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New venture will promote the Cairngorms as the perfect holiday choice

By Calum MacLeod

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Igloo founders Erin McBean and Nick Lyon.
Igloo founders Erin McBean and Nick Lyon.

A pair of entrepreneurs with a passion for the Highland have joined forces to create a new local holiday agency promoting the Cairngorms as the perfect choice for self-catering holidays.

Erin McBean of Aviemore and Nick Lyon of Inverness are also making sustainability key to their new venture – igloo – by committing to plant a tree with every booking. This innovative policy allows holiday homeowners to be part of a scheme that gives back to the community and environment.

Ms McBean said: “As a new business, we are keen to do things differently – starting igloo is a blank canvas, and we want it to reflect our values and lifestyle. From day one, we have a clear commitment to our local environment. Working with Trees for Life in the Highlands, we are really excited to be able to plant a tree with every booking.”

Ms McBean has many years of experience in the local tourism sector while Mr Lyon is a design and marketing expert. The pair feel their expertise in the industry and knowledge of the area can help local holiday homeowners reach more customers despite the challenging conditions in the tourism sector at present.

The company has already invested in state-of-the-art booking software, a responsive website, and a system to utilise paperless contracts., building on a proven track record in digital marketing for businesses.

They are also keen to support local business owners, and their guests navigate the increasingly complicated Covid restrictions.

“The pandemic has meant guest expectations have really changed, and igloo has committed to fairness and flexibility in dealing with any changes to bookings due to Covid restrictions,” Ms McBean added.

The current impact of Covid-19 on holidaymakers has also been a significant consideration for the pair in setting up igloo.

The company already boasts Covid refund policies in line with Competition and Markets Authority guidance, and holiday home owners and their guests will also benefit from igloo’s extensive Covid safety procedures.

Mr Lyon said: “We have all seen the horror stories in the news about peoples holidays being cancelled and major players refusing flexibility and refunds – we want igloo to be different and as a small local agency we are putting fairness and flexibility front and centre when guests book.

“Working with a tech start-up in Edinburgh we have invested in state of the art booking software that gives us a real advantage over our competitors which will help us stand out – no other company locally will be using such a cutting edge system and we think that is quite exciting.”

Ms McBean added: “We know there are a lot of options out there for holiday homeowners, but we feel our personal and local on the ground service combined with our use of technology will set us apart both from big multinational players and more established agencies locally – we have exciting plans for igloo and look forward to welcoming guests to the Cairngorms for many years to come – we’d love to hear from you if you are looking for a fresh approach to managing and marketing their self-catering property.

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