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Quality is 'Factored' in at Highland B&B

Press Release   •   May 17, 2016 11:02 BST

Graham and Fiona Deakin, owners of The Factor's House, are pictured with Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director

A boutique B&B which overlooks the Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands has been awarded the national tourism organisation’s highest accolade.

The Factor’s House, on the Black Isle, has achieved VisitScotland’s Five Star Gold Quality Assurance (QA) award. The ‘gold’ part of the award represents the continuing attainment of outstanding customer service and hospitality.

Set in Cromarty, the Highlands’s best-preserved historic town, the Factor’s House is set in private grounds overlooking the Cromarty Firth, just a short walk from the beach and harbour, quaint shops, bars and eateries, ferry crossing to Nigg and dolphin trips.

Owned by trained chef Fiona Deakin and husband Graham, the red sandstone property has three individually-designed ensuite bedrooms. They all have a selection of teas, coffee and homemade biscuits and are made up with best quality Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy towels, bathrobes and a choice of homemade essential oil and luxury toiletries.

Guests staying at the Factor’s House have use of a private lounge with a log fire, comfortable sofas and an array of books. The garden has beautiful views over the Cromarty Firth, with cruise ships regularly passing by during the summer months.

The property, which also has a Taste Our Best award, isthe perfect spot for a romantic getaway, a base for cycling or mountain biking, golfing, hill and coastal walking, dolphin and wildlife watching or just for relaxing. Cromarty is packed full of history dating from medieval times with Cromarty Courthouse and Hugh Miller’s House both within walking distance.

Fiona Deakin, who owns the Factor’s House with husband Graham, said:

It is very exciting to receive this prestigious award. We have tried to create somewhere we would like to stay ourselves and we are constantly adding and improving our business to try and exceed the expectations of our guests. 

“We love what we do for a living - who wouldn’t - welcoming an amazing diversity of people into our home, to enjoy where we live and what we offer.

Developed and improved over the past 25 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.

QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.

Launched in September 2013, Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between the national tourism organisation and the Scottish Government. Assessors rate the overall eating experience, the extent to which Scottish produce (at least 40%) is used and promoted, and staff knowledge of the produce on the menu and its provenance.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said:

“Fiona and Graham should be congratulated on their attainment of this Five Star Gold award, which not only demonstrates an exceptional level of quality but also the continuing attainment of outstanding customer service and hospitality.

This business really is a shining example of how to get it right and the fact Fiona and Graham also have Taste Our Best assures their guests that they are going to enjoy the best quality local and organic produce whilst staying there.

“The benefits of Quality Assurance aren’t just for visitors – the confidence that comes from QA keeps businesses on top of their game and ultimately the increased opportunities it creates puts cash in the till.”

Notes to Editors

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  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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