Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 53 ince the purchase of the site in 2005, sustainable tourism has always been at the heart of Glen Mhor’s new owners’ plans. The hotel and apartments are located in Inverness, in the Highlands of Scotland, and command fantastic river views. For owner Victoria Erasmus, when taking on the hotel it was vitally important to concentrate on green energy and practices, positive mental health, and training initiatives, and to bring a clear focus to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), promoting the fair treatment of all. Glen Mhor seeks to meet the carbon neutral goals set by the government and world leaders, but it has not always been straightforward. The way it has gone about this is to embed green practices into how it operates as a tourism business, transforming best practice daily. Victoria introduced a dedicated sustainability manager, a Glen Mhor staff green team, a robust green policy, and monthly green training for all staff. Everybody has mandatory climate literacy training as part of the induction programme, and the green policy and goals are reviewed during weekly department meetings. Glen Mhor has been awarded a gold grading from Green Tourism, and is a signatory to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action. It supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a detailed climate action plan showing how, as a business, it is tackling all 17 UN Development Goals. It is also a disability confident employer, and has a full Climate Risk Management Plan to 2050. It openly shares its green journey so that others can understand the reality, barriers, and goals to addressing the global climate crisis. Last year, following an £8m investment, the company opened an energy centre using its own water source pumps, and introduced heat extraction via shallow wells discretely located in its car park. It also built the Uile-Bheist (pronounced Ewl-Uh-Vhest) Distillery and Brewery on-site. This means it can create delicious beer and whisky, using its own water source, and provide all the water for the hotel’s needs. It also uses solar energy with PV installations on the roof helping provide the hotel with energy. The Glen Mhor is not only looking to future-proof the business with use of sustainable technology, but to minimise its impact on the local environment. As Victoria’s career began in teaching, and she is also mother to 4 teenagers, she is particularly passionate about education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. Perhaps the spur for this came from her son being diagnosed with autism and severe learning difficulties, at 2 years old. This made Victoria begin to consider what the world of work might look like for him, and where he might be able to add value and shine. Realising the statistics on disability S employment in Scotland were very poor, Victoria determined to find ways of addressing the barriers within the hospitality sector, and set out to change the narrative. She introduced accessible communication, diversity training and discussions of lived experience within groups at Glen Mhor. UileBheist and the Waterside restaurant began to offer sensory backpacks and ear defenders, available for use by both guests and staff. She even took it a step further, transforming the recruitment process to make it more accessible for those with disabilities. Interviews can now be arranged to take place either inside or outside, applicants are not required to shake hands, or have direct eye contact, and interview questions are sent out in advance. Glen Mhor offers flexible working, buddy systems, and supported employment options for its staff. There is so much the hospitality sector can support regarding climate action, mental health, and DEI initiatives. Sustainable tourism is changing mindsets, with Glen Mhor delighted to witness young people not only engaging but finding confidence in their own value and abilities. Victoria’s role in all of this makes it clear to see why she was put forward for, and indeed has now been awarded, the title Most Influential Sustainable Tourism Business Leader 2023 (Scotland): Victoria Erasmus. Congratulations to her for addressing fears, barriers, and training gaps to successfully develop a truly progressive and inclusive work ethos and culture. Company: Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments Web Address: Contact Name: Victoria Erasmus The Glen Mhor is a family-owned hotel and apartment complex overlooking the river Ness in Inverness, Scotland. The location also boasts the on-site Uile-Bheist Distillery and Brewery, and is an outstanding example of sustainable development in a historic conservation area. Most Influential Sustainable Tourism Business Leader 2023 (Scotland): Victoria Erasmus Company: Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments Web Address: Contact Name: Victoria Erasmus Apr23699 Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments