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What can glamping business and eco-resort owners learn from the hotel industry? Episode #050

learning from the hotel business model

It’s great to be a pioneer but it can be hard work starting from scratch. Instead, learning quickly from pioneers who have gone before us can save time and money while figuring out what works. This is why we have so much to gain by paying attention to the hotel model and applying it to the modern world of glamping, luxury camping, eco-resorts, unique holiday rentals and serviced accommodation.

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Learning From The Hotel Industry

Todd Wynne-Parry has 30 years of hotel development experience, having held senior leadership positions at several major hotel brands and most recently AutoCamp and Two Roads Hospitality, and shares his insights on the podcast today.

Todd was instrumental in the development efforts for IHG, Starwood and Marriott in the Asia Pacific region and for Two Roads Hospitality globally. He began his career as a hotel consultant in the San Diego office of Laventhol & Horwath, the predecessor to Horwath HTL. He is now Managing Director of Horwath HTL and leads the Outdoor Hospitality practice for North America. Horwath HTL is the largest independent hospitality consultancy with 52 offices worldwide.

Today’s episode is brought to you by The Start-Up And Grow Club, which offers an accelerator program and support group for those who want to set up their unique holiday rental, eco-resort or glamping businesses quickly.

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Sarah Riley: I find that I’m constantly learning. There’s always new things to learn. And I learned so much from the hotel industry. There’s always so much to gain from there. So when you get an opportunity to sit down with a hotel consultant, who’s been working on hotel development for 30 years and have also been working with auto camp, two roads hospitality, and so many others, including Marriott. You grab the opportunity. You ask the questions you learn, and that’s what I’ve done here today. So I’m very happy to share this conversation with you today. Todd wind Perry from Hallworth H T L. We talk about the most common barriers to getting set up unique experiences, sustainability and key things in the design of a site to maximize income. If you enjoy this conversation and get something from it, I’d love for you to leave a review on whatever platform you’re using to listen to this podcast, enjoy glamping and unique holiday rentals or surging in popularity with the growing desire of customers to book holidays that deliver an experience. They are also the new business of choice for those wanting to improve their work life balance. So how do you build a store business like this that gives you the life you need and a great investment. I’m Sarah Riley. And I want to share what I’ve discovered after being immersed in this industry for over 20 years, to inspire you to find out more about what’s going on. Welcome. This is the business of glamping and unique holiday rentals.

Sarah Riley: Todd, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s really great to see you and I wanted to get you on the podcast, cause I’m really interested in your background and your background as somebody who has got 30 years in the hotel industry development kind of arena, which for me, I think that we can really learn so much from the hotel industry because glamping and luxury outdoor hospitality is a pretty young industry in as much as well, certainly young in comparison to hotels. So we have so much that we can learn. And what do you think about that Is that something that you believe in as well

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yeah, very much so. And, you know, it’s, it’s interesting because the, the nexus of, of my career was, was off of a, a thesis I did in grad school, which was on the, the market segmentation of the hotel industry in the United States, in the 1980s, where you saw the, the market kind of getting defined in terms of limited service, select serve, upscale and then luxury. And, and before then there was a sort of hotels and they were at different price points. And the CEOs of the big hotel companies were, were sort of ex food and beverage guys. And, and, and in the eighties, it switched to being ex, retail, people like soda pop and things like that. soft drink, CEO’s moved over into the hotel industry and, and the, really the marketing and the sales and the division, or coming up with niche, products at each price point, really came alive in the eighties, in the know, in the United States.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And, and, what then I went into analyzing hotel markets and, and, and valuing hotels and things like that, and then got into just working for a hotel company and growing brands. And what ended up seeing was this sort of hotel business, where you come up with a brand that, focuses on a particular niche, and, and then you, you might build one or two or three of those, and then you franchise that, and that to me is the hotel business. You come up with a brand of, a concept of a hotel, and then you let other people’s money, go build the harp, the bricks and mortar, and you, you know, make your money on the reservation system, or maybe the management in the case of more international scene. and, and then you go on and then you come up with another one, another one.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And I contrast that with the hospitality industry, which is really taking care of people, whether it’s at whatever price point it’s managing people. And that’s the part I’ve always enjoyed. I don’t really like the other part, but, having been in the industry, as long as I have, I’ve seen brands kind of come and go, and, and, and more importantly, what I’ve seen as sectors develop. So, the extended-stay sector, for instance, wasn’t really a thing. And then all of a sudden it became a thing. And you had residents in by Marriott and, America’s best home sweets. I mean, there are a million different brands now that deal with the extended-stay sector, which typically is a larger room, a longer length of stay. And again, at different price points, another sector was the lifestyle boutique, the independent sector. And, I worked on that very early.

Todd Wynne-Parry: I did the first w out of the United States and Sydney, Australia prior to the Olympics. And, you know, I tell the story that it was sort of, that was in 1998, and it was sort of 2014, and I’m at a hotel conference in New York, and I’m on a panel on lifestyle boutique and independent hotels. And the first 20 minutes of the panel were everybody had to provide what they think their definition is of that. And this was 16 years after that first w and you know, many years since, under gloves and chip Connolly had been doing independent, you know, kind of lifestyle design hotels. And so just took forever for the market to really what this concept was. And, as I transitioned my career from that area or general hotels to the outdoor hospitality sector, I kind of wanted to move it along a little quicker because these sectors, they take a while for, there’s always first movers that go in and they figure out how it works.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And then there are some people that scale and the money, the first mover money and the debt follow very slowly. And so what I wanted to do was be a part of this sector and get it moving quickly so that more funding could come to it, both on the equity and the debt side, so more people can get outside and enjoy the outdoors because, glamping outdoor hospitality is all about making nature, a little more approachable, for people that don’t want to trailer a trailer, or they don’t want to put up a tent. They don’t want to sleep on the floor. So glamping and the outdoor, hospitality sector really is, a more approachable and, and sometimes affordable, but more comfortable way of getting people into the outdoors. And that’s kinda my inspiration.

Sarah Riley: And I think for me, that’s exactly what I love about it is the fact that it really does open up nature, nurture things that people maybe wouldn’t have necessarily done, because they maybe will have chosen a hotel. They would have chosen different kinds of stay. And so glamming allows them to say, actually, I could do that. That seems comfortable. That seems unique. It seems like an experience I’m going to do that. That’s great. And so not only is it opening that up for new people to experience things that maybe you and I experienced all the time, I know that you love your Airstream and I love camping, and that’s kind of why I’ve got into this whole thing. And yet, you know, they wouldn’t have done that, but that in turn, I suppose, makes the industry so much bigger, so many more customers that make it more lucrative and more interesting. so you’ve worked for auto camp and auto campus, really doing big things in this space at the moment. It is. Do you think that the reason why companies like that are really kind of getting deep into this industry is that people are so much more interested in having an experience rather than just having a stay?

Todd Wynne-Parry: Well, very much so. And I think, what’s, you know, I think what happened in the case of, the last several years and the, and the growth of, of glamping products, like, like auto camp or collective retreats, or under canvas or name your scale, or getting scaled brand in the U S is that the product, whether it’s near the national parks or around major cities in the outdoors, we’re really, you know, bad. There wasn’t anything really interesting. There’s either crappy motel, you know, in a great location, you know, near a national park gate or a chain hotel, which is a real bummer of an experience, or super lodges that were just, you know, not approachable by, by everybody. So I think the glamping movement and those, those brands really help kind of bridge the gap where it’s actually something cool and, and, and approachable.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And, and in, in these great locations, I’ll give you an example. There’s a friend of mine who went to the grand canyon and spent the day sort of mucking about on the trails and around the grand canyon, and then came back and got to stay at, at under canvas. and, you know, it was as if the experience of being on the trail and being outsourced and outside and being in nature, it never really ended, even though she might’ve got from a parking lot and drove over to under, under canvas, she was still in the outdoors, you know, campfire going, sleeping in a tent, hearing bugs and nature and birds and things like that from the tent. And it really sort of extended the experience, contrast to spend a day in amazing outdoor, you know, environment and then go back and, and go into a, you know, branded, very, you know, sort of, antiseptic, hotel or something like that.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And it, it, it just ends the experience, right away, you’re back to sort of urban reality in your hotel room. whereas the glamping just gets to have this all-encompassing one night or two nights or three nights or whatever it is you’re always in nature in that situation. So, you know, I think that’s been really great. One, the thing I would say, which is interesting, I think for all of your listeners is that the industry is kind of, there’s a little bit of a Y in the road. And when you talk about the experience and the why, and the road is that, that different brands and different products, and whether it’s, you know, someone with a, an amazing farm, and they’ve decided to do a couple of glamping tents out in the back or something like that, or it’s one of the more name brand companies that are really trying to scale across either the U S or the other globe, the Y in the road, which either can take is that one road is to say, okay, here’s the promise.

