Top 8 Challenges In Managing A Resort (And How to Overcome Them)

“No one and nothing is perfect, or we wouldn’t have uniqueness.”

Jasmin Morin

And it goes the same way for resort management as well. Moreover, it is a very challenging feat.

Unlike hotels, managing a resort involves heavy on-site investment and a high level of physical presence.

Even after tremendous planning with all the resources on board, some things do not work according to the plan.

Therefore, whether you’re reviving an under forming resort or starting fresh with a new property, understanding the challenges involved is a MUST.

This article will address some of the common yet critical resort management challenges. Not just that, I have also added solutions on how you can overcome each one of them.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

The Current Scenario of the Resort Industry

Resorts are one of the critical segments of the hospitality industry. In recent years, we saw them become extremely popular. On the contrary, the reality according to various reports hits differently. 

Resorts today are at a tough spot and here are some of the key factors contributing to this:

  • Economic recession: One of the primary reasons resorts have been struggling lately has to do with economic conditions. When people can’t afford vacations, they aren’t going to prefer resorts as their first choice for vacation destinations. This puts extra pressure on properties to get off the ground and become profitable (like they were before).
  • The rise of Airbnb: Another cause for concern is the rising popularity of Airbnb properties.
    Airbnb has made it easier than ever for people to find vacation rentals that suit their needs. These properties might not offer experience onsite but their locations cover all the missing things — not just for the guests but for local businesses as well.
    Now, it comes as a bane for the resorts. They have to hustle more to lure the guests and eventually make a profit in their business.
  • Declining tourism: Besides the above 2 reasons, the drastic change in travel patterns have also affected the performance of the resorts significantly. The covid pandemic has impacted our lives abysmally and it has changed the way people travel.
    For a long time, resort guests have usually been people visiting for vacation and spending money during their stay. However, in the last two years, there has been a shift away from this trend. Consequently, resorts are witnessing a decrease in business.

These are just to name a few. However, there are various other reasons the resort industry is facing hard times.

But is it the same through my lens?

Now, the above-mentioned insights are from my research on the topic. But I don’t completely agree with the fact that resorts are witnessing a downfall.

You must be wondering why would I say that?

I come from Assam, India and resorts are one of the highly profitable businesses here. Even for a few hours of outing, people choose resorts over any other hospitality establishments. 

And why not? After all, these properties provide exactly what people seek — peace of mind, experience, great food, and a vibe to get along with.

I am sure, my fellow hospitality enthusiasts will agree with my word on this.

What I am trying to state here is that insights and reports about businesses are going to state the market in the big picture. But sometimes, the reality is a tad bit different.

What are the Challenges of Managing a Resort?

I am sure resorts are doing pretty well (if not all, then at least most of them), despite what is being showcased to the world. And those who aren’t able to fare, there must be some sort of challenges they are facing within the business itself.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the problems faced by resorts.

So, if you have been running a resort with little to no efficiency or profit, then the following points are none less than a ray of sunshine.

1. Getting the marketing strategy right

For many, this doesn’t seem to be one of the critical challenges faced by resorts. But in reality, IT IS.

If you Google “resort marketing strategies”, the results aren’t that effective, to be honest. And new resort owners being clueless about marketing, follow some random advice. Or, they would implement marketing strategies curated specifically for hotels and other properties.

As a result, the outcomes are bizarre. So to get things back on track, here’s how you can start.

  • First things first, understand your ideal guests. Do this religiously before you start with any marketing campaign.
  • Next up, determine your unique selling propositions. To put it simply, learn what makes you stand out from the rest of the resorts?

Once you get these two things done, you’re halfway through. You can now curate your messaging and discuss the marketing strategies.

If you feel it’s too overwhelming, you can always hire marketing experts to do the job for you.

Resort marketing is like Chinese arithmetic. It needs a different approach entirely. I am planning to take up this topic soon and even get down to the nitty-gritty details. Let me know if you would be interested.

2. Dealing with employee turnover or shortage of staff

The hospitality industry is prone to employee turnover. About one-third of new employees quit after six months and this is certainly a significant issue that needs to be addressed. 

Resorts are no exception to this whole shebang. The number of employees quitting their jobs is extremely high. 

Reasons? Either the opportunities outside the resort industry are more or resorts don’t offer an employee-centric work environment.

And if you think, this whole turnover isn’t a serious deal, then I must tell you this.

Employees leaving your resort might be replaced physically, but the skill-sets and knowledge they bring to the table cannot be exactly replaced. Period.

So, how can resorts deal with the tough feat?

Resort owners must cement the fact it is not just about retaining the best people but also keeping the employees happy.

Employees are a company’s greatest asset. If you want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.

Anne M. Mulcahy

No doubt, the work environment in a resort is fast-paced. But does that mean there’s no scope for employees to feel good? Can’t the manager be a little more employee-centric? If the answer is a NO, then it’s either an excuse or denial.

Take the extra mile and pick all the good things you can do for your staff.

3. Picking the right experiences and eliminating the unnecessary ones

Here comes the biggest dilemma of every hospitality business owner.

*Drum Rolls*

Choosing the best experiences.

Oh! This is a tough task. If I was a resort owner, I would include every single activity on my property. Yes, I am that bad at making decisions.

But that’s not the wise thing to do, AT ALL.

Accept it or not, this is without a doubt, one of the critical resort management challenges.

And you, Mr Hotelier, need to finesse the art of picking the right set of experiences/activities for your resort. If you get it right, you’re this close to making your hotel profitable.

With me so far, suh?

Great!

Now, let’s figure out how to get better at this affair.

When you’re deciding on amenities, activities, or experiences, there are a few things to consider. Understand them well, and you’ll get a clear picture of everything.

