Resorts reduce room volume to increase profits

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Owners say extra space for leisure, not rooms, can be the key to more bookings and higher profits

Tyler Nyquvest
Western Investor

An Okanagan resort is hoping to curb the trend of overcrowded resort venues by reducing volume to increase profit.

And it is not alone.

Cozy Cabins Nature Resort, located west of Vernon in Creighton Valley, is incorporating recent feedback from guests and emerging industry trends in the industry to take a new direction with the business, said resort marketing manager Erik Hatterscheidt.

“[The idea] came out of the fact that when we were developing our resort, we built our cabins a little bit differently than a lot of other resorts out there by spacing them farther apart, spreading them over our 60 acres,” said Hatterscheidt.

“We were finding that a lot of guests were booking in with us because of that reason, that extra space.”

Because Cozy Cabins is between Vancouver and Calgary, Hatterscheidt noticed that family reunions were commonplace at the resort and neighbouring competitors.

“We found that when [large groups] came in together … it changed the whole dynamic of the resort, so we started turning them away,” said Hatterscheidt.

“Most of the resorts around us make their bread and butter from those types of family reunions. We started saying no to larger groups, which were a huge part of our income, and started booking small families.”

After surveying guests, Hatterscheidt discovered visitors would be much more willing to pay a premium for what they already had, minus the extra people.

Cozy Cabins increased its price range approximately 40 per cent with the main focus being quality over quantity. So far, the strategy has worked, said Hatterscheidt.

“Our profit margin went from an average of 15 per cent to 50 per cent. Our revenue has been growing significantly as well.”

The trend is becoming a staple to B.C. resorts as tourism numbers increase. Visitors are more interested in quiet, unobstructed landscapes commonly marketed in Canadian travel material.

“You cannot provide that kind of [serene] experience if you have any kind of volume,” said Laura Neubert, vice-president of business development at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.

The West Coast resort features 25 luxury tents. The quality-over-quantity approach has always served the resort’s business strategy, said Neubert.

“It takes a lot of effort to deliver really unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to every single guest, and you can’t do that in great numbers.”

Clayoquot was recently named one of the world’s most expensive resort experiences. However, guests keep coming back because they’ll pay for the type of serenity associated with a lower-volume establishment, said Neubert.

Chris Moore, partner at Wilderness Resort and Retreat in Sechelt, said some resorts fail by design.

“In B.C., [some resorts] have so much land, [yet] they put their cabins 15 feet from one another.”

Wilderness Resort has 125 acres within a provincial marine park and, at any one time, the facility holds bookings to a limit of 50 guests.

“One of the things that attracted us to our property was that it was water access or float plane access. Getting there is part of the adventure,” said Moore.

Copyright © 2017 Western Investor

Comments are closed.