A plan to invest more than £11 million and create 50 jobs in the region has been launched by Travelodge.
The major hotel chain has set its sights on opening premises in both Oban and Lerwick, and has written to the two local authorities asking them if they want to invest.
Travelodge has approached Argyll and Bute Council and Shetland Islands Council this week, asking them about possible funding partnerships for the construction of new hotels.
The proposal would see a hotel built on surplus council land, with money coming from either local authority funds, low-cost funding from the Public Works Loan Board or third party resources – including private investors.
After the hotel was built, the local authority would then have the choice of retaining ownership and receiving annual rent, or selling it with Travelodge as its operator.
While Argyll and Bute Council has suggested three sites in Oban for development, Shetland Islands Council has said it will not be considering the plan.
It is the second year running that Travelodge’s attempts to build a hotel in Lerwick in partnership with Shetland Islands Council (SIC) have been rejected by the local authority.
A spokeswoman from SIC explained that its position had not changed since last year, she said: “We were approached in August of last year and the council will not be considering any approach to invest in partnership with Travelodge.
“There is nothing to stop Travelodge pursuing a hotel in Lerwick with private funding and we would assess its planning application through the normal channels.”
In contrast, an Argyll and Bute Council spokeswoman said: “Tourism is important for our economy and we’re always keen to support demand from the hotel sector for accommodation.
“Three car parks in Oban were advertised as potential development opportunities and the council is working with a number of developers to determine if more bed spaces can be delivered on these sites, while maintaining car parking levels in the town.”
Tony O’ Brien, Travelodge UK development director, said: “Oban is a key tourism magnet and is enjoying year on year growth.
“We are starting our search now and looking for a hotel site in Oban.”
A spokeswoman for Travelodge added: “We will continue to look for opportunities in Shetland. We will continue to knock at the door of Shetland Island Council as things may change – in the meantime we will consider private investors or other public organisations who would like to get involved.”