Todd Wynne-Parry: The promise is you’re going to, you’re going to be able to be in nature. You’re going to commune with nature, and you’re going to commune with you and your partner, or your family, your kids, or whatever. you’re going to have a cool kind of funky different accommodation experience, whether it’s a tent or a trailer or a cabin or whatever, tiny house, whatever it might be. And you’re going to commune with nature. I think I said the first one, and you’re going to commune with other people that might not look like you. They might not be from the same geographic area. They might name might not be from the same, economic sort of background as you, whatever they’re going to be different, but you’re going to stand. You’re going to sit around a campfire potentially, or a communal barbecue, and you’re going to commune with these people.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And you’re going to realize that, you know, the heat of the fire sort of melts away differences, and the glow of the fire brings out everybody’s similarities, you know, no matter, no matter their background. And, and that’s a promise, so that’s one row. Why in the road, and these might be uncomfortable moments. You know, you’re not dealing with different people all the time in your bubble, wherever you are in your city or your village or, or whatever. And so this is uncomfortable a little bit for you. And so, but that’s part of the promise from the promise, Hey, get out there, you’re going to go into nature and you’re going to see other people and other cultures and other, and others, just other stuff, it’s going to be a constant learning experience. And that’s one of the promises, which is really great.

Todd Wynne-Parry: There’s another promise though, another Y in the road, which is okay. Yeah, you’re going to come in and nature, and you’re going to commune with nature. and you’re going to commune with your partner or whoever you’re going to have an interesting kind of accommodation, again, one of those different choices, but that’s it, that’s it, you are not going to be with other people and around a big communal, campfire. And that’s another choice in some brands heading down that road. Getaway is one in the U S U S. It was just really, scaling quite a bit. and, and, you know, all the individual, mom and pops, independent operators out there, I think they kind of provide that promise as well. You don’t really have to mix with other people. This is your own little slice of nature, and you get to deal with that. Now that avenue is, aimed more at a wellness approach. So it’s not that this is about you getting out of your urban environment, letting yourselves expand, you know, smelling nature, touching it, hearing it, feeling the vibe of nature and how slow it goes, and how it makes you feel small in this, in this universe, you know, that’s a wellness thing, as opposed to sort of, you know, commuting with your fellow travellers kind of a thing.

Sarah Riley: and it’s really interesting. You say that because depending on, the target market for that particular brand or business or location, wherever it is, wherever it is, there’s some really interesting behaviour that is shamed by the customer. Say, for example, if I bring an example building on what you’ve just talked about there, some people want to go away to commune with people you know, mix a lots of different types of people and others they’d rather have like quite a solitude. but some, they come away from the city, they come away from their normal life. They go to these places because they’ve heard it’s great. They want to have the experience. And then they suddenly find themselves in a very dark field with only Starlight and only nature to keep them company. And I’ve known quite a few situations, particularly in the UK where they just suddenly start freaking out a little bit.

Sarah Riley: So, you know, that whole, that whole thing of, well, you know, I kind of knew what to expect, but I didn’t think it would be like this. And so I think that there are those things that, the owner, the host needs to think through. like you say, what did they want to, to deliver as a business, as a service, but also what is their ideal, most likely customer who’s going to be attracted to that What will they want And, it sometimes can be quite surprising what they want, certainly from my experience. What do you think about that Is there anything that you’ve noticed about people

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yeah. You know, a couple of things. So one of the great things that have happened even prior to the pandemic, was the demographic shift, in, people who are camping, are being, and then, and then onto the glamping as well, and the demographic shift, the growth numbers in, the Asian and Latino, population in the US was that was a big growth area there. which was great. I think from, from the Asian perspective, it was glamping really offers that, that, you know, a little more comfort, a little more security, you know, and, and for the Latin group, you know, they’ve always been big on family and this is another way to get out. And, and, and with family, I think the one demographic that, that has gotten me the most inspired, the most excited has actually been single moms.

Todd Wynne-Parry: and them getting out into nature. They know their kids want to go out in nature. They know they want to, you know, do a s’more over the fire or whatever. and whether it’s our being in a, in a, in a band life sort of camper van, or, or going to a glamping place, it really allows them to do that without, you know, sacrificing safety, which is a huge issue and sacrificing comfort, which I think is a huge issue for everybody. and really allow the kids to kind of, you know, be, you know, running wild and, and having a great time and nature and getting dirty. And it’s okay to get dirty and, and, and, you know, have a little play with the fire, which, you know, is gotta be safe with that. But, so that’s been a big demographic shift, which I think has been great.

