Editor's note: the following article is the second in a new series on one expat's adventures living and working on Mombacho Volcano.
Earlier articles in this series talked about how Mombacho Lodge came to be and what we do to keep it “natural” and running. But this is really the nitty-gritty about making it work.
If you have a real eco, or nature lodge like we are here at Mombacho Lodge you likely are not in a town. It kind of goes without saying. But, the real danger of isolation doesn’t come from things you immediately think about, like security. The main danger for a business is that without being listed in a town, you don’t turn up readily on an on line search so, you suffer in bookings.
On the other side of Granada, it’s hard for people to find you and you really don’t have an address or a town. Being new to the business, we have gotten stuck between a rock and a hard place on new procedures to set a business’ location for purposes of the Internet. Until recently, you simply put in the nearest town you wished to be associated with for purposes of competition. Now, your location is automatically set using GPS coordinates.
For us that means that while most all the other hotels in and around Granada, including those in the Laguna de Apoya and Lake Colcibolca, are listed in Granada, we are listed in the Mombacho Nature Reserve…who the heck in the rest of the world would ever think to look there for a hotel in or around Granada …not many. So, although we have made some progress with social media to get the point across that we are a hotel you should consider when looking in Granada, the struggle continues. How we fully turn the corner on that is yet to be seen.
To date, most of our guests have stumbled upon us by accident…. word of mouth, blogs from prior visitors or exhausting searches for something off the beaten tourist path. Our booking are picking up, despite this, although they are far short of where we could be but for the listing issue.
Those that have found us, have given us great ratings on Trip Advisor …all but one is a perfect score and he marked us down a spot because we did not have any bird feeders…otherwise he loved it. And why not? Where else can you have a monkey alarm clock (and another for the cocktail hour)…a night nature tour where you will see things you absolutely will not see in the day and be 10 degrees cooler…all 20 minutes from Granada.
So now that we’ve filled the water tanks and the drought seems to have broken and I’ve found that I can run this place miles away from the store and get guests first class meals (I am still amazed that they like my cooking so much) we turn to “promotion”. My attention has now shifted from streamlining operations and identifying the trees to coming up with ideas (and spending money) to get our name out to people who want a peaceful and quiet place to relax and still be close enough to Granada or the Laguna to go in for part of a day.
It’s not driving us out of business and I never figured to get rich on this anyway, but I never realized it would be so difficult either.