Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
lmt

Buying a cabina/hostel

Recommended Posts

Pam, what does that have to do with this thread?

Pam is simply further pointing out to the OP the unexpected things one in the hospitality business must do to keep the operation running smoothly.

 

It easily fits here when one takes the entire thread into consideration.

 

Paul M.

==

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see it Paul, but your the boss.

Oldcabre , perhaps you haven't read the previous posts describing the content of " Don't Stop the Carnival " and how it pertains to the question about starting a hostel in Costa Rica. It's about a couple from the states who buy a hotel in the Caribbean who know nothing about the hotel business and nothing about the culture of chaos on the tropical island where their hotel is located. The book , though a novel , is regarded by those who work in or own hospitality businesses in the tropics as a bible of sorts because it's so true to life in the tropics. Dreamers from the 1st World fall head over heels for the laid back and exotic seductions of the tropics and then discover that pandemonium rules with an iron fist over their efforts to maintain any kind of order in their business or personal lives.

When we moved to the beach town where we've now lived for many years here everybody and anybody was buying or opening cabinas , hostels , hotels , bars and restaurants. It was like a Gold Rush , all the foreigners setting up shop hoping to have fun and make a few bucks. In the intervening years the few that remain in business now are in dire straights or burnt out and desperate to get out. The " Carnival " never stops and it's had the last word with many a weary dreamer. That's my point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received a phone call from a friend in Quepos this morning, who has a vivero and whose wife provides all the wedding flowers for the hotels in the area.

He was telling me, that so many hotels and restaurants around this area, are closing or have gone bankrupt and that one large popular hotel, laid off 35 staff this week. He arrived in Costa Rica, 37 years ago today, and can't remember a worse economic time. He reported that today was the first day since Easter that they have had telephone service due to the electrical lines being stolen to the pueblo he is in. This was the third time in 5 months.

How can a person or business prepare for something like this?

Edited by costaricafinca

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your only hope is to stay ahead of the game.

 

Don't wait for an economic downturn but work to establish a "core" of return visitors and make sure clients will "spread the word." Have a plan for what you will do if something - like a major storm - happens to disrupt your business. Include in that plan an economic downturn.

 

Think about ways you can enhance your business - don't just sit there and wait for customers to come to you or provide just one thing. As a hotel owner, you can't just hope to sit in the bar and schmooze with your clients - you have to actually make your business run properly.

 

Keep a bunch of money in savings. You will need this for the hard times!

 

To make a business successful requires many things - possibly the biggest of these is being creative and thinking creatively.

 

If losing the phone is a regular problem - how would you get around this? Just sit and wait until it is restored? Or would you make other arrangements. People have water tanks available as a backup - do they not have other backup plans?

 

Really, running a successful business has some basic things that hold true no matter where you are. I have done it both in the US and in Costa Rica and some things are the same. Others.... not so much. Of course, always being on top of things made it doubly difficult for me to retire and just take a breath and do .... nothing. Thinking, planning, working were so ingrained in the fiber of my being, that it took me a year to "relax."

 

Small businesses fail here and in the US and everywhere because of many reasons. Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country - second, I believe, to Arenal. It is possible that there are just too many lodging options and the marginal ones - and these can be big hotels - just can't survive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received a phone call from a friend in Quepos this morning, who has a vivero and whose wife provides all the wedding flowers for the hotels in the area.

He was telling me, that so many hotels and restaurants around this area, are closing or have gone bankrupt and that one large popular hotel, laid off 35 staff this week. He arrived in Costa Rica, 37 years ago today, and can't remember a worse economic time. He reported that today was the first day since Easter that they have had telephone service due to the electrical lines being stolen to the pueblo he is in. This was the third time in 5 months.

How can a person or business prepare for something like this?

It's been terrible here too. Many of the hotel and vaca rental clients who have been coming down repeatedly for years didn't return this season. Many of them emailed the proprietors to say that regrettfully they had to stay home for financial reasons. There's not much you can do about that ! And there are now cheaper and equally beautiful destinations that are growing in popularity. Not much anyone can do about ICE either !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to yesterdays' AM Costa Rica, the number of North American tourists has declined. And it is generally held that those who come, stay a shorter time and spend less.

 

When the economic crisis in the US first began, I wonder did any of the vacation rentals that had "regulars" in the Nosara area or the Manuel Antonio area do anything differently or did they just sit and wait for something to happen. Did they spend some money doing some marketing and advertising in other countries? Run specials? Lower the price? Offer package deals? Something? Anything?

 

No, there's nothing we can do about ICE - but there are things that can be done about ICE's performance. As I said, people have water tanks for the time when the water is off - do they have other kinds of plans in place?

 

"I own and operate a business. What will I do if.... the water goes off, the power goes off, the phone goes off, my chef quits one hour before dinner - or just doesn't show up .... etc"

 

I have spent a little bit of time watching a new ginormous hotel in Guanacaste - the RIU Guanacaste. They have a terrible environmental record so that started me kind of looking at the place. They have 700 rooms. Hideous. How on earth do they manage to get enough people there to even break even! Apparently, they are good at it and now planning an expansion. Of course, one of the things that help is that they are part of the RIU organization. But they have also done a lot of things like offering inexpensive package deals (less than $100 a night All Inclusive) and apparently marketing to travel agents quite a bit.

