Here is the official info from Visit Scotland.
Our VisitScotland Information Centres can search for and book accommodation for you in any location in Scotland. You pay a non refundable deposit of 10% and a booking fee of £4 to secure the room then pay the balance at the establishment.
The Information Centres can book as many nights ahead as you require.
So, I've been trying to figure out why I have had no problem using this service on trips to Scotland in the latter half of August. I certainly don't want Jennifer to find herself with no room, but unless Scottish Tourism has totally skyrocketed in the last five years, I am a bit baffled as to all these firm posts indicating that it would be a disaster. Now, granted, there are some caveats if you want to place flexibility over the sure thing.
- You must be open to different types of accommodations--B&B with no ensuite, staying in small hotel instead of a B&B and so on. If you have your heart set on cosy B&B's with the sweetest hostess and other requirements, then don't wait to book. Also, if you are a threesome, be open to a single and a double or twin or a family room, or two doubles.
- Your budget cannot be rigid. I never got stuck with an over the top bill, but I did have to upgrade from a single to a double a couple of times.
- You shouldn't be rigid about location. For example, I wanted to stay in Dunkeld, but ended up in a lovely B&B just outside of town.
- You should check for Festivals and Business conventions. This is easy enough to do in Scotland; just check the town website or the region/island website.
- Weekends can be more problematic than weekdays--except for business locations such as Aberdeen.
When I have traveled to Scotland, I usually have booked, my first night's stay--longer if I am spending multiple nights in the same place--and the last night's stay. I will also book a "special" place in advance. One year I stayed at Stonefield Castle. I booked that stay in advance. The last time I went to England, I was in London for business in July and didn't book my Cambridge hotel until I got there. I used Laterooms.com.
So, as I said, it comes down to how you way sleeping certainty vs. flexibility. How would you react if you were to arrive on Orkney and be told that you have to stay on Hoy and not the Mainland? Is that a disaster or a new adventure?