Todd Wynne-Parry: and I know, I know what you mean about people kind of getting out way out into nature, and then getting a little bit, you freaked out. anecdotally there’s a place in California where I used to camp a lot with my kids up in the mountains. And the Sierra is, and you have to drive off-road for about an hour and a half really rough road to get to this lake that has all these little islands on it. And each island is itself a campground, no bigger than sort of a golf cart, golf course green, really. and so you have a paddle out, I have a canoe paddle out and you’ve set your camp and you’re there kind of for the weekend. And, I brought my, my, my, my partner there and a friend of mine brought his, his, his girlfriend at the time out there.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And pretty much everybody cried when they got there. and it was this mixed emotion of this is so amazingly beautiful and no one’s here and it’s untouched and it’s just gloriously beautiful, but we’re so far away if anything happens, we’re screwed. You know, it was like, we’re just really, you know, it’s a helicopter Evoque kind of thing. If anybody breaks a leg or something like that. So, and so they, they would cry. Everybody cried, they would cry. The kids go crazy. They’d be happy, but the grownups, if you weren’t used to that kind of thing where, yeah, they’d cry. They were literally so scared.

Sarah Riley: I often find that you know, when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, that’s when the most growth happens, both in a business sense on a personal sense. So actually that feeling of feeling uncomfortable, a little bit anxious, actually, it’s probably going to make the most memories than any other holiday that you’ve ever had in my view.

Todd Wynne-Parry: You’re exactly right. And it is different. It is uncomfortable, it’s unknown and you’re learning the whole time and, and whatnot. But I think it’s, it’s super, super healthy and I don’t need to go on and on about that, but it’s, it is really a wellness thing. It really is good to get back and, and, you know, get off of the phones, get off of the screens and downshift, you know, because nature works at a really, really slow pace. And when you’re in, in amongst it, in your, around it, I think you start feeling that a little bit. And hopefully, after a couple of days out there, you kind of get it that it’s another habit. I really fast just relax. And, and, and, and think about what you’re doing and where you are, and I’ll beautiful is, or whatever, but there’ll be rushing to get to social media so quick.

Todd Wynne-Parry: one of the points also you brought up is in terms of, you know, from the hospitality or hotel industry and how people are, are approaching glamping and outdoor hospitality, it really is important that the focus is on hospitality, not on property management or on the bottom line or all of these things. It’s really about developing your site with the heart of an innkeeper. So thinking about, okay, when, when people get off the main road and they turn into my place, what, what does it look like What do they see What does it feel Are they, are they downshifting when they come in there and they’re getting a feeling of calm, or are they seeing trash and service vehicles and crap everywhere you know, are they seeing the septic area What are they, what are they, what are they seeing when they driving when they drive in and then, and then when they’re there, okay, what’s the, you know, what’s the experience

Todd Wynne-Parry: Is it a, is it a find a code and, and use that code on your site, or is it someone’s there to greet you and check you in and kind of walk you through the basics and what kind of information is there for them to curate their experiences, in the area, you know, all the way through it. Okay. So they were there. And so what, what do you want them to, what do you want people to feel like when they stay here when they leave, did they, you, do you want them to feel like, oh my God, I have to go a million other places because this was, this was really opened my eyes to nature. Or do you want me to, I got to come back here because of these five things, and this place was perfect for me. And so I’m coming back here, you know, and, and because I felt like this, this and this, so I think, you know, looking at your project and looking at your property from the shoes and the eyes of the guests, is really important. And then, and then, you know, kind of following through on that. Yeah. And yup.

Sarah Riley: So you, you actually work predominantly with a bigger business, the bigger resort-style business, is that right

Todd Wynne-Parry: Well, yes and no. I just finished up a property, project and, Eastern and Southeastern Arizona. And that was a couple that has worked in the tech industry for ages. we live in Texas and they really were looking to get, you know, kind of figure out the next 20 years of their lives. And they wanted to, buy some land and, and have land first and horses and, and, and not have a lot of neighbours that they wanted to have kind of some peace and quiet and the next part of their, their life, I guess. And, so they bought 200 acres and they felt like perhaps, providing some glamping on one sort of 20-acre section of the, of the property, might be a great income source, to sort of, you know, sustain their, their retirement. So they had me go there and kind of suss out the market and suss out their property and to see if it would work.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And, and so, you know, together, we, we sort of came up with, you know, the best plan for that would be to go build their house and kind of live there, understand how the property works and understand the local environment, the businesses and the attractions and things like that. And then come back to the glamping concept and, and, build from, from, from there. so yeah, and then, and then there are other clients that are, you know, sort of the larger brands that are trying to grow and, and, and then investors that are trying to invest either on a platform level or in specific projects or numbers of projects as well. so it’s a, it’s a broad with the, of, of, of clients that I have, but there are some individual, smaller players that I work with as well.

