We dream big…about our inns

The Queen of the Loch is ranked number two in the area on TripAdvisor by its guests. Manager Paul Young explains what makes his lodge and carvery the place to be.

Nestled near the southern shores of Loch Lomond and less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow, the Queen of the Loch offers more than a good night’s sleep and a hearty meal.

Now run by a team of 42, including five housekeepers and two night-keepers, the lodge and carvery was built in March 2015 as part of our commitment to build five new lodges every year. With 27 bedrooms running at an average occupancy of 86%, it’s also one of our most successful inns.

Manager Paul Young explained: “When we opened, we were Marston’s second-biggest lodge – yet we had to work very hard to reach that milestone. We started by laying the foundations with the community.

“Many local people were apprehensive about Marston’s opening a lodge in Balloch. It’s a lovely village and, although the local economy relies upon tourism, it’s a tight-knit community. This is vital to its appeal.

“We had big plans for the lodge, so before we opened our doors for business, I made sure that I visited local shops and community groups. We wanted to explain to local residents and business owners that we’d come to Balloch because we wanted to celebrate the area and bring even more business to them.”

Paul’s hard work has paid off because the Queen of the Loch is now king of the community. Its guests have ranked them number two in the area on TripAdvisor – and the team’s aim of gaining 4.5 stars is within their grasp.

“Our location is a key selling point,” added Paul. “We’re at the gateway to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy Scotland’s stunning scenery.”

But with wet and windy winters, the local community relies heavily upon seasonal tourism. Yet it would take more than the weather to dampen dreams at the Queen of the Loch.

Paul and his team had accounted for the quieter off-season months in their plans but, by building up links with local businesses and raising awareness on social media, they’ve kept rooms occupied. Earlier in the year, the lodge was even booked out by a 72-strong wedding party.

“It’s all about attracting a variety of customers and knowing our potential. Our Facebook page has been a big help. For example, if the weather’s good, we’ll get on Facebook and put up a few posts to let our followers know exactly what they’re missing out on!”

Despite the importance of getting to grips with technology, Paul’s quick to explain that the old ways are still often the best – like a ‘proper Marston’s welcome’.

“We treat our lodge as if it’s a home. That’s especially important for the businessmen and women who can stay with us up to three weeks at a time. So, on top of the free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking, we’re always aiming to go the extra mile. That means getting to know our guests on first-name terms, as well as learning and remembering their preferences to show that we’ve listened and really care. It’s the type of service that can really make us stand out.

“We’ve only been here a year but I hope we can make everyone at Marston’s proud of the work we’re doing at the Queen of the Loch.”

 

Click below to watch our mini-film and hear teammates sharing their thoughts on how they’re also dreaming big.


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