A lodge is pretty much like a hotel except that it’s usually cheaper and feels more like home. This is a guide on how to start a lodge business in South Africa.
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South Africa attracts a lot of international tourists. Many of these tourists are not looking to go to big cities; they want to explore the remote areas of our country. My village from Matatiele attracts tourists from as far as Belgium.
Lodges are a perfect way to accommodate these tourists, most of them want to see the safari and wildlife, and to immerse themselves in nature. This is why most lodges have a very high occupancy rate, especially when they’re situated in good areas.
The barriers to entry for starting this business are high, you have to be prepared to spend at least R1 million. It is possible to spend way less, but that’s if your lodge is going to be in a village and made primarily of mud houses.
Choose a location
The location of your lodge will affect your occupancy rates, you want to be in an area that attracts a lot of tourists. Preferably far away from the bustling life of the city, it’s also good to situate yourself a bit further from your nearest competitor.
You will likely have to buy unused land, this can cost anywhere from R150k to R600k, if it’s not in urban areas. It can cost a lot more if it’s in a sought-after suburb or town.
Get operating premises
Most often; you will have to build your lodge from scratch, the total cost depends on how you want it to look. You should also budget some money for furnishings, you will have to buy beds, cutlery and set aside money to decorate the lodge.
It’s best to include some fun activities for the kids around the lodge, so that kids can play. Lodges are sometimes used by the whole family; you don’t want kids getting bored with nothing fun to do.
Deliver an excellent service
The best way to get a repeat business is by delivering exceptional quality services. Make sure that your hospitality is world class, this will give people a reason to keep coming back to your lodge. They are also much more likely to recommend it to their friends.
Marketing your lodge
It can be very difficult to know exactly who to target with your lodge, your target market is ideally tourists. Local tourists are great as well, you don’t have to strive for international tourists. Make sure that you have a website and that your business has a high online visibility. That will win you half of the marketing battle, the other half you will win by giving great services and being recommend to other people.
This was a guide on how to start a lodge business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.