Sarah Riley: So when they are looking or when you are with them, looking at the design of the site and the layout of the site, do you look through the eyes of somebody who wants to maybe, you know, whatever they’re setting out for, so maybe they want a hobby business, maybe it’s bigger than that. Do you look through their eyes or do you try to encourage them to maybe take on the most profitable focus on the design of the site, and what would you say in terms of the design of the site Are there specific things that can help to increase the profitability?

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yes. Okay. So there are two questions there. One is around the approach and then, and then the other is the specifics. That’s fine. So on the approach, I really try and go from the wide to the specific. So, I’ll deal with the location, and, and how that location, sort of what’s the drivers in that location, and then how that location compares to other places, in other locations that are out there in the world, and, you know, some places like this particular place in, in Southeast Arizona as an example, you know, it’s not a marquee, it’s not Yellowstone national park. It’s not, you know, Montblanc, it’s not, it doesn’t have a lot of, you know, wind in it sales or the Algar or something like that. It doesn’t have a lot of wind in it, sales in terms of people dying to get there.

Todd Wynne-Parry: Now, there is a national monument nearby that is the next enlist to become the next national park in us, which will add some oomph to it. But still, it’s not, you know, it, it doesn’t have the cache, the cache as other, you know, Napa valley or, or, the Berkshires and the east coast, you know, it doesn’t have that kind of name recognition that is going to drive room rates really high. So, so, so the first thing I look at is the location. And what generally, what kind of room rates do you think you could get, even if you’re at the top of the market, what could you do in that, in that location And then I look at the site and how the site compares to other sites in the area or other sites in other locations, compared to their demand generators, how far you are from, the entry point to a demand generator or whatever it is, whether it’s a park or wine area beach.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And so then I get really into the, into the site, and, and how it can be, would compete. And then what, what types of markets would work for that, you know, would it be great for, you know, romantic couples or would it be better for big events or events or small corporate events, or what, what, what really would be its advantage in that marketplace So that’s how the analysis goes now. And then I’ll look at, you know, guests experience, revenue generation in terms of site planning and service delivery. How can you elegantly and discreetly deliver great service if you got that as part of your, makeup? So when looking at the owner-developer, and their vision for the property. I totally take that into consideration. That’s, you know, I want to tell them what if their vision is great, or if it needs a quarter turn or, or if it’s completely crazy and it’s not gonna work.

Todd Wynne-Parry: I mean, I, I’m, I’m very open and honest about these things, but in addition to that, I will provide, you know, sort of advice on, look, I get, this is your vision, here’s your vision. That’s great. And I’m going to help you try and get to there if it makes sense, but here’s, you know, another option, have you thought about maybe subdividing and doing some, you know, biggest state residential, or actually, you know, what, if you just did an RV park and did some glamping that’s off the side, because an RV park is for this location is going to be much better or whatever it might be. So I will definitely look at other avenues in terms of your vision, but actually, this vision might be more profitable. I’m not going to dictate what they do. That’s obviously up to them, but, but I will throw out other, other land use options for them, based on my understanding of the market, both locally and geographically and regionally,

Sarah Riley: And, and all of that. Do you find that there are common themes or common blockages, let’s say barriers to moving forward, that you see people struggling with other common things happen. So maybe, for example, is it getting permissions at the beginning Is it understanding the market Is it maybe finding the research and, you know, finding, the heart in the business and really, you know, getting to grips with what they want to do Is there a thing that happens on that path to success that often gets in the way of them moving forward

