Hopes for a tourism boost for Speyside as B&B features on TV

Yvonne Halling with Speyside B&B owner Claire Mackenzie at filming for Sky TV pilot.

A Speyside Bed and Breakfast owner is hoping that her appearance on a new reality television programme will provide a boost to tourism in the region.

Claire Mackenzie and her husband Douglas are to feature on a pilot edition of ‘B&B Rescue’ being produced by Sky Television.

The pair, who operate the Tulach Ard B&B in Grantown, have been selected because of their passion for the hospitality trade having been involved in operating their business for three years.

Recently they spent a day filming the show which is described as being a cross between hit programmes The Hotel Inspector and Four in a Bed. The show is fronted by B&B guru Yvonne Halling, who has run her own guest house since 2001 and now works as a mentor for those in the same industry.

The Mackenzie’s, who have two teenage girls, hope that working with Yvonne on the pilot will not only make them operate the business more effectively but will also help promote Speyside.

Claire explained: “We have to fly our own flag and that of the town and I saw this opportunity. I have been following Yvonne’s work for a while and I saw that she was putting together this new programme so jumped at the chance. I didn’t for a minute think that we would get picked.

“Before Yvonne came with the film crew we spoke about a plan of action and one thing that she mentors on is up-selling and providing something extra for guests.

“It really made me think and focus. I used to do guided walks in Austria, I love history and the community that I live in, so one of things we will be focusing on as a business is offering historical walks in the town.

“I am delighted with the concept as it’s something I’m passionate about, but it also means that Grantown gets some of the limelight too.”

The 50-year-old admitted that filming for the programme proved exhausting – but was great fun and went well: “I got the chance to speak about how unique Grantown is in that we can depict the growth of the modern Highlands all those 250 years ago. The enthusiasm that Yvonne has and the knowledge that she has shared is invaluable, it was enlightening.”

Yvonne Halling said: “Claire is extremely knowledgeable about the local area and she is very dynamic.

“Putting her skills together with what this great town has to offer could really dramatically change the business and benefit the town. I had a chat with Claire and she has a great product and great ideas, she also very open minded and that’s the sort of person I wanted to work with.”

B&B Rescue will be screened on a new Sky TV channel Property TV – an air date is yet to be decided.

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