Gillian Purdie from Girvan has been awarded the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland’s first Chris Rouse Scholarship.
The Trust decided earlier this year to provide a scholarship in Chris Rouse’s name in memory of the director and general manager of Turnberry Hotel who was known for developing the highest standards for his guests and inspiring the best from his team, and was responsible for the transformation of the hotel into a world-leading luxury spa and golf resort.
Each year a hit Scotland scholarship will be awarded to someone working in the Ayrshire area, helping their personal development within Scottish hospitality.
Gillian was chosen as the first winner as she showed real enthusiasm for her role at Glenapp and for growing her career in Scottish hospitality.
She is currently the sales, marketing and revenue manager with Glenapp Castle, a five-star luxury castle hotel based in the Ayrshire countryside, and has found a passion for the industry.
Ayrshire born, after university Gillian returned home and applied for a job at Glenapp Castle as a receptionist, and instantly knew she had made the right decision.
She said: “I loved the buzz, the fast-paced work schedule, the customer interaction and everything that came along with it.
“At this same time, the business had appointed a new managing director to drive the business forward and i have been so lucky to work alongside her and to be a part in glenapp’s new journey!”
Gillian’s goal was to strive to be the best she could be, learn lots of different skills useful for this industry, and to become a manager one day. she had been assigned the task of monitoring, managing and creating the content for the hotel’s social media platforms and website, so hit Scotland’s digital marketing planning course was perfect for her.
She continued: “I was keen to see how digital strategies and planning can improve the marketing efforts of the castle towards our local community.
“We have a strong local consumer base that we wanted to target through our social media channels, we needed to effectively promote dining offers and updates to them, and i lacked the planning and content creation skills to do this.
“I knew the team at the castle should be best placed to do this as they know more about the product than the web development team, but I wanted to learn the specialist skills in this area to show me how.”
Gillian was part of a group of Scottish hospitality professionals taking part in an interactive two day workshop learning how to create a useable digital marketing plan for your business.
She learned how to work out her company’s digital marketing objectives, brand persona, and understanding who their customers and influencers were, then looked at content guidelines, creation and planning.
Gillian said: “This course was so worthwhile, and quite eye opening for me. I left knowing I had a lot to do to ensure our digital marketing was a success, but my most important lesson was that I could do it myself – we know the product best and we should be running with it, not handing over to a design agency.
“These skills, and having the confidence to use them, will help me position the castle as a key player against many of our competitors, which is fantastic for the local area.”