So there are an unenvious and inescapable number of challenges to being a solo independent hotel owner/operator in any market. Being that operator in a very young, emerging market? Ouch!
Yes there are upsides. The resort begins as a blank canvas, and there’s no-one there to restrict the artistic expression! We could have built 150 suites if we’d wanted, but we only wanted 15. And I definitely think the fact that we’re doing something that hasn’t been done before is a key part of the experience. Our guests have been on vacation to high-volume, mass-market destinations, they seek something different. All of which is fine and dandy…..until you ask yourself how you’re to get in contact with said guest! And then once you’re in contact, how you’re to reassure said guest that your resort is not only different and utterly worthy, but that every aspect of the experience (service, tours, culinary, wellness…..) will be up to the standard of their other options; hotels and resorts which range from urban centres to countryside getaways. The competition is fierce, and maybe that’s what makes it fun! And what drives us to be different. We’ll come back some other time to our upcoming package, which I think is going to be one of the most original anyone has ever seen. But what I wanted to write about was how happy I am to be able to announce that Ka’ana Boutique Resort, our darling baby, is now officially a member of Signature Travel Network! (And if there are too many “!”s in this piece, it’s only because I’m happy…)
It all happened by chance. Signature is the cream of the crop, a global powerhouse of elite travel agents with one of the most exclusive client databases out there. They work with only the best in the field, we’re talking One and Only, Four Seasons, Six Senses, Banyan Tree (insert ridiculously high-end awesome resort here). And we so nearly didn’t make it to New York for that roadshow with our other favorite global association, Small Luxury Hotels of the World. We so nearly bailed due to our workload. And if we hadn’t been there that faithful Monday evening (granted, it was a drinks soiree at the Plaza, there have been worse jobs!), we wouldn’t have bumped into the wonderful Ignacio Maza, EVP of Signature. As it turns out, we got chatting and he totally “got” us. Why we love Western Belize; the opportunity it affords high-end clientele; why we chose to create an exclusive, luxury resort; the passion, the vision, he got it. Whoop! And two weeks later we’re invited, the chosen ones!
It’s nice when things go our way, and we really want to thank everyone who’s helped us get this far. And also the people that will help us get from here to the next level. It’s only the beginning.