 

I have to wonder, as I peruse one of the Costa Rica travel forums, just how 3 separate couples from Ohio who have never been to Costa Rica end up at a RIU. (So sorry for them) When I ask - it was that package deal. Likewise, many people from the UK come to the RIU because they can get a package deal that includes airfare. (The parent of the RIU also owns an airline so that helps a bit!)

 

Waaal, I am supposed to be retired and out of business now but just like the old fire horse, it gets me going. So, I'll just have to bow out for now and go see if I can identify those last two plants in the little forest near my house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to yesterdays' AM Costa Rica, the number of North American tourists has declined. And it is generally held that those who come, stay a shorter time and spend less.

 

When the economic crisis in the US first began, I wonder did any of the vacation rentals that had "regulars" in the Nosara area or the Manuel Antonio area do anything differently or did they just sit and wait for something to happen. Did they spend some money doing some marketing and advertising in other countries? Run specials? Lower the price? Offer package deals? Something? Anything?

 

No, there's nothing we can do about ICE - but there are things that can be done about ICE's performance. As I said, people have water tanks for the time when the water is off - do they have other kinds of plans in place?

 

"I own and operate a business. What will I do if.... the water goes off, the power goes off, the phone goes off, my chef quits one hour before dinner - or just doesn't show up .... etc"

 

I have spent a little bit of time watching a new ginormous hotel in Guanacaste - the RIU Guanacaste. They have a terrible environmental record so that started me kind of looking at the place. They have 700 rooms. Hideous. How on earth do they manage to get enough people there to even break even! Apparently, they are good at it and now planning an expansion. Of course, one of the things that help is that they are part of the RIU organization. But they have also done a lot of things like offering inexpensive package deals (less than $100 a night All Inclusive) and apparently marketing to travel agents quite a bit.

 

I have to wonder, as I peruse one of the Costa Rica travel forums, just how 3 separate couples from Ohio who have never been to Costa Rica end up at a RIU. (So sorry for them) When I ask - it was that package deal. Likewise, many people from the UK come to the RIU because they can get a package deal that includes airfare. (The parent of the RIU also owns an airline so that helps a bit!)

 

Waaal, I am supposed to be retired and out of business now but just like the old fire horse, it gets me going. So, I'll just have to bow out for now and go see if I can identify those last two plants in the little forest near my house.

Eleanor, when the economic bubble burst I thought that businesses would compensate by reducing prices , targeting new clientel and reducing overhead. As time went by and none of the above occurred it occurred to me why. Many of these business owners purchased their properties for exhorbitant prices during the bubble and they also weren't thinking outside the bubble as in what to do in hard times and how to do it. Now, they're saddled with properties in which they invested too much capital. These properties , regardless of the fact that they're not producing adequate income require constant maintainence at considerable cost. Neglect or even the postponement of maintainence here results in ongoing deterioration that can reduce structures and pools etc. to ruins in a very short time. The elements and the ecosystem are relentless. Absentee owners of establishments and vaca rentals ( tons of those ) are paying property managers , security companies , pool companies etc. on a monthly basis. And it makes no sense to me but many people are sticking to their pricey guns rather than reducing prices and at least making something rather than nothing. It seems they think that there will be a new crop of high rollers on the next plane. I'm also amazed how few people who should be following the economic news aren't doing so in order to be prepared as best they can for ups and downs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a sad thing, Pam, when people get that stubborn thing going. Occasionally it works but usually leads down the road to a serious loss.

 

When the economic news first broke, the manager at a local ecolodge asked to meet with me (I had worked there over the years as a volunteer). We sat down and just talked out what he could do to be pro-active in difficult economic times. I had a few ideas and he came up with a bunch and the employees were happy to participate. Some of the ideas were very simple - employees would pay 500 colones for a shift meal, not much for them but would cover the cost of food.

 

I hate to see people put their dreams and money and work into something that ends up going bust, but unfortunately we see it all the time. In my town, we are kind of laughing because there are three little "tiendas" all lined up, right next to each other, all selling the same stuff - women's clothes (nothing bigger than size 2), some shoes, doo-dads, make-up and all the owners are kind of hanging around in the doorways wondering why they are not making any money. Not really laughable but sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dear imt, topicstarter

 

most people here react pessimistic when someone asks about an idea like you did.

 

its partly because they see difficulties in their surrounding here, but its also a bit of a general mindset here.

somehow the import-people here get depressed and full of fear is my experience.

 

your cabina idea not a recepy to become wealthy, but its possible to make money with it, enough to make a living here.

do the research yourself, there were some good advices here.

 

it would be better to be milllionaire and only have to spend money here,

but if its an alternative to getting sick over there, it might be not such a bad idea.

 

keep up the entrepreneur spirit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.