
- Walking the walk when prioritizing your staff
- Creating a consistent, quality guest experience
- Creativity in the hospitality sector
- Know your values. Act in alignment with them.
- Provide the best experience – happy customers are the best marketing device.
- You can learn everything. Surround yourself with professionals and learn from them.