Budget

What does your budget look like? Does it have a slab for experiences? If so, is it on the higher end or low key?

A budget is a property’s soul. It can make it or break it.

With a strategic budget, you can literally conquer the world. But if you’re going beyond the boundaries of your financial plan, I am afraid the repercussions will be abysmal.

Guest preferences

Would your guest base like the trekking package you have set up?

Did any of your guests suggest you have an in-house spa?

Do you know what your guests like or want?

If you got the answers, you know what to do.

The bottom line here is to filter elements from your resort based on your ideal guests’ preferences.

Competitor research

Here comes the much-awaited tip and my personal favourite — looking at your competitor.

No, you don’t have to be a stalker! Oh, come on you.

All you need to do is just look around and see what other businesses in the same segment are doing. And whether they are reaping any benefits from it. 

If they are, don’t be a copycat. Rather, see how they are making things happen. If they are not, you can already see the Nay!

Then come back to your den and audit your resorts. Determine spots and places that require some tweak.

Maybe adding a daycare centre or a play area could bring those news Moms & Dads to your resort.

Sounds good? Do give it a try at your place.

4. Managing suppliers and vendors for various needs

Name a bigger challenge than managing multiple suppliers or vendors.

I will wait.

If vendors and their payments are not managed properly, it could create a lot of haywire situations.

Maybe you’re working with multiple vendors for various departments.

But are you keeping a track of all the cash going out and the supplies coming in?

Are you keeping a track of all the items that you need to return and get a refund?

Are you working with the right supplier?

Is your supplier giving you the best quality products?

See, there are so many aspects to consider.

The best way to overcome these obstacles is by splitting up the responsibilities.

Instead of a manager taking one for the team (the resort in this case), let multiple managers take one for their respective departments.

I love the way this phrase has come out. Pat pat pat!

5. Boosting and managing revenue all by yourself

Revenue management is the secret sauce to improving your resort’s bottom line and making it profitable.

But doing it all by yourself is a challenge. I’ll tell you why.

Revenue management is like a wheel within a wheel.

It doesn’t matter even if you have decades of experience, revenue management requires a whole different approach. And why not? After all, it is a completely data-driven job.

Meaning, to get it right, you must have the required set of specialized skills and knowledge. If you don’t have that, things are going to be difficult.

But there are various revenue management services providers that offer top-class strategies and boost your revenue significantly.

Sceptical about outsourcing revenue management services? You might want to read this.

6. Keeping the entire resort spick and span all the time

The sub-head itself summed up everything I believe.

I can see those “not again” faces already.

Buckle up, Mr Hotelier. We cannot overlook this aspect.

Resorts usually have a massive area. And when I am saying massive, I mean it.

Some of the properties are so huge, a multi-storey hotel could be built in their parking lot itself.

And keeping the entire property clean is like moving a mountain. You can imagine how much of a hustle it is to check every corner of such a massive property and ensure its spick and span.

You don’t just need a good number of staff members to get the job done, but just the right process and technology (I have talked about it in detail below).

We have a video on optimising hotel housekeeping operations. Do give it a watch.

Or, if you would want to read an entire article on the same, here it is — This is how you can optimise your property’s housekeeping operations.

7. Picking the right set of technologies for your resort

Technology today is an integral part of any hospitality business — be it a branded hotel chain, a tiny motel, or a luxury resort.

And there are a number of hospitality solution providers in the market. But how do you decide on the technologies? Or, should I say determine the right technology?

There are certain things to consider before you deploy any sort of technological solution on your property.

What’s the need of the hour?

This is the first and foremost question you need to ask yourself. Is it automation? Is it efficient? If it’s either of them, a resort property management system is what you need.

Next up, determine the areas that need some sort of technological integration. You can go for a channel manager when you’re working with OTAs. Opt for a booking engine to drive more direct reservations from your resort website.

8. Ensuring 100% guest satisfaction

This is one of the top resort management challenges. Hands down!

And guess what?

There’s a bitter truth.

There’s nothing called 100% guest satisfaction. There’ll be always someone who would not like something or the other about your property.

So, do not worry about not being able to satisfy each guest at your property.

What you can do is take the extra mile and try to offer the best you have.  

FAQs

Can resorts fully automate their operations?

Yes. Almost all the important operations such as frontdesk, housekeeping, point of sales, OTA bookings, direct bookings, etc. can be automated with the right resort management system and integrations.

What is the best resort management software?

There are various resort management systems in the market that helps resorts in automating and streamlining various operations. 
However, it depends on the property to decide which one suits their requirements the best.
Here’s a guide to help you choose the right property management system for your resort. 

What are the top 5 tools a resort need to be efficient and profitable?

There are several hospitality solutions that resorts need to operate at the highest level. However, the following are the most prominent ones:
– Property management system (PMS)
– Channel manager
– Booking engine
– Mobile PMS app
– POS software

Conclusion

I learned a lot more about resorts (more than I already knew) when I was researching. I even read a few use cases. And without an inch of doubt, this segment of the hospitality industry is extremely risky and difficult to go along with.

But Mr Hotelier, worry not, it is not impossible to make an impact in this arena. With the right strategies, tools, and team, you can ace your resort business.

Guess what? I have a little insider news.

There’s handsome money in resorts.

If you have been planning to enter this business or want to improve your existing one, it is the right time.

I hope the points above are going to be beneficial. And if you want more resort content, just let me know.

Don’t shy away from dropping me a line. I write for you and am always on the go to produce valuable content.

Now, I will go and book a resort for myself and with a Jacuzzi. I deserve it.

Until next time, Mr. hotelier.

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