Sustainable Luxury Hotels: Why is there no competition for what we do? 

We are a management company for Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges.  We often get asked who our “competition” is.  Who else in the region manages sustainable luxury hotels and lodges?  The answer is: Nobody.  We’ve almost created a “Blue Ocean Strategy” for ourselves without any competition.  Even after operating for nearly 20 years, we still don’t know of any company that manages boutique sustainable luxury hotels for their independent owners.

We strive to find the perfect symbiosis of luxury and sustainability. Not always an easy task.

Of course, there are traditional management companies like HyattMarriott or Hilton, but they shy away from small operations in rural environments.  Then there are some companies that manage several properties, but they are typically all owned by the same entity.  This, for example, is a frequently used model for safari lodges in Africa – &Beyond and Wilderness Safaris come to mind.

We focus on people. Our staff is local. We don’t lay off staff during the low season and there is a strong focus on learning and career paths.

So why then is it that nobody else offers similar services to us?  Well firstly, it is really hard to do what we do.  It’s difficult to gain economies of scale since the hotels have different sizes ranging from 6 to 38 rooms, and not to mention, they all have a very different focus.  Some are rain forest wilderness lodges while others are on remote islands.  Some emphasize surfing and yoga and others are more traditional boutique or even ultra-luxury properties.

Arenas del Mar Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

From the perspective of a small hotel or lodge, it’s not easy to afford our professional management services either.  That’s normally something that can only be considered if the average rate is high and there are a good number of rooms to rent out.

On occasion we’ve caught ourselves daydreaming about managing properties where everything is standardized and straightforward.  Cookie-cutter hotel franchises all over Central America… you get the picture.  But then of course, we come back down to reality and quickly remember that what we’re already doing is in fact the real dream.

At Cayuga, it is all about local. Supporting local communities and purchasing local ingredients.

Despite being challenging, for us, the biggest sense of satisfaction doesn’t come from doing something “hard”.  What we actually find most rewarding is hearing our guests tell us how transformative and meaningful their experiences have been.  We feel fulfilled when we see how our philosophies – channeled through the hotels and lodges – lead to positive impacts in the surrounding environments, and how our staff reach their full potential by embracing opportunities for personal and professional growth.  We feel honored to work alongside hotel and lodge owners who have a shared vision of aiding the development of local communities and protecting the ecosystems they exist within

These are of course just a few in a long list of feel-good returns on what we do.  When we think about how satisfying our work is, we really do wonder why others elsewhere on the globe haven’t yet joined us out here in the Blue Ocean…

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Hans Pfister

Co-owner & President