Name: Gordon Campbell Gray.

What is your business called?

The Wee Hotel Company.

Where is it based?

The business runs the Pierhouse Hotel & Seafood Restaurant at Port Appin in Argyll and The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye.

The Three Chimneys at Colbost is based within an original Skye croft house and is renowned for serving dishes that optimise the richness and variety of Scotland’s natural larder, including wood-fired Skye red deer and roast partridge. Diners can opt to stay in one of six bedrooms in the adjacent House Over-By

The Pierhouse on the shores of Loch Linnhe offers views to the islands of Lismore and Mull. Restaurant menus include langoustines and mussels harvested from Loch Linnhe and Loch Etive, as well as fine handpicked oysters from the oyster beds of Loch Creran.

To whom does it sell?

Both attract overnight guests and daytime diners from around Scotland, the rest of the UK and from all over the world.

What is its turnover?

Less than last year!

How many employees?

62. Some staff were furloughed during the coronavirus lockdown, but the core team will return to work when both venues reopen towards the end of July.

When was it formed?

I founded the company in 2018.

Why did you take the plunge?

I decided after spending many years creating hotels around the world that it was finally, time to return to my native Scotland. I have a house on a Loch in Argyll and when I was leaving it at the end of a weekend to fly away yet again to some distant part, I started to have that back to school feeling and I realised I didn’t want to leave so I said to myself - then why are you leaving? It was then that it was clear that I wanted to complete the circle and return to Scotland.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I was heading up my international hotel company and travelling literally non-stop from Beirut to Antigua to Bahrain to Jordan to London ...

How did you raise the start-up funding?

I was very lucky as when I created my first hotel, The Feathers in Woodstock, when I was in my twenties, it was much easier than it is today. I met a banker who trusted me and said yes to my loan request. I was a fully trained hotelier having worked in five-star hotels but had no track-record in running my own business, but he said yes. Alas, today it would be impossible for that to happen as there would be too many committees and they would doubtless say no. I was one of the last very lucky ones.

What was your biggest break?

Getting the funding for my first hotel and being able to put into practice all the things which I believed in without anyone interfering!

What was your worst moment?

After the 9/11 attacks on the USA in 2001 our hotel in London plunged from 100 per cent occupancy to virtually zero. My task was to try to save the business and the staff and we succeeded. In many ways it was a good rehearsal for what we have all had to do since the country was struck with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I have always loved hotels and restaurants and the concept of hospitality. Creating hotels is one thing but building the teams is what I enjoy and relish the most. It is the challenge of creating what appears to be like a perfect ballet.

I always get a kick out of seeing guests arriving and watching the teams welcome them and look after them. It has to be one of the most rewarding careers possible and I never tire of it.

What is your biggest bug bear?

Accountants who can’t see the bigger picture and try to make me cut down on some of my extravagances - which I see as necessities!

I have always said that we are in the business of being kind and welcoming. Hospitality is about generosity.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

My plan for the company is to hopefully expand to around six hotels in Scotland each of which must be in a spectacular setting (not hard to find here) while specialising in local produce and showcasing the finest our country has to offer.

What are your top five priorities?

To create an environment within the company which excels in looking after its employees.

To create wonderful experiences for our guests.

To create a strong sense of community engaging both the locals and suppliers and involvement with the environment and issues of wellbeing.

Suppliers and working with them and enjoying shared values.

The business and its prudent financial management. It has to make a profit for its

success and survival, but it has to be clear that points one to four must be met first. A business which is there purely to make a profit is not in my eyes a real business.

What could the Westminster and /or Scottish Government do that would help?

They should make it absolutely clear that there is a welcome on the mat in Scotland and that visitors are welcome. I have recently received cancellations from guests from England who say that they are worried about being unwelcome. This is shocking and we must ensure that this message is changed. I have chosen to invest both financially and emotionally back in Scotland and it is galling to see that sometimes the messaging being sent out by certain authorities could perhaps be better!

People's livelihoods are at stake here and I am without patience when I hear of locals sending out negative messages.

The Scottish economy needs tourism and the many jobs, directly and indirectly, it creates.

Do we want our children to have to move away to get jobs?

We need to be generous and share our beautiful country. We do not personally own the mountains and the lochs and the magnificent landscapes. They are to be shared.

What is the most valuable lesson that you learned?

That to slow down is good - very, very good.