The Smugglers Hostel
The Smugglers Hostel in Tomintoul was taken over by TGDT in April 2013. It had previously been operated by SYHA with the building on a lease from the Moray Council. When SYHA indicated they wanted to close the hostel, the community were keen to retain the facility, therefore, the Development Trust set about creating a viable business plan and proposal to transfer the lease into their name.
The keys were handed over at the end of April, only a few days prior to our first bookings for the 2013 season, resulting in a mad onset of work by directors, staff and community members. Over one weekend, the orange entrance hallway was transformed into a more welcoming environment with new fresh colours, windows cleaned, benches stained, flower tubs planted and beds made!
A new brand identity was created for the hostel, capitalising on the rich Whisky Smuggling history of the area – “The Smugglers” was born. A new hostel logo and signage was developed and a strong online presence established through social media and a website. With a truly unique identity, The Smugglers stands out against other hostels and celebrates its vivid local history, with smugglers images, whisky casks and now dorm rooms named after some iconic whisky smuggling characters from the past.
Kerry Greaves and her family managed the hostel during the 2013 season, attracting great reviews for their friendly welcome and the great facilities on offer. We are pleased to welcome Kerry back as Hostel Manager for the 2014 season. Whilst Kerry is responsible for the day to day management of the hostel, she will also be working with the Directors and Staff to further develop the Hostel and increase the income generated from the business, attracting greater visitor numbers and spend. Furthermore, so far, The Smugglers has also welcomed two volunteers into its doors, enabling them to stay and explore the area while helping a community business.
With over 1100 bed nights in 2013, the hostel proved to be a great step forwards for the community and the Development Trust and continues to go from strength to strength.