I once had to pick someone up from a flight at Aberdeen Airport around 2000 hrs and we found a b+b at Elgin which is around 60 miles from the airport. With flight arrival at 1700 hrs and arrival formalities normally very quick at Aberdeen you should be able to travel a lot further; personally I've often driven the whole way to Skye leaving Aberdeen city at that time.
The A96, Aberdeen /Inverness road is not a particularly fast or pleasant drive for much of the working day, and at 1730 hrs in particular. I'd always route via the slightly longer but more scenic A944 Aberdeen - Alford - Strathdon - Lecht - Carrbridge - Inverness; traffic delays are more or less unheard of using this route. A variation I use is to avoid Inverness altogether by using the (minor) south Loch Ness road from near Daviot to Fort Augustus (via Erogie) then to Invergarry. On this basis you might consider somewhere like the Cluanie Inn (around 30 miles short of the Skye Bridge) for overnight accommodation: http://www.cluanieinn.com/cluanie.htm
Nairn is about 2 hours drive from Aberdeen Airport at that time of day. There are many reasonable places to stay in the town, but if you are carniverous I would recommend the steak suppers at the Alton Burn hotel, which is on the outskirts of Nairn on the Inverness side.
A good site is www.4hotels.co.uk/uk/nairn
which gives hotels, guest houses and B&B's.
Hope you find something suitable and enjoy your stay in the town of my birth.
Can I suggest Forres, We are a very picturesque town, Have loads of hotels and B&B's, and are between Elgin (1 hour) and Nairn(1.5) on the A96. Try this link I can't recommend it as I don't know anyone who has stopped there, but it is highly spoken about.
Can I also recommend that you not go to Skye via the Loch Ness road. Go out towards Dingwall, and then take the Ullapool road, turn left on the Achnasheen road, and when there(1 Hour from Inverness) follow the signs to Loch Carron & Skye), the views are great on this road, and it is faster than the other route recommended. Although the part around Loch Carron is very Twisty and narrow, it is still faster!
Approx 1 more hour and you will be at the Skye bridge.
Hope the weather is fine and you enjoy your trip.
I loved the Swallow Newton Hotel in Nairn. Be sure to take an after-dinner walk on the seawall. (You have to walk from the hotel though a lovely neighborhood). Unbelievable!
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