The Aerie Resort in the Cowichan Valley/Victoria region on Vancouver Island is closing its doors. Tough economic times and escalating costs are the reasons quoted. We believe the lack of expanding marketing efforts, too high pricing, not adjusting to the changing markets and poor community interaction are more like the reasons for its closure.
I grew up in the Cowichan Valley. I work and talk tourism everyday as part of my career. I am familiar with the Aerie Resort, but I never hear about them ever .. except maybe in the Conde Nast Magazine.
As a teenager I grew up in the valley and I cannot recall one instance when I heard anything about the Aerie.. but again I am an average Joe. I am not in their target market group.. and that is the problem. The Aerie did not engage the local and Canadian markets.. only the high end markets. A market that is shriveling up fast.
Look at the Wick Inn in Tofino. It is high priced and markets to the same group as the Aerie.. but they are surviving because they are involved in their community in slow seasons. They hold events in which the community can attend. They create activities and dinner parties. They were not standing still.
The Aerie Resort was a high end resort, charging premium prices, with a restaurant, accommodations and some amazing views of the Saanich Inlet. It was often mentioned in the Conde Nast Travel Magazine. A magazine that endorses a resort that is going under.. does not exactly look well on the magazine does it. Ranking accommodations is political and in no way serves the public honestly.
I wonder if the criteria to make the magazine’s list is to run your resort into the ground and close your doors. How come a magazine gives out awards to resorts which are poorly performing. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?
The Aerie did not operate smart in the good times and did not operate smarter in the lean times. Tough economic times always trims the fat in any industry. It is the survival of the fittest now and other businesses should take note. Even in our online tourism booking business competitors are falling. Not us, our numbers are up over 25 % because we are always improving, growing smart and being lean.