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Running a luxury mountain lodge

Founder Sue Marko explains why being a seasonal business isn't so bad. spoke Sue Marko, owner of luxury accomodation, Cougar Mountain Lodge in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, Canada.

On the challenge of running a B&B amid challenging trading conditions...

"Since the downturn of the enconomy, tourism has been at lower volumes so that is, of course a challenge. We're not a bargain B&B - this is a top-end luxurious place - so it is a select group that I am catering to. There is of course a challenge there."

"I am very fortunate in that I have mainly winter clientele who are specifically seeking this type of location, and regardless of the economic situation this has been the best financial year I have ever had"

On being a seasonal business...

"As I operate this business on my own I don't really have any staff overheads or many bills to pay. I don't need to make year-round money.

"Because I do operate on my own, by the time the winter is over I'm just tired. I need a good long break before I am ready to deal with the public again."

Her three pieces of advice for anyone thinking of buying a B&B for sale...

"Number one: you have to be a good host. You have to be 24-7. You can't have a bad day if you have customers. 

"Number two: you have to to do it yourself; you cannot rely on others to do things for you.

"And number three relates to food. The food is a part of the business - it isn't just a bed, it's also breakfast, and with me it's lunch and dinner too. The food is tremendously important."

On the importance of customer satisfaction...

"It's not so much internet reviews as it is word-of-mouth. If you do something good maybe your customers will tell somebody, maybe they won't, but if you do something bad you can guarantee they will tell everyone they know. So customer satisfaction is 100% of your business....."

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Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.


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