Case Study: Where Stags Roar
Based in Newtonmore in Strathspey, Where Stags Roar is a self-catering business owned and operated by Dianne and Rod Frazer. Recent winners of the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards' 'Best Self-Catering Accommodation' accolade, the couple have built up a selection of five properties providing visitors with excellent access to the Cairngorm National Park.
INVESTING IN ADDITIONAL BIKE STORAGE
With over two decades of experience in offering self-catered accommodation, Dianne and Rod continue to personally look after the maintenance and management of their properties. The couple had already installed secure bike storage at two of their five properties, but in 2021, when DMBinS launched the Safe and Secure Bike Storage scheme with a 50% grant towards purchase costs, it prompted them to investigate solutions for the remaining three properties in the Where Stags Roar portfolio.
Newtonmore is recognised as one of Scotland’s top locations for outdoor sports, catering for lovers of everything from skiing and hiking to kayaking and wild swimming. For bikers and cyclists, the area is truly exceptional – offering a huge range of options on tarmac, gravel and dirt – and all within easy reach of the self-catering properties within the Where Stags Roar collection.
“It's one of the things we love most about living in Newtonmore,” explains Rod Frazer. “We have it all here. You can hop straight onto your bike, no need for the car, and take a cycle route directly to nearby villages and beyond, or access lots of local popular mountain bike routes straight from your door. The main street through the village is even part of the Sustrans 7 cycle route.“Our properties are within easy reach of top purpose-built mountain biking centres and the local hills and forests offer up a huge variety of tracks in breath-taking surroundings. There are tracks in this area for all levels of technical ability, the options are endless, so it’s not surprising that we’re keen to cater for the needs all kinds of bikers.”
“We already had storage facilities at two properties, but when DMBinS launched the Safe Secure Bike Storage Scheme, it gave us the push we needed to look at suitable solutions for the other properties.”
"The application process was simple, no complaints there, it was really quite seamless. The application pack gave lots of good ideas for the best manufacturers and we found a purpose-built Asgard bike storage unit that was the perfect fit and maximised the available space. Despite not taking up much room at all, the new units have been hugely appreciated by our guests – and by us too as no-one is now storing dirty mountain bikes inside our properties.
“In addition, the Asgard units are so solid – and that gives people a bit more confidence in the security aspect – even though bike crime in our area is almost non-existent. Ultimately, we ended up using the Asgard units for a couple of more sheds and that enabled us to install storage at all our properties.
“From our point of view, this is much better as it enables us to make overarching statements about all the properties available under the Where Stags Roar banner having secure bike storage, which is nice to be able to say.
BUILDING A BRAND STORY FOR BIKERS
Having invested in the new storage facilities, Dianne and Rod found that they also invested more time in getting the biking message out to previous and potential guests through their social media posts.
“We definitely started making more of our offer to bikers right across social media,” Rod confirmed. “And we are getting good engagement with these bike-related posts. A lot of our guests tend to book directly, and it keeps our previous guests engaged with us which is important for repeat bookings."
"We're lucky that we live and work in such an awesome spot for mountain biking – and we do get all kinds of bikers coming to stay, from die hard MTB'ers to families and couples cruising the local forest tracks. And awareness of the storage facilities does help with bookings."
“Certainly, we know that some people now search for accommodation using a filter for bike storage.”
“Certainly, we know that some people now search for accommodation using a filter for bike storage – and if you have an expensive bike – then the chances are you would use that filter to make sure you did have access to safe and secure storage. So yes, people are happy to see it. And conversely, we’ve had a few people turn up with bikes that they thought they’d have to store in their cars, and they’re delighted when they see that storage is available."
Alongside the improved facilities for bikers and cyclists, Dianne and Rod are now doing a lot more to encourage their guests to take their bikes with them when the visit Newtonmore. As well as featuring mountain biking and cycling more in their social media, they have posted details of several local biking routes on the Komoot app. Rod also tested some of the routes and included his experiences and local directions on these in social media posts.
“I’m kind of old school and would just grab a map,” explained Rod, “but increasingly people want to do routes that they can follow on one of the apps. This gives people confidence regarding accessibility – in areas where they may not be familiar with the access rights and where they can and cannot cycle.
“We like to make it easy and fun for the guests to cycle here. We try and take the environmental aspect of what we do very seriously – and don’t just pay lip service to it. We have installed EV chargers at all five of our properties too – and you can’t really say you are trying to be green if you don’t encourage people to get out on two wheels as part of their holiday too!”
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