Owners and operators of all-inclusive sporting lodges and luxury guest ranches take great pride in their authenticity and unique brand of hospitality. So much so, that if asked how their guest experience generally compares with that of a hotel, they might answer with all due respect, “it is apples and oranges, there is no comparison.” Hubris this is not, but a practical recognition that the elements of what makes for a superior guest experience at an all-inclusive lodge or ranch are just plain different than a hotel.
Indeed, by offering a clear alternative from a hotel or resort experience, many lodges and ranches have built fiercely loyal followings of repeat guests that can represent upwards of 50% to 90% of their annual business. Historically, this was a very successful, but as the travel trends continue to evolve, new generations of guests come with new expectations. As a result, owners and operators of lodges and ranches are taking a few cues from their hotel counterparts, and without changing the nature of the personalized guest experiences they’ve become known for, they are looking to new technologies to help keep their business on the cutting edge:
In the early days, despite the perceived advantages, owners and operators did not rush to adopt online booking. This was because the original technology was largely designed to sell hotel rooms and horribly ill-suited for booking all-inclusive packages. The minority who gave it a try found more trouble than it was worth, and most went back to doing business in the way that always worked. Fast forward to the present, online booking capabilities specific to lodges and ranches have evolved, and the technology to properly support the bookings of all-inclusive packages finally exists. In this new environment, lodges and ranches are getting on board, not only because online booking helps increase sales, but also because the traveling public wants it.
Digital Payment Processing
Of all the technological developments, the benefits of adding digital payment processing, holds the potential for generating some of the most significant returns for lodge and ranches. In many respects this a no-brainer, owners and operators not only stand to save time and money on labor, but there is also the added upside that their customers want the ability to make digital payments. Add in the fact, that many digital payment options offer lower fees than if the payment is entered by hand, creating the possibility for thousands of dollars in annual savings, owners and operators are now highly motivated to create this option for their guests.
Text for Service
Whether it’s by phone, email, regular mail, video chat, lodges and ranches have more ways of communicating with their guests than ever before. Not surprisingly, once a guest has arrived on property, all these methods are inferior compared to the quality of having a personal conversation with your guests. While it would be ideal if all guest expectations could be managed in person, it’s not practical, but fortunately, there is hope in the form of “text for service”. Guests have demonstrated a willingness to communicate by text, whether it is to make a request or confirm an activity. This is one form of communication that tends to complement your brand and enhance the guest experience. Many platforms offer this feature, and this is yet another example of how a little “hotel technology” is finding a comfortable place in the world of all-inclusive lodges and ranches.