Nic Oldham is a senior hospitality and tourism leader who was recently promoted to general manager of Trump Turnberry.

Mr Oldham, who previously held a leadership role with the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, says he "can't control what people think of our owner'.

But he declared that the current custodian of the celebrated Ayrshire resort is committed to investing in this "historic gem in Scotland's tourism landscape".

What is your business called?

Trump Turnberry

What is its turnover?


How many employees?


Where do you draw your customers from? Are you seeing as many foreign tourists as you were before the coronavirus pandemic?

London, Scotland (west coast mainly) and the USA. Yes, this year we’re seeing the same level of international guests as 2019.

How is this season’s tourism season shaping up?

We’ve had a very strong start, June slightly less strong, early July is particularly healthy thanks to The Open Championship at Royal Troon and August and September are looking good.

What are the main challenges facing the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry and what can be done to help?

Recruitment; quality people in our business determine our success. We can have the best view, greatest venue but if the service is off our guests will be too. There continues to be a chronic staff shortage across our sector, damaging the whole economy.

We’re investing in developing our own talent with launch of our own apprenticeship programme and Back to Work initiative at Trump Turnberry. But ultimately, both our governments need to understand the strategic economic value of hospitality and tourism and demonstrate that they do in terms of policy. Right now, they don’t and often hinder rather than help. It’s a major problem.

The Herald: Nic Oldham

Nic Oldham, general manager, Trump Turnberry

To what extent do you think the UK and Scottish and UK governments understand the needs of business? Do you expect the change of First Minister in Scotland to bring a change to the approach to business?

I think that John Swinney’s early signalling of a renewed commitment to economic growth is encouraging, as is his appointment of Kate Forbes MSP to the role of Cabinet Secretary for the Economy. Ms Forbes would appear to have a solid understanding of the tourism and hospitality sector in Scotland and a commitment to working with the sector to overcome its challenges. However, actions need to follow words.

I do think that both the UK and Scottish governments need to work much harder, and together, to understand not only the challenges the sector faces, but the opportunities it has to contribute as a major economic driver and the benefits it brings as an employer in terms of skills, career opportunities and positive experiences.

What are your plans and targets for the business this year?

To increase revenue and profit by at least 20% and to continue to invest all profits back into the business to maintain the standard of the product and develop our offering, specifically the equestrian centre and farm and the changes we’re making to the Ailsa Championship Course. We’ll continue to invest in developing our people through our training and apprenticeship programmes and we have our eyes on opening up the European and Korean markets.

To what extent is the Trump name a challenge or benefit to the business?

My job isn’t politics, thank goodness, my job is running the best hotel on Britain’s west coast. I can’t control what people think of our owner, what I can control is the stewardship of a historic gem in Scotland’s tourism landscape.

For the world market, Trump as a business signals internationally renowned golf courses and hotels. That quality is remarkable, world beating, and if everyone can recognise that, it’s a huge gain for our team and suppliers in Scotland.

Does the resort retain hopes of Turnberry returning to the rota for The Open?

It is up to the R&A where the Open is played and I leave that tough choice to them. We will do all we can though - how special would it be to see The Open return to the home of the ‘Duel in the Sun’ moment between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson? We would love to welcome the R&A back.

What were you doing before you joined?

Head of customer and commercial at Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels joining Trump Turnberry as director of sales and marketing in 2023, before being promoted to GM this spring.

What do you least enjoy about your role?

I would rather avoid politics and having to influence public policy, but needs must.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

To be the best resort to visit in the UK and to develop a full resort experience and draw more people to Ayrshire and Scotland to experience its unique history, heritage, attractions and off course, the golf courses and our resort.

What single thing would most help?

If policymakers shared the industry’s ambition and acted on that then that would go a long way.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

From my late father - employee smarter people than you who are experts in their fields.

Where do you find yourself most at ease?

I am not sure I’m ever completely at ease, I’m always looking how I can improve myself, the team and the business but I do switch off when I’m watching sport.

If you weren’t in your current role, what job would you most fancy?

I’ve joked for a long time that I’d just like to cut grass in nice patterns.

What phrase or quotation has inspired you the most?

Gary Player, the South African golfer – “The more I practice the luckier I get.”

What is the best book you have ever read? Why is it the best?

FISH! - the story about a fish market (Pike Place) in Seattle. It’s about learning to love your work even if it’s not the ‘ideal’ job. Sounds simple but it’s really profound.

What has been your most challenging moment in life or business?

If I keep to business, probably as a young GM having to make 10 people redundant after September 11th. This was 10% of our workforce and all good local people. It changed my perspective around my level of responsibility as a GM.

What do you now know that you wish you had known when starting out in your career?

That you need to keep educating yourself, give yourself time to think and reflect and travel and learn other cultures.