In recent months, we’ve been paying attention to the hospitality industry. In particular we’ve been interested in small lodges. From our work with A-Lodge, we had this idea that maybe there were segments of hospitality that weren’t getting hit like others by COVID.
The thinking was that while big hotels and anything in an urban area is probably getting hit bad, smaller places in more rural locations might be doing just fine. With many more people either working from home or unemployed, we figured there was a chance that small hotels that focus on activities like fishing or hiking might be doing just fine.
We’ve found for instance when contacting lodges in Alaska — some of which have absolutely terrible websites — a number of them were booked solid.
The pattern seems to be that lodges providing unique experiences for their guests like fishing and hunting, who have built up a clientele over a period of 10-20 years have been relatively unaffected by COVID.
Whereas their peers who don’t have the strong base of referral business, or boutique hotels closer to urban areas are getting hit very hard or even shutting their doors for good.
Some small hotels in rural destinations give guests an opportunity to take a break from what’s going on without the risk of crowds. So it makes sense that some of them could be doing well.