The Lake House is one of Manitoba’s hottest boutique hotels. Located right in the heart of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, it is the perfect little getaway and a hot travel destination this summer.
As you know, we had the opportunity to stay at Lake House earlier this season and we couldn’t help but pick their brain with some questions on how this gorgeous place came to be along with any advice they have for new business owners. We absolutely loved our stay and our chat with them! We’ve shared this with our WE group already, but thought it would be great to share with all of you as well!
How did Lake House come to be?
Karly: To be completely honest, the decision to purchase and renovate Lake House evolved from a conversation with a client of mine (Mike Collyer) who is now also my business partner. We were chatting about the shortage of really well styled and unique accommodations in Riding Mountain National Park, and the opportunities that could be capitalized on based on that gap in the marketplace. Mike and Julie Collyer (our business partners) also own and operate Collyer Construction (they build beautiful custom homes and commercial spaces) in Onanole, and I am a graphic designer by trade, so we work really well together because we both understand that attention to detail and great design is critical when developing a great business and a great brand – I think we have the ideal ownership group for a project like Lake House.
We purchased McTavish’s Motel in late February 2015 and started renovations in mid-March. Lakehouse opened May 15th of 2015. Things have gone really well so far. We have built a solid brand, and have just renovated the property to add an exclusive lounge space, breakfast area, and group meeting space (for guests of Lakehouse and our recently acquired sister property Arrowhead Family Resort). We remained open year round this past year, and have plans to continue to build on our off season offer. The development of our lounge and meeting space is going to help us to position ourselves as an all-inclusive destination within the townsite of Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park. There hasn’t been a business open inside of RMNP for many many years so we are excited to fill this void!
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a new business in the hospitality industry?
Karly: The best advice that I can give to anyone looking to start a business in general – hospitality industry or otherwise – is, do what you love! If you love your work; the inspiration, motivation, adrenaline and all of the important ingredients and energy that you need to operate a successful business will flow naturally.
The second piece of advice I would give is do what you do best, and partner to do the rest. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, capitalize on your strengths and spend time to use them to your advantage. Hire staff and partner with other businesses that will help in the areas where you are not as strong. I think being able to recognize your own weaknesses and identify them as strengths in others is so critical to your own success.
At Lake House we try to say ‘yes’ as much as possible. What I mean by this is if a customer has a request, even if it is out of the norm we try to accommodate it if we can find a way. I really value the ability to be resourceful and to problem solve and try to encourage our staff to do that every day for every customer.
Do you have any marketing tips for all of the fellow business owners out there?
Karly: Great marketing is so important! If it is not your strength, I think it is probably the most important and critical investment you can make to hire someone who is going to brand and market your business properly. You can have a truly amazing product, but without good marketing you may never reach your full potential. The most vital piece of the puzzle in my opinion is not just creating a great logo, or great marketing pieces but developing and supporting your brand .
What I mean by this is every marketing piece you develop and put out in front of your customers should support and echo your brand values, and should emphasize the things you want people to identify with in regard to your business. Packaging, signage, print media, social media…all of it should have a consistent look and feel. I am in love with lifestyle branding, it is truly powerful and a great hook for the massive Millennial demographic.
Thank you so much Karly for taking the time to chat with us and for sharing this valuable information. What great takeaways for all business owners! We will be back in Clear Lake in a few weeks and we cannot wait to check out your new space.
For more information or to book your stay please visit their website.