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yeah. and I’m generalizing here about, you know, from small independent operators to the bigger company as well, I’m generalizing here, but the number one issue is always with the zoning and that’s, that’s holding up. most, I will say most development right now in the sector is being held up by, the entitlement process, whether that’s, just basic zoning, you know, trying to move residential to a more commercial thing or, or whatever. we’ll hold things up and then permitting as well. environmental issues, appeals from local people that don’t want any more development. So all of those things that bundle of that, I’ll just call entitlement, ha is the number one sort of brake handbrake on, on development moving forward, or at the time right now, and we’ve worked will continue to be difficult. the part is that you know, the big three, power water and sewage, these issues, I’ve seen them, you know, we’re, we’re, our whole septic systems have to be redone and, you know, that’s a half a million-dollar process and the water is not right.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And new pipes have to be brought in from down the road. And that’s another couple of hundred thousand dollars or whatever that can throw, you know, wrench in the works as well. So those three big things, are power, water, and sewage. So once you get past that, then I would say this gets down to more on the, on the individual developer, or owner level is really yeah. Lining up the vision kind of with reality. and this was, this was, a point that I came up on that last study, in particular, was the developer wanted to do, bees and a B experience. And it’s like, totally. I mean, I love bees and that’s that I’ve seen it done really, really well, you know, and you’ve got wildflowers, you can do lavender, you can do all these things.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And then you can do, you know, honey, and you can sell that to the clients and people can get involved in touch with it. But, it takes labour. There needs to be a gay peep beekeeper, and there needs to be, you know, somebody who’s there to walk the guests through if they really want to pay, you know, 7,500 bucks to have a B experience and go in and put the suit on and blow the smoke and get in there and touch the hive and all that stuff. That’s labour. So if you’re gonna hire somebody great, but otherwise it’s gonna be you. and they had some other ideas around, you know, horse rides and things like that. And, and it’s like, I don’t have a problem with that if you didn’t want to do that, that’s great. But I want you to be realistic about, you know, who’s going to do these things, you know, if, if the labour isn’t there to do it, and can you afford the labour to do it, you know

Todd Wynne-Parry: And so whether it’s cleaning rooms or providing a food and beverage experience, these things take labour. And, and if all of a sudden the cleaners decide, you know, they, they can’t work this weekend because they got this or that you’re cleaning the toilets. And if the cook decides I can’t make it for breakfast or dinner tomorrow night, you’re cooking the food and procuring the ingredients and all that stuff. So that’s probably the third biggest thing is really just catching up, you know, the vision, with the reality of, of, of what you, as a, prior to one, want to put into it.

Sarah Riley: Absolutely. And I love that Hopi experience thing that you were talking about. And, we were speaking about the B experience there when it’s actually a spa inside a giant wooden structure that is actually got beehives all the way around the outside. Someone is having spar treatments inside with honey and massaging and everything else that listening to the drone of the bees. So these bee experiences are just huge at the moment across Europe. And I didn’t realize it in the U S as well, and I’ve never experienced it myself. I’m not too sure about whether I would like it, I’d have to say. but it’s really, really good points. They’re really good points. have you actually had a bad experience yourself

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yes. Yes. So I’m not to the extent where I’m getting messages in the middle of a hive that I’m pretty easy at relaxing. I mean, I usually, if I get a message I’m falling asleep like 15 minutes, and I don’t know whether I actually got massaged or not at the end of it. I just wake up and, you know, she, as soon as could have been writing and reading a book for 45 minutes, I have no idea. cause I’m not like in a hive. I, I would be, I don’t think, I don’t think I’d be asleep. I don’t think it’d be relaxed either. But, the B experience that I had, which is really good, one from mill valley ranch, this time was John Pritzker and in landscaping, he wanted to have this big hillside was an ugly hillside. He said I want it all to be lavender.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And the landscape was like, that’s no problem, but we’re going to have to bring some bees in to really pollinate that, that lavender to make it work. And he’s like, great, let’s get bees. And let’s, let’s let people have a bee experience. And so he, so they started out. It was, but I started out, he had a couple of hives and they had beekeeper and they have like a sort of a fenced-in area and you would go and you’d put a keeper outfit, you get a little smoke can, and you could go with the beekeeper. Well, actually I had to go B school first and you had to sit in a room and get kind of an explanation of how the hive works, how the queen works and it’s all very fascinating. and then, when you go out and get the suit on and go in and you lift up a thing and look at the honey and you can taste it and all that good stuff. And it’s very safe. It’s no one’s getting stolen or anything like that. when they started out, it was $25 per person and they had one beekeeper within two years, it was $75 per person, for three bee beekeepers. And they were pretty much going morning tonight, all through the year.

Sarah Riley: Wow. Yeah.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And totally worth it. Really fun, really cool.

