“What is going on? Where are the advance bookings? What can we expect for the coming business year? What should we do?” These are all questions we get asked by our hotel owners, managers and staff members. And we’ve been receiving them increasingly more over the past few months.
The business climate during the second half of 2019 has been choppy to say the least. Announced and actual trade wars. Constant recession fears and reversed yield curves. Volatile markets and nervous investors. Political turmoil from Brexit and impeachment to street riots in Hong Kong and Bolivia have given way to a new age of “Permanxiety”, or, Permanent Anxiety.
What makes Latitude 10° Resort different from the rest?
What is “Permanxiety” exactly?
Permanxiety has been defined by Skift’s Rafat Ali as: “…this constant state of anxiety … that pervades every part of our lives today, whether it’s politics, whether it’s social media, whether it’s our daily lives commuting, whether it’s listening to news and how that then translates into the anxieties that show up when we plan travel.”
How much of this is real and how much of it is perceived is not really the issue as we humans react much more sensitively, anticipating problems before they even come into play. And in our 20+ years of hospitality management, we’ve found that expecting a recession is actually worse for our business than being in the thick of one.
The good news is that our bookings for 2020 are looking good. We’re seeing an increased tendency toward last-minute bookings and some destinations have an edge over others. Costa Rica has a strong positioning, Panama is “hot” right now and Nicaragua is our “comeback kid” – who would have thought a couple of months ago that we would accommodate Holiday Season reservations in Jicaro, Nicaragua for guests that don’t feel confident traveling to Chile on vacation.
So how do we deal proactively with the economic and political “clouds in the sky” at the Cayuga Collection? How do we respond to our hotel owners and managers? The most important thing is to manage whatever is in our circle of influence and not get carried away with any other useless worrying. At the operations level, we have four key areas of influence: Customer Service, Hotel Infrastructure, Experiences and Sustainability. And that’s where we focus our efforts.
We are passionate about service and believe that despite all the technology around us, old fashioned service delivered by a real person with a big smile on his or her face never goes out of fashion. We have been training our teams at the hotels for months in the fine art of extraordinary service under the motto of “Soy Servicio” – I am Service.
“Hoteles Como Nuevos”
Our hotels should look and feel as if they are brand new – always. Every year we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrades of guest rooms and public areas. We carefully pore over our guests’ evaluations of their stays with us and invest where we think we can continue to improve their experience.
“Experience – Learn – Connect – Relax”
Guests don’t come to eat and sleep at our hotels. They could do that at home. They come to have experiences. They want to get out of their comfort zones (some more than others) and connect with the country, its people, its culture and its nature. They want to learn a new skill or get inspired to make a change in their lives – even if they don’t immediately realize it. They want a change of scenery that lets them escape the permanxiety, leaving them physically and mentally refreshed. That’s why improving our experiences and curating new ones both at and in the vicinity of our hotels is always a top priority.
Nature conservation and improving the lives of the people who live in the communities where we operate is in our DNA. Ahead of 2020, we have developed a new Sustainability 3.0 plan that focuses on people, forest restoration, creating opportunities for women, hospitality education and efficient infrastructure. We’re excited to share more on this in one of our upcoming blogs.