Candacraig House in Strathdon is a family owned Scottish country house that specialises in hosting events for business and private guests. The house was purchased from Billy Connelly in May 2014 and became Candacraig Enterprises, a new start up business.

They have capacity to sleep 28 guests and pride themselves in providing premium accommodation on an exclusive use basis with excellent customer service.

Lynne Lino, Founder and Managing Director at Candacraig, was looking to gain a better insight into the markets in North America and Europe. She was interested in improving their digital marketing strategy and investigating how this could work to encourage those markets to choose Candacraig as a holiday destination. She contacted Talent Exchange and worked with an MSc Digital Marketing student, Fiona Smith. We spoke to Lynne about her experience working with Fiona and Talent Exchange.

What was the business need that prompted you to contact Talent Exchange?

We were a new business. We had never worked in the hospitality sector before and everything was new, the house had never been used for this purpose. I was interested in finding out how we could raise awareness of Candacraig overseas.

Can you please describe the process which led to your engagement with a student through Talent Exchange?

I met someone from Talent Exchange at a Business Women Scotland networking event. I didn’t realise this type of service was available until that day and it was a quick process, only dealing with one person who knew our story.

Can you describe the project that was undertaken?

The project was to do a social media analysis of competitors and getting an insight into the abroad market.

What was the outcome of the project? Did they meet (or exceed) your expectations?

Fiona exceeded my expectations. She was fantastic – she over delivered.

How did you work with the student? (time commitment)

We did a lot on email and only met once at the beginning of the project. It was very convenient for us both as we were able to communicate in our own time.

How do you think the student benefited?

Fiona benefitted because she got real life experience. It is one thing learning what a business would want theoretically but she was able to see a new business perspective and the challenges we face, as well as a hospitality perspective.

How do you feel your business benefitted overall?

We benefitted from the data we received from Fiona.

How do you think working with Talent Exchange benefits local business?

It benefits local business and economy because you get a qualified person to work with you whose skills are very current. It’s a very easy process and you are assigned the right student for you.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start?

I think the final delivery could be improved upon, I would have preferred to have a sit down discussion with Fiona at the end of the project to go through the information she gathered.

What would your advice be to others considering working on a project with RGU students?

Jump at the chance! Absolutely do it. Sit down and map out what you are looking for and take the time to think through your requirements before involving the student.

What was the experience of working with RGU?

Excellent. Top class, I am planning to do it again next year.