National Trust for Scotland has scooped four gongs at a prestigious visitor attraction awards ceremony.

Crathes Castle, Brodie Castle, Inverewe Gardens and the Battle of Culloden all won an Award of Excellence at an event hosted by an Irish coach tour.

CIE Tours International, which brings visitors from North America to Ireland and the UK, said the properties had all received over 90% customer satisfaction ratings.

Brodie, Culloden, Inverewe and Crathes were awarded the Excellence award based on the feedback of the 15,000 visitors CIE brought to the UK in 2018.

CIE launched its UK awards six years ago, replicating its long running awards in Ireland. Since then, the numbers of venues and attractions achieving a higher than 90% satisfaction rating in the UK has grown from 32 to 71.

In 2018, the company enjoyed a 13% rise in visitors on their UK tours bringing more than 15,000 visitors to the UK. During the year, its tours visited 184 visitor attractions and 73 hotels across the UK, paying a total of £13 million to its UK suppliers, including buying around 164,000 bed nights.

An award ceremony was held on 9thApril at the Royal College in Glasgow.

“We are delighted to receive these awards and would like to thank CIE Tours International once again for their continued partnership and support to our properties and to the National Trust for Scotland,” said Sandrine Contier-lawrie,Head of Travel Trade & Hospitality Department at NTS.

Independent Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club, an idyllic 4-star hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, also won an Award of Excellence based on customer feedback.

The Award was given by Irish coach tour operator, CIE Tours International, which brings visitors from North America to Ireland and the UK.  The Award presented to Dalmahoy recognises the quality of the UK’s hotels and visitor attractions by awarding a merit award to those who have received a greater than 90% customer satisfaction rating.

Alistair Kinchin, General Manager of Dalmahoy said: “This is a very exciting time for Dalmahoy, as we’re about to unveil a major refurbishment this spring. To win this award – invaluable as it is based entirely on feedback from our customers – is a great accolade and testament to the hard work our team has put in. Our latest hotel refurb will further ensure our hotel exceeds the expectations of today’s discerning traveller.”

Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive, CIE Tours International, added: “The level of customer satisfaction achieved by our suppliers plays a vital role in our success and the aim of our Awards is to encourage them to focus on the clients’ experience and improving standards of service, so it is gratifying to see the increase in suppliers being given 90% plus ratings.  All of the recipients play a key role in our success by welcoming our visitors and ensuring that they have a memorable experience.”

“Our Awards are well recognised and hugely respected in Ireland,” she said, “and it is great to see that the awards have been embraced so quickly in the UK.

“Travellers from North America are accustomed to very high levels of service, so we run the awards to encourage our partners to focus on continuously increasing the quality of our visitors’ experience. To achieve a rating above 90% from these travellers is very meaningful and the fact that the number of our suppliers in the UK achieving this is rapidly increasing year on year, is a great sign for UK tourism.”

CIE Tours International is Ireland’s leading inbound tour operator, having brought more than four million visitors from North America to tour Ireland over the course of its 86-year history.