Sarah Riley: That’s what I love when people discover something and experience that the client really wants. And it just helps the accommodation owner grow in their business, in their vision and everything. And, and even more so when it’s got that sustainability link because as we know, we really need to be supporting the bees that support nature and everything else. And so on that note, how important do you think it is to, for a business owner coming into this industry to be thinking about sustainability and how it fits this model So well, how important do you think that is

Todd Wynne-Parry: Well, I think it’s, I think it’s really important and, and, and, you know, going off of the bees is just one thing. I mean, you know, I’ve seen, salt, salt making as well, which is really cool. Anybody near the ocean can do that, have also seen, and you probably do rehabs the chef’s garden, and then there’s a dinner table right. In the middle of a pavilion or similar, like a right, right in the middle of the garden. I think that you know, as a sole proprietor or a small operator or whatever, you know, looking at ability aspect, you know, right now, and you can kind of, you can do as much as you can, but either you don’t have enough sun for a good solar array. You don’t have that when for wind or, or whatever, from a power perspective.

Todd Wynne-Parry: It really, you know, you’re challenged a little bit in what you can and cannot do from a food and beverage perspective. There’s a lot that you can do. I think also, you know when I look at sustainability, I really, you know, I, I don’t want to look at just that quantifiable thing of, power water, you know, using good materials and things like that. I really also want to look at the community and are you partnering with the local bakery and the roastery down the road Are you, are you really, are you really taking advantage of what’s in your 50-mile radius, in terms of the problem and the businesses that you’re doing Cause I think that, to me, that’s probably the most important thing particularly right now. and what’s happened in the last couple of years and the wakening up that, yeah, globalization is great, but boy putting ships on the high seas, looting the hell out of the earth.

Todd Wynne-Parry: And, and do we really, do we really need to get source things from halfway around the world Or can we, can we kind of put here locally and help out local communities and, and maybe not so much put so much pressure on the transport, side of the equation. So I, I think it’s really important and that I’m, I’m optimistic and that the sustainability and the lighter footprint on the earth is, is kind of a cornerstone of ever of everybody’s business model that they’re going into. And some, some just can’t do that much, but I always think that you at least need to not greenwash it and, you know, say you’re doing really well, but just having a constant awareness of what your, that, this goal for you, you’re doing the best you can, within the context where you can, like, I think there’s a project in, in Utah and just as garbage bins, there’s no recycling anywhere on the property.

Todd Wynne-Parry: You can’t recycle on the property. There are just garbage bands and everything goes into these bins. And, and a lot of the people staying there, there’s like, Hey, this is crazy. Why aren’t you recycling Well, the reality is that they could fame cycling recycling, but there’s no service to recycle in like a thousand-mile radius. It’s not something they do. They’ve got landfills, they’ve got plenty of land. and that’s just how they deal with it. And they don’t have it. They’re not able to do what, what, what people in urban environments and other places can do. So it’s like, we’re trying, we’re trying, we’re trying the best we can, but there wasn’t an opportunity for them to do that. So, as I say, I think it, it should be a cornerstone and there should be an effort at all points in time, but, but you can only do what you can do.

Sarah Riley: absolutely. But there are things that can be done and particularly around, it’s quite interesting. We, you were saying there about greenwashing and I’ve known businesses who have said, yes, we also supposed to provide our environment. We’re doing all we can. And then you look in the cleaning cupboards, and you look at the cleaning products and you look at the shampoo and the conditioner and the soap that they’re providing their guests, and none of them are environmentally friendly or sensitive or, or whatever. And so it’s got to go down to that very small level of thinking about what more can we be doing as a business to make this, you know, better for the environment, excuse any background noise, I’ve got helicopters going. It’s sort of going a bit crazy who knows what’s going on Oh my goodness. so in the time that you’ve been working in this industry, huge amounts of time, and, and certainly since you’ve been focusing on luxury outdoor hospitality, what are your key takeaways so far that you’ve made, in terms of, you know, a new business getting started quickly, what your key takeaways

Todd Wynne-Parry: so, you know, interestingly enough, I’ve got a lot of clients, new businesses they’re starting, but they don’t have a site yet. and so I can do, I can have a comment about their business plan or whatever, but, you know, the people that actually are successful are the ones that just go out and do it. and you know, Sarah DC is a good, good ample of that. She just kind of did it and, and then grew and learned. And, you know, next thing you know, it’s under canvas. think for a lot of people the analysis paralysis is probably a real thing. And, you know, if they’ve got a bit of land or they’ve got a plan, you know, you know, I’m sort of more of a mind of just kind of go and, and do it. and, you know, for some people that might mean, you know, just kind of clearing some area and creating a site that people could throw up a tent and putting it on one of the many, peer-to-peer, you know, sharing economy sort of websites that allows them to do that.

