Edinburgh-based Flavours Holidays, founded by Lorne Blyth who opted against furloughing all 12 staff during Covid-19, announces plans to roll out her European activity holidays in Scotland and launch a series of online courses, including languages, cooking, pilates and photography.

Lorne, who set up the company 22 years ago, which specialises in activity holidays in Italy and Spain when she was in her 20s, made the decision to keep all staff on full-time to ensure their jobs and mental well-being were protected and to help pivot the business during the crisis.

Without retaining and protecting her loyal team, as in previous crisis situations, including the financial crash in 2008 and the ash cloud in 2010, Lorne claims the company wouldn’t have been in a position to stay afloat, adapt and expand.

The newly launched Scottish activity holidays, replicating the European model, includes a pilates, photography and cooking retreat in a 17th-century former customs house in Elie on the Fife coast and an ‘Edinburgh Festive Fling’ break in the stately Georgian manor, Drylaw House.

Lorne said: “In any crisis situation it is important to be able to look at the wider picture and how the business can adapt, which is difficult to do if you don’t have a team on board.

“Despite being in one of the industry’s hardest hit, I knew we would survive in the way we’ve done before if we all rallied round, which is why I made the decision very early on not to furlough anyone.

“Some of the pivoting ideas have been incredible from the team, who are very loyal and passionate about their jobs, which has resulted in us being a really strong position when the industry picks up again.

“It has also meant we’ve been able to focus on really looking after our suppliers and customers who have all taken the decision not to cancel holidays but instead postpone either until later in the year or next year, and also carry out daily focus groups to understand future travel trends and adapt accordingly.”  

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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