WHY SOME LODGES FAIL
In this post I would like to look at – why some lodges fail – after 14 years marketing lodges in southern Africa – one of the main reasons I have found why lodges fail ,of course there are many other reasons why business fails but my primary reason specifically I am addressing the lodge hospitality industry.
And the one main area that a lodge does not perform and succeed and fails…. WAIT FOR IT …yes the owners themselves …below I will list as many of the essential problems we have been faced with over the years having to specifically deal with because of the owners.
- Failure to understand the travel industry – there are many lodge owners who buy a lodge invest a lot of money but fail to get involved in understanding the travel industry and then expect the lodge to be successful – what I never can understand is why buying and owning a lodge is any different to owning any sort of business – it does not mater what business you are in the same fundaments business principals apply – and the first principal would be understanding the industry you are involved in backwards.
- Because of the failure to understanding the travel industry the problems spiral down wards from there.
- Bad lodge location – meaning area demographically bad tourist flow not a popular tourist destination or route – then expecting the lodge to have a high occupancy.
- Bad Location can also be a big problem for making transfers costly and difficult.
- Expecting lodge staff to be in charge of the marketing especially making that task the management couples who are not experienced in this area – when there area of expertise should be making sure the lodge is running smoothly ,looking after the guests there job is to receive guests and run the lodge not create occupancy but make sure that the service and expectancy of guest is met so revues are good.
- Reservations and enquiries at lodges is often a area of big concern – this is the life blood of the business – this is a 24/7 job and must be handled by a very well trained and experience person who is able to deal with the operators on all aspects of there enquiry be able to use there initiative in making decisions with regards to a booking – both the phone and emails both must be dealt with immediately — the phone must always be answered and emails replied to immediately – if not you will loose the booking that’s a fact
- Make sure staff are well trained and do the job that they were hired to do not expecting them to perform in an area they were not trained to do.
- Marketing always is an area inexperienced lodge owners fall down on they often think that they have now bought a lodge and it will automatically be filled by some miraculous happening – and then cant understand why its suffering with bad occupancies – but they have not engaged the services of a marketing organisation to help them – they don’t attend any travel shows or events saying they are to expensive – they have no staff calling on the operators to help get there lodge known.
- When they do engage the services of a marketing organisation they then expect miracles that they have a magic wand that will fill the lodge instantly.
- They then sit back and don’t do any interaction with the marketer to assist and work as a team to building reservations its all expected that this is the marketers responsibility — no – the marketer expects feedback all the time on agents reservations activities because in most cases the marketer does not have access to the lodges reservation system. It would be best if the marketer is able to handle the reservations for the lodge as well.
- Agents educational and site visits – inexperienced lodge owners are under the impression that operators are looking for a free holiday and there for want operators to pay for there stay – experience successful lodges openly welcome and encourage operators to visit it is one of the most successful way of getting that operator to start booking.
- Lodge owners unsuitable to run a lodge – there are some inexperience lodge owners who insist on running there own lodge and just do not have the experience or aptitude and people skills to running a lodge and would be best off having an experiences hospitality couple run the lodge.
- Rates and commissions (sto’s) not offering the acceptable STO rates for operators that make it a viable working commission for them because of the owner’s lack of understanding the industry and the operators.
- Offering the direct traveller a better rate on your website than you have given the operators – many lodges fall into this area this undercuts the operators ability to truthfully sell your lodge because the lodge is not being truthful to the RACK rates offered to the operators and then lodges wonder why the operators are not booking them.
- Unsuccessful lodge – you can always identify a unsuccessful lodge if there occupancies are mostly made up of weekend local south African trade and very few or no international travellers this is always a lodge owner who does not understand the industry.
- I could carry on but these are a few problems in the industry.
For more information and assistance you can call Mark or Angela on 0825788591 – firstname.lastname@example.org