Todd Wynne-Parry: and, you gotta be careful with that a little bit. There are some local regulations and whatnot, but just kind of do it, I think, and then, which doesn’t cost you very much money at all. and then, and then, you know, take, take time with those guests and talk to them about what they’re doing in the area. What’s great, what’s bad, what’s good. What’s, you know, what’s, what’s working and where did they come from and, and why, and, you know, and, and try and glean from them. What, you know, what is unique, special about that particular place location or that particular site, and then build on from there. And, you know, I think the big thing is not to get over your skis and spend more than you really should. but once you’ve taken sort of toll of, or taken sort of notes of what’s working, what’s not working. And as you invest more into the property, you will be investing it with at least, you know, the knowledge that, that, that you’ve gained from people already using the property, using them, using the land. I think that’s probably my big takeaway.

Sarah Riley: Yeah, I absolutely agree. And so many people, they want to start up and to be perfect, be the final service from the very beginning, you know, that absolute dream, absolute finished vision from the beginning. And I think that’s great if you can, but if you can’t, then those steps that you were just describing there starting a bit earlier, not refining it so much and refining as you go is certainly a way to get up and running quicker, for sure. In my opinion.

Todd Wynne-Parry: Yeah. And I think also, there are really good people like to know that you’re improving, you know, and so if after six months you realize, oh my God, we need, we actually need two more outhouses or whatever it might be. then the next conversation is, oh my gosh, I know we’re next summer. We’re going to have, you know, four outhouses and an amazing bath shower room, and we’re gonna, and this is our plan for next year. And then know that that will be accepted. Cause you’ve already heard the demand, you loud and clear what you need. And demand always speaks really loudly. It rarely knocks on the door quietly and says, gee, we’d like another bathroom here. You know, they’re, they’re very vocal and particularly nowadays, so listening to that demand and then reacting accordingly and everybody’s okay, you know, people love it when you go, oh my gosh, I know we’ve, we, you know, we did it with this. We didn’t have the money to do that. Or, you know, we, we wanted to get this going and the next year we got plans and we’re gonna do this and somebody to come back next year, it’s going to be really, we’re going to cover off on that one. And then, and that just keeps going and constantly improving is great. People love that.

Sarah Riley: absolutely. And I also think that it’s the whole phasing thing, isn’t it So you think of your projects in terms of phases, however many phases it be, but phase one can help fund phase two and then phase two can help fund phase three. And it’s so much less stressful if you know that once you’ve done that phase, you’ll be able to do the next one. And the next one, the next one. So rather than thinking about phase five, from the very beginning, it allows you to have those steps of increment and, yeah, it’s certainly for me, it’s, it’s a much better way of doing it if you don’t have the money upfront and if you don’t have the skills and knowledge upfront. So if somebody wants to get in touch with you, Todd, how do they do that

Todd Wynne-Parry: Oh, okay. Well, that’s great. I can be reached through a Horwath website. and in, in that website, there’s a, a dropdown that services and my service, which is outdoor hospitality is right there. And you can see, all of the services that I provide and you can get in touch with me directly through that.

Sarah Riley: Brilliant. And so what’s next for you today. What are you planning today You’re going to go fishing cause I know you’re a keen fisherman.

Todd Wynne-Parry: I am, that’s my fish up there. no, not today. All of those are, there’s a trout stream right below me here. today, boringly enough, I’ve got to do, my taxes. I’ve got a few more business calls to do, follow up on a couple of proposals and then, you see the, you can’t the listeners can’t see this, but I got a ladder sitting right here. I’m staining the frame of, the new windows that got put in. So

Sarah Riley: That’s today then

Todd Wynne-Parry: Never. There’s never NOT a project.

Sarah Riley: That’s true. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Todd, it was really great to meet you a couple of weeks ago and can’t believe the time is flying so much and I hope our paths will cross again very soon.

Todd Wynne-Parry: I’m sure they will be okay.

Sarah Riley: That’s huge, thank you to Todd Wynne-Parry, it’s amazing when these experts give their time for free so we can all benefit from their experience. I’m sure you want to join me in thanking Todds and maybe drop a review on the platform that you use to listen to this podcast. It’ll be great to hear your thoughts. I know Todd would appreciate it. Thank you. And it will be great to see you here again very soon. So goodbye for now

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