28 February 2019 will be 5 years since we moved into Bayside lodge! Gosh time has flown by and so much has happened in that time! Having spent three months looking at 57 different properties between Wilderness, Knysna, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay we are so happy we chose Plett for all sorts of reasons. Our move from Botswana was at a time when we needed to be closer to our parents and we are so grateful that we were able to do this (see first photo which was taken on mother’s day and Adrienne’s 50th birthday in 2014).
2014 was a fantastic year with rising occupancies as well as ranking on Trip Advisor and we were thrilled to climb from number 29th to 4th place within a year. We started on small improvements to the lodge as we settled into Plett life having swopped the bush for the beach! We (rather nervously) entered the social media arena and with the help of Pharyn Davies our presence on Facebook and Twitter has grown nicely. Thanks to Sharon and Simon at S2 Web Solutions for telling us when to do what with our website and our goal to increase direct bookings is being accomplished.
In 2015 we adopted a Daschund cross called Daisy from Knysna animal welfare and she has turned from an escape artist to one very settled happy little girl who loves her hosting role! We also decided to expand our portfolio to cater for the growing demand for self catering accommodation. We purchased three new properties over the next two years branding them Bayside Villas. Bernie enjoyed putting his lodge building experience into practice and renovated them at the same time as supervising improvements at Bayside. The two properties at Riverclub were a popular venue due to the location and facilities within the estate.
2016 and 2017 saw growing occupancies and our Trip Advisor ranking improved to 3rd place In November 2017 we adopted another Daschund rescue called Champ who was 8 years old at the time and very traumatized at being separated from his owners and his sister due to a divorce. We like to think he has settled into a fabulous life with a new sister who adores him as well as the constant attention from guests and a daily walk on or close to the beach!
At the beginning of 2018 we decided to sell the self catering properties to have a quieter life and focus on Bayside. Bayside Villas was proving to be a lot of work with travelling there and back with staff and supplies as well as meeting and seeing off guests. It was also becoming evident that the self catering market was being flooded with availability and downward price pressure due to AirBnB. We were thrilled to see all the returning guests and longer stays with February hitting 100% occupancy most years thanks to all the European “swallows” coming to town.
So 2019 finds us happy and settled with a fantastic Trip Advisor ranking (maintaining 4th place), three lovely ladies Martha, Amanda and Lucille who cook amazing breakfasts and keep the lodge spotlessly clean. We have two gorgeous dogs and the time to enjoy Plett and visit our two mothers! We have maintained our four star grading and continue to make improvements to the guest house. The thrill of sharing the Garden Route with our guests every day never fades – 90% are visiting Africa for